E-commerce has become so popular and successful that online shopping has actually become a hobby amongst consumers. It is estimated that 2.14 billion people worldwide shop online, and with the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are choosing to purchase online rather than in store. For small businesses, the e-commerce space can be lucrative, but it is also a crowded marketplace, so it is important that your business gets it right to be successful for the long term. Business Foundations has compiled a list of tips that you can use to start and improve your e-commerce venture.

1. Find a niche you are passionate about.

To be successful, you should start a business in a niche that you are passionate about. The passion you have for your business idea will subconsciously be communicated in everything you do, and consumers love to support businesses who are passionate about their products. When starting an e-commerce business, don’t just sell what you think will be successful. Find out what you are passionate about and market towards likeminded and equally passionate individuals.


2. Ensure your website is mobile friendly.

Shopping on mobile has risen in popularity over the past few years, with now almost 50% of people shopping on mobile more than they do in store. As such, your website must be as equally appealing and user friendly on mobile as it is on the desktop version. Businesses with poorly optimised mobile websites not only rank lower in search engine algorithms, but customers also become quickly frustrated with the website and will opt for a competitor instead. Before your website goes live, your business should ensure that everything works as it should and it is easy to navigate.


3. Provide excellent customer service.

Just because you won’t be seeing customers face to face, doesn’t mean that your e-commerce business can skimp on the customer service. You should ensure that your business is easily accessible for any customer queries or support issues that arise, whether that be via email, phone, or live chat. By offering excellent customer service, you are increasing the likelihood that happy customers will recommend you to others through word of mouth.


4. Collect customer data.

You can use the data that you collect on your website users to gain valuable insights about your customers and their purchasing process, which you can then use to refine your business and your marketing activities. By offering incentives to get people to sign up to your e-newsletter or storing customer data, you can build a database that remarkets, upsells, or promotes your products to the people who have been previously interested in your business.


5. Offer free shipping.

Customers view shipping as an intangible item therefore they don’t like paying for it. In fact, 49% of customers abandon their online shopping cart because of too many additional costs, which includes postage. Your business can start offering free shipping so that customers feel more positive and secure about the purchase. You don’t even need to offer free shipping at a loss, this can be factored into your product pricing to compensate.

Whilst many businesses have had great success using e-commerce, the oversaturated market has also made it very difficult for small businesses to succeed. However, by implementing a few simple tips, your business can stand out as one that provides added value over its competitors.

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