Running an online business is no easy feat. Competition grows daily, as thousands of stores compete for ever-distracted customers. How can you grow sustainably? Check out these suggestions:
1. Make sure you’ve got the resources to grow
Even the great business propositions will struggle if they can’t keep up with demand. A small Welsh firm reported a three-month waiting list on its jeans after Meghan then-Markle was sported wearing them. Although this demand was great, some customers would have become frustrated with such long push-backs in delivery dates. Be prepared for growth.
2. Have a USP
It’s advice that’s been floating round forever, but a surprising number of online stores forget to offer something different – or better – than what’s already out there. Why should customers keep coming back to you? Some ideas include:
- Free or quick delivery
- Customer loyalty programmes
- The quality of materials
- A niche audience
- Charitable efforts
Of course, your USP will depend on what you’re selling and to who. Think about what your customers will really value. That’s what’ll retain them.
3. Consider web design
How your website looks – and how easy it is to use – will have a huge impact on your growth. If people become frustrated trying to find products or make a purchase, they’ll go elsewhere. A well-designed website should not only look good and clearly explain your brand proposition, but it should be easy to navigate. Experts can help you with this.
Alternatively, you can host your site on a platform which does a lot of the work for you. Take Shopify as an example – it’s got over 100 optimised online store designs. As this review explains, any integrated platform like this should offer you the opportunity to:
- Organise your products
- Customise the way the site looks
- Accept payments
- Respond to orders
4. Get email sign-ups
The more people you can tell about your products, the better. But quantity isn’t always best – it’s about attracting an audience who is invested in your offering. Add opt-ins where you’ve got their attention, run competitions or create content which you can share.
And don’t forget about offers, sales or discounts – they are still the main reasons consumers signup for emails.
5. Have a social media presence
Similarly, you can use social media to increase your brand presence and carve out an identity for yourself. Instead of people coming and meeting you in a physical shop, this is how they get to know you. A similar principle applies, though. Don’t just push products – share advice and recommendations. Use social media to become a source of inspiration, rather than a sales person.
Do you run an online store? Share your recommendations with us.