Boss Lady

Getting started: how to become a successful online retailer


As more shoppers shift from buying products inside stores to hopping online to get exactly what they need, the opportunities on the Web have expanded. Having success as an online retailer takes time as you perfect your marketing strategy and website design. You want to stand out from the rest of the competition by offering a unique and pleasant experience. Here are a list of ways you can jumpstart an online business that is successful and long lasting. 

Consider your domain name and site location

The first step you need to take in building your online site is to choose a domain name. Make sure it is memorable and represents aspects of your business. You want consumers to easily be able to recall and revisit your site. E-commerce sites such as Shopify can offer you resources for building your online retail store. You will be able to purchase a domain name and will have access to tools and guides to building a site from scratch. 

Website speed and mobile

If you want to keep customers on your site, you have to make sure your page works at optimal Internet speeds. If a person’s computer freezes or they are asked to purchases something twice, they may decide to turn away from your offerings. Images and video content to slow down Internet connections. The best way to avoid this problem is to stagger media throughout your site. Try not to feature all of your inventory on one page. Instead, categorize your items into smaller groups. You can test your website speed by visiting Pingdom Tools or Google PageSpeed. These tools also suggest ways you can maximize your website speed.

One of the most important ways you can ensure you don’t miss out on your customer base is by making sure your site is mobile friendly. Targeting those who make purchases while on the go is key as this practice is becoming more popularized. 

Have a clean design with product featured

Make the design of your site easy to navigate and pleasing to the eye. Choose a theme, header, and product categories that are cohesive. Determine whether a bio page or blog will be a tactic you implement to attract customers. When writing about your product, write copy that sells. Detail the benefits of your product. Add testimonials from those who have already purchased it. Guarantee its usability and ask for the sale. Feature dynamic images along with descriptions that allow visitors to zoom into the product.

You want your site to be interactive and mimic an in store experience.  If a customer does decide to purchase an item, make it easy for them to jump to check out. At most have two clicks prior to the sale being made. 

Focus on search engine optimization

If you want to be able to hang with your competition, you have to increase your visibility by focusing on search engine optimization. Seek out keywords in the store’s niche that are less used by the competition. This will give you a better chance against larger retailers. Implement these words in product descriptions and headers throughout the site. Google AdWords is a great tool to use when formulating a list of keywords that will work for your page. 

Secure and simplify the checkout process

You want to keep shoppers confident in your company’s security in order to make sure they feel comfortable  in buying your product. More consumers take extra precautions after many popular retailers have fallen prey to data leaks. Once you have ensured your site is secure opt for simplicity in the checkout procedure. An easy way to streamline the process is by making the login process simple for returning customers by remembering their information. Only allow a few clicks to be required to confirm a purchase. Feature the checkout icons clearly and explicitly state what forms of payment are accepted to avoid customer confusion. Sites such as Amazon have mastered the checkout process and serves as a good reference if you need guidance. 

Upsell at checkout and make back-end sales 

Just before a customer checks out offer a similar product that may spark their interest. You may not think this tactic works but many companies have proven it is effective. Encouraging an upsell at checkout can have a positive impact on your revenue potential. Chances are if a customer makes a purchase on your site, they are likely to return. Give them an incentive to spend more on your site by emailing them electronic loyalty coupons they can put toward their purchases when they return. Encourage customer loyalty by offering rewards.

Customer service and returns policy

Customers will not always choose to keep the product you send them. It may not fit them or fail to fill their needs. In this case, you want to make sure you offer the customer an easy way to return the item. Most customers prefer to be able to ship the item back for free. This is the best option for your company to go with in order to minimize customer dissatisfaction. They won’t be upset if they don’t have to pay a fee for something they are not keeping. Invest money on hiring customer service pros to address customer needs. The last thing you want is negative feedback posted on the web without any company oversight. Customer service specialists can monitor the Web and respond promptly. 

Utilize email marketing

Offer the option to opt in to your email list on your site and at check out. If you are given permission to send customers emails, you’ll have an easier time developing long term relationships. You will always be able to measure response using this tactic which can help in developing marketing strategies. Those who choose to be a part of your email list are often your highest priority leads because they are likely to purchase goods on your site. 

Maintaining the business

One of the most important steps in becoming a successful online retailer is upkeep. You’ll always want to be fixing technical glitches, updating inventory, and addressing customer questions. Making sure you maintain a positive relationship with consumers means constantly checking up on your site to make sure it is working to its potential. Implementing marketing techniques through emails and promotions takes time and effort. These steps are essential in finding success online and setting yourself apart from the competition.

About Sarah Saker

Sarah Saker is a small business coach who loves writing nearly as much as helping small business setup systems for success. Drawing from a background in process development and implementation, Sarah loves to cover small business marketing, customer service, and sales. Connect with Sarah on for coaching or writing help.

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