13 Timeless eCommerce Tips for Small Businesses

Opening an online store is an exciting venture. Now, it’s time to jump into the ecommerce arena and start making money. But how do you best compete with other businesses? Here are 13 simple tips to help your business get, and stay, ahead.

Never Hide Extra Fees

The number one reason small businesses fail to make conversions is when consumers see one price on the front end and then a much higher one, due to shipping fees and taxes, at checkout. To avoid this, quote shipping and any other prices right away or clearly state that it excludes VAT. This is why a lot of sites also offer free shipping on orders over a certain value. At the very least, consider integrated shopping cart functionality that lets users know exactly what the expected shipping is as they add items to their cart.

Don’t Force Customers to Register

Always give your users the option to login to their account or check out as a guest. A lot of consumers don’t like to create accounts if they think they will only use the site once. Others don’t like remembering passwords. The point is, never give your buyers an excuse not to buy. In our fast paced society, registration is one extra step and one more instance you can lose a conversion.

Blog on Your Site

Blogging is a great way to both establish credibility in your prospective field, and create relationships with consumers. Blog regularly, not just for SEO content, but to gain your reader’s trust. This will help you stand apart from bigger businesses and establish yourself as the authority on your niche. Always write in the second person while writing your copy. You’re less likely to grab reader’s attention by talking about your own feelings on your product as you are by telling them how your product can help them.

Link to Other Helpful Sites

Contrary to popular belief, linking to other sites isn’t going to hurt your site ranking. It could actually help. You are trying to grow a loyal consumer base so including helpful links only increases satisfaction and trust. This also distinguishes you from other ecommerce sites because it shows that you care about user well-being instead of just trying to get a sale.

Use Giveaways to Increase Email Subscriptions

It’s much easier to get consumers to sign up for prizes than it is to get them to sign up for your email list. By offering your products for free you can also generate buzz and even create repeat customers. Most people are more likely to buy a product they know that they love than to take a chance on a new one. Plus, now all these people are on your email list so it’s easy to remind them about your products and blogs.

Create Eye Catching Category Pages

One great thing about being a small business is your ability to provide bespoke service to your customers. Instead of a plain white screen with pictures of products, why not make the experience interactive and fun for your users? If you’re selling jewelry you could create sub categories like “Date Night” or “Every Day” to help consumers narrow down their search. You could also include engaging quotes from relevant books or movies.

Write Unique Product Descriptions

When you are buying a product, you want to know exactly how it performs, especially when you can’t first see it for yourself. Generic product descriptions will never be helpful in convincing users to buy. Make sure you write in detail about the durability, function, and appearance of your product. Use juicy keywords and adjectives to entice your readers.

Allow Consumers to Post Reviews

Follow up with your buyers and ask them to write reviews. You are more likely to make conversions if browsers see multiple customer reviews vouching for your product. Send an email offering a coupon code for future purchases with every review given. You can also engage with consumers via blog posts by asking for feedback. Many will take the time to leave a quick comment endorsing your business.

Build several stores

If you build several stores selling the same product in a multistore system you can target different audiences, but still sell the same products. Different demographics demands different user experiences and if you give the different demographic groupd the user experience they need to buy you can increase sales.

Make Product Videos

As much as written content is important, let’s face it, watching a video is even easier than reading. A short product video is great because you can really show what your product looks like and how it works. Any customers that are on the fence about trying a new product will feel more comfortable seeing for themselves that it actually works. These are quick and easy to make. Most mobile phones have sufficient cameras if you don’t have the budget to pay a professional.

Write Guest Posts on Other Blogs

By engaging with other blogs that target the same users, you increase your likelihood of growing you customer base. For example, if you are selling power tools, try getting in touch with a home improvement blog. Start by following and engaging in their posts then, eventually, add a link to your page in a comment. You can also ask if they would like to trade guest posts. Let the other user write an interesting article about home improvement on your page and then write an engaging article about the best tools to use on theirs. This is free advertising!

Social Media, Social Media, Social Media!

You have amazing content, but how do you ensure people see it? Social media is one of the best ways to get your products out to a new audience. Post quality pictures on sites like Instagram. By adding hashtags with target words, anyone who is searching for what you are selling can easily find your business. They are also likely to share your post with their friends. Pinterest is another great place to post your products and ways to use it.

Ensure Great Customer Service

There are many great customer service plugins that are easy to install on your site. Systems like WP-Live Chat allow your consumers to ask you questions in real time. Any questions they have can be immediately answered to ensure that sale. Other plugins like Zendesk, Help Scout, or Awesome Support let your buyers get in touch with you in case they have complaints or concerns. This allows you to fix any problems that arise as soon as possible and keep valued customers.

Test Key Performance Indicators

You’ll have to experiment with different page layouts, where you place your content on the page, and how you interact with consumers. Make sure to track site traffic with each new component you implement. What time of day to you tend to get the most visitors? Make sure you always post content at this time. Play with tags and key words then check to see where the majority of your traffic is coming from. There is no one tried and true way to market, so test your hunches and then go with what the data shows is your best option.

By using these 13 ecommerce tips for your small business you are well on your way to establishing loyal customers and ensuring many conversions in the years to come. And, have fun creating. Your passion will always show.