Online retail is big business. In the first quarter of 2014 alone, ecommerce purchases reached $63.4 billion, according to analytics firm ComScore, with desktop ecommerce seeing double-digit growth for the fourteenth consecutive year. While the gains are impressive, most companies still aren’t maximizing the online sales opportunities that are available.

To boost sales, you must anticipate users’ needs. Your website must look and function in a way that caters to their convenience. Luckily, understanding just a few simple concepts can help lead your site in the right direction.

Synchronize your other marketplaces. Retailers often leverage multiple marketplaces to sell their products. Amazon, eBay and Google Shopping are just a few of the most popular outlets to generate sales outside of your corporate website. However, on these sites, consumers are also subject to seeing competitors and other similar products. Creating a multi-channel sales department by synchronizing these marketplaces within your website can help you attract a huge amount of exposure to potential customers while keeping them where you want them to be.

Be where your customers are. Consumers spend a quarter of their online time on Facebook, making the channel important for ecommerce sales. The platform represents a huge opportunity as the Facebook Store grows in popularity. Some experts even predict Facebook commerce could see $30 billion in sales in 2015. Hosting providers, like 1&1, now offer ecommerce tools to simplify setting up a Facebook Store and enable its promotion through Twitter, Google+ and Facebook buttons. In some cases, all that’s left for retailers is to choose which products to sell.

Don’t overlook mobile. In a recent study by comScore, mobile spending accounted for $7.3 billion in the first quarter of this year. Of those sales, 62 percent came from smartphones, while 38 percent were tablet driven. In fact, growth in mobile commerce is outpacing desktop ecommerce by 200 percent.

Make sure that your website can deliver mobile commerce, be it through a mobile website, app or responsive design. With a variety of screen sizes and resolutions, a website optimized to adapt will not sacrifice appearance and functionality. Consumers need to feel confident they can do business with you when it meets their needs, whether they are at home or on the go.  

Give yourself room to grow. Unless you have no aspirations to expand your business outside of the United States, consider investigating website solutions that can adapt to buyers in other countries. Some tools offer multiple language translations, secure online payment methods with reputable providers like PayPal and Bill Safe, international shipping settings, and can support multiple currencies. With these elements, owners can rest assured that their site can handle requests of international customers without hesitation, and thus grow the business overseas.

As an online retailer, it is important to deliver ultimate convenience to your current and potential customers. Catering toward changes in consumer behaviors will keep you up to speed and ahead of most competitors. 

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