Small business essentials: eCommerce

Whether it’s your first venture or you have done it before, now is the time to explore the money-making potential of eCommerce.

eCommerce - Small Business

The eCommerce Market

eCommerce is booming, and is poised for significant growth in the coming months and years. Worldwide retail eCommerce sales are expected to reach £1.427 Trillion by the end of 2017 and double-digit growth will continue through to 2020, when online sales are forecasted to top $2.9 trillion! Businesses of any size no longer need be restricted by location – only by their willingness to experiment with new technologies and be creative. With its inherent freedom and flexibility, eCommerce has the potential to be extremely lucrative, if it’s approached in the right way.

While managing a well designed eCommerce store is easier than it’s ever been thanks to user-friendly platforms, making a success of an eCommerce venture is no different to making a success of a high-street store – it requires time, planning and good business knowledge. Whether it’s your first venture or you have done it before, now is the time to explore the money-making potential of eCommerce.

Focus on your customers

UX is a vitally important in the world of eCommerce. The most successful online stores go above and beyond for their customers, turning them from one-time buyers to loyal, regular customers. Online selling is a whole different ball game to selling in a traditional shop. Online, attention is like currency; you must earn it. Your visitors want to get from homepage to checkout with minimal fuss – my job is to make that as easy for them as possible.

Trust and ease of use the two most important factors for getting those all-important online sales. With the abundance of dodgy chinese websites and online scammers, creating a website that makes your customers feel safe and comfortable is the priority.

  • First impressions are everything: a badly-designed website with too much going on is going to force users to head straight back to Google. Minimal design is very popular in eCommerce, as it looks clean, professional and easy to navigate.
  • Sell your business: be open about your brand, your products and your company ethos. Include well-written product descriptions, contact details and pricing information. Transparency is a good way to show that you’re for real.
  • Don’t be too pushy: if your products speak for themselves, you don’t need to force them on people. Instead, focus on displaying them to best way possible. That means using quality imagery, original descriptions and an intuitive search and navigation function.
  • Make it ridiculously easy: modern consumers want things now, especially mobile users. Their attention spans are tiny. Once you’ve got someone onto your website, make it as easy as possible for them to find what they looking for and buy it. The journey entering your store to making a purchase should be quick and seamless – so I aim to keep form-filling to a minimum, offer new users the option to create an account as part of the checkout process and ensure every call to action is clear.

A good content strategy will get you a long way

In the early days of your online store, it’s a mistake to assume that people will just stumble across it. Among other things, one of the best ways to get organic traffic to your site is with a well thought-out content strategy. It might seem like a big time commitment (or cost commitment if you decide to employ a freelance writer) but quality, regularly updated content pays dividends. A good starting point is to include a blog (see the magazine section of Event Clothing) into your website. This can be updated regularly and include all sorts of topics that relate to your goals, business and products. Come up with relevant, shareable content that can be published on social media for more exposure, and from there build your online profile and work on connecting with other industry leaders.

The future is mobile

As an eCommerce entrepreneur you can do everything right, but if you don’t build your business to accommodate mobile users, then you will become irrelevant very quickly. Mobile commerce is getting bigger and bigger, and it’s unlikely to slow down anytime soon. By 2020, forecasters believe it could make up as much as 45 percent of all eCommerce. So unless you want to alienate just under half of your potential customer base, you must ensure your eCommerce website is mobile-friendly – particularly when it comes to the checkout process. With that in mind, every website I build, whether it be eCommerce or otherwise, is build with the experience of mobile users among the top of my priorities.

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Hi, I'm Dan...I specialise in creating bespoke marketing information sites and small e-commerce (shop) websites. Tailored to marketing or selling your products or services successfully online.
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