These days, creating your own online store has become a viable option for earning a living from your own home. With various platforms out there designed to assist you in setting up shop, anyone with the will and determination can in theory make a success of it. Nevertheless, this widespread accessibility to resources also means greater competition, so budding online retailers still need to find ways to gain an edge over the competition and improve profits. Here are a few tips to point you in the right direction.
The usability of your online store is crucial to boosting your conversion rates and, in turn, make more profit. In short, you need to make the shopping experience as easy and intuitive as possible. The idea being: the easier it is for your visitors to find what they’re looking for, the less likely they’ll shop elsewhere. Start with your homepage and ask yourself questions like “is my menu easy to navigate?” and “is it obvious what goods or services I offer?” If the answer to these sorts of accessibility questions is no, strip back to basics and condense what your store offers into simple but clear text and images. They key is not to bombard people with information; keep to the essentials. Similarly, ensure the essential functions of shopping are available at all times and easy to navigate. For instance, there should always be a clear call-to-action ‘buy’ button, as well as a shopping cart, account information, and so on.
Optimise for Mobile
Smartphones are fast becoming a dominant force in eCommerce, so as an online store owner you need to accommodate this tech to in order to grow. Again, user experience is key here; if your browser-based site is efficient and easy to navigate but does not translate well to mobile, you’ll encounter problems. Most importantly, make sure your site has a responsive design so that the layout adjusts to different screen sizes. If you don’t have the know-how, either hire a web designer or use a WordPress theme, or similar, with that feature. With that done, view your store on a smartphone yourself and assess whether it was frustrating to use or not. Small things, like links placed too closely together and buggy menu animations, have a big impact.
The security of any website is important, but it’s absolutely paramount for online stores. When the personal data of your customers is at stake, such as credit card details, you need to do everything you can to safeguard it. Failure to do so will rapidly diminish your trust as a retailer and therefore damage your profits. One straightforward way to do this is to obtain an SSL certificate. It works by encrypting this sort of data and reassures customers by displaying a padlock symbol to the left of the URL. Some web hosts, such as 1&1, provide these as add-ons to your site, but it’s best to treat it as essential rather than optional. Another basic step you can take is to require the use of strong passwords. Of course, password choice is ultimately the responsibility of your customers, but you can certainly help the situation by encouraging them to use numbers and other characters in their passwords.
Social media is an especially powerful tool for making money, especially for online store owners thanks to its marketing capabilities. As marketing tools; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are game-changers since they allow you as a brand to connect more directly with your target audience. If you are finding your social media profiles aren’t driving the sales you hoped for, consider both the frequency and quality of your content. Posts need to be regular, at least once a day, but also be engaging. For example, images and videos receive a lot more attention than text alone, and posts that involve your audience such as competitions are equally effective. Furthermore, beware not to exclusively post content promoting your products – try to connect with your audience and develop your brand image. Ultimately, this will lead to increased sales.
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