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The e-commerce industry is always seen as an industry with a low entry barrier. You don’t have to make big investments or go through complicated steps to start your own online store. As long as you have a product to sell and some basic skills in site development, you can start an e-commerce site in a matter of minutes.
Simply starting an e-commerce site, however, is far from enough. You have to think about crafting a positive user experience, creating a streamlined customer journey, attracting visitors to your new site, and converting those visitors into customers. While these challenges may seem difficult at first, there are five steps you can take to jumpstart your e-commerce business.
Use a Mature Platform
There is no point in developing a proprietary e-commerce website these days. You can either rely on self-hosted solutions or use a mature platform to help jumpstart your e-commerce business. The latter is usually the better option because it also means outsourcing site maintenance and updates entirely.
This offers a superior experience compared to self-hosted solutions and you can instantly take advantage of that to get ahead of the market, while also making the checkout process a lot better for your customers.
Provide the Right Amount of Information
Don’t make the mistake of cluttering your e-commerce site with information that users don’t actually need. It is easy to believe that filling product pages with lots of information is a good thing, but it is not in most situations.
You need users – your potential customers – to get to the information they seek quickly and effectively. The way to do that is by adding the appropriate amount of details to the product pages, structuring those details the right way, and leaving clutters out of those pages.
Choosing which information to include can be difficult. After all, you want users to know everything there is to know about your products. Put yourself in the customers’ shoes and be ready to move clutter – non-essential information – to downloadable product sheets or brochures.
Invest in Ads
Getting traction is perhaps the biggest challenge of them all. There are hundreds of new websites and online stores being created every day, plus millions more that are already operating. You need to cut through the noise and get to your target market segment with clear messages.
Doing things organically is still the best way to go. You want to start a content marketing campaign immediately, optimize your site for SEO, and make sure you are active on social media sites to interact with potential users. However, gaining traction organically is not the way to go in today’s market.
With a small investment in ads, you can boost both your initial traction and the growth of your organic channels. By advertising on social media, for instance, you can direct users to your site while promoting your social media profiles at the same time.
Optimize for Conversion
Traffic is only one half of the equation here. The other half is conversion. Your conversion rate depends on a lot of factors, but you can jumpstart your e-commerce business by focusing on the two most important ones: flow and checkout.
Take extra steps to make sure that users can browse through product pages without distractions. Lose popup windows and stop asking users to subscribe whenever they load a new page. Get them straight to the details they need and make sure they value the overall UX you deliver.
Checkout needs to be even simpler. A one-step checkout process is ideal; a two-step checkout is okay if you really have no option. Asking users to go through multiple steps and fill out long checkout forms will only increase your dropped cart rate significantly. Solutions like Shopify checkout offer easy access to features such as a streamlined checkout.
Provide Aftersales Service
Even when selling third-party products, you still want to engage your customers AFTER they make purchases. The aftersales experience is part of customers’ journey, and how you interact with converted customers determines if they will make future purchases.
Upselling is the temping thing to do here, but value delivery is what you need to be doing at this point. Instead of offering discounts and marketing other products, provide customers with personalized information on how to best take advantage of the products they already own.
Promotional offers need to occupy a smaller portion of your aftersales experience. Don’t forget to provide support when customers do run into issues with their purchases or the products they bought. That is how you build a strong customer base that will sustain your e-commerce business for years.
That’s it! If you are serious about entering the e-commerce landscape and dominating the market, these 5 tips are the ones to implement as soon as you get started.