Image by: Victor1558
By Michael Sterling
It’s easier now than ever to start a business. With a simple domain and a great platform, you are now an “entrepreneur.” But it takes more than a great idea to become a success, in fact, the idea of learning as you go has never rang more true than it does in the digital world.
Still, there are a few learning styles which all successful E-Commerce entrepreneurs share, and they’re not as complex as you think. Runing an online business is unlike any other. It requires not only street smart, but a cunning “Big Brother” strategy deeply rooted for the well-being of your consumers.
#1) Build A Business, Not A Website
Your business has to come first. That means the site should revolve around the strategy, and not the other way around. Think of the site as the commercial delivery of your product, whereby it promotes and presents your services in an attractive light, but it should never be an adequate replacement for the product itself.
Many of the most successful websites, like Upworthy.com or even Amazon.com don’t depend on fancy technology or high tech features to try and lure you in. The consumer will always respond to the services more than a fancy layout. They know what to expect from the content, and that is what builds their loyalty.
#2) Image Is In the Eye Of The Beholder
Think of your website like a child. Though other people might secretly think he/she is an ugly baby, you however know differently. It’s the same idea with loyal consumers. When a customer gets everything they want and has zero trouble in attaining it, this becomes their home base. It will be hard for them to consider any other business after that point, no matter what other people say or think.
This is why it’s crucial to minimize all technical problems as best as you can. Implement an IT guy if you can afford it, pay attention to your online tools that tell you when errors occur and always make sure it’s up to speed. Imagine the aggravation you feel when your remote control doesn’t work… never allow your consumers to feel this way towards your business. Not for a second.
#3) Customers Are Always Right
One of the major mistakes a lot of entrepreneurs make is not listening to their customers. Often times, our pride over exceeds our ability to adapt. There is a plethora of other websites which offer nearly the same thing as you do, so today’s consumers have a right to be picky. If you have no traffic, you have no business, therefore, an entrepreneur should always at the mercy of their users.
Before Instagram became one of the widest photo-sharing apps in the digital world, it was actually a geolocation service. Not till after reading the comments left by consumers and watched (using their online tools) where they were migrating to did they realize that customers wanted a photo app, not a location service. After that, they completely started from scratch, and eventually succeeded.
*Tip: Online tools used to “spy” on what customers are doing on your site is not only beneficial, but crucial. Qualaroo and Survey Monkey are great tools to have at your disposal. Don’t dwell on analytics or comments, instead, take a hands-on approach and really see what your users are doing.
#4) Attraction Grows Attention
Consumers are naturally attracted to word of mouth, not just by their friends and family, but also by other companies they’ve already invested their trust in. One of the greatest learning styles is the idea of using other businesses as your “megaphone” so to speak in getting the word out about your services.
Many times, startup websites will depend on each other to reroute consumers their way, especially if they have different niche markets. Over time, consumers put trust in the websites they love, like a good friend who’s advice they seek. The same idea exists when you’re dealing with a digital platform. Attention is the first step, once users have surpassed that, the website speaks for itself.
#5) Shipping Is The Seal Of Approval
According to a 2011 Comscore report, 61% of consumers said they will abandon a purchase if free shipping isn’t offered. When it comes to purchasing products, it’s important that the consumer’s well-being is at the upmost importance. But this doesn’t mean you have to lose money, in fact, the exchange between you and consumers should give the impression that you both win.
Many companies offer incentives for consumers who ship. By offering “points” or rewards for having a customer ship at regular priced rates, they may be more inclined to purchase. In most cases, rewards can speak louder than a simple “buy” button.