In the current climate, making the move to eCommerce makes sense. According to 2020 statistics from IbisWorld Irish eCommerce is expected to hit €3.8bn by 2024. Doing it right is important, as it will create many opportunities for your business. But what’s a good plan without a solid base? If you’re thinking about eCommerce, here’s what you need to consider.
1. Your Product Catalogue
Create a Detailed Product Spreadsheet
It is essential that you have all your information in one place. It’s all about having that strong base, and setting a precedent of organisation. This will also help you envision the scale and requirements of your online store, and inform the way you go about your next steps.
Update Your Image Library
If you are a seller of goods, investing in high quality product images is a must. In the age of the amateur photographer, leave this one to the seasoned pros. It will pay off. An image that clearly shows a product’s features might be the difference between a sale, and a customer hitting the back button out of uncertainty.
Create Product Descriptions
Product descriptions not only sell the product: they describe it. Include any features such as materials, dimensions, weight, colours and any other special characteristics. Vine Digital can provide you content that does this, as well as getting your online store appearing in Google search results.
2. Choose An eCommerce Platform
Once you know what you have to offer, select a platform for setting up your online store. It is one of the most important early decisions you will make in your eCommerce journey. The best eCommerce platform is one that successfully delivers the outcomes and objectives that you have set for your business.
Consider the current technical expertise of your team, and whether this platform will fit their abilities. When you are using the right eCommerce platform for your business, it facilitates the day-to-day task of processing online sales and allows for smoother operations, giving you the opportunity to grow your business.
3. Personalise Your Store
Alongside the ability to add key functions, the eCommerce platform will enable you to personalise your online shop’s design so it fits with your branding and intentions. In terms of design, think of your online store as a physical store.
The site should be user-friendly, with the aim of making it as easy as possible for customers to buy something. Make sure all the key elements of your site – for example, your product catalogue, ‘about us’ page, ‘contact us’ page and the customer’s shopping cart – are easily accessible at all times.
A reliable shipping provider with reasonable turnaround times is a must. Inevitably, customers will associate the quality of a shipping service with the quality of your business. Paying a service premium is necessary if you want the guarantee of good service: it’s up to you, how much you want it to cut into your margins.
Research from Shopify (2013) shows that 44% of customers abandon their cart because shipping costs are too high. Consider offering free shipping as this is a major draw in eCommerce, though introducing a flat rate is another alternative.
Does your chosen shipping provider offer real-time tracking? Customers like to know when they can expect their item. Tracking features allow the customer to follow the product on its journey from the warehouse to their door.
5. Prepare To Accept Payments
This is one of the most important decisions you will make, in setting up your eCommerce enterprise. You’re looking for two things in a payment strategy: security and intuitive design. Think about which payments you will accept and whether you’re willing to pay commission to providers.
With this one, again it begs the question of how much of your margins you are willing to sacrifice. Services such as AfterPay and ZipPay are popular amongst the 18-35 year old demographic, so consider this in relation to what you are selling. How crucial is this demographic to your business? More and more online retailers offer credit systems as an option, so depending on the field, this may be important in remaining competitive.
6. Returns and refunds
While you most likely have a policy in place already, eCommerce has an added logistical element. It’s not so easy as the customer handing back the unwanted item, scanning the receipt and reversing the payment. The customer will need clear instructions on the return and refund process.
Customer support is arguably one of the most important facets of your business. This may be the only time your customer directly interacts with your business: if it is a negative one, it will colour their entire view of the service. If their interaction is positive however, it can increase customer loyalty, enhance brand image and more. Consider how you will deliver customer service and understand that it is multifaceted. Swift social media responses, live chat features and phone line support are but a few ways to delight your customers.
What’s the point of everything else on this list if nobody knows about it? Organic search is a great way of attracting customers. If someone Google searches “white tee-shirt”, you want to be the first white tee shirt to show up. According to 99Firms, search engines drive 10 times more traffic to shopping sites than social media. SEO is key, and Vine Digital knows how to do it well.
If this list sparks your curiosity, have a chat with the team at Vine Digital. Vine Digital consolidates your eCommerce efforts with services aimed to grow your business as a whole. We can advise what will work for your business’ goals and needs, and can ensure your website design accommodates this new addition in the best way possible.