People start online stores for different reasons, ranging from entrepreneurs with a new business idea to preexisting brick and mortar businesses that want a piece of the eCommerce pie. Online stores are a lot different than selling merchandise and services in the tangible world, though, and you need to be prepared for the ins and outs of the eCommerce world. Online shopping goes back for decades at this point. However, since it’s become such a popular way for consumers to find the goods and services they’re looking for, it’s essential to keep up to date on trends in the online business world. Here are four current tips for maximizing the success of your online store.
Know Your Industry
This seems like an obvious piece of advice, but there are many entrepreneurs who think it will be easy to sell a product without doing any research. You can start with a great idea, but you need to know what else is already happening to make it succeed. For example, if you’re selling fine art online, you should read up on trends for other online art dealers before digging your heels in. Search for reliable blogs or even articles written by other online sellers. By keeping up to date, you’ll not only see what everyone else is already doing, but also avoid common pitfalls. Most of the time, there are many people who’ve already tried to do what you want to do, but you have the benefit of reading about their mistakes and not making the same ones.
Choose an Appropriate Template
One of the key aspects of making your store functional is also making it look good. When you pick a platform to host your online store, there will be lots of free templates available. You can choose to pay for one or hire a designer, but only do so if necessary. Many times you’ll be able to customize colors and other aspects of the design, and most free templates are relatively minimal. The key is choosing a template that works for your product. If you’re selling something that makes a visual impact, for example, then you’ll want to choose a template that puts emphasis on showcasing images. On the other hand, if your online business has more to do with items that are going to heavier on the textual descriptions, such as books, you’ll want to choose a layout that works for that instead. Not all layouts are created equal, so invest the time in sifting through the possibilities to find the perfect one for you. See Some Top E-commerce Templates here
Make Sure You’re Mobile Ready
It’s inevitable that customers will be accessing your online store from their mobile devices. Statistics show that traffic and shopping on the mobile web is increasing exponentially. Most eCommerce platforms offer mobile compatible templates as a standard feature, so that’s a good reason to go with a site that specializes in online stores. This isn’t always the case, though, and depending on which site you go with, you should review the features closely. Make sure that the online storefront you’re choosing is automatically converted into a mobile friendly format should one of your customers access your shop through their smartphone or tablet. You want them to be able to easily navigate your merchandise. However, don’t take the site’s word that their layouts are mobile compatible, and put it to the test yourself. Platforms for online business also feature different types of mobile user interfaces, so while there are lots of ways to be functional, you may find one more appealing than another. Experiment a little before making your final selection.
Understand the Importance of Payment Methods
Last, but not least, are the options you offer your customers to pay. There are two aspects to this process. The first is the cart system that lets your customers browse and shop, and the second is the payment methods accepted. It’s best to stick to a standard format here and not go outside the box. Use the most common methods of payment, and try not to deviate outside of it. Think about it in terms of how you shop online. If you don’t see a check out payment method with which you’re familiar, you’ll probably hesitate to complete the transaction and might even abandon the sale. Identity theft is rampant in this day and age, so make sure you provide your customers with a sense of security by having a reliable, recognized payment options.