Tips for Successful E-Commerce

Posted on: April 22nd, 2016 - Written by: Day Dosch

E-commerce is short for electronic commerce and can be defined as “a type of business model, or segment of a larger business model, that enables a firm or individual to conduct business over an electronic network, typically the internet. Electronic commerce operates in all four of the major market segments: business to business, business to consumer, consumer to consumer, and consumer to business.”

INSite has a growing portfolio of sports supplement e-commerce sites fed by our SaaS product, NutriLoader
*. If you’re thinking about hiring INSite (or someone else) to build your e-commerce website, read on for some helpful information to get you started.

What are some of the obstacles to overcome in getting an e-commerce site up and running?

Two of the most important obstacles to overcome when you launch an e-commerce site are defining and then reaching the niche market for your business. The e-commerce sites INSite builds for sports supplement stores face quite a bit of competition and must therefore find ways to provide value to their niche market. For example, an e-commerce store owner heavily involved with a gym might tap the gym membership by being available to provide personalized product information and/or recommendations. Defining your target market and then figuring out ways to reach those people are crucial elements of successful e-commerce.

Another obstacle to overcome could be understanding all the integrated technology necessary to run an e-commerce store—the e-commerce platform, payment provider, shipping carriers, third-party apps for some functions, and other added software. Learning about these technologies and how they interact (or having a trusted partner who can navigate this for you) is key to keeping your e-commerce site running smoothly.

What are some important things to include in an e-commerce store?

While the following list isn’t exhaustive, it does provide a starting point for things to include in your e-commerce store. In addition to including these things, make sure to research what your target market might want to see on an e-commerce site.

  1. Good navigation. Customers need to be able to quickly find the product(s) they want. A good e-commerce site will have functions that allow customers to shop by brands, categories, and/or other parameters. There should also be a general search function on any e-commerce site.
  1. Simple checkout. If a customer cannot purchase the items in his/her cart quickly and easily, the sale could be abandoned. The checkout process should present pertinent information only—without extra things to distract the customer.
  1. Clear branding. If it is not clear what your e-commerce site sells, you have a problem. Clear branding can include both imagery and words (such as taglines) but should make it easy for site visitors to understand exactly what you are offering them.
  1. Important legalese. Not everyone reads the fine print, but it should be included on your e-commerce site nonetheless. Make sure to provide payment security information, return policies, shipping policies, and whatever other information your customers might need to know.
  1. Trust-building information. You are building a relationship with your customers, which can be more difficult to do online versus in person. You can build and reinforce trust by including customer support information (with prompt replies!), store policies, and testimonials.

What can go wrong with a poorly designed e-commerce store?

Web customers (and we include ourselves here!) are notoriously impatient. If we can’t find what we’re looking for quickly, what do we all do? We move on to another site, right? Your customers will be no different. If they find it difficult or confusing to navigate around your e-commerce store, they will leave. And if your site looks unprofessional, customers may not trust the store enough to spend money there.

E-commerce store owners who do not dedicate time and/or resources to the management of their sites will not experience much success. A well-designed and well-run e-commerce store requires owners (or their trusted partners) to manage things like product pricing, shipping, up-to-date product information, and more. If these things are not addressed on a regular basis, your e-commerce store will likely not thrive in the way it could.

In the end, successful e-commerce boils down to customer experience—not surprising. Today’s e-commerce stores must incorporate the features and functions that today’s consumers have come to expect.

We’ll conclude with these wise words from Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com:

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”

If you own a sports supplement or nutritional supplement e-commerce store or want to launch one, contact us to learn more about NutriLoader and our relationship with Europa Sports Products.

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