Running an online business can at times be stressful. However, when it’s running smoothly and correctly you are bound to be reaping the benefits. If you have a business with fantastic products, one of the best ways to provide these to the customer is to have an online store. You may be thinking that this is going to entail a lot of commitment and work and it’s going to be extremely difficult; however, it can be simple when you follow these top tips for running a successful online store.

Standout Website

Even if you have the best product going on the market and are providing the best customer service, if your website isn’t designed well and your online presence is non-existent then you can pretty much wave goodbye to any success. The visual appearance of a webpage has been proven to be one of the main factors customers consider when purchasing a product and enjoying the browsing on a website. If your page is running smoothly and looking good people are more likely to stick around.

In order to manage an online store and make it profitable, you are going to need to pay attention to the design and functionality of your site. You can either learn the elements of coding yourself or outsource to a web designer to do it for you. Other than that you can use tools such as a ready-made template and just customize it to the needs of your business.  Something to keep in mind is that people are now using webpages on the move more and more, so having a responsive webpage is the ideal.

Offer Online Support

Something that a lot of companies are starting to offer is brilliant online support. By this we mean the capability of online chat. Your customer finds it very important to know that they will have support before, during and after any purchase if it’s needed. Offering a service like this can not only help to increase sales but it can help to maintain repeat custom and build good customer loyalty and feedback. Still, it’s not always possible to offer online chat 24/7. And although that would be ideal, it’s best to advertise the hours that it would be available and offer alternative sources for out-of-hours — such as an option to send a message. It’s best to make the chat a feature on the site as it shows that you care about your customers and are up and coming.

Utilize Social Media

One of the best ways you can help be successful is to follow the patterns and join the world of social media as your business grows. It’s got to be one of the easiest and most rewarding ways that you can market and get your business heard. By advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter you are stepping into an extremely powerful way of connecting with vast numbers of potential customers in interesting, fun ways.

Social media advertising is not only simple, it is rewarding and something that any online store should look at. By using tools such as Google Analytics, you are able to track the individual activities on each platform and see which products/services your target customers are using most. This allows you to focus more time and effort into specific areas. If you’re lost or worried about setting this kind of thing up, you can always look to employ someone to look after this or outsource to a social media manager. Something to try is looking for influencers that have a large following and see if they would be interested in using your products and in return, they will often give you content on their pages.

Think About SEO

Once you are gaining traffic through to your website, whether it’s via a blog, Facebook, Instagram or Google searches you will have an idea of how many visitors you are receiving. However, without paying attention to SEO (search engine optimization) you are unlikely to see a phenomenal amount of traffic coming through and in order for your store to be successful, you need to receive traffic in order for purchases to take place. The key is to make sure you are adding keywords into places such as descriptions, product titles, blog posts and social media posts. The more you crack down on this the more you will see the benefits. Do your research into the best keywords you should be using and you are sure to start seeing your store ranking higher and higher in search results. Outsourcing this sort of task is also an option as SEO isn’t for everyone and it does take certain skills to get it just right.

Think About Your Shipping

When it comes to shipping costs it’s no secret that the cheaper the better in the customer’s eyes. And although at times you may find yourself covering some of the costs in order to offer the best deals or beat competitors, it could be beneficial to offer the best price going and not always think about putting the burden of costs onto your customers.

It’s a good idea to do your research into what courier services are available and barter with getting the best deals and packages for your store. Unfortunately, with places offering free shipping it has become a bit of an expectation with a lot of customers when shopping online, and if your competitors are offering free shipping and you are not then it’s likely that you will lose the sale —so definitely something worth considering. On the other hand, if you are able to offer a reduced rate or free shipping on your site you could be the ones stealing the custom.

Make sure your customers know that you are advertising great deals. It is for you to decide whether to take the costs on the chin, but if you do, it’s something that you should be shouting about. So make sure it’s clear right from your homepage.

Do you have any other tips that should be on this list? Please share them in the comments section below.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash