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Getting started in e-commerce

By Tim Fuell - July 16, 2014

Girl with shopping bags

So you are ready to turn your idea into a reality and start selling online. There’s a lot you need to know if you want to start selling your products. The good news: You’ve already reached an important milestone in making a decision on your choice of shop system. Now you can start building your online shop. We’ll give you some starter tips to help you launch your eShop and take it one step at a time.

The first question is:

What’s important to your customers?

Not every shop or potential customer base is the same but the following offer good guidance on how to best engage with your visitors and convert them into customers.

Make your home page clear and easy to understand

In an ideal situation, your logo and brand building will generate visitor interest within seconds. This is why your home page should clearly demonstrate what a customer can expect to find in your online shop. Make sure your offers are clearly visible on the home page. Remember visitors are always on the lookout for a competitive price.

Invest in product descriptions

Of those surveyed, 62% of people said that a detailed product description is most important to them, along with compelling photos and persuasive product pages. These are seen as the keys to success. The majority of visitors mostly come across specific online shops through search engines, so it’s worth the time and effort investing in search engine optimisation – with the help of your SEO Cockpit, for example.

Make shipping terms quick and easy to find

Almost two thirds of those surveyed want to find your shipping terms quickly – so how they can get your goods and how much it will cost them. Place these details where customers can always see them. Once found, the shipping cost is crucial as online shoppers have become accustomed to free delivery. The prospect of free delivery speeds up the decision to buy, but remember the costs can be expensive ones to absorb.

Ensure that reliable payment methods are clearly visible

Visitors become customers if they have confidence in your online shop. Include the most popular payment methods to make it easier for people to make that commitment to buy and ensure that their symbols are clearly visible on your website.

Product recommendations and reviews from other customers

In a bricks and mortar business, sellers can quickly gain visitor confidence. Visitors to online shops also look for this security but in a different form. Ratings, reviews and quality seals enable potential customers to recognise at a glance how many people before them have had a good experience in this shop.

Stand out with customer service

Another plus point, in terms of trust and confidence, is customer service. Ensure that your contact details – preferably a telephone number and business hours – are clearly visible on your website.

Offer an express order service

Your visitor has found what he’s looking for and wants to buy from your shop. Whether this visitor will become a customer depends on how quickly their order can be completed. Don’t force customers to register with your shop, but allow them the option to place a guest order. Even if you don’t find out a lot about your customer, they will be grateful to you for providing this option and you are a step closer to gaining their full trust.

You know best of all that successful businesses are continually learning. Maintain your curiosity, test and optimise your shop – then test again. Get ideas from your competitors who do some things really well. Follow market developments in sector blogs, in your network and at conferences.