The online retail industry is booming, and it’s only going to grow. It is estimated that 1.66 billion people around the world bought something online in 2017, with sales adding up to $2.5 trillion. It is projected that this figure will be $4.48 trillion by 2021. These are mind boggling figures! Many entrepreneurs are looking to set up an online business in order to grab a share of this multi-trillion dollar industry. But how can you ensure your online business will be a success? Here are Alison’s 6 tips for starting an online business.

Know the target market for your online business

Clearly identify the target market for your particular product or service. Who are your customers and where are they located on the internet? These are the first questions you need to ask, as the answers should dictate a lot of your business strategies. Ideally, you want to identify a niche, untapped market.

Find out where your customers hang out online

Engaging with your customers online through social media platforms is a must for any type of business today. You need to discover the virtual hang-outs of your customers and engage with them there. Are they on Facebook? Twitter? Are they on LinkedIn, or members of specific groups on LinkedIn? Go, discover and engage your customers!

Get your business website right

Your website is the shop window for your business, so you need to take time and care in designing it. Flashy designs might look great, but it could slow your site down. By focusing on getting the look and feel of your site correct, as well as the site’s functionality and ease of use, you’re more likely to convert potential customers.  Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and understand how they want to use your site.

Make it your business to master Google Analytics

We cannot emphasise enough how important it is for all online business owners to master the various Google tools, including Google Analytics, Google Ad-words and Google Ad-sense. The information these tools provide will be essential to the successful marketing of your online business.

Continuously innovate and improve online

Building and launching your website is just the beginning. You need to continuously improve and update it. A successful business is one that keeps innovating. By keeping your website updated and constantly improving your customer offering, you’re on the road to success.

Keep your online customers coming back with excellent customer service

Just because your business is online does not mean you can afford to neglect customer service. You need to deliver excellent customer service if you want to keep your online customers coming back. This means having your terms and conditions of sale clearly visible on your site and easy to understand. Make sure you have proper complaint procedures in place. If something goes wrong for a customer, they must be able to contact you and have their complaint resolved quickly.

With a pinch of passion, loads of dedication and a flair for innovation – your entrepreneur dream can become a reality!

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