Creating an online store goes beyond simply setting up on an eCommerce platform. It involves building trust with your customers, having smooth transactions, and ensuring great customer experiences that make them come back again and again.
Online stores have to go further than brick-and-mortar stores when creating a flow of purchase because their customers are not present to touch or feel the products. So online shops mimic these real-life behaviors and present their products like they are in physical shops.
Here are some important things to consider when setting up an online shop:
A brand is identified by its name and logo. The name should be short and memorable so that people can grasp it within seconds and remember it afterwards. The logo gives a visual display of what your company stands for.
Both the logo and name should convey information about the company or connote a positive meaning. Think of the emotion you want to elicit from your customers and project it when creating your logo. You can have a web banner for your online store where you give graphical information to your customers about upcoming sales, discount offers, new items, etc.
Find a payment policy which works for you and your customers. Understand your target customer segment, their behavior, demographics and location. Then, determine the best payment system, in terms of ease of use, access, and familiarity. Available payment options include card payments, online payments, mobile money, or cash on delivery.
Make sure to also examine the costs involved in integrating any of the payment systems before implementing.
After payment, the next target is delivering the product to the customer. Your delivery policy should capture the time frame, locations covered by delivery, cost, and method of tracking the purchase until it gets to the customer.
Set a delivery time window which is convenient and attainable, and be consistent with it. Whether you plan on delivering yourself or outsourcing to a courier company, make sure you follow through the process and keep track until the customer confirms its arrival. Clearly state the cost of delivery for different locations to avoid misunderstandings, and avoid unnecessary delay or lies. It is better to be transparent and keep the customer updated on any change of date or time of arrival.
A customer may want to return a good in case of dissatisfaction. Carefully select a return policy depending on the type of product you sell. You can have different return policies for perishable and nonperishable goods.
Declare the state of a product which qualifies for a refund eg. opened items, unopened items, items with receipts etc. Specify the number of days that can elapse before a product is returned for a refund. Will you give total or partial refunds? Will you pay for the return shipping cost?
Customer Happiness Plan
Content customers give good reviews and advertise your store via word-of-mouth recommendations. So make it easy for customers to access your information on your website. Come up with a clear FAQ page and answer the questions that may be daunting to customers and come up repeatedly.
Also devise a way your customers can reach you easily — a phone call, WhatsApp, an email. Put yourself in their shoes and provide a service that would make you come back to your store if you were a customer.
An online store does open you up to a wider market. So take these basic steps seriously to ensure returning customers and steady growth.
This post was written by me and originally published elsewhere.
Also published on Medium.