The continuing rise of e-commerce is transforming the face of retail, with UK consumers spending a staggering £859.6 million online every week. With vast arrays of information being available over the Internet, the days of slipping into your shoes and heading for the shopping aisles for all of your goods are becoming an act of the past.
Nowadays, British consumers enjoy browsing and making purchases from the comfort of their own homes – 87% of Brits use tablets for all of their online shopping. As a result, retailers increasingly face the need to adapt and innovate to reach the digital consumer.
Setting up and managing e-commerce operations may initially seem daunting. To help you get started, FedEx has put together some top tips for e-commerce success.
Choose the right e-commerce platform
While joining a popular online marketplace such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy can help you get started immediately, with a custom-built website you have the opportunity to create a branded retail experience with more control over your business. It’s worth also keeping in mind that the platform you choose will be the first interface between your customers and your brand and so it should be easy to navigate to avoid any confusion. A great product page is a mix of several factors, including usability, high quality images, user reviews and detailed product descriptions.
Plan for peak periods
E-commerce is an excellent way to make your retail goods globally accessible however make sure your business is well-stocked and sufficiently staffed to cope with peak periods. With Black Friday sales reaching a record 1.1billion in the UK last year, it is vital to ensure demand doesn’t outstrip supply during seasonal increases in demand.
Drive traffic to your website with social media
A social media strategy can be an effective way to target audiences and drive traffic to your website, particularly when you’re first getting started. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are often useful for e-commerce businesses of any size. Customer feedback from social media interactions can also help you evolve your business and perfect your products or service.
Ensure your supply chain runs like clockwork
From shipping a customer’s first purchase to securing repeat business, prompt and reliable delivery is crucial in order to gain your customers’ trust. Using a globally established logistics provider can not only ensure your products are delivered quickly and efficiently, but it can also help you prepare for any specific customs requirements in your destination countries.
Protect your customers from cybersecurity threats
When it comes to online retail, the biggest threat comes from cyber-crime. Be sure to protect your business by using the latest anti-virus software, deleting suspicious emails and requesting strong passwords from your staff and web users. Using a secure connection for online checkout and ensuring customer data is stored correctly, will also keep you and your business safe.
By David Poole, managing director of sales, UK South at FedEx Express