In the brick-and-mortar world, windows entice shoppers into the store. Online, your website is the “window.” Is it visually exciting? Does it encourage shoppers to explore your products and services? Is it easy to navigate, and does it load quickly?
These are only the basics. If you haven’t already, you’ll want to cover all the bases when it comes to choosing a strong e-commerce platform. Here’s why…
- Responsive communications – Today’s online shoppers won’t tolerate slow service and they’ve come to expect 24/7 service availability.
- Easy, safe online check out – The desire to limit exposure to COVID will continue to influence shopping behavior for the near term. Enhancing the online shopping experience with tools for attracting and retaining customers becomes even more vital. That can mean offering the ability to save items in a cart and apply coupon codes to offering a range of payment and shipping choices. Shops that aren’t properly set up for online transactions will lose out.
- Multiple delivery options – Consumers have come to expect flexibility when it comes to shipping and delivery. Due to the pandemic, delivery services are expected and many companies are making delivery options part of their core business.
- Customer reviews – An essential part of today’s online shopping experience is the ability to read credible product reviews. That means not just publishing your customers’ thoughts about their purchases, but responding to any concerns they might have in the review section. Businesses that demonstrate that they’re listening to – and doing something about – complaints develop greater respect from both current and potential customers.
Xpheria recommends Square as the e-commerce platform for accepting payments, building customer relationships, and growing revenues in-store and online. There’s no coding expertise required to set up an online store, as we did for the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau in Bradford, Pennsylvania.
There are several advantages to using a third-party platform rather than building or integrating one into your own website:
- There’s no need to expend time and money re-inventing the wheel, since third-party platforms have already worked out all the background details concerning credit card transactions and bank account integrations for you.
- If your website goes down, your online store remains unaffected at a different location and will continue to ring up sales.
- Third-party platforms are professionally managed by people who know every aspect of the platform’s performance and are available to help you should problems arise.
- They are mobile-friendly, meaning they work well on any device: desktop, notebook, tablet and mobile phone.
The pandemic, inflation and worker shortages have put great pressure on small and midsize businesses in recent years, but these problems have also presented them with new opportunities through online e-commerce. Xpheria can help you tap into these opportunities.
Nathan Muller is the author of 29 technical books and over 3,000 articles that have appeared in 75 publications worldwide. He also writes articles, blogs and social media content for tech companies and their executives.