Most successful online businesses aren’t put together at the last minute with little or no planning. Stellar ecommerce is the result of the right strategy and execution, which involves the consideration of software, Web hosting and payment processing among other important factors. Some insightful planning will foster positive customer experiences and revenue growth.
Choose effective ecommerce software
Software options abound, and this makes selecting a package that matches the needs of your business challenging. There’s no benefit to using software with features that cost extra and don’t provide value. If you’re just starting out in ecommerce and don’t have the money to invest in a self-hosted site, using an online marketplace such as Etsy, eBay or Elance is a viable solution. Hosted software is also a means of getting your shop up and running. Whether using a WordPress website through a hosted provider, the various options for ecommerce software allow you to select the right application.
Some software features to consider include:
- Product categories and listings
- Images and video
- Shopping cart details
- Maintenance and updates
- Marketing and public relations
- Shipping methods
- Packaging and labels
Aligning your brand and digital presence
Whether advertising your brand in print media or online, the right message will draw in new customers and maintain relationships with existing clientele. Conveying a brand image online involves technology-related concerns, including domain names and business email hosting. If you’ve decided on a business name, reserving the domain name is important and makes it easier for customers to find your business without any confusion. Also, graphics, video and color schemes can customize the look and feel of your brand and how it is perceived.
It’s also important that you create a list of actionable items before embarking on your startup adventure. Your brand will be adversely affected by missteps, and customers’ first impressions often dictate their shopping habits. Your brand has to inspire confidence and credibility, which is fostered by a solid strategy for getting your online business up and running. Most small businesses fail within the first five years, so to avoid being one of the unfortunate ones, do some planning to help deal with the inevitable hurdles.
Startup issues to consider include:
Selecting a safe & secure payment gateway
Payment processing is essential for cash flow and customer satisfaction. If payment gateways are slow or insecure, your business is risking its reputation and the financial well-being of its clients. Some payment processing options include PayPal, Amazon Payments and shareit! by Digital River. Transaction fees vary based on the nature of your business and the platform you choose. Also, the size and complexity of your business dictates the type of security required. For larger enterprises, customized solutions and enhanced safety features are needed to mitigate risks and deter potential identity thieves.
Those looking to run a stellar online business need the right ecommerce software, digital presence and payment-processing procedures. Good planning is the foundation for business success and is critical for customer satisfaction and long-term revenue growth.