10 Key Ecommerce Questions to Ask Before Launching an Online Store
"If there’s one reason we have done better than of our peers in the Internet space over the last six years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience, and that really does matter, I think, in any business. It certainly matters online, where word of mouth is so very, very powerful."
- Founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos
Are you considering joining the ecommerce revolution?
Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent online each year. This represents huge opportunity for anyone looking to create an online store.
Selling products and services online is completely different from selling via a traditional storefront. Starting an ecommerce business doesn't have to be an overwhelming when you understand how to navigate the waters confidently.
Read on for the top ten ecommerce questions for startups.
1. How Do I Build a Online Store?
Firstly, there are plenty of online resources that can help. Many companies that provide ecommerce hosting will also walk you through the steps of setting up your store. Alternatively, you can work with a professional web designer to get your ecommerce business online for you.
2. Should I Customise My Website?
Your website is an extension of your offline business and brand. Ensure that your color scheme, logos, fonts, and images maintain your brand identity online. Aim to create a point of difference with your competitors – so that you stand out amongst others in your niche.
3. How Do I Collect Money?
Do your homework when it comes to choosing a card processing company. While they all basically do the same thing, they all charge different rates for each transaction they process in your store shopping cart. Research merchant accounts and read reviews before you make this important decision.
4. How Do I Handle Customer Service?
This is one aspect of your website you can not overlook. Making the customer happy is all about interacting with them when they have a question or concern - and delivering a consistent positive experience. Invest in a customer relationship management system so you have a finger on the pulse of everything going on with your visitors.
5. How Much Do I Charge For Shipping?
The best way to address shipping is to choose from one of the top shipping companies and create an account with them. That way you can incorporate their shipping calculator into your shopping cart, allowing customers to get real time shipping quotes directly from the carrier. Many online retailers inbuild shipping costs into their product pricing and are able to offer 'free shipping' to customers as a result.
6. How Do I Create Professional Images?
The only way you can sell your products - is by giving your buyers an opportunity to view your items as clearly as possible.
A professional photographer will ensure a quality result. If you opt to take your own images, be certain that you place each item in plenty of light so that your images will clearly show all details. Take multiple pictures to give your buyers the opportunity to see your items from all sides.
7. Should I Add Reviews and Social Share Buttons?
This is an absolute must if you want to grow your brand. Give your customers the opportunity to tell others about their experience with your company. When they share your information you are basically receiving a trusted endorsement to all their friends and colleagues.
8. How Do I Attract Visitors?
Promoting your new website today is all about being social.
Place your ecommerce website link prominently on all your social media profile pages, and post messages to these platforms daily to attract interest. Take the time to interact and be social with your fans. Give people a reason to follow you with quality content, updated daily.
9. Do I Accept Returns?
If a customer knows you have a return policy, it will give them the confidence they need to know you stand behind your products. Where appropriate, accepting returns is recommended.
10. How Do I Monitor My Success?
Of all the ecommerce tips, this is the most important.
You need to be able to monitor your success in order to improve an build your business. Install Google Analytics for free on your website, and you track everything from where your customers arrived from, keywords they used and how long they stayed on your pages.
Many ecommerce platforms offer a significant range of tools to measure and improve engagement and conversion. Ecommerce success results from testing and improving and refining the customer experience.
Good luck with your online store!
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