Setting up an online store has never been easier than it is today. With so many platforms and services out there to guide you on your way, your store could be up and running in no time – but it’s important to consider the necessary features you should be employing upon your site. Here are just some of them.
Have a reliable hosting provider
One of the very first things you need to ensure your website has is a good hosting provider. Your decision should stem from your future goals; are you aiming to grow exponentially, your business expanding to become a frontrunner in the field, or are you simply wanting to keep it modest?
For the latter, opt for a shared server plan. These are much cheaper and often sufficient should you not be aiming for a heavy load of traffic upon your site. However, if you are aiming to keep growing and getting bigger, pay more for a dedicated server – you’ll be ensuring your store is never overloaded and therefore reducing the chances of it crashing.
Platforms such as Shopify provide an easy-to-use way for beginners to get to grips with the setup process – in recent years, it’s become a lot easier than you may think.
Ensure you’re providing good customer service
Once your store is up and running, be sure to provide customer service. If customers are new to the site and have a query, or if they’ve bought a product and have some feedback to share, it’s important you give them a way to communicate with you. Make sure your responses are prompt and professional and these customers will be converted to regulars.
Phone calls have been proven to be the most effective method of communication between businesses and customers, for they’re the most direct way to talk. If this isn’t possible, a simple email address is the next best thing.
Have a good-looking design
When designing your site, keep in mind what will keep customers coming back – and stop new customers from looking elsewhere. Often in the early days of online stores popping up, they sport unsightly and untrustworthy designs, sometimes overcompensating with garish features that make them difficult to navigate.
Look at successful competitors and understand how and why their design works. Although minimalism is said to be transitioning into flat design, many successful sites both in and out of e-commerce still use it to their benefit – the “stripped back” look of these sites means their products/offerings take centre stage.
Employ niche marketing
There’s a huge difference between a niche market and niche marketing – opt for the latter. Whereas a niche market will limit you in terms of customers visiting and buying from your business, as your outreach will be limited, niche marketing works in the opposite way.
It’s all about finding your own space in a market that is perhaps oversaturated with the same old. If you have something new to offer that could potentially draw customers to you and away from customers, you’ll prove your business to be influential, innovative and important in the field.
Be sure to have a good level of security
Once your site is up and running, it’s crucial you’re not allowing yourself to be compromised by any flaws in your security. Be sure to consider the potential risks you could face by not employing any level of security on your store – especially when dealing with your customer’s confidential information.
SQL injection attacks are perhaps the most common within e-commerce, with hackers able to access databases if their attempts are successful. Be sure to have a wall of protection, not just for the store itself but for your customers. If they ever fall victim to an attack, they’ll likely never buy from you again.
Do you have any more features you would suggest in setting up an online store? Be sure to recommend them in the comments below.