5 Things to Know Before Launching An Ecommerce Business Make the online shopping experience as seamless, and social, as possible.

By Kumar Arora

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The global health crisis has accelerated the growth from brick-and-mortar stores to ecommerce by five years, according to IBM's U.S. Retail Index. In 2020 alone, ecommerce is expected to grow by nearly 20 percent.

While the idea of launching an e-commerce business is exciting, there is a lot to consider. Following these five tips, you'll be able to optimize your customers' online shopping experience and, consequently, boost customer acquisition, retention and conversion.

Maximize user experience

Maximize your resources on providing quality user experience (UX). With new features rolling out periodically on social and other platforms, consumers are creating new online buying habits. A constant UX maintenance is a must.

Getting customers to your store requires a lot of effort, and the customer journey must be seamless. Streamline user experience for all steps of customer journey. Twenty-eight percent of customers don't follow through the purchase when the checkout process is too long or confusing. Visit your store and click around as if it's your first time. Are your best sellers easy to access with just a few clicks? Conduct analyses on keyword search and pages. Which keywords bring customers to your store? What are the most visited pages? Quality UX will increase retention and conversion rates for your business.

A picture is worth a thousand words

Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for any ecommerce operation. Often, what sets apart one seller from the other is a great cover photo, especially when your product or service is competitive on the e-commerce platform.

Product imagery is a big trend now that social channels offer in-app shopping features, such as Instagram Shopping. Pinterest's visual search tool allows consumers to find a product from a picture.

Businesses need product-only images for catalogs and product-related images for the website and marketing campaigns. These pictures are a great investment as you can use them across multiple sales channels. You could hire a professional or learn ecommerce product photography on your own. Whichever option you take, have some basic knowledge about the essential tools for product photography.

Related: 11 Ways to Optimize for Ecommerce

Encourage social buying to diversify storefronts

Since March, stay-at-home orders have been on the rise, and so has social buying. Consumers discuss products on forum sites and vouch for services to their social followers.

Connect with fans on social channels to encourage social buying and diversify your storefronts. Fans will discover your business and make a purchase on social, sometimes without even visiting your shop at all.

Social platforms are a great place to promote your brand. It's where new products and services are discovered daily. A healthy amount of social followers and search engine optimized contents will help your brand shine in the long run.

When delegating tasks, ensure a close collaboration between the marketing or PR team that manages social accounts and the customer service team. Streamline communications so that the questions, concerns and complaints collected by the marketing team are addressed by the customer experience team.

Related: The Keys To Success in E-commerce: The Vision of an Entrepreneur

Get creative with cutting-edge technology

Retailers could consider providing Augmented Reality (AR) based try-on tools. Sephora's AR tool allows you to try on multiple shades of lipstick. IKEA lets you preview furniture in your space on your smartphone.

Virtual Reality (VR) store visits and QR codes are other options. When shipping products to customers, send along a QR code which introduces more about the product, such as product updates or customer-sourced content about your service.

Related: The Pandemic Economy Has Made Ecommerce More Indispensable Than Ever

Create and build content for your business

A good content marketing strategy will drive traffic, lower the cost of acquisition and provide valuable evergreen content that will be read for years to come. Unlike pay per click search ads or display ads, creating quality content doesn't cost anything. Research your competitors, listen to your customers and highlight great user experience.

What are they already saying about your brand on social media? Can you find an honest fan review to highlight? Explore the social channels to determine best practices for each. Standardize the content creation process for ease of scheduling. Lastly, use multiple content formats to diversify traffic: blog posts, videos, social posts, webinars and podcasts — the list goes on.

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Kumar Arora

CEO of Arora Ventures & Trust Foods

Kumar Arora is a serial entrepreneur, investor and shark on CNBC’s hit show “Cleveland Hustles,” produced by Lebron James. Currently, he serves as CEO of Arora Ventures along with Trust Foods, an emerging startup CPG brand. He also serves as a consultant and advisor in a variety of industries.

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