Running an e-commerce business is a dream come true: You’re able to work from home doing what you love, and you’re selling products online that are making you decent money. It’s amazing having your workshop out of your home — but do you want to be there forever? If you’re content to stay put and keep doing what you’re doing, then keep at it. If, however, you have dreams of scaling up and making your e-commerce business even bigger, what are some of the best tips to follow?
1. Advertise And Spread The Word
A curious thing happens when you don’t advertise your business: Nothing! How can anybody know you exist if you’re not doing anything to get noticed? Start with a bang-up marketing strategy to help more people find you. Sure, your friends and family know that you do what you do, but does anyone else? Remember the golden rule when you’re starting out in e-comm: Just because you build it, that doesn’t mean that they will come.
If you have no idea how to advertise your business, think about hiring a marketing specialist to help you. These professionals are well-versed in the ways of the hottest online marketing tactics including:
- Webpage and logo design, especially if they are also handy with graphic design languages like CSS and HTML.
- Social media management, including methods for finding the most-searched-for keywords and trending topics/hashtags.
- Expertise and skill in the best uses of SEO, especially in places like your website and on your blog.
The more places that you get the word out, the busier you will become. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-built website as well as social media and tagging!
2. Make Amazing Customer Service Part Of Your Culture
Everybody knows how frustrating it can be to work with a company that doesn’t appear to know their feet from their hands. Even if you’re a one-person operation, taking care of your customers should be one of your top priorities. Remember that going above and beyond goes a lot farther with most people than being harsh and difficult. Think about things like:
Returns and exchanges. What’s your policy, and how rigidly do you follow it? Do you have a zero-tolerance policy for clients who try to exchange a product after the allotted amount of time, or do you hear everyone out and go case-by-case?
Complaints and negative online reviews. The truth is that no matter what, there are people who refuse to accept defeat. When you work in a public-facing job you tend to come into contact with those people more often than not, so have a good strategy in how you deal with it. Do you get aggressive and snap back when someone is being difficult, or do you take a breath and work through the problem together?
Questions and custom orders. Make sure that you are prompt and efficient if someone emails you directly; try to make it a personal goal to respond to all company emails in 24 hours or less. If someone has a question about a custom order, decide how you will handle it. Are custom orders something you do or have you never considered it before?
3. Think About How You Accept Payment
Clunky check-out processes are a pain to get through when you’re trying to order something online. Make yours as streamlined as possible for your clients. Cloud security should be important to you since security breaches are bad for business, but also because you want to protect your clients and keep their information safe. However you accept payment, it is recommended that you use a third-party system like Paypal. This way, in case there does happen to be a data breach, the information is not stored on your cloud and your hands are clean.
Remember though: What you think is most convenient might not be everyone’s favorite. Although Paypal is one of the most common third-party sites to pay for things, think about the other popular ones that might appeal to different audiences:
- Other transfer sites like Venmo and Zelle
- Apple Pay/Apple Wallet
- Debit/credit cards
4. Remember Office Needs As Well
Staying organized in your business is a phenomenal thing. It helps you to easily see what’s happening, any paperwork that needs approval or a signature and other day-to-day office functionalities. Streamline your office so that it helps you to manage everything quickly and professionally.
Invoices and bills. Sending an invoice is vital: It ensures that you will get paid by the client. Do you already have a template that you use, or do you need to custom-create one from scratch?
PR and customer relations. Even tiny businesses consisting of one person need to care about their image. How can you ensure that you are Johnny on the spot when something happens with your company? Are you on call at all times in case of an emergency and ready to jump in and help? Prove to customers that you care and want to be the one that they come to in case there’s a question or concern.
Business taxes. You already give your money to Uncle Sam at the end of the year for your home and life, but a small business carries plenty of its own taxes too. Understand what will be expected of you come April 15th, and consider hiring an accountant in case you’re worried you will miss something. Sometimes a second pair of eyes can help you out.
5. Show And Tell
You already have a website that showcases your products, but how are the pictures? Customers are looking for good-quality, detailed pictures that help them get a visual of your items and see all specs. If you have junky, pixely cell phone pictures that you snapped in bad lighting, it shows on your website and consumers will notices. Similarly, are your product descriptions well-written and informative? Will customers know what they are getting when they look at your website?
An e-comm business runs differently from a brick-and-mortar company, but business principles are much the same between the two. Understand the best ways to grow your e-commerce business to move up and move on.