Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tips to Improve Your eCommerce Strategy

It is no secret that online shopping is quickly replacing the normal brick and mortar way of shopping.  Understanding that point and click is the most popular way to shopping is great, but you also have to make sure your ecommerce strategy provides the best customer experience if you want to see increased sales.  These tips will help you improve your ecommerce strategy so you can keep customers returning.

Focus on the User

While you want to online persona to be visually stimulating and eye catching, too much “fluff” on a page increases loading times.  Just as your in-store customers hate waiting in line, your online visitors do not want to wait for long loading times.  Streamline your interface so that relevant information loads quickly.
Online customers cannot rely on physically touching and seeing products, making for a more difficult sell.  Make sure to provide accurate descriptions, comparable pricing, and quality products to entice customers to break out those credit cards, and return to your site for future purchases.

Test Your Design

Once you have created your online business, you have to make sure you test it.  This means you need to have family, friends, team members, and yourself test the site design.  If you run into anything that makes for a less than enjoyable experience, change it – now.  If you do not like using your own site, there is no way your potential customers will.

An easy to use interface is a must, so make sure that your testers understand that you need honest feedback.  If anyone runs into a snag, or something that interrupts their shopping experience, note it so it can be changed before the website is launched.

Listen to Your Customers

If you want to create a great website, include a customer feedback area.  This will not only allow you to discover potential problems you were unaware of, it will also help increase brand loyalty.  Customers love having their voice heard, and allowing them to do so right on your site can make a huge difference.
Your customers will also use other sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ to spread the word about their experiences.  If you notice any less than desirable comments or complaints, address them within the platform.  This will show customers that you pay attention, and that you know they are important.

Use Social Media Properly

Social media is a must for any ecommerce strategy, but you have to make sure you are using it properly.  You need to take the time to update posts often, at least 3 or 4 times per week.  Customers love to share on social media platforms, and when you keep your page updated, you increase the potential for new traffic.
You should also reward users who like or follow your social media page by offering savings and incentives.  These posts are shared most often, and are one of the cheapest methods of increasing traffic to both your page and website.

How to Sell a Small Business

Starting a small business can be one of the most rewarding experiences many people will experience. It takes a lot to begin something like that from nothing, much less do all it takes to see it thrive and succeed. That being said, there may be many reasons you’ve now decided to sell your small business. If that’s the case, keep reading for some simple tips on making it happen.
Get Clear on Why You’re Selling

Selling a small business should never be a rash decision. If you’re already this far along, however, hopefully that means you’ve done some thinking. However, even if you’re 100% sure you wish to sell, you need to make sure you spend time understanding why and being able to articulate the reasons.

After all, you can expect a potential buyer will ask you this first. If your company is worth buying, they’ll want to know why you’re selling it. So it’s important that you not only understand your own motives, but that you can clarify them to others too.

Timing is Everything

Like so many things, the sale of your business will come down to timing. Begin preparing your business for sale as soon as possible. A year or two before you hope to finalize the sale is best, while your company is expanding. You may need that time to improve the company’s financial records. Even if everything is in order and looks great, you’ll be able to command a better price if you improve anything possible.

Get Your Business Evaluated 

Obviously, the success you have with selling your business will have a lot to do with the price you ask for it. To ensure you choose the most accurate price, hire an independent business appraiser to evaluate your company. This appraiser will not only come up with a price, they’ll produce a detailed explanation that justifies their assessment. This document is incredibly important as you can use it to validate your asking price.

Consider a Broker

With your business appraiser’s assessment, you might feel pretty confident about taking your small business to market. However, it’s important you understand the challenge you’ll face. A lot goes into getting the price you want, after all. Consider hiring a broker who will handle the transaction for you. While they’ll take their cut, it might be worth the cost if it means getting a better price or just saving time.

Gather all Necessary Documents

You’ll need more than just your appraiser’s assessment to sell your company. Any interested buyer will also want to see all financial statements and tax returns for 3 to 4 years back. Once you’ve gathered this information, meet with your accountant and have them review it to make sure everything is in order. 

Other relevant paperwork you should find relates to things like equipment sales, business contacts, leases, etc.

Selling your small business is a huge step. However, if you handle it correctly, it can be as rewarding as starting the venture. Follow the above steps and you’ll be well on your way to sizable profits.