You’ve had an idea for an online business and you’re excited to launch your product or service into the digital world. So where do you start? The idea of choosing an ecommerce platform might seem a bit overwhelming.
Which one best suits your products or services? What are the tax implications? There might be a lot to think about, but don’t worry, you’re not alone!
How to pick the right ecommerce platform
The first ones that spring to mind are usually the online marketplace juggernauts which are Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. Each offer a very different buying and selling experience, and can be used alongside your own ecommerce store as additional outlets, or as your sole focus for sales.
They’re not all that’s on offer though. The term ecommerce covers an enormous spectrum, including self-built websites which have a shop or checkout function. It can even include online platforms for freelancers selling their services!
When it comes to choosing the right path for you, it really is a question of personal choice and your specific requirements.
Don’t make your choice based on popularity alone
Naturally, you’re going to let other people’s opinions influence you – and that’s not always a bad thing. An ecommerce selling platform that’s popular with customers makes your job a bit easier, after all! Just try not to let popularity be the only deciding factor, because there’s a bit more to think about.
Consider the technical capabilities of those who will be using it
Who is going to be operating the platform? Does that person or that team have the proficiency to use it effectively? Does the extent of the users’ capabilities warrant the cost? Choose a system that works for you – not a platform that is going to feel like hard work.
For example, commissioning someone to build a great big Magento driven site is great… if you know how to use it manage your sales!
Take fees and hidden costs into consideration
Before you fall head over heels in love with the features a platform advertises, do some extensive research into the associated fees and costs. It can vary across platforms, but generally includes seller fees, maintenance fees, upgrades, and other charges such as postage, local tax, and beyond.
Some of these costs will be allowable expenses (so you can claim tax relief against them) – but not all!
Make sure you offer multiple payment options
An important thing to note when it comes to getting set up on whichever platform you choose is the effectiveness of offering customers multiple payment options at checkout.
Research reveals that 40% of online shoppers are more comfortable buying from a seller that provides multiple payment methods, compared to those offering only one. It’s a good idea to go with a platform that can facilitate this for you.
Top ecommerce business marketing tips
The ecommerce world is ever evolving, and the marketing landscape shifts constantly. It makes it tricky to keep up, but essential. Let yourself fall behind and your business could suffer.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled some top marketing tips to help your ecommerce venture thrive in the current climate. These tips will help you pull traffic to your online store, convert this traffic into sales, and turn these sales into loyal customers.
Get your social media channels set up
Social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat are invaluable resources when it comes to marketing an ecommerce business. Not only do they provide lucrative space to advertise your product, but they also allow you to create an online community of customers around your brand.
The best part is that all of them have a free-to-use option so you can keep your outgoing costs down.
Consider influencer marketing
As well as using your own social media platforms as a marketing outlet, you might consider influencer marketing campaigns. This is where you negotiate with social media influencers to promote your product in exchange for complimentary goods or payment. It’s a great way to get your brand in front of large audiences, which sometimes comprise of hundreds of thousands of followers.
User-generated content (UGC) like this inspires trust in your customers too, because they see real people promoting – and hopefully enjoying – your product. Just be sure to choose influencers that are relevant to your offering to ensure that their followers are a captive audience for your business.
Take measures to reduce abandoned carts
If somebody abandons a cart at checkout, you’re not only missing out on that particular sale, but you could also lose the customer entirely.
Multiple payment options are a great way to ensure the checkout process appeals to as many customers as possible. If somebody does leave without completing a transaction, sending a discount code via email to encourage them back to the sale is a proven method.
Explore the potential of personalisation
Personalisation can include a whole host of different components, including:
- Last visited products
- Most-bought products
- Previous purchases
- Local national holidays
…the list is endless!
Using these as part of your communications is a great way to drive sales and customer loyalty. A customer who feels acknowledged and nurtured individually is a customer who has the potential to become a real brand advocate.
Make sure you optimise your product pages
If you choose to sell on online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy, optimising your product listings is crucial. Think about all the search terms someone is likely to use to find a product like yours, and include them in the listing.
Doing so will ensure that when people are searching for products like yours, they can easily find your brand and land on your page. Don’t just rely on what you call your product!
Other recommendations to consider
- Running Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns
- A consistent – but not overbearing – email marketing strategy
- Customer loyalty reward schemes
- Offering live chat as a form of customer service
- Communications via text message
The benefits of hiring an ecommerce accountant
Whatever kind of business you’re starting, whether it’s online or offline, it’s always worth seeking out the expertise of a reputable accountant. Not only will they be able to ensure that your finances are on track and that your cash flow is healthy, but they can also provide invaluable support with setting up your new venture.
An accountant can help register the business, refine your business plan, support you with Intellectual Property protection and ensure that you’re taking advantage of as much tax relief as possible, amongst many other things.
Selling on an online platform can push your income a level where you need to pay tax on what you earn – an accountant can help!
Hopefully you’re now feeling ready and raring to launch your ecommerce business – best of luck with your new venture!