10 eCommerce Basics That Your Online Retail Store Must Get Right
As an online retail store owner, it's essential to get the basics of eCommerce right in order to succeed.
Every decision you make for your store affects the customer experience, from pricing and product selection to checkout flow and protecting against common eCommerce threats.
By understanding the key eCommerce principles, such as building credibility, marketing strategies, and product reviews, you’ll be able to create an outstanding website that sells.
In this article, we’ll share 10 eCommerce basics that your online retail store must get right.
While it’s important to keep up with the latest eCommerce trends, you need to get the basics right before you can start branching out. Here are 10 basics retail startup owners need to know.
1. Focus on the Customer
Even when you have similar products or services to the competition, you can still differentiate yourself with customer service. Make it easy for customers to purchase your products on your website. Be sure to simplify the checkout process and make your website easy to navigate.
2. Build Credibility
Build a credible brand by providing useful and informative content on a blog. Take time to create a strong and interesting “About Us” page, so customers can learn about who you are and what you do. Networking with people and brands in your niche can also improve your credibility.
Keep in mind that the people you work with can also negatively affect your credibility, and you need to do what you can to vet any potential business partners or influencers first.
3. Merchant Account
Having your own merchant account is critical for processing orders on your eCommerce store. Make sure to research different payment processors and find one that can offer good credit processing options. Don’t charge any personal expenses to your merchant account.
4. Marketing Strategy
Have a plan for promoting your website and products or services. Invest in marketing to get the word out about your business. Consider utilizing search engine optimization (SEO), display advertising, social media marketing, and content marketing to increase your online visibility.
Many businesses fail because they don’t have enough money for marketing or advertise to the wrong people. If you’re on a budget, an SEO strategy can be cheap but very effective.
Price your products competitively. Price too low, and you’ll make little to no profit. Prices are too high, and you’ll discourage customers from buying. Do your research to find the right pricing strategy for your products. Ask yourself if your niche is willing to pay a premium for your products.
6. Shipping Strategies
Provide quality and secure shipping to ensure customer satisfaction. Make sure customers know how your products will be shipped and how much they’ll cost. Offer low-cost shipping options, such as a flat rate, if it makes sense. Allow customers to track their shipments.
7. Delivery Times
Be upfront about delivery times. You don’t want customers waiting an unreasonable amount of time for their orders to arrive. Be realistic with delivery times. 46% of customers rank reliability as the most important factor when deciding to buy and remain loyal to eCommerce brands.
Keep in mind that most customers are fine with waiting a while to receive their packages as long as they’re expected to wait. If you don’t have the resources for same-day delivery, don’t offer it.
Ensure that your website is secure. Invest in payment gateway software, such as SSL, to protect customer data. Consider data encryption for customer info. If you have employees, train them on how to detect and avoid phishing scams, as human error is the prime cause of hacks.
Research your competition to understand the marketplace. Know who your competitors are and keep track of their pricing and promotions. Look at your competitors’ biggest fans and see what they like and don’t like about their favorite brands. See what you can do differently or better.
10. Product Reviews & Reviews Management
Reviews increase customers’ trust in your brand, so ask happy customers to leave testimonials on your website and other 3rd-party sites. If you write up a script for customers (or provide short prompts), you can make sure your customers are representing you in the best way possible.