There is more to setting up an online business than publishing a website and waiting for the traffic and thousands of paying customers. Setting up a successful online business requires careful planning. Take a look at the list below to make give yourself the best chance of success.
Before you Start, be honest about your sales potential
Before you start investing hours of your time and bundles of your hard earned cash into your online business, it is wise to look at your product with a critical eye to truly determine whether it truly has great sales potential. Here are two useful questions to ask yourself. Is your product or service providing a good solution to a problem that bothers a lot of people? Is your product suitably different than what is already available on the market? If you can’t give good answers to these two questions, think again about your business.
Think hard about the customer experience
Setting up on an online business is really a lot like setting up a local business on your local high street – some of the same golden rules apply. Just because customers aren’t physically entering your store, you still need to make sure their experience is as comfortable as possible. We have all walked into stores and turned 180 degrees and walked right out again. To make sure your customers don’t click out of your website, it’s best to give proper consideration to the fonts, colour scheme, and size of text you use to create an inviting environment. The golden rule here is to prioritize clarity above all else. This has never been more important, with more than half of all online shopping from mobile devices which have smaller screens – if your website is too busy or unclear you will prevent your customers from being able to navigate easily.
Make the payment simple
It’s important that the payment process is as simple and easy to use as possible. If required, you should also take the time to think about incorporating global payment systems into your online business, especially if selling to other countries is something that you wish to achieve. However, first thing’s first. Having a payment process that clearly shows where the BUY button is is very important, as you want to make sure that it is as easy as possible for your customers to make a purchase. It is best to avoid asking for unnecessary information from customers that you don’t really need. Many websites slip up on this because they have too many ‘essential fields’ that customers need to fill in.
Protect your website with an SSL certificate.
Not taking customers fears of online crime seriously is likely to severely restrict your captive market and your revenue. An SSL certificate allows sensitive information to be shared safely and securely. Around two thirds of purchases which don’t make it to the final click, flop because of a customer’s concerns about the security of making a purchase on an unsecured website. You can search online for the best SSL certificates available and will likely see many different certificates available. For example SGC Supercerts from Thawte, an SSL market leader enables every web site visitor to experience the strongest SSL encryption available to them. Many SSL certificates also include visible indicators such as a green address bar and the SSL padlock icon showing that your website has been authenticated to the industry’s highest standard.
Choose your PSP wisely
PSP stands for Payment Services Provider and could well be one of your most important partners when it comes to credit and debit card payment processing. Your PSP should be Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliant otherwise you could be putting your customer’s personal information at risk. PSP also provides customer support so it’s important not to outsource this to a provider which doesn’t offer a customer friendly experience. It will reflect badly on your business.
Plan well and set yourself realistic goals
Many people rush into setting up an online business assuming that they can be up and running in a matter of days. It is crucial to set realistic goals and a realistic time frame of how long tasks will take, you. This is important because when things aren’t happening to time, frustration will start to set in. Make lists of what needs to be done and by when. Above all else, don’t lose your drive and motivation. Be prepared for the ups and downs, but stick in there because if you are successful you will reap the benefits.