The growth of e-commerce has been one of the great successes of the internet age. With a projected 14.1% of global retail sales in 2019, expect the sector to sustain some seriously big business growth in the years to come.
This guide will outline some e-commerce solutions to help you to scale your business in various ways: by improving productivity, by opening up new marketing channels and improving customer service techniques.
These put the ‘e’ in e-commerce. But there’s an enormous range of service providers out there to choose from. With a range of visually compelling design templates, clever e-commerce features, and user-friendly functions, Wix and Squarespace are the two big names in custom website building for small business owners.
These website editors offer an easy way for people with basic IT skills to get online and start selling without the upfront costs of web design. More recently there have been new names in the UK niche such as UENI, whose main advantage is that they’re more commercially oriented and flexible than these bigger names.
Product Information Management (PIM) Software
One of the biggest challenges for growing e-commerce companies, especially product resellers is keeping up with inventory and product catalogs. As well as knowing what you have in stock, you have to refresh descriptions and images to keep your content new and shiny. Luckily, there’s an easy way of centralising data.
By using PIM software you’ll be able to regulate this from one consolidated Excel spreadsheet, exporting the necessary information as and when you need it. By creating a central database in this way, you’ll radically save the time involved in updating information. You can also automate your website to update the database information with every purchase.
A big part of e-commerce is analysing where your site traffic is coming from, and what drives it. Google Analytics is the single most powerful tool for monitoring this, providing you with insights that will inform a process of continuous website development and improvement.
Beyond giving you crucial data like conversion rates, analytics will help you with search engine optimisation (SEO). It’s important to know the basics of SEO: claiming your free Google My Business page, running keyword searches across the various options, working hard to generate links to your content and aligning your site with best practice. When it comes to SEO, it pays to look beyond Google. Browser plugins like Keywords Everywhere and SEO Minion are great tools for day-to-day SEO, offering you real-time insights into on-page content across the web.
Customer service software
Companies that deliver enhanced customer support at scale will generally see a strong ROI. As an e-commerce business grows, you’ll need to be able to deal with a comparable increase in customer service issues: from complaints to returns.
If you’re looking to make the process as easy for the customer as possible, these will probably come from a variety of different avenues as well: via online forms, via emails, via social media, and maybe even by telephone. Integrating customer service software with other applications MailChimp, Facebook, Slack will ensure you don’t miss a beat.