There are many benefits of eCommerce, with selling online opening a whole new world of possibilities for your business. Across the world, 2020 saw the eCommerce world take centre stage, with 87% of UK households making online purchases.
Small businesses can reap the benefits of selling online, with access to a huge number of customers without the outgoings of renting or owning a premises. We’re going to take a look at how eCommerce can affect your business in a big way for the better.
Set up your free online store with Square.
Create a free Online Store with Square and start selling today!
The advantages of eCommerce
Flexibility, new custom, wider reach – these are just some of the benefits of eCommerce.
Ready to scale your business? eCommerce is a natural next step to growth. Not only can eCommerce help you to retain existing customers, but it can also help you to attract new ones thanks to you not being bound to a bricks-and-mortar location.
Cost of set-up
For those who opt for bricks and mortar premises, the cost of setting up a business is the UK is £12,000 on average. Among the benefits of eCommerce business is that you can begin selling online for very little outlay. You can setup a free online shop or use free technology to build pay buttons into social media posts or newsletters.
One of the biggest advantages of selling online is that your store is always open. You can be fast asleep at 1am, while still accepting orders and receiving payments safely and securely from the night owl who is passing time with a little retail therapy. Ecommerce automation ensures seamless operations round the clock, empowering your business to cater to customers across different time zones and maximise sales opportunities.
Make the most of data
With any business, data is important. Data can help with establishing the best time to restock, if you’re going to sell out, if a promotion was successful and much more. Analysing your data will help you with future products and events.
One of the benefits of selling online is all the additional easy-to-access data you’ll get from your website interactions.
Data will also help save you time and money in the long run. If you have one particular product that regularly sells out, you know that around certain seasons, such as Christmas, to invest more in that product to avoid customer disappointment.
Operate from anywhere
Going on holiday but don’t want to leave the business in anyone else’s hands? Don’t worry. With an online business you can operate from anywhere. It brings a whole new meaning to remote working. As long as you have a smartphone, tablet or laptop – and a good internet connection – the online business world is your oyster.
If you open a store in a specific city, you are only likely to attract customers from within a certain radius. If what you offer is unique and in high demand, you may attract people from further afield. One of the advantages of eCommerce is that people from all over the world can access your products. Depending on your delivery options, you can have customers in a whole different country.
Setting up to sell online
So, you’ve finally made the choice to set up your online business. We’re going to break down everything you need to know to get started. From how to set up your website to the importance of customer service.
While years ago, you may have needed a web developer to launch a small website, these days it has never been easier to do it yourself. Using a platform such as Square you can be guided through setting up your online store. Simply choose a plan (there’s even a free one) and get started.
Once you’ve selected the plan that suits your business needs, you will be able to upload any products you want to sell and open your store. Be sure to use high-res images that capture what you offer in the best way.
Using SEO to sell
You will need to ensure product pages have enough detail on them. Before you start filling your pages, you will need to consider optimising them. Using SEO (search engine optimisation) best practice, you will enable customers to find you easily.
SEO is vital in making your small business visible. Some helpful tips to follow:
- Include relevant listings and backlinks
- Complete your Google Business listing
- Use relevant keywords in your products listings
- Complete meta data: H1 headers, meta descriptions, title tags, images, and breadcrumb navigation.
Doing keyword research should be just as important as product development. Keywords are what potential customers will use to search for a product online. If they’re looking for a set of mugs in a specific colour, for example, they’re likely to search for: Set of four [insert colour] mugs.
If you offer this product, your product description, H1 and meta data should include that phrase. It means that when someone searches for it, you’ll have more of a chance of Google and other search engines showing your product and website to potential customers.
Customer service will always be important whether you own a physical store or and online one – and it’s important to focus on customer service in eCommerce. Some things to consider for top customer service include:
- CRM (Customer relationship management) helps to manage all of your customer interactions and allows you to stay connected.
- Delivery updates is part of the shopping experience and 57% of UK customers prefer to receive tracking notifications via text.
- Continuing the journey. Don’t let the customer journey end at the checkout. Reach out to ask them if they have any feedback on the product. This is also a great way to generate reviews too.
Social media and marketing
Social media is essential for small businesses and accounts are free to set up. There’s no one platform that is better than the other. Different platforms offer different advantages.
Facebook: Great for attracting an older generation. Can be used to upload long text-heavy updates and lots of images. Facebook Ads can help increase visibility, especially if the audience on Facebook has personalised cookies enabled.
Instagram: Adding striking images and videos of your products. You can even add a ‘shop now’ button on Instagram to make shopping easy and convenient.
- Twitter: Great for customer service and answering queries quickly. You can post stock updates and short snippets of info.
- TikTok: Quick videos that showcase what you offer. TikTok is great for behind-the-scenes content.
There are many reasons to open an online shop, from attracting new customers to having lower running costs. If you’re not entirely sure how your products will be received, you can opt for a free website and build from there depending on how you want to grow. There are some great eCommerce benefits to be had by all businesses large and small.