If you are starting up an online store, then you are joining the thousands who do so everyday. There is a lot that goes into running an Internet-based business, and an incredible amount of time and energy to become successful in e-commerce. You will have to put in a lot of hours to get your store up and running, and a lot more to keep it going.
You have to consider your products: what are you selling and what sources are you getting them from? You will have to figure out the best, most cost-effective means for transporting those products to you; and the fastest way to get those products to your customers. Tax and online selling laws will have to be considered.
But it all starts with a great website design. If you do not have an appealing, well-laid out, and easy to navigate site, then you are going to struggle from the get-go. Once you have your site designed, consider these pages to include. You may not realize it but these pages can improve your sales.
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This page can make or break your business. By including your contact information, you are giving your customers the ability to reach out to you if there is an issue with a product or a concern they have with your store; you will want feedback from those who use your site to improve your business.
You also establish credibility. As an online small-business operator you have to build trust with your clientele. The best way to do this is to include your contact information. You may not want to give out your personal phone number, and this is okay. Establish a number for your store by adding a line to your home or cell service. You can have calls funneled to your existing cellular phone so you would not have to carry a second phone around (some people do, however).
Since you are probably working out of your home, you probably don’t want to give out your home address. Stay clear of using a PO Box. This can make your customers skeptical if there is no physical address attached to your business. Instead, look into buying a mailbox from one of the mailbox stores like the UPS Store or local stores. Anywhere you can take your packages and mail to be sent out will usually have this service available.
Give your guests the opportunity to provide reviews of your service. By having testimonials on your website, you are creating a level of comfort with new clients. When they read that their order shipped and arrived on time, or that their return and exchange was processed quickly, or that it arrived in the condition stated on your site, they are more like to buy from you.
To get started, offer an incentive to encourage testimonials. People tend not to take the time to let you know when you have done something good or right; give them a reason to do so. Offer a percentage off their next purchase, or a free item. Find something that appeals to your customer base and use that to your advantage. List it under Cost of Sales on the spreadsheet.
Include a page on your site that features your best selling products. This could be for the week, for the month, or any other time period you decide. Show your customers what everybody else is buying from you. Give these products some extra attention, with additional images or suggestions on how to use this product in a different way; something more than what you have in the description on its usual product page.
You could make this page a collection of items for a specific reason. Holidays are good times to bundle items into one showcase. If a “National something or other day” is coming up, suggest purchases that align with that. There are many ways using this method to increase your sales.
Feature New Items on a highlight page. If it will appeal to your clientele and you anticipate high sales, make them sell even better by putting it out in front of the customer. This can be like your endcap; the first thing they see!
Believe it or not, people do read these pages on websites. Especially if you are a small start-up store. Customers are wary of smaller stores; they do not have the name and reputation to back them up like large stores. By telling your guests who you are and why you went into business for yourself, you are connecting with them and making them more comfortable to shop from a small business.