Your introduction to starting an eCommerce business
What is eCommerce?
The term eCommerce refers to the practice of buying and selling online and includes online shopping and online trading. Many Australian small businesses participate in eCommerce by selling their products and services online via web stores and on social media platforms.
Why start an eCommerce business?
There are many benefits to starting an eCommerce business. With online shopping on the rise, investing in an online business presence can help you reach more customers and boost your brand’s reputation.
As outlined by business.gov.au, eCommerce can:
- allow your business to be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- allow your customers to access your products or services from more places
- help you market your products and services
- help increase customer engagement
- empower you to target a wider customer base, not just your local area.
- According to the eCommerce Industry Report 2023 by Australia Post, 82% of Australian households made an online purchase in 2022. So, if you’re wondering whether your customers are looking for your products and services online, the answer is likely yes.
Ready to connect with online shoppers? Or just want to increase your online presence? Keep reading for tips to start, and evolve, your eCommerce business to help you stay competitive in the online marketplace.
What’s the first step if I want an online business?
Just because online shoppers are looking for products and services online, it doesn’t mean you should rush into your eCommerce journey. So, the first step is to write a business plan.
According to HubSpot, a strong eCommerce business plan includes:
- An executive summary
- A description of your business
- Details of your products and services
- A market analysis and online marketing plan
- A sales plan including the sales channels, tools, and technology you plan to use
- Any legal notes and financial considerations, including start-up costs and digital marketing budgets.
What eCommerce platforms can help me sell online?
The realm of online business can help connect you to customers in more places. According to business.gov.au, some of the options for doing business online are:
- creating a website for your business
- opening up an online shop or store, or trading in an online marketplace
- creating blog posts to help promote and sell your products and services
- using social media to reach and communicate with your customers
- using digital media channels, such as video hosting sites.
How can I make sales on my website?
Your website is a digital portal to your business, allowing online shoppers and potential clients to engage with you anytime, from anywhere. In addition to introducing customers to who are you are and what you offer, your website can also help you make sales online.
A well-designed, accessible web store will allow your customers to buy your products and services. To help increase customer engagement and online sales, make sure you include the following website design elements when creating your online store.
Detailed descriptions of products and services
Never underestimate the power of well-written descriptions for your products and services. In lieu of a sales representative serving your customer in-person, your website content is responsible for “closing the sale” so to speak.
Think a video may promote your products and services better? Consider creating custom videos for your website.
A range of payment methods
When you accept the payment methods that your customers prefer, it can help to boost business. To help the success of your eCommerce business, make sure you offer online shoppers a range of payment methods.
Popular online payment methods in Australia include:
- Credit cards like Mastercards
- Debit cards
- Google Pay
- Buy Now Pay Later, like Afterpay.
To learn more, visit Discover the payment methods your customers want.
An accessible eCommerce checkout
According to marketing platform Omnisend, designing your eCommerce site to be fully accessible to all online shoppers, regardless of their digital ability, is key to providing the best user experience.
To improve the accessibility of your checkout, remember to:
- Tag elements on the page to help screen readers navigate the page.
- Use high-contrast colours in your website design to help calls to action stand out on the page.
- Make sure your call to action text is clearly visible and explains the purpose of the link. E.g., 'Place your order'.
An optimised shopping cart
Nowadays, most customers want (and expect) a seamless online shopping experience. To meet this demand on your website, it helps to create an intuitive shopping cart process. This process begins once your customer has added everything they want to their cart and is ready to place their order.
The following techniques can help improve your shopping cart flow:
- Include an order summary
- Make checkout mobile-friendly
- Ask only relevant questions
- Avoid using too many fields
- Make paying easy.
Delivery and shipping information
To deliver great customer service online, it’s important to keep customers informed. In the world of eCommerce, online shoppers will almost always want to know delivery and shipping information. So, to pre-empt these frequently asked questions, include a page on your website the clearly outlines delivery and shipping information.
To learn more about creating a delivery strategy, visit How to manage your eCommerce supply chain as an online business.
What if I don’t have a business website?
You can still benefit from eCommerce even if you don’t have a website. In fact, many Australian small businesses thrive by selling their products and services via social media.
Selling on platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook is also referred to as 'in-app' purchasing, a popular choice among brands that embrace digital marketing for business by investing in social media advertising campaigns.
Want to leverage the power of eCommerce? Discuss your options with digital experts.
Creating an eCommerce business plan takes time, but collaborating with digital experts can help speed up the process. We can help you reach customers online by helping with:
- website design and hosting
- digital marketing
- web store creation
- blog writing
- payment solutions
- video production, and more.
'You can’t wait for customers to come to you,’ Paul Graham, co-founder of startup accelerator Y Combinator, once said. ‘You have to figure out where they are, go there and bring them back to your store'
All businesses, big and small, now have the power to attract customers in this way online thanks to the world of eCommerce.
Grow your online presence with digital experts
Whether you need a website or a complete digital marketing strategy, we can help your business to thrive online.