Businesses that exist solely online are becoming more and more popular as time goes on. The COVID-19 pandemic has extrapolated this trend, making it even more of a viable option than before, because physical stores all over the world have been forcibly shut down in the pandemic.
Running an online business sounds like an easy thing to do – much easier than running a physical store, right? Well, unfortunately, this assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. Ecommerce is complex and difficult to market, and without the value of face-to-face customer service, it can be harder to gain traction with your customer base.
In this article, you will find 4 crucial things you have to get right when setting up an online business. Let’s get started!
1. Reaching Your Target Audience
First thing’s first: you need to reach your target audience. Unlike a local store that will attract people simply by existing on the street, your online business needs to attract people’s attention while they browse online. To do this successfully, you need to know your target audience and understand how they typically use the internet. Once you have this knowledge in place, you can play to your audience by designing your digital marketing to match their online shopping habits.
For example, if your target audience is the Gen Z/millennial age groups, you can design your marketing strategy according to their internet habits. This would be by utilizing social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok.
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Similarly, if your age range is older, you should think about more direct PPC advertising and Facebook usage for this age range.
Reaching your target audience is crucial for setting up a successful online business.
2. Setting Up Secure Payments
Secure payments are the backbone of your online enterprise. Without them, you will leave your customers vulnerable to fraud, as well as providing a generally unsafe business environment that will only damage your company.
Setting up secure payments is easier said than done. The easiest way to do this is through a reputable payment platform such as PayPal, which can securely take payment from a large number of customers and is also fully insured in case of fraud.
If you choose to set up your own payment channel, you’ll need a payment gateway, as well as watertight cybersecurity on your business website and all business devices.
3. Perfecting Online Customer Service
One of the things that people love about in-person shopping is customer service. If they are unsure about an item, they can simply ask a staff member for clarification in a matter of seconds. Online, this option doesn’t exist in the same way, leaving some customers feeling alienated and confused when they are shopping with you.
To perfect online customer service, you need measures in place that make your business approachable to the average consumer. These measures could include:
- A chat function on your website. These instant chat functions let your customers ask immediate questions that are simple to answer, helping them to shop more efficiently and feel appreciated as a customer.
- A well-maintained complaints or inquiries section. No matter how perfect your business, there will always be mishaps that require a complaint to be made by a customer. When this happens, it is an opportunity for your business to show how much you care about your customers. This means responding quickly and compassionately to any issues that you have.
- Transparent customer reviews. One way to gain trust with your customers as an online business is to allow them to review your products in a viewable way to potential buyers. This is risky – if something gets bad reviews, it’ll reduce your sales – but ultimately helps buyers feel confident in their decision.
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There’s no point in having a fabulous website, great marketing, and awesome customer service if your delivery doesn’t, well, deliver. Product or service delivery is the final hurdle of an online transaction, and you do not want to fall at this one. You should make sure to partner with a delivery or courier service that is highly reliable and provides digital updates to the buyer, such as texts or emails, about their delivery.
By doing this, you are protecting your business against faulty or unreliable delivery that will deter customers from buying from your company again.
This is an absolutely crucial stage in setting up your online business if you want it to be a success.
Establishing a well-regarded online business takes time, research, and perseverance. Use this guide to help you get going when setting up your online company.
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