Online shopping and home delivery of services took a gargantuan leap forward in the wake of the current pandemic. With storefronts closed, businesses searched for new ways to operate and online was the best option.
As such, it’s now a savvy move to start your new business online or, if you’re already up and running, moving your operations into an online selling platform.
We’ve highlighted seven quick wins that will help you when starting an online business.
1) Nail your website
Your website is the engine and face of your online business. It needs to be impeccable. In a world where people can easily find another choice, your website must be top notch.
What do we mean?
- Fast site speeds
- Professional branding
- Easy to find options and good UX
- SEO friendly
- Clean and uncluttered
- Mobile/multi-device friendly
Keep in mind that websites and tools are always in flux, so be on top of new tech and new trends to continually improve your website experience and quality. A website is never ‘done’.
2) Your branding is everything
Consistent, unique, and professional branding is a cornerstone of selling online. Your brand becomes the personality of your business, demanding loyalty and denoting professionalism.
Your branding tells people who you are, what you do and (if done well) why they should buy from you.
Spend time creating a brand voice and style guide, which will dictate how you write copy and how your decorative elements and logos should be used.
Consistency is key and if you have sloppy and inconsistent branding, this will be read as unprofessional and untrustworthy.
Make sure your brand is unique and that you have a specific ‘feel’. If you get that right and promote it diligently in all your marketing, you’ll have an edge over competitors.
As Steve Forbes once said, “your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.”
4) Use social media commerce
Yes, your website remains the home base of sales and operations, but you should also think about diversifying your online sales through social selling.
Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest all boast native ecommerce options in various guises.
If you’re marketing yourself on social media (of course you are) why aren’t you doubling down on the eyeballs you gain through those channels?
Instead of re-routing everyone to your site, consider mirroring your offers on something like Facebook Marketplace.
5) Get your systems right
You rarely get a second chance if you inadvertently burned a customer. You also can’t get your time back if it’s wasted on inefficient systems and software. Invest time and capital in creating solid workflows and integrating top notch software solutions into your online business’s operations.
These are the systems you need to get right:
- Payment gateways
- Security software
- Shipping management
- Customer service solutions
- Daily workflows and task management
6) Customer journey is key
When a customer lands on your page and is considering opening their wallet, you need to make this a frictionless affair. If there are roadblocks or bad experiences, they’ll likely reconsider and buy elsewhere.
To avoid this, you need a good website that follows the below golden rules of online selling UX (user experience) – which is the least steps possible to a sale, with no distractions or clutter:
- You need to map a very clear and simple path from product/service selection to sale.
- Make sure you have well-hierarchised tabs and sitemaps with as little fluff or distraction possible.
- You should also have a low friction checkout process, requiring the minimum of clicks and inputs.
- If you have marketing material or ads for funnelling sales, make sure your landing page is tailored and leads directly to an easy sales process.
- Make pages and imagery consistent to avoid rattling or confusing the consumer.
- Make sure your delivery/postage and returns process is clear and reliable.
- Once a customer reaches the payment stage have ‘like’ products suggested or ‘other people also bought’ to maximise cross-selling when a decision to already part with money has been made.
If you think like a customer and map their journey from click to checkout then you’ll maximise your potential for sales.
7) Cloud accounting is essential
Like any small business or startup, properly managing finances and tax responsibilities is paramount. Do yourself a favour and enlist the help of affordable cloud accounting software like Reckon One to automate and manage.
These are some of the features this software offers:
- Cash flow
- Bank feeds
There are many more considerations when it comes to online selling, but if you really smash the above tips, you’ll undoubtedly be sitting in the driver’s seat when you launch your online startup.
Author bio: This article was written by the team at Reckon, an online desktop accounting software solution for businesses of all sizes.