Four Critical Tips for Successfully Bringing Your Business Online

Brandi Smith, Marketing Director

We’re suddenly in an era where having an online store is no longer an option but a necessity. There is no time like the present to get started and it doesn’t have to be a long and cumbersome process to get it up and running. Dedicate an evening and you can be operating your online store in a flash.

How to setup your online store… and fast!

When taking steps to sell your products or services online, there are some key factors to consider for your store and business.

1. Picking an e-commerce platform

Selecting your e-commerce platform is the most important decision in this process. There are so many options out there, but we think Shopify is a good bet. Here’s why:

  • Easy and fast setup: Shopify is user-friendly and has all the necessary tools, such as a logo maker, profit margin calculator and invoice generator, to help you launch a functioning online storefront—stress-free!
  • Hosting services are included: When creating your store on Shopify, you’ll automatically receive hosting services, which otherwise would be an additional cost and take extra time to research and configure.
  • Ready-to-use store themes: Shopify has a range of mobile-friendly website templates that you can use and tweak to your company’s brand.
  • Reliable customer support: Known for its unbeatable 24/7 customer service, Shopify offers you the personal assistance you need when you need it if you run into a challenge while setting up your store.
  • Tools to scale your business: Shopify has an App Store where you can download free and paid e-commerce apps to start and grow your business such as payment processing and shipping.
2. Setup an online payment processor

Accepting payments is an integral part of any business and sadly overlooked by budding entrepreneurs. Payment processors, or gateways, are how you collect money from your customers. Typically, your e-commerce provider will recommend which gateways integrate with their platform. Two trustworthy payment processors that take little effort to setup include Shopify Payments and PayPal.

If you’ve opted to use Shopify, you can use Shopify Payments which is built into the platform. It’s available in 13 countries and is automatically setup in your online store when you create it.

PayPal is the biggest and most well-known online payment gateway in the world, owning over 60% of the market. They offer two different plans for small businesses: Standard and Pro. If using Shopify, it will automatically create a PayPal Express Checkout account option if Shopify Payments is not available in your region. It offers the ability to receive payments from orders made right away with PayPal, as well as issue refunds and manually capture payments.

Just make sure that the payment gateway you choose can grow with your business and before you lock yourself in, ask the following questions about each payment solution:

  • Are there setup fees?
  • Are there monthly and/or transaction fees?
  • Are there penalty fees? If so, what triggers them?
  • Is there a minimum balance requirement?
  • What about transfer delays?
  • When I need help or support who do I contact? How do I contact them? What hours are they available?
3. Setup Shipping Integrations

Getting shipping in order for an online store can feel overwhelming. Shipping is an important value proposition for your store and has the power to attract or push customers away. Shipping options can also depend heavily on your product, shipping areas, business model, target audience and your e-commerce solution. They key is to make these factors work together.

If you’re new to selling online, consider offering free shipping. You may want to have an incentive like “spend $50 and receive free shipping."  Studies show that getting something for free has a huge psychological impact on making a purchase and it can actually increase your average order value. In addition, in a recent survey of 1,400 shoppers, a staggering 91% of consumers indicated that free shipping would make them a repeat customer and 67% indicated they would add more items to their cart to receive free shipping. To offer free shipping select lower cost shipping partners, factor shipping costs into your pricing or do both to keep your pricing and business competitive.

Some additional factors you should consider include:

  • Starting off small with regional or domestic shipping and tackle international shipping later on.
  • Ensuring that your shipping policies are straightforward to prevent customer confusion.
  • Researching your competition to see if you can uncover any insights on what works versus doesn’t with your target audience.
  • Offering multiple shipping options based on different shipping speed, carriers and purpose-driven focuses that attract consumers with a conscience such as sustainability.

Don’t forget about your order fulfillment process either. Regardless of how many products you carry, you need a procedure for when an order is received such as:

  • How are you notified of a new order?
  • How do you print an invoice or shipping label?
  • What packaging materials do you need?  Check out our quick tips on how to save on shipping costs here.
  • What is the package opening experience and what does the presentation look like when opening the box?

Taking time to plan out these procedures will ensure that your orders are fulfilled in a timely manner and delivers a good first impression and customer experience.

4. Set up analytics to monitor and measure success

Data and benchmarks will help you understand what is happening in your business so you can take the right steps to enhancing revenue and growth. We found a cool spreadsheet recently on 55 e-commerce metrics you should be tracking. Check it out here.  

Here’s the skinny on the basic metrics you should be monitoring however:

  • Unique visitors
  • Conversion rate
  • Most popular products, and
  • Average revenue per customer

You should also be using Google Analytics to give you the insights to help you: 

  • Get to know your target audience.
  • Track where shoppers come from, where they go in your store and where they leave.
  • Track how your visitors engage with your store.
  • Interpret your efforts like adding new products or sale to see the impact on your store.

In general, analytics are a key element in helping you implement changes based on facts instead of assumptions about your business and your customers.

You’re officially ready to launch!

By tackling these four key areas, you’ll have the solid foundation you need to build out and launch your online store successfully.  

To learn how ShipperBee can assist you with your regional shipping to save money and the planet, contact us today.

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