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How to build a successful eCommerce business

How to build a successful eCommerce business

Britain’s macro-economy may be facing challenging times but when it comes to eCommerce the nation is thriving. UK consumers now account for more than one third of all eCommerce sales in Europe, and we are predicted to collectively spend a massive €174bn online this year1.

With those kinds of stats in mind, it’s not surprising that more and more businesses are getting online faster than ever before. According to Worldpay research, 82% of small businesses, formed in the past three years went online within 12 months of being established2.

So what are the major benefits of building an eCommerce business? And more importantly, what are the common pitfalls budding entrepreneurs must avoid?

It’s clear that driving sales is foremost in the mind of any business owner. From our research, we estimate that getting online can help increase sales by an average of 11%. Some specific benefits that small businesses noted about being online were access to new geographical markets both in the UK and globally giving access to more potential customers, the new demographics the web brings with it and the ability to sell new products with ease. Start-up costs are also lower because you have no rent and fewer staff to pay, and ongoing operational costs on average may drop 7% online2
 

Clearing the hurdles

But barriers still exist. Nearly half of consumers say they are more loyal to the brands they shop with in-store than they are online. And checkout abandonment rates are still way too high – standing at a massive 67% at present. Many give up rather than pay extra card fees and others resent being forced to create an online account before they can buy3. Card security is another hot issue, for small online businesses and consumers alike.

So what’s the answer? Successful small business owners told us it’s vital to spend time planning a clear strategy. It’s also important to bear in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day – it takes the average small business 13 weeks before they’re ready to trade online. Don’t be afraid to outsource the more complex aspects of the process to the experts. The designing and building of the website is the task most commonly handed over to third parties, although payments pages are also best handled by the experts. 

With so many card abandonments, simplifying the end-to-end journey is vital if you’re going to make a success of your online business. Ask yourself these key questions:

  • Does your checkout have too many steps?
  • Are you offering the right payment methods? 
  • How can you simplify your customer journey?

Consumers are most frustrated by delivery (28%), being able to compare products (23%), checkout (19%), and finding information on products (17%), so these should also be key areas to focus on. One-click shopping is one of the easiest ways to simplify the customer journey and viewed as a great idea by the majority of British consumers. If you also operate a bricks and mortar store it could be a good move to integrate your channels, allowing shoppers to click and collect. Many (43%) told us it would encourage them to shop more often.

This isn’t an exhaustive list but it’ll give you somewhere to start. The web does a fantastic job of narrowing the gap between the big name high street stores and the huge number of UK small businesses looking to carve out success on their own. The learning curve may be steep at first but follow these best practice tips and your business could soon be on its way to becoming the next British eCommerce success story.

1 ecommercenews.eu/ecommerce-uk-reach-e174-billion-2016/

2 Worldpay E-commerce research of 500 small businesses, May 2016

3 Worldpay Consumer Behaviour and Payments Report 2016