It’s time to get your ecommerce website up and running. Shop.org estimates the 2013 online holiday sales will increase 15 percent or more over last year, which amounts up to $600 billion in potential sales. Part of that revenue can be yours if your ecommerce website is ready for your customers. Make sure with these tips:
Start Small, Work Up
Get a few items online for sale and build from there. Don’t try to do too much at once. Fine-tune the process, then add more products. Start small and become recognized as an expert in a specific area or product offering. The company Happy Socks, for example, sells socks—just socks. Their goal was to become the best online sock retailers around. Between 2008 and 2011 they sold $5.87 million in socks alone and earned a solid online reputation.
Make It Easy for the Customer
Once you’ve caught a visitor’s attention, don’t lose them with an overly complicated process. There are a few simple steps that a visitor needs to complete on your site to become a paying customer. If you make any one of these steps difficult, the customer may bail out and go to a competitor.
- Search or browse for a product: Your search function should have many options so visitors can hone in on the precise product they are looking for.
- Make a product selection: It should be easy to pick the product and all available options such as size and color.
- Review the shopping cart: The shopping cart should be easy to access. Don’t bury it in the middle of a bunch of promotional material.
- Enter bill-to and shipping information: Make this as easy as possible. Give the customer a checkbox to note that the addresses are the same. If an error occurs, such as an invalid zip code, don’t clear all of the data and make the customer enter it again.
- Select payment method: The more payment methods you have to offer the customer, the more business you might see. Don’t leave money on the table by not accepting PayPal or American Express.
- Confirm order: Give the customer an option to continue shopping while retaining their shopping cart.
Pay Attention to Performance
You may have the most well-designed ecommerce site online, but if it performs poorly, you’ll lose sales. According to Mashable, for every two seconds your site takes to load, you risk an eight percent rate of abandonment. People just won’t wait for a slow website to load.
Monitor your website’s performance. Make sure your Internet service provider is giving you the speed you need. Research your options such as virtual hosting and see if a dedicated server will give you better performance than a shared server.
Stay on Top of Finances
It can be easy to lose track of expenses, invoicing and tax information. Keep detailed records and update your goals to help you stay on top of finances. An all-in-one accounting software like Quickbooks is a good way to organize and track your finances and tax info.
Offer Free Shipping
Work with your margins so you can offer customers free shipping. This is becoming a common practice and customers may pass you by if you are inflexible about shipping charges. Mashable says that you will definitely impact sales if the customer thinks you’re trying to make money off shipping and handling charges.