Even the smallest of small businesses needs to have an online presence if they are going to be successful. More and more consumers are turning to the internet to make purchases, everything from their weekly grocery shop to white goods, holidays and even cars. Even if you are only a “kitchen table business” operating on a very small scale from your home, your business can go viral and become a nationwide or even an international success if you get your e-commerce strategy right.
There are a number of e-commerce tips that are relevant no matter how small or big your business is, but first and foremost you have to make sure that you have an attractive, interesting and user-friendly web page. Luckily, even the most technology phobic entrepreneurs can achieve this by engaging the support of companies like iPage.
iPage provides web hosting support for your website, but more than that they have templates and tools that will help you construct a website that does your business justice, and helps to attract more consumers to view and to buy your excellent products or services.
Reward Loyal Customers
One of the best e-commerce tips is to make sure that you reward your customers; not only does this foster a feeling of brand loyalty towards your business, but on a much more practical level it will encourage them to come back to your website and make a further purchase. You can offer coupons or vouchers for reductions after check-out, or encourage customers to leave reviews (hopefully positive ones) by offering a money-off coupon once their review has been published.
Use your special offers and seasonal sales to attract new customers to your website by promoting them on other web pages that write about your industry; one great way to do this is to get in touch with bloggers who write about your products or services and offer them a coupon or free samples if they write a piece about your business. Fashion bloggers and fashion companies are particularly good at working hand in hand to promote each other and further each other’s success.
Make the Most of Social Media
Unfortunately, these days having a website is only the beginning of the online presence that every business and organization is expected to have. The popularity of social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can also help new businesses reach a new audience, and attract customers to the website where they might then make a sale. You can promote new product lines and special offers on your business’ social media accounts, offer coupons and deals to your followers and likers, and even run competitions to try and increase the number of people engaging with your Facebook page or Twitter account.
If you are going to have social media accounts for your business, however, whether on Facebook, Twitter or both, you will need to set aside some time for managing the page and for monitoring comments and complaints from customers. Not only is it important that you respond quickly to any communication from a customer — or a prospective customer — if someone has had a bad experience in buying from your business, you need to make sure that any complaints made on a public forum like Facebook are addressed and dealt with, otherwise it could easily put off other people. The mantra “the customer is always right” is just as relevant on social media as it is in your store.
Adapt for Mobile
If you decide to run your business website through a web hosting service like iPage, then one of the services they will offer as standard these days is to make your website smartphone-friendly. More and more people are accessing the internet via smartphones and tablets, but some websites do not always work perfectly in these formats — and a badly functioning web page could easily be enough to put off customers who are shopping while they are on their morning commute or just sitting on their sofa on an evening.
Mobile capability for your website is vital if you are going to offer coupons or vouchers on your website. There is nothing more frustrating for a customer than knowing there is a special deal somewhere on the site, but not being able to find it because it isn’t working properly on their smartphone.
There are businesses who exist to advise entrepreneurs on e-commerce tips, but their costs are often way beyond the reach of small business owners. However, if you get these basics right, your venture will soon begin to enjoy the benefits that the internet and social media can bring.