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How to build a successful ecommerce website

Build a successful ecommerce website with SFG.

Moving into the digital age can feel like an overhaul for your business. You may already have a website, but 2020 threw your marketing and fulfillment strategies through a loop. Or, you may just be interested in improving your technology solutions to meet the needs of your customers. We'll cover the basics of ecommerce fulfillment and touch on the tools you need to have in your belt to reach your goals.

A website is not enough

Selling online is a great way to reach many types of customers. However, getting the ecommerce side of your business up and running isn't as easy as buying a domain and just waiting for customers to show up on your website. It involves creating an excellent customer experience, being transparent about your product availability and shipping, and offering stellar customer service on top of it all.

While there are hundreds of helpful blogs out there to get you on the right track, it's helpful to know where to start and what to look for as you build your website.

What should your goals be?

Goals, or key performance indicators (KPIs), for your website, should include many different points. As with every initiative for your business, you should have an end goal in mind and points along the way that indicate that you're on your way to achieving those objectives. Here are just a few ideas to get you started, but keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list. You should test what metrics work for your business and where you want to see your numbers improve over time.

New market acquisitions
Reaching new markets is a standard goal for many businesses at the start of building an ecommerce website. An ecommerce website can help you reach customers online that would otherwise rarely shop at a brick-and-mortar. With the right marketing strategy, you could attract a new line of customers.

Conversion rates
As your website gains traction, you'll want to measure how many customers are not only showing up to your website, but actually interacting with it and buying items. Your conversion rate indicates how successful your business strategies are in engaging customers. Keep track of:

  • which products customers are interested in
  • how customers move about your website
  • how much they're spending
  • which customers are returning
  • how many transactions and orders does your e-store process in a certain period of time

These metrics can help identify how to improve your customer experience.

Customer lifetime value
The relationship you build with your customers can predict the future success of your company. It costs a lot to attract new customers, only to see most of them make a single purchase (and then a return) and never come back again. The value of your product or service is one thing, the relationship you build with a customer is something entirely different. Measure how long a customer remains loyal to your business, and how much they purchase over time.

4 ecommerce best practices

Once you understand the KPIs you want to measure for your website, let's dive into best practices that can help get you there.

1. Build your content

Your website isn't just about sales. It's about connecting with your customers as well. You can attract and retain customers by positioning yourself as not only a business with quality products, but one your customers can rely on for industry insights and guidance. Research your target audience and pinpoint the content they need to decide on a product. This could include a robust social media page, customer service at the drop of a hat, blog content, case studies, and more.

2. Build trust with your customers

Not only do you want to offer insight and speak directly with your shoppers, but building trust is an essential part of retaining customers. This means keeping your website updated with the latest products, immediately reporting when items are out of stock, conveying how quickly items will be delivered, and explaining how to return items whenever necessary.

Trust also could be collecting feedback and acting on anything that comes your way. From responding directly to feedback left on public websites, or by sending out a survey for each return, customers want to know that their voice is heard.

3. Offer easy-to-use payment methods

Customers have built some trust in online ordering, but not everyone feels comfortable. Offer not only a secure site, but also several methods to complete the purchase. This can include one-click purchases, saved payment methods on your website, paying in installments, and accepting third-party payments such as Venmo or Paypal. With this offer, you can meet customers wherever they are in their purchase, and make the purchasing experience an inclusive one.

4. Make decisions based on good data

Business success lies in knowing your customers: their likes, dislikes, shopping habits, behaviors, and more. You need a consolidated platform where you can collect and analyze customer data that allows your teams to turn information into action.

For example, you may use a platform to measure customer lifetime value that can create custom views of your customer information so you know exactly what is making customers turn to a competitor instead. Segment customers by any insight that is helpful for your next marketing strategy with the right tool, as well.

SFG's business intelligence and data services

Creating a stellar website for your customers means partnering with the right platform that can get you there. With SFG solutions, you can collect, analyze, and act on customer insights right away. Our technology solutions can take your stagnant website up a few notches. SFG team members can walk you through our services so that you can find the solutions that work best for your business goals.

To get started and learn more, contact us today.

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