In the digital age, practically all businesses have some kind of online presence. Whether that may be social media, a website or merely status as a seller on an online marketplace, everyone has it. Many small business owners believe the transition into online selling will consequently be straightforward. They could not be more wrong. Online selling requires a depth of planning and a strong sense of conviction that many business owners underestimate.
Prior preparation prevents poor performance
We may be living in an advanced digital age, but this old adage still rings true. Jumping headfirst into the action without an understanding of how you want to position yourself amongst your competitors can have catastrophic consequences.
Do you offer a unique selling point that gives you a competitive advantage over your adversaries? How do you compare on price? Does your online presence distinguish you from the competition? These are just three of many questions you need to ask yourself before committing to online selling.
Your website needs to be flawless
In the same way that customers are likely to be unimpressed with a messy shop floor on the high-street, they are likely to be just as deterred by a cluttered and chaotic website. Making sure your website is professional looking and clear of any grammatical errors, pixelated images and irregular branding is essential in ensuring you will attract new customers as well as retain old ones.
Whether you decide your brand’s online presence belongs on a hosting platform like Etsy.com or ecommerce software like Magento, electing to outsource this commitment to an ecommerce agency can often be an economical move.
“Build it and they will come” does not quite apply here. You need to have a systematic and thorough marketing strategy that will drive traffic to your website. Executing successful SEO and PPC campaigns is a catalyst for increasing conversions.
Another line of attack that vital to pursue is through social media. By offering a far more direct route to conversions you can circumnavigate the more drawn out process of search engine to homepage to category to product.
Build a trusted brand
In order for your business to flourish online you have to prioritise making your brand into a reputable and trusted one. You can start this process from day one by fostering a consistent message across all platforms. This process must continue throughout the lifetime of your business in order to maintain a strong online presence.
Social media is your ally here also. Sites like Facebook and Twitter offer you a direct line to your customers, allowing you to address and rectify customer complaints and concerns rapidly.
Online basket recovery through email
A frustrating part of online selling is seeing people add items to their checkout basket without going through with the purchase. Whilst it may seem like this money has slipped through your fingers forever, it can be recovered. James Critchley, CEO of cart recovery specialists cloud.IQ, claims that ‘25% percent of abandoned baskets can be recovered’ when timely emails pursuing this line of enquiry are sent.
Don’t be afraid to be sceptical
One trap that many small business owners fall into is following other models of success blindly as if they are also bound to work for themselves. Nothing is guaranteed. You need to be adaptable and resourceful and the complexities of business will ensure that there is no simple route to follow that will ensure success.
With the numerous obstacles that will inevitably impede your progress, you need to have an unwavering belief in the service you are offering and it is imperative that you have the determination to see your goals to fruition. Best of luck!