There's never a perfect time to open an online store, so why not start now? Setting up your store could provide you with extra cash and the potential to grow into a successful business.
But, how do you open your online store?
If you are new to the world of eCommerce, don't feel overwhelmed! Here are some tips to help you get started on your website:
Keep your website simple
The key to a great website isn't just about having a great design (although it certainly helps!) A good website should be clear, engaging and mobile-friendly to make the checkout process as simple as possible. Focus on using clear eCommerce product photos that showcase what you're selling and well-written product descriptions highlighting the features and benefits of the item to carry your customers right through to checkout.
It's also a good idea to keep your purchase process as simple as possible and have someone test the site and give you feedback on the usability of the transaction process. That way, you can iron-out any potential issues before the big launch!
There are many website builders available for small businesses like Squarespace, Shopify and WooCommerce that take you step-by-step through the set-up process. You can even integrate them with our Shipping Manager to streamline the sending process for orders purchased through your website.
Tell customers who you are
A new business needs to gain trust with customers. If you are a new visitor to a website, you want to find out more about the brand and what they stand for. That's why it's a good idea to provide an 'About Us' page so customers know who you are, what your business is about, and what they can expect from you. Communicating company values and identifying what makes your business unique helps put you ahead of the competition and encourages customers to form a personal connection to the brand.
'Contact us' forms are also a surefire way to gain the trust of customers and aid the usability of your website because it allows consumers to contact you directly for enquiries. As you earn reviews and testimonials, post them on this page so they're easy to find and boost your company reputation.
Include popular payment methods
There are multiple ways to pay for goods and services online. When opening up an online store, you should include the most popular worldwide payment options to give shoppers around the world the flexibility to pay how they choose. Payment methods such as Credit/Debit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Pay are essential. As your business grows, you could also introduce an option for gift cards or PrePay.
Offer choices for shipping
When opening up an online store, it's essential to map out a defined eCommerce shipping strategy, so you don't get caught out during the busy periods or encourage a high cart abandonment rate. Most new businesses opt for exact cost shipping as you'll have more time to calculate individual orders shipping prices.
Offering free shipping to customers also provides a huge advantage for small businesses because it can increase your average basket size, drive sales, and is an effective marketing tool. Using Interparcel allows stores to offer free shipping without breaking the bank because our cost-effective services keeps spending down, allowing businesses to keep more of their profits.
If you integrate your new online store with Interparcel, your customers can see live costs at checkout from all the most popular courier services such as Same Day, Next Day and Economy services. They can then choose what option is best for them, and you don't need to pay extra or lose revenue from shipping items for free. You will need to enable the Live Shipping Rates option from your Interparcel account. This is available for Amazon, eBay, WooCommerce and Shopify without any extra fees or subscriptions.
Set up Branded Tracking
To complement excellent shipping services, setting up Branded Tracking gives your customers a branded experience from the sale right through to delivery. You will have a personalised tracking subdomain so neither you nor your customer has to work hard to be on the same page. Your customers can track their goods as it passes through key checkpoint and it offers you a platform to enhance your branding further and even introduce a promotional banner to encourage repeat purchases.
We will automatically update your customer's confirmation and notification emails with your Branded Tracking URL for orders placed through us. In Account Settings, you can select how many emails or texts you or the recipient wish to receive. We can let you know when your parcel delivery is Booked, On Its Way, Out For Delivery and Delivered.
Customer support is something close to our hearts- we're even award nominated, (so we know a thing or two!) We encourage all budding businesses to make customer service a focus too. Of course, nothing beats speaking to an actual human being, but as you start your business, you might not have time to do this, so look into tools like live chat and messaging platforms to take this task from you. Also, most customers tend to reach out via social media platforms, so ensure you are active on these channels and your store is easily accessible to customers.
Utilise social media
Once your eCommerce store is up and running, you are going to want to shout about it! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are core platforms you should join so you can connect with your customers and keep them up-to-date with all your latest news, offers, products and more!
As your business grows, you may want to introduce automation to give your business time to focus on more significant tasks. You can automate social posts, welcome emails, and customer reviews, but this is something to consider when your business grows.
Whether you are looking for a career change or simply starting a side hustle, opening a new online store can be a rewarding experience. However, it's crucial that you create a simple and engaging website, offer a variety of payment methods, and get your brand out there to build trust and gain customer retention.
Most importantly, you should provide buyers with a selection of shipping options to decide how quickly they want your product at their doorstep. You don't need to do it all on your own. Interparcel helps businesses improve their customer journey and repeat customer rates by offering all businesses, big or small, free business shipping tools and access to industry-leading, reliable couriers at the cheapest prices so you can maximise your profits.
Get a quote for your parcel today and see how much you could save if you send it through us!