The age old saying goes “time is money”.
If there’s one thing ecommerce startups need – it’s time… Okay, maybe time is second to cash. Lots and lots of cash.
Owning and running a small ecommerce business can be overwhelming. You’re the boss of a store open 24 hours a day.
Keeping track of inventory, packing, shipping and customer service is all part of the job.
Without the right ecommerce software, shipping services and online store experience it’s almost impossible to generate the kind of growth you need to generate sustainable success.
Customers notice when your business isn’t running smoothly. You know exactly how it feels to reach the checkout only to discover your item is not in stock, or it can’t be shipped to your location. When things start to slip, customers are easily whisked away by competitors, leaving you left to wonder what went wrong (and how to win back that lost revenue).
It can feel like a scramble to keep on top of everything (let alone finding some time to relax and enjoy some kind of life outside of work), but with a few intelligent operational and tactical decisions, you can make managing an ecommerce startup so much easier.
We want to help you compete, grow and thrive in the cutthroat world of ecommerce. We’ve pulled together the three most important tactical decisions you need to make to allow you to spend more time on growing your business and less time-fighting fires and solving problems.
1. Let a solid ecommerce platform to do the work for you
You need your ecommerce business to run like a well-oiled machine.
When a customer purchases an item from your website, inventory should be updated instantly, a package label should be generated and shipping should be a breeze, zooming off to your customer in record time.
No part of this process needs to be manual or time-sapping.
Serving customers and maintaining your business should be quick, easy and efficient, so you can spend more time on jobs like customer service, product development and marketing.
You can find this time-saving balance by investing in a strong ecommerce platform and installing the right plugins.
Shopify is a popular platform choice for ecommerce startups and small retail businesses looking to simplify their ecommerce operations because the system allows you to manage inventory, track sales, analyse site performance and fulfil orders all in one place. It’s all automated, too – you can customise your settings and preferences then watch the magic happen.
Check out our article on how to design your website to maximise repeat sales to uncover more reliable ecommerce platforms and their advantages!
The team at Transdirect have developed a wide range of plugins to help you upgrade whatever ecommerce platform you choose and the shipping process you develop.
You can simplify your shipping process with our handy eBay and Shopify Integration plugins.
The integration function allows you to export booking information in bulk to your Transdirect account for fast and reliable shipping.
Looking to improve your customer’s experience at the checkout on eBay?
Our Freight Wizard will make it easy for your customers to find out exactly how much postage is going to cost to their location (some cart providers will even allow you to integrate a personalised shipping calculation before the customer checks out).
Head over to our Developer’s Page to see what timesaving plugins we have to improve your small ecommerce business.
2. Turn your product pages into a virtual informative customer service team
Once you’ve got your ecommerce platform and plugins under control, the inventory information on your website should have improved so your customers aren’t left in the lurch with a big “out of stock” surprise waiting ominously at the checkout.
The next big step towards a successful, time-efficient ecommerce business is to upgrade your product pages to include benefit-focused, detailed, product descriptions and high-quality product images.
There’s no better way to save time than by turning your customers into product experts.
Answer every single question and resolve every single uncertainty with your product pages. You can reduce doubt, establish trust and reduce the time you spend responding to customer enquiries.
Mark Hayes from Shopify recently analysed online megastore online and how small ecommerce businesses can learn from them.
He noted most product descriptions come down to three simple bullet points, but a lot of information and detail can often be missing, making it hard for customers to determine whether or not the product is actually right for them.
“The biggest mistake you can make is using generic manufacturer descriptions rather than taking the time to craft thorough and informative descriptions,” Mark says.
“If the product warrants it, don’t be afraid to write 1,000 words or more about a product.”
These retailers can make it work with a couple of lines of description.
You’ll need more to establish the trust you need to convert a shopper into a buyer.
While 1,000 words is a little excessive, it’s important to add as much detail as possible when writing copy for product pages. You don’t want customers to return items because it didn’t live up to their expectations.
An investment in quality copywriting and photography will pay dividends in the future.
3. Make sure your website is simple and intuitive for your customers
Technical problems, complicated search functionality, and poor navigation menus are guaranteed conversion killers. You’ve worked so hard to get a potential customer to your online store – you can’t afford to lose them to a competitor because of a substandard shopping experience.
Statistics portal Statista, recently found 16% of abandoned carts in 2017 are caused by bad site navigation. The problem compounds with technical difficulties, poor mobile optimisation or sluggish load speed – all common problems plaguing startup ecommerce brands.
Using reliable ecommerce software makes web design so much easier. Common platforms like Shopify offer a range of premade designs to save time, but if you’re using independent software or a custom system, make sure you pay attention to detail and complete regular website checks to monitor site performance and flag areas for improvement.
Check out our article 5 reasons why your online sales have dropped to help you troubleshoot any potential problems and learn what you can do to increase customer satisfaction with smart user experience enhancements.
Create more time for the important things by dominating with these three critical ecommerce foundations
Running a successful, high-quality, time-efficient ecommerce business is the entrepreneurial dream.
It’s a monumental challenge – but it is made much more possible when you maximise the technology available to your business.
Focusing on customer satisfaction and sales is difficult when you’re facing a whirlpool of shipping problems, inventory management and website maintenance.
Make your small ecommerce business more efficient by:
- Installing a reliable ecommerce platform
- Making your product pages as informative as possible
- Running frequent usability checks on your website