Did you know that 41% of the globe’s internet users have purchased something online? And that China has the highest percentage of online shoppers per month? Or that by 2017, ecommerce sales will reach $434 billion, just in the United States.
Well it’s no wonder that people young and old are trying their luck at creating an online store. But just like a physical retailer, only 10% of businesses survive their first year.
So what makes a successful online store?
1. Quality of the products
It’s a no-brainer that the number one factor to a successful online store is what you sell. Make sure your store sells the best possible versions of the product types that your target market is looking for. Have as vast selection as possible, with numerous colour and sizing options, while remaining selective to adhere to the integrity of your store.
2. Competitive pricing
If nobody buys anything, you have a museum, not a store.
Even if your store sells exactly what your target customer wants, there’s probably someone else out there, who is willing to sell it (slightly) cheaper. Make sure you have competitive pricing, the cheapest you can go while still turning a profit. Remember the goal of your store should be to sell things, so you’ll need to have prices that make people want to buy it. Better yet, have (advertised) sales and coupon options so customers have an exciting engagement with your store with the option of saving even more money!
3. Have engaging content
A lot of the time, people need to be convinced to purchase. Even myself, especially if it’s a big ticket item I will return to the website several times, read reviews, watch videos of people using it, before I click that confirm purchase button. By having a regularly updated blog, that has relevant content, you increase your website visitors by 50%.
Research what your customers want to know about your products, about the product categories, and what others have said about those products. 58% consumers prefer to purchase form stores that offer reviews and having reviews increase your sales by 18%. In fact, consumer reviews are 12 times more trusted than the description you will place on your products.
Ensure that all information they need to know to buy the products you offer, are also offered up by you.
4. Let your customers assist you get more customers
There are two steps of successfully harnessing the power of your customers for more business from other consumers. Firstly, advertise yourself on social media. There are lots of companies that help you get Social Media Influencers like SEO Premier. By using influencers over social media posting about your store and products, you getting a wider audience reach of consumers who value the views of their influencer. Your products and store will become part of this positive association.
The second way is to create an affiliate program. An “affiliate marketing is a reward based system [where] marketers to promote your product in exchange for a commission.” Your affiliates post links, post products, write reviews, have discount codes, and advise their audience about sales your store is having.
One of the best examples of the power of social media advertising and affiliate programs is Daniel Wellington Watches. They advertise solely on social media, and have a trusty army of influencers armed with discount codes, round the clock posts, and beautifully designed photos. They’ve also made a $200 million business.
5. Be a trustworthy business
Since the dawn of online shopping, secure payment has been an issue that has made shoppers wary of whether their purchases are with it. There have been countless cases of security breaches online from companies that have a false sense of data security.
So it’s important that consumers that browse your store can trust that you have put in place all the protection possible to ensure their purchase won’t cost them everything.
Make sure you have a secure platform for your store, track all your orders, use the strongest SSL authentication, enforce strong passwords, run PCI tests, and have safe payment options like VISA certification and Paypal Buyers Protection.
6. Have an easy store navigation system
Have you ever gone into a store and left to buy from somewhere else as you can’t find the section or products you’re looking for? Same thing applies to online stores. If they can’t find themselves to the section they’re looking for easily, they’ll go elsewhere. Ensure your store has effective filter and search systems, clear categories, products are divided into appropriate categories, and that using the menu is simplistic and doesn’t clutter the screen.
7. Have Customer Support
I’m not talking about just having a customer support email that responds that a representative will respond within 48 hours. Every store claims this but most stores don’t live up to this expectation. Have enough customer service representatives to cater to the amount of customers. Respond to their questions and enquiries within the promised amount of time and if that is not possible, send another email apologising for the delay. Like mentioned before, if consumers can’t trust your business, they won’t buy anything or repeat business.