Online shopping is quick, convenient, and just a little bit addictive. With more and more people having access to the internet via multiple devices almost 24 hours a day, this industry is more lucrative than ever.
Major online stores such as Amazon.com lead the market in online retailing or known as “e-tailing”. While some startup e-commerce businesses have been able to give these big players a run for their money, others have failed to make even a blip in the market.
How can you ensure that your e-commerce business will not suffer such a fate? Assuming you already have good products, there are several important things to consider before launching your online retail business.
Finding a Good Home
Most online stores run as a web application, mobile app, or both. Many platforms offer you the ability to develop personalised apps for your online business, however choosing the right one at the launching stage is crucial.
Cloud-based platforms have pre-built services that allow you to create various e-commerce solutions quickly and easily, be it web apps, mobile apps, and even on-premises apps. This way, you can leave the tough infrastructure management issues to your cloud provider, allowing you to focus on driving your sales. Microsoft Azure is one such platform, and has a handy 15-minute guide to setting up your online store.
Good service providers also expand with your business. For example, Microsoft Azure allows you to seamlessly develop related applications down the line to suit your customers’ needs. It also scales up or down automatically according to your traffic flow, so that your app does not crash with a sudden surge of customers.
In addition new users that sign up for the service will automatically receive RM900 credit to spend on any combination of Microsoft Azure products for the first 30 days. If you decide to keep subscribing to those services, you can just opt for the pay-as-you-go option.
Giving Customers What They Want
A huge challenge for online stores are securing good conversion rates, or the rate of which prospective customers becomes actual paying customers. While physical stores find it easier to “convert” currency since customers in the store are already a captive audience, online customers are always just a click away from leaving the site.
Hence, online stores need to work extra hard to convert web traffic into paying customers, by literally presenting to the customers what they want on a silver platter. This included displaying products that a customer would most likely be interested in on the front page, and also highlighting to the customer special offers that have previously worked on him or her. Powerful tools like Microsoft Azure do this automatically, to provide the customer with a personalised shopping experience.
“We have seen a significant drop in support costs, because all our franchisees, retailers and wholesalers now have self-service access to order reports, customer return data, marketing materials, jewelry specs and other information that they used to have to ask customer service representatives to provide” — Phillip R. Kennedy, Director of Information Technology, Pandora
Finally, now that you have set up the very best online shopping experience for your customers, you are ready to direct traffic to your online store. Paid services such as Google AdWords and Facebook Ads can ensure that your store and its products are made visible to the most appropriate demographic group. This way, the correct “type” of potential customers are directed to your store, so that you are not only ensured of high traffic, but also of high conversion rates.
With all these considerations in mind, you are well equipped to launch an e-commerce business that is set up for success.
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