E-z P-z eComm: Booming Online Sales are Key to Small Business Growth

Small business owners may feel intimidated when considering how to best offer their products and services online, but not putting skin in the game now could cost you big time. Some experts estimate up to 25% of global retail sales could be done online in the next few years!

Making the most of your online presence and ensuring that visitors to your site convert to sales takes patience and practice. We’ve come up with a few key tips to help you get started and maximize the efficiency of your online storefront to practice eCommerce effectively.

Build It and They Will Come

Designing a beautiful, easy-to-navigate site has never been easier, or more important, than it is today. There are a host of web template companies popping up to assist small businesses in getting their online stores operational, and they make the process of designing, hosting, and organizing an eCommerce site accessible.

Using a web hosting site like Squarespace or consulting a web designer for aesthetic purposes can help your web presence match the tone of your brick-and-mortar store. Making sure that your eCommerce site naturally guides the customer through product discovery and purchase is critical to converting clicks to sales. Prioritize simplicity, fluidity, and ease of use in your website to engage customers and encourage them to purchase.

And don’t forget to optimize for mobile! You will be cheating yourself out of significant sales by designing a beautiful website that looks terrible in portrait.

Watch That Follower Count

Leveraging social media has turned many a small business owner and entrepreneur into a household name practically overnight. Even if you’re not a viral sensation, you can see your eCommerce steadily grow from maintaining a solid social media presence.

Many potential sales start on social media, whether that be through direct advertising or through exposure, so it’s critical that your social presence be a part of a greater overall strategy. It’s also important to keep in mind that social media has made everyone a certified critic.

Monitoring your reviews and doing your best to stay on top of potential issues will keep people clicking on your website link, rather than being turned off by a 3.5-star review on Yelp.

 “Do you take Apple Pay?”

The dreaded words.

It seems like a new one is out every month, right? Venmo, Cashapp, Zelle, Paypal, and dozens of others have wormed their way into the transaction game, each seeking to provide the most convenience and the most speed for their customers.

Offering customers the option of paying the way they choose can massively impact your online sales, as people will often abandon online carts if you don’t offer abbreviated payment methods. Many of these payment companies also offer competitive rates compared to credit card companies, meaning that your business can see a net benefit in allowing customers to pay using Apple Pay or PayPal.

Ensuring that your website supports at least two or three common quick-pay methods in addition to traditional credit card entry can help ensure that you don’t lose potential customers at that crucial last minute.

Data-Driven Decisions

Collecting customer data is absolutely crucial, and there are a whole host of ways to go about it. Most customers, if they are interested enough in a product or service, will volunteer some of their personal information during the sales process.

However, it’s important to not “gatekeep” behind email-entry forms or other data siphons, as this commonly drives customers away. Instead, try to find fun ways to collect demographic information, like a form that includes questions about their zodiac sign or favorite color, to help customers feel more relaxed when providing personal information.

Once you have enough customer data, you can start to create target demographics, which can massively assist you in crafting advertising campaigns in the future.

On to the Digital Frontier

eCommerce can be a tough nut to crack for many small businesses that benefit from location, or sell products that customers like to experience in-person before buying. But by using a combination of careful planning and playing to your strengths, any business can succeed in expanding online services and can make eCommerce work.

We want to hear how your business has grown by using eCommerce. Did you find it hard to market yourself online? What areas of your business have seen the most growth from offering eCommerce?

Leave your answers in the the e-commerce forum thread here to join in on the conversation!