One of the best ways to truly optimize your small business loan is to forego the traditional brick-and-mortar store and instead focus on ecommerce. Maintaining a purely online presence for your small business has many benefits for new owners, not least of which is the expected sales.
According to Statista, total retail ecommerce sales ballooned from $167.3 billion to $263.3 billion between 2010 and 2013, while 2014 saw this number increase to $304.1 billion. With total estimated retail sales in the U.S. consisting of roughly $3.19 trillion in 2014, it means ecommerce comprised 9.5 percent of total sales, and economists only expect that number to continue steadily growing.
As ecommerce sales increase year over year, owners can take advantage of the fact that these types of companies have significantly lower overhead, since they do not need a physical location or many of the amenities that accompany an office or storefront. Using a retail business loan to make an investment in a website and some inventory can greatly boost profit margins since your expenses can be greatly decreased.
Here are five tips for making your ecommerce company successful:
- Give people deals
Digital coupons have replaced traditional paper ones. No longer do customers need to worry about misplacing or losing a flimsy piece of paper. Now coupons get sent to email, and people can use their smartphones to store these deals for a later time. In fact, according to statistics provided by Selz, customers believe they’ll find better deals online, as opposed to shopping in person. You can provide these digital coupons via email blasts to customers on your mailing list or find ways to partner with other companies to help spread the word.
- Make it mobile
If ecommerce is the future of retail sales, then mobile is the future of ecommerce. In these days of ubiquitous smartphone usage and nonstop connectivity, you cannot afford to not make your site mobile friendly. According to data provided by ecommerce-platforms.com, mobile sales will make up 26 percent of U.S. retail ecommerce sales by 2017, a 7 percent uptick from 2014.
- Shy away from PPC
While pay-per-click advertisements can certainly provide another revenue stream for your fledgling enterprise, they can inadvertently have a negative effect on your branding attempts and overall sales. Customers prefer to not be inundated with additional advertising while they’re browsing or shopping. It can leave a bad taste in their mouths and lead them to try other outlets.
- Test the site constantly
The last thing you want is a malfunctioning link or buggy landing page on your website. Not only does it decrease your ecommerce site’s chances of converting the browser to a customer, but it also makes your company seem unprofessional, which can lead to bad reviews and an entire negative spiral of bad publicity on online rating sites. Before, during and after launching your ecommerce business, be sure to check the different webpages using various A/B testing. Mashable provided a list of inexpensive sites and apps that can help with this process.
- Collect all the data
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of ecommerce sites – aside, of course from making money – is that they give you the ability to collect loads of valuable data, including customers’ contact information, purchasing habits, prime shopping times, what sites are leading customers to your webpage, and much more. You can utilize all this data to optimize your site with promotions and deal, all of which will ideally boost revenue and provide a true return on your investment.