Ecommerce is a rapidly growing profession. As online shopping grows increasingly popular, more and more e-stores are popping up every day, with entrepreneurs selling their wares to a range of different niches. This is a great opportunity for those who have been toying with the idea of opening their own online store. There has never been a better time to do so – the software is all available to us, the market is there, and the web is chock full of articles that tell you how to go about it (a bit like this one). Setting up an online store is easy once you’ve decided what you’re going to sell and how. Then, all that’s left is for you to manage the day-to-day. Here are some handy tips that will help you maximize the effectiveness of your ecommerce store from Day 1.
Outsource order fulfillment
Once your online store is up and running and you’ve got customers through the door, you’re not going to want to waste time buying and storing inventory, packaging everything up and lugging it to the post office. You may not have the space, if nothing else! For this reason, a lot of e-store owners choose to work with a reliable dropshipping merchant to handle the order fulfillment side of their operation for them.
A dropshipper stores inventory, takes care of all your postage and packaging, and will apply your own branding to the packaging so that to the customer, it looks like the order has come from you. When you receive orders through your website, you simply pass them onto your dropshipping supplier who will handle them for you. Your total profit will be whatever the customer pays minus the cost quoted by your dropshipping supplier.
Customers are impatient people and they want their orders shipped swiftly and safely. By outsourcing this side of your business to a professional, you are saving yourself time and hassle and ensuring that customers get their orders promptly.
Send abandoned cart emails
Sometimes, an online user will abandon a shopping cart without completing their purchase. Even with website testing, it can sometimes be hard to figure out why this is happening (though it is still worth testing to see if it’s an easy fix). It may be that they simply ran out of time, or realized they didn’t have their credit card with them. Whatever the reason, it is worth setting up abandoned cart emails to remind the customer of the item in their shopping basket. It could be that they were planning on buying the item at a later date and forgot, in which case your email reminder could send them back to complete the purchase. If you don’t remind them, you will never know. There are many good apps on the Shopify app store that can help you send automated emails to abandoned carts.
If you find that you’re getting a lot of users abandoning their shopping carts, then it is definitely worth looking into your website analytics and carrying out some testing to see what’s causing it. If your payment process is too long-winded, requires lots of form-fills or there are hidden fees that pop up at the last minute, these could be putting your customers off at the final stage.
Use a helpdesk or live chat function
There’s one thing that you really don’t want to scrimp on when you’re running an online store, and that’s providing adequate customer support. Luckily, there are increasingly innovative ways to connect with your customers so that they feel heard and get their issues resolved – should they have any. Using our LiveAgent help desk software – an app that integrates seamlessly with Shopify – you can optimize customer satisfaction, sales and conversions by placing a live chat button on your store. It’s simple, affordable and a great way to build trust and create loyal customers.
Don’t ignore data
Data can be confusing, but you shouldn’t ignore it. It’s important for the little guys, as well as for big businesses. It can help to tell you what’s working and what’s not, who your audience are, when they like to shop, what their buying habits are, how they reach your site and which of your products are the most successful. Today’s ecommerce platforms are very good at providing us with all of the insights we need to assess and improve our stores, so that we can make adjustments accordingly.
Assessing the data surrounding overall shopping trends as well as how users behave on our own sites can help to inform future decisions, such as what products to add in the future, which to stop selling because they don’t perform, and what aspects users find appealing when it comes to presentation and usability. Find a good analytics solution that will integrate with your choice of CMS platform and allow you to get the most out of your data, improve your ecommerce store for the better and help you to foresee future shopping trends in your chosen niche.
Embrace social media
Today’s customers expect more from their favorite brands. As well as providing great products and a seamless online shopping experience, customers are increasingly drawn to brands who humanize themselves by reaching out on social media. Where it used to be a trendy but optional addition to one’s marketing strategy, it is now considered an essential marketing channel and if you want to do well online, you should embrace it.
It is worth signing up to every social media channel under your brand, even if you don’t plan on using all of them. This stops any other users from piggybacking your brand on channels you’ve missed. The best platforms to make use of on a regular basis include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest – the second two are particularly good for image posts. Once you have these accounts, be sure to include ‘follow’ and ‘share’ buttons on your website pages so that users can easily spread the word.
Social media is an ideal place to share news, special offers, updates and behind-the-scenes posts, as well as to introduce interaction from customers. The key is to be social – hence the name.
One thing that social media does is create a more personal experience for users. This is a really important aspect of selling online. People will always prefer to think they are buying from a person who really knows their stuff and takes care of their customers, rather than a faceless chain store. Personalizing your customer experience will reap great rewards when it comes to sales. Personal touches like relevant ads and offers based on previous browsing behavior, thank you emails, notes included in with delivery and shout-outs on social media are great ways of showing your customers some love. This is where little online stores have an advantage over big companies like Amazon with their millions of customers – so if you have the time to reach out personally, always take it.
Do you run an ecommerce store, or are you thinking of starting one? What tips have you found useful in managing an online store that you would share with other entrepreneurs? Let us know in the comments.
Still not using a helpdesk?
It’s time to step it up! As your store grows, so will the number of customer requests. Get your hands on a helpdesk before things get out of control.
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