Whether your business is new to the online space, or you’re more established with several years of growth under your belt, it can be easy to forget about the basics of business and get lost in the nuances of everything you need to know in the online world. Before you go off the rails completely it’s best to keep some core principles in mind if you want to succeed in the e-commerce game.
The Importance of Reviews
For a customer who can’t physically walk into your store, having some form of social proof is vital to turning those interested prospects into actual customers. Good reviews can impact your business in a remarkable way. Some businesses have even seen revenue jump by as much as 9% with each individual star increase on their online rating. This study says 49% of customers simply ignore any business that doesn’t have at least four stars in their quality rating, and 89% of people say they trust an online review just as much as a personal recommendation.
Just as powerful as a good review, a negative review can be equally damaging to your marketing efforts online. 22% of people reportedly skip an entire business simply by reading one negative review, a number that jumps to 59% after three negative reviews, and more than four turns away 70% of potential customers. Clearly, if you’re looking for one of the best ways to increase your conversion ratio, having a high star rating is key. As your loyal customers for good reviews and always address any negative comments.
Track Every Expense
Just like a physical business, online enterprises have fixed and variable costs associated with them that can change dramatically from month to month. It is important to create a budget, stick to it, and track all your expenses. This is true when it comes to your first couple years in business, online or not. If you’re flush with new cash, it can be easy to go a little money-blind, but execute sound judgment. Don’t hire more people than you need, don’t rent a warehouse that’s too large, utilize independent contractors and virtual assistants as much as possible, and try to save as much money as possible. Be sure to manage your wordpress and domain properly, or have another service help keep track of online expenses you might not think about.
When it comes to online costs, be savvy with your SEO and marketing efforts. Don’t overspend on things you can’t afford and save money wherever possible. If you’re just a new online startup, you might think all you need is a laptop and some business savvy, but don’t forget to manage first-time expenses. Get some small business financing from your local bank or apply for a small business loan to help get you started.
Be Productive, Not Busy
There’s always something to do for every business owner, and that rings true with e-commerce entrepreneurs as well. There are always products to create, people to manage, content to produce, customer complaints to handle, but make sure that your effort is not merely spinning your wheels. Delegate to others when you can so your hands stay busy on the big picture. Learn to say no to several things that could take your eyes off the main mission.
Customer interaction is huge, so make sure you spend time fostering relationships with the people on the other end of the buying process, instead of just seeing them as faceless names on a spreadsheet. Building a rapport with your customers not only increases your social proof, but also drives repeat business, both from them and other customers. Take some time to build these connections, and you’ll begin to notice that loyalty returned back to you.
Local businesses have regular Chamber of Commerce meetings, in part to help foster better community relations. They can drive referrals, offer incentives, and even team up to run promotions together. As an online business owner, it’s important for you to do the same thing online. Network inside and outside of your community to help build up relationships that you can later tap into to help with your business. Not only that, but when you’re working online, it can be easy to feel isolated. Networking with others helps stave off the very real feelings of loneliness that so many business owners experience.
Running a small business is hard work, but knowing how to do it successfully can take some skill. Be sure to network, advertise and market to your advantage.