E-commerce businesses can be a great type of business to start, but they're not always right for everyone. There are plenty of challenges, pitfalls, and snags that could be trouble for even the most seasoned entrepreneurs. Here are seven things nobody ever told you about starting an e-commerce business.
1. Copy Matters
You need to provide customers with detailed product descriptions if you want to get them to buy your product, which means you need to invest in some copywriting. You can also do this yourself, if you have some time to learn or you have some experience in the field. According to one study, 88% of online shoppers list product details as being extremely important to their decision to purchase something.
2. Do Your Research
Running a successful e-commerce business requires doing some research. Not only do you have to know your industry, you also have to have a very good idea of who your customer base is, and adopt your plan accordingly. You should have a clear picture of your target market and you also have to know what they want. Marketing to young men, for instance, is different from marketing to older women. Using analytic tools, like Google Analytics can help you get a picture of what your customers want and like.
3. Location Could Play a Role
Your business, even if it's online, is based somewhere. You also might find that a lot of your customers are located in a certain part of the country. You can use data like this to help cater to a particular clientele. Individuals in the southeast, for example, might have different needs than those in the Pacific northwest.
4. You Can Get Great Graphics for Free
As a small business owner, you can't afford to pay for things you can get for free. As an e-commerce business owner, you should know that getting great graphics is essential to your business. Put those two things together, and you have to know where to get graphics and logo design for free. Here's a great place to go if you need to design an awesome logo for your business.
5. Email Can Be Helpful
There are a variety of ways that emails can help you; ever wonder why every single website you visit wants you to put in your email? One particular way it can help your e-commerce business is by sending an "abandoned cart" prompt if someone puts something in their cart, then steps away. A gentle, automated prompt sent from your site can mean the difference between making a sale and missing out.
6. Don't Skimp on Customer Service
At first, you can probably handle customer service inquiries by yourself. As your e-commerce business expands, however, you'll have to give some thought to your customer service plan. You can't go fielding calls from customers at all hours of the night. This could be as simple as featuring a chat bot on your website; you don't necessarily need to go out and buy a call center. This also allows potential customers to get instant access to answers on your site, which may lead to more sales.
7. Look at a Loyalty Program
You're a small business, which means you might not be in a position to offer a bunch of bells and whistles at first. However, incorporating some sort of loyalty program into your e-commerce site from the beginning is a good way to make customers feel appreciated. It can help one-time customers become repeat customers.
Starting an e-commerce site can be exciting and potentially very lucrative, but it's not easy. Keeping these seven tips in mind is sure to help you get off to a great start and build a loyal base of customers who keep coming back for more!
By Jayden Foley, Contributor