Starting a new business can be quite a daunting prospect, and it is no less so when starting an e-commerce business. There are a variety of things which you need to think long and hard about before starting up.
These can be separated into two categories, the big things and then the little things. However, just because something may seem small and insignificant, it doesn’t mean that it does not matter. Sometimes the small and insignificant details are the ones that matter the most.
This is especially true when it comes to e-commerce. Whilst making sure that you have the right web design lined up and the perfect products to reach your target audience, you also need to ensure that you have all the legalities neatly wrapped up.
It’s great to have a strong and foundational business plan all planned out, but it wouldn’t help if you didn’t have a way for customers to pay for the products you offer.
It’s All In the Packaging
Have you ever ordered something online and when it finally arrived the packaging was broken, soggy, damaged or in disrepair? You wouldn’t appreciate it and that is why it is crucial to make sure that you package your products in the most secure and sturdy fashion possible — but also in a way that will cause people to sit up and take notice.
Packaging is more than just the box the product comes it, it is all about the overall experience when the customer receives their package. Yes, you want your packaging to keep the product safe in transit, but it’s also about promoting your brand and creating an experience that will have customers coming back for repeat business.
When weighing up your packaging options you need to think about your target audience, what products you’re shipping and whether you will need sturdy boxes or padded mailer envelopes instead. You also have to consider what you’re going to use on the inside of the boxes for padding so that the products don’t get shaken around and damaged in transit.
Picking the Right Payment Processor
Really, you’ll be quite spoiled for choice when it comes to picking the right payment processor for your online business. With so many to choose from, there are just two things to keep in mind before you make your choice.
One of these is whether or not the payment option you are interested in is able to integrate with your website. As you can imagine, it won’t do any good to have a payment processor that doesn’t integrate with your website.
The second thing to keep in mind when picking a payment processor is the ease with which customers will be able to pay for the products. If making payment is too complicated, they aren’t going to stick around to try and figure it out.
According to a consumer study done by Splitit, 87% of online shoppers said that they would abandon their cart if checkout was too difficult or lengthy. Examine and consider the rates and fees which each option has and compare those before making a final decision.
Don’t Forget About Shipping
Shipping is a crucial part of any online store and therefore needs to be not only fast but also reliable. You’ve got great products and secured the right market, your payment options are sorted and every legality taken into consideration.
But now you need to fill orders and get those products out to customers. In a study done by Voxware it was found the 69% of consumers wouldn’t buy from an online store again if their order wasn’t delivered within the specified time period.
Just like you did with packaging, you need to remember to organize your shipping options. How will you be dispatching your products to clients? Will you be handling the shipping yourself or using a fulfillment option?
You also need to think about what you will be charging for shipping fees and whether or not you want to offer free shipping on orders that exceed the minimum order amount. There’s also the option of charging a flat rate for shipping.
These are all things you need to consider when setting up the shipping option for your business. For your online store to run smoothly, you will definitely want to make sure that this part of the business is operating smoothly.
The All-Important Legal Entity Identifier
This is one of the small things you most certainly will want to remember. The LEI is a special code and it is what identifies your business in legal documents. Whilst it is great to do things on your own, there are times when it is best to get some outside advice.
When it comes to the choosing the Legal Entity Identifier, you will be best served to get in touch with your attorney so that they can advise you which of the options would be the best for your business. This will help to avoid any difficulties or unwelcome surprises later on.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
When you keep these small and seemingly insignificant things in mind, you’d be surprised at how smoothly your online business will run — in conjunction with all the other things you need to keep in mind. Drawing up a solid business plan, building a rapport with your customers and always staying true to your brand are just a few more things to consider.
Whilst using online social media platforms to market the products you offer, don’t forget that one of the best forms of marketing is word of mouth. One happy and satisfied customer who spreads the word is worth far more to your business than any amount of social media posts that you put out there.
Know your brand and your audience and move forward from there. Don’t sweat the small stuff, but don’t forget about it either. With so many e-commerce businesses out there, you’re going to run across some competition at some point in time — don’t let that worry you. Grab the challenge and conquer it by being prepared for whatever comes.