Whether you are an established brick and mortar merchant looking to expand on-line or a business launching a new product line or service, setting up a web shop is a great step with lots of revenue potential.
However, it can be difficult to know where to start and how to do it right. What do you need to be aware of?
Naturally, the actual shop is the center of your eCommerce strategy. New online merchants often spend a lot of time and energy debating customer experience and the look and feel of the shop. While this is important and should be given the proper attention, don't become so obsessed with perfecting it that it delays launching. Adjustments can always be made after launch. As a matter of fact, a best practice would be to test multiple designs to see what performs best.
For cross-border eCommerce merchants, localization can also be time consuming. Translations, payment options, and currency issues are just a few of the critical activities. Depending on the time and resources you have available, always analyze the size of the local audience and the potential revenue opportunity. A phased approach often works best - you can prioritize which regions to first localize and also what content in your store front needs to be localized.
There are many ways to promote your new product or service. Start with understanding your target audience and how they buy. Search engines like Google and Social Media sites like Facebook offer special advertising tools for online merchants. If you have a special shop you can search for directories and third-party sites.
Establishing trust is key to acquiring and maintaining customers. And trust is built in part by making sure that you provide accurate and relevant product information. Of course your web shop needs to show the items you sell, with all associated costs clearly outlined and delivery cost and options. A robust FAQ that is expanded over time based on customer feedback and comments is also a good idea.
Once the orders start coming in, you must ensure a reliable fullfillment process. Complaints and bad reviews are very often caused by poor fulfillment. Offer your customers reliable shipping options, preferably with package tracking. Have an easy and efficient manner for handling returns. A good system must be in place, including a dashboard for your customer service team, with the latest order and payment status.
Payment processing is a significant part of order management. It's important to understand your customers and offer them their preferred payment methods. Limiting payment methods leads to cart abandonment and missed sales opportunities.
Risk and fraud management is also an important part of order management. You only want to deliver the goods, when the payment has been secured, and the fraud risk has been minimized. This can result in a pending order due to the consumers choice to use a cash based payment method. Offering Brazil's favorite payment product Boleto Bancaire, as example, will have this effect.
Your financial systems may need to be adjusted to handle online payments. You also need to take the costs of the payment product into account and in the case of cross-border eCommerce, you may have the impact of foreign exchange rates to consider.
Once these systems are in place, you can support your web shop. Optimizing and improving your web shop will be an ongoing process, with customer feedback an integral part of making any improvements.
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