Whether you’ve been in the game for a while or are just starting your ecommerce venture, it’s important to know how to run things as smoothly and efficiently as possible. This guide will cover the areas you should focus on when considering how to run a successful ecommerce business, including:

  • Find the right software for your ecommerce business
  • Identify where your audiences are
  • Keep effective stock levels
  • Make ecommerce checkout easy
  • Don’t see the sale as the end of the relationship

Find the right software for your ecommerce business

The platform and software you use to host your site might be the most important part of running a successful ecommerce business. A slow or unresponsive site can be the difference between a sale or a customer abandoning their cart. As a business owner, you need to be perceptive and try to foresee issues before they happen. Here are some aspects to consider when choosing software for your shop:

Security

Your website’s security doesn’t only affect SEO rankings, it can also affect the customer experience. A fifth of customers will abandon making a purchase if they don’t feel they can trust the site with their credit card information. Therefore, finding a website provider that is secure and functional will be crucial for your sales results.

For more detail on how to get cybersecurity right from the start, read our article on nailing small business cybersecurity basics.

Usability

Not only does your website need to look sleek and professional, it needs to provide a good user experience. It must be fast to load, have clear navigation (meaning everything is easy to find) and not be distracting (as few pop-ups or overlapping graphics as possible). When a website feels out of date or confusing to use, a customer may be likely to leave and find a competitor site that is more user friendly. Your website platform should allow you to edit the site so that information is easy to find and visually appealing, or if you are unable to do this yourself you could consult a designer or developer to support in making your website more user friendly.

Marketing tools

A website provider should have good marketing tools to help you learn about what works and what doesn’t on your website. This could be tools such as plugins to help with SEO, tracking codes that allow you to monitor user behaviours, and links to your email platform so you can create useful email content too. It should allow you to measure and monitor the performance of certain products and pages in real-time, as well as supporting live chat or customer service options.

Growth

Start as you mean to go on: choose website software that can support a small amount of sales as well as a rush of purchases, with the option to have a few products or many. This gives your business room to adapt as it grows, without having to panic at any unexpected growth or sudden rush of sales.

Identify where your audiences are

Step one when marketing your business is to identify who your target audience is. The next step is to find out where they spend their time online, which is how you can become successful with your marketing efforts. Don’t waste time on a marketing method, or social media platform, if it won’t reach your specific target audience.

Tailor your marketing towards the right audience at all times and this can save you time and money when trying to figure out what ‘successful’ marketing is. It’s important to test and learn from your marketing efforts, so you can do more of what works and maximise your marketing budget for the best results.

Keep effective stock levels

To be as efficient as possible, you need to monitor if you find yourself with too much stock or too little. You may also spend a lot on storing your inventory of products, but if they are not selling quickly, or as you expected, this could cause cash flow issues if not monitored properly.

An accountant, or digital software, can help you plan your stock levels and help you make smarter decisions around storing stock. If you find that you have to get rid of batches of old stock or end up with damaged goods, it’s important to plan strategies to deal with extra inventory to minimise waste.

Make ecommerce checkout easy

A common cause of sales abandonment is that the site wanted the customer to create an account. Make checkout as few pages as possible and create a ‘checkout as guest’ option to make the customer checkout experience as simple and hassle free as possible. It might seem counterintuitive to not have customers create an account, but their positive experience will build trust with your company for potential future purchases.

Don’t see the sale as the end of the relationship

Many businesses use the ‘marketing funnel’ to describe the way they attract customers and land a sale. The traditional funnel stages are:

Attract > Consideration > Conversion > Sale

The issue with using this framework is that the relationship between your business and the customer ends after they have made a purchase and your sale is over. It’s been shown that it is far more expensive to bring in new clients than it is to retain existing customers. So, the importance of bringing back repeat customers cannot be understated when thinking about the success of your ecommerce business. 

If a customer has purchased from you before, received good service and trusts you, they will consider making a purchase again. So with this in mind, the funnel should not end with a sale but should look more like this:

Attract > Consideration > Conversion > Sale > Engage > Advocate

By engaging with the customers after the sale you can lead them back to the start of the funnel by attracting them to new products and services that meet their needs. You can also turn them into advocates for your business: there’s no better sales rep than a satisfied customer or client.

How Countingup makes your ecommerce accounting easier

Financial admin is a headache for business owners. Countingup makes it simple.

The business current account and free accounting software in one app gives you instant invoicing and automated bookkeeping features. It is saving thousands of UK business owners hours of time-consuming work, and helping them keep on top of their finances. 

Find out more here to save yourself hours of accounting and financial admin, so that you can focus on your ecommerce venture’s success.

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