Many people are finding a new freedom by building online businesses. Being your own boss can be incredibly fulfilling if you are willing to learn and do some hard work. If you are thinking about building a store online, you’ll need to know some basics about eCommerce if you want your business to be successful. Learn about these key principles first.
Web Marketing and Traffic
Web traffic simply means the people who visit your website, and no online store can be successful without it. You need to get the word out about your business, and entice people to come take a look. Online marketing and advertising are the classic ways to do this, for a web-based business as much as a traditional business. If you are feeling adventurous, you should learn more about the rising trend of inbound marketing, which combine various marketing efforts which focus on a single goal: Getting your business found.
The type of marketing you will need depends on several factors, including the products you sell, the size of your potential market, your location, and whether you rely on repeat customers. You may look into traditional marketing via newspaper, radio, or television ads, especially if you are adding a web-based component onto an existing brick-and-mortar store. Or you may be best served by online advertising such as text and banner ads.
In order to find the right mix of advertising for your site, you will probably need to do some experimenting and collect data on what works. Whatever else you do, don’t forget the power of happy customers to generate more business. Encourage your existing customers to refer their friends to your business.
In order to sell products, you need to handle online payments. This is a crucial part of your business in many ways.
You need a system which is secure because it will handle private financial data from every customer. It needs to be correct in totaling items and calculating shipping. It needs to be easy to use. Your customers need to be able to tell what information to enter where without a lot of hassle. The more payment types you can offer, the more customers you may attract. Your site must at least accept credit cards, but if you can include PayPal and other payment methods, you may gain customers who only use these other methods. If you offer gift certificates, coupons, or promotional codes, your system must also handle these quickly and correctly.
This is another key thing to get right in your web business. Because you will be handling your customers’ private data, you need to make sure their data will be securely held and be able to reassure them that you are serious about security. But you need to make your site easy enough to use that potential customers are not frustrated into leaving.
One more thing: Sometimes, you need for your customers to sign documents related to their purchases. Taking signature is even riskier than capturing customers data, simply due to the fact that it’s legally-binding. You can’t afford getting someone else to steal your signature and use it to sign unwanted documents; the impact would be catastrophic. Consider using secure e-signature services, such as Silanis, HelloSign and several other similar services.
Security and convenience are always in tension with each other, and you need to find the right balance between them. You need to require good passwords from your customers, and give them flexibility to choose their preferred passwords. Make sure you understand security certificates and the basics of secure web transactions online, and choose software that incorporates good security measures.
Starting a business online may require you to learn a lot of new information, if you are not an expert in web technologies. But getting these basics right will put your business on a solid foundation for future success.
If you want to learn more about eCommerce, this video can offer you a simple, yet effective explanation: