The idea of starting your own business, not to mention an online store, is daunting but could pay off in the long run. File picture: Pexels
The idea of starting your own business, not to mention an online store, is daunting but could pay off in the long run. File picture: Pexels

A guide on how to run your store effectively online

By Yasmine Jacobs Time of article published Sep 7, 2021

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The idea of starting your own business, not to mention an e-commerce store, is daunting but could pay off in the long run.

With the Covid-19 lockdown, the internet has become more than just a way to stay connected. It has become essential and completely transformed the way we do business.

According to the third annual South African Digital Customer Experience Report, South Africa’s e-commerce market had the potential to double by a further 100 percent to 5.6 percent of the total retail market if e-tailers beefed up their trustworthiness, ease-of-use, security, delivery and after-sales support.

Today, the most successful businesses are completely online. However, as more and more turn to online to make money, it becomes harder to stand out.

These are a few ways to run a successful e-commerce business.

Build your community and connect your shop to your brand

As with most websites, it is important to grow a community of people who will want to buy your products.

Make good use of newsletters, social media and any technology tools that will grow your online community.

Find your target audience and work on creating a connection and trust with them. Once you have done that, connect your shop to your brand.

Fulfil orders punctually

When you have built that trust, you need to keep that trust – and the best way to do that is not to let them down. Since customers expect their products to ship and arrive by the dates provided, they will be disappointed if you do not meet their expectations, regardless of the quality of the product.

While quality is important, your delivery game needs to be good. Therefore, you will need a strong team that can take care of the orders coming in.

Avoid clutter on your website

E-commerce websites with simple designs have higher conversion rates. Your homepage should have a clear point of focus, and the visitor’s eyes should be drawn straight to a call to action button or products you sell.

It is also worth simplifying your menus and group the products that you are selling. Too many menu categories will confuse the visitor, which will prevent them from finding what they’re looking for.

Buy a premium web hosting service

While it is tempting to go for the free or cheapest web hosting plan, it is much better to spend a little bit extra on the premium web hosting plan.

Speed is one of the most important elements of a successful e-commerce website, and each page needs to load fast to yield high conversions.

Research shows a one-second delay in page loading time can lead to a 16 percent decrease in customer satisfaction and a 7 percent loss in conversions.

Accept several payment options

Your e-commerce site needs to accept alternative payment options such as PayPal, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.

Even if the majority of your customers have a Visa or MasterCard, they might prefer the alternatives.

Eliminate steps in the checkout process

When your customer gets to the checkout, they should find it easy to complete the purchase without hassle.

All you need to ask for to process a transaction is billing information and shipping address.

It is worth noting that additional steps in the checkout process will increase the chances of them abandoning the transaction.

According to statistics, 28 percent of consumers said they abandoned a shopping cart during checkout because the process was too long and complicated.

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