ECommerce is great. The overheads are lower, the customer base can be bigger, and you can literally run things from your bedroom if you want to. What's not to love?
Well, although an eCommerce store can seem easier to run than a bricks-and-mortar outlet, it still takes effort if you are going to make it a success. And, just like any business, it can be time consuming and overwhelming if you let it.
So, you are probably looking for some ways to make business a bit easier.
With that in mind, here are our 5 top tips for streamlining your eCommerce business and making sure you and your customers are happy.
1: Make The Customer Journey A Great One
The easier you can make your customer journey, the more sales you are likely to get, and the less time you'll spend fielding questions or complaints. Look at your website from the view of your customer and consider any points where you could potentially be tripping up and blocking the customer journey. For example, do you really need them to create an account before paying, or could that be optional afterwards?
Offering a range of ways to pay can also make the buying process easier. Alongside traditional credit card methods, you might want to provide online payment options like PayPal, Stripe or Apple Pay. If any of your customers might shop from overseas, make sure you have payment options that work for their countries.
And don't forget about the part of the customer journey that comes after buying. Confirmation and delivery emails are a must and they should be working correctly and on time. That means order confirmation emails should arrive immediately, not hours later. Think about follow-up opportunities as well, such as reminder emails if someone left something in the shopping cart.
One of the most valuable assets to your business is someone who has bought from you before. So, consider ways that you could turn a one-time buyer into a regular customer or reward loyal customers by sending special offers via email.
2: Simplify Your Shipping Process
Shipping can feel like an ongoing point of contention for an eCommerce business. So, you want to make it as easy as possible for your customers (and for you too)!
Simplifying your shipping process and having clear rates makes it easy for customers to understand what they are being charged, and it makes it easier for you when it comes to packaging and shipping. Flat shipping fees are an excellent option even if you have a range of shipping solutions, such as additional charges for rural addresses.
Even better - integrate your shopping cart with a courier service so everything flows.
3: Manage Your Inventory
There's nothing worse than browsing an online store only to discover that they are out of stock of your desired item. Well, the only thing worse than that is making your order and then being phoned the next day to be told that even though the item you wanted was showing as in stock, there's actually none left.
Lack of stock not only means you miss out on that sale, but it could also cost you future business. That's why inventory management is critical.
Good inventory management keeps your stock up to date for shoppers. Not only that, it also helps you know how much stock to order and when to order it to ensure you aren't left frantically resupplying popular items or being stuck with a pile of unsold goods.
4: Make Your Website A Stand Out, And Don't Forget To Market It
Having a user-friendly website helps with your customer journey. If your customers can logically follow a simple process from browse to buy then you are onto a winning formula.
You also want to ensure they can find the info they need easily. Elements like FAQs, shipping info, size guides, accurate product descriptions, along with easy to navigate forms and buying options all go towards making a website that will convert to sales.
A great website also helps you stand out among competitors. Your customers might be browsing multiple sites for their product, and a great website experience can convince them to shop with you.
You can’t sell a secret, so once you have that great website, you need to make sure it gets in front of the right people. Don't forget to optimize it for SEO and develop a marketing strategy that fits it. Set up branded social media accounts and be active on them, plus showcase your store in relevant directories or community groups.
Customer reviews are a great source of social proof for any product. Have review sections on your product pages or your social accounts and encourage happy customers to leave a review.
5: Automate And Outsource
Automate whatever you can and outsource the things you don't have time for or the skills to do.
The more you can automate your eCommerce business, the less hands-on work you have to do. Obviously, this then frees up your time for other things. Many of the processes we’ve already mentioned, like inventory management and follow up emails, can be automated. Some online store options such as Shopify and Amazon also allow you to connect directly to cloud-based accounting programmes like Xero or marketing services like Hubspot to make it even easier.
If you aren't confident at writing copy for your website or managing social media, get help. Our sister company, Markezing can help you to master this or we can take over the process for you completely.
Bonus Tip: Get Yourself An eCommerce Savvy Accountant
As a business owner, you probably already have an accountant who can keep your business books in order. But eCommerce has its quirks, so an accountant who knows the sector is a must.
At Wise Advice, we love eCommerce and the technology that comes with it. We can show you how to wrap all that into your online business. Whether it's getting you up to speed on the latest payment platforms or setting you up with Xero for no-fuss, no-stress financial management, we can help. Even better still, we'll do all this work in the background so you can concentrate on selling.
We are the masters of ensuring your business accounts are in order - that means GST and end of year accounts are a breeze. More than the functional stuff, we're here to be your business right hand. We can help you develop a sound business plan, give you accurate reporting and help you grow.
Get in touch to book a consultation with one of our eCommerce specialists today.