Selling online is a challenge. When I setup my first online shop years ago, I had to hire a programmer to do everything. Since launching my most recent company, a lot has changed. Now it's easier than ever to take your business online. I was able to setup my current billing system in a matter of 30 minutes.
Now, before you start selling to the masses, you should familiarize yourself with various plugins and the backend of your website. If you’re not going to have a dedicated web developer working with you, knowing how your website functions is integral to the success of your online sales. I made this mistake when first launching my site. My biggest problem was figuring out payments and how that all worked. Here are a few things I learned along the way that have helped me to be more successful online.
1. Protect their security.
While everyone has heard of eBay and PayPal, there will be people who have never heard of your business who become interested in ordering. They need to know their information is safe. One report, from eConsultancy, found that close to 58 percent of potential buyers backed out of sales due to safety concerns.
If you use an SSL (many shopping carts will require one) there are badges for you to display on your website telling customers you are trustworthy. When we became a "Google Trusted Store" our conversions went up almost 1 percent. Find what works for you to provide the best experience possible.
2. Do not require an account for purchases.
While it may seem like a good idea to get users to sign up for your website before purchasing, requiring customers to signup for your website can lead to loss of sales. While that data could be valuable to remarket too, securing the sale is your top priority. This is a mistake I made with my first company. When we took off the "mandatory account creation" our conversions for the site when up around 3 percent. Solve this problem by offering users a “Guest Checkout” option that doesn’t require signing up.
3. Provide multiple payment options.
You want customers who find something they want to buy to have a payment option they’re comfortable using. When deciding on a shopping cart for your website, find one that integrates with at least three payment gateways. You’ll want to go with some of the mainstays: credit/debit card, AMEX and PayPal, but study what your target demographic is using and go from there. Eight percent of our customers are paying with Bitcoin.
Obviously, it’s not practical to use every payment method possible, but offering multiple payment options can be the deciding factor in making a sale.
4. Clear calls to action.
You want your customers to easily navigate your website all the way through to ordering. Smooth transitions during the checkout process lowers the risk of the buyer becoming frustrated and abandoning. Use a contemporary design with clear calls to action like: “Checkout here” and “Complete your order” that tell your customers exactly where they are in the checkout process.
5. Sync your offline/online inventory.
If you sell in both a brick-and-mortar store and online, you need to keep up with inventory. It’s cool to sell something only to cancel the order because you’re out of stock. You’ll not only lost the sale, but most likely a customer. Use a shopping cart that connects with your inventory will help alleviate these types of problems.
While creating an online shop has become easier, it is still important to know the backbone of your website. Plugins and backends have hiccups sometimes, and since you’re not hiring a dedicated web developer you need to know how to deal with the situation. Get familiar with your website and it'll help you be more successful online.