Keep it simple - don't imagine that e-commerce is necessarily something super complex and difficult. Remember that even a simple web page with a single 'buy now' button is perfect if you know your customer and what they need most. If your budget is low, stick to Shopify, Ebay, Folksy, Etsy etc. These all incur fees but can be a simple and effective way to make sales. This works for products and services although don't forget Eventbrite, Ticket Taylor or others too if you're selling tickets for online events.
Integrate from day 1. We often think that you have to put up with clunky systems until we make enough money to create something seamless but you can integrate to save money and time early on in your e-commerce journey. Check out if your e-commerce service or plugin works with your accounting software, payment gateway, email marketing platform and social media. This will create a better customer journey too, taking them seamlessly from social posts to email subscriber to customer.
Solve problems first. Often when we think about selling online, we think about our products or service and how great they are and then set a price and wait. It's vital that we focus on the customer's problem first, always and every time. What do they need most right now and today? How are you answering their call? Even if they need something fun like a Birthday gift, they will have a set of challenges that you must solve and let them know you will solve it. Think free P&P, after delivery, low cost introduction services, monthly subscription club, convenient payment options, additional follow up customer service etc.
Avoid any bumps in the road that block sales. It's easy to spend loads of time on your e-commerce place. You have great images, a lovely product all at a great price. However, the customer journey is clunky or confusing? It's useful to think about your customer trying to buy at 3am when hey can't sleep? Is there anything from their fist discovery of your business to adding their card details that might make them think twice? Does the Buy Now button look as inviting on a mobile? Is there an awkward address fill in on your website? Do you have multiple price options that muddle? Are you using a payment gateway that they feel unfamiliar about? Plan the journey and walk it regularly to ensure it's seamless.
Build long lasting relationships. The old saying is that it's easier to keep at existing customer than to find a new one. This is not only true but it's also better for your marketing if those existing customers share with their friends for you. Analyse if your product is a one time purchase or an easy, multiple purchase. Understand how you will 'stay in relationship' with your customer before they buy if it's a big purchase and after they buy to keep them coming back or recommend to a friend. Referral codes, email subscribing, video testimonials, new services that compliment your existing products, or creating a VIP or top level option are all ideas that will help create loyal customers that want to be part of your brand for the long term.
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