Starting an internet business can be as simple as opening a Yahoo Store. And as complicated as building your own dynamic e-commerce web site. But no matter how you go about it, you need 7 key ingredients to ensure the success of your internet business.
You can have the most awesome product and the most hi-tech web site, but if you can’t generate demand for your product, your business is doomed from the start. There are many ways to generate demand in the online world. You could advertise in ezines, start an affiliate program, encourage word of mouth, referrals, do joint ventures. Remember, without demand, there will be no sales. And without sales, where does that leave you?
When you start getting visitors to your web site, it’s now just a matter of turning them into your customers. Okay, maybe it’s not as easy as it sounds. This is why, once your visitor has decided to become a customer, you have to make sure that it is easy for them to do so. Make sure that your ordering process is easy and straightforward. The less clicks to secure an order, the better.
This is one process of your internet business that you’d definitely not want to get wrong - how money is actually transferred from your customer to you. The most popular means of doing this online is through credit card transactions. Credit cards makes full use of a person’s ‘buy now think later’ attitude. So, your sales would be a lot higher if you accepted credit cards than if you didn’t. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have alternative methods. The more payment methods you offer, the easier your customer will find it to pay for your product.
After payment has been made, don’t make the mistake of thinking that the coast is clear. There’s still the matter of delivering your products. If you sell digital products, it is now normal standard to have it delivered instantly. People now expect this, so make sure you set this up. If you sell physical products that needs physical delivery, make sure that you communicate with your customer every step of the way. Ensure them that their goods are on the way. If possible, send them a means to track the movement of their package. Your customers should never feel insecure.
5. Service and Support
Once the sale has been made, it doesn’t stop there. You have to provide excellent customer support. Your internet business customer support will determine, to some extent, whether your customer will request a refund and whether or not they will make repeat purchases. Support abilities of an internet business is getting more and more efficient. So don’t get caught behind. The least you should do is provide timely e-mail support. If you have a busier site, then consider other support methods - online helpdesk, FAQs, live chats, ticket system, knowledge base ….
The Internet community is getting more aware of what to look out for in order to protect themselves from many of the net’s less desirable activities. One of which is e-commerce frauds. It is, therefore, up to you to prove to your visitors that they can trust you. Things like using secured server to process payments, can go a long way. Purchase a digital certificate, if you can. Add a physical mail address or a phone number where they can contact you. Anything at all, to give your visitors some peace of mind.
Once you’ve received more than just a handful of sales, you should think about starting a community. Making your customers a part of a community, gives them a sense of belonging. Have your community be a part of your product development. Listen to their suggestions. Not only will you get product ideas for your internet business, your sales ratio will increase with every new product release and you will have a loyal customer base.
There you go. Work on these seven keys and you’ll be way ahead of most internet businesses out there on the net today.