You’ve created your website. Gone over your business plan. Your e-commerce company is up and running (finally!)...only nothing’s happening.
Customers are the lifeblood of your business. Without them, you’re not going to last long. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to make sure that you are ready to deliver what your customers need.
Do I know who my customers are?
You may think you know your customers, but the more information you have about them, the better you can serve them and market to them. Consider creating customer profiles that break down who your customer is, even with granular points like what motivates her and the channels she prefers to be marketed to on.
Once you have a customer profile rather than a generic audience you’re trying to reach, it will be easier to connect with each individual.
Do I know how to deliver what my customers want?
Beyond knowing who your customers are, it’s imperative that you understand what they want. You can do this through market research and find out really useful information, like what types of offers they’re more likely to respond to, what colors compel them to spend time on your site, and even what drives them to click to your site from another site.
It will take trial and error to land on the best possible combination of all factors on your website, but with every iteration, you learn a little more about what your customers really want.
Is it dead simple to make a purchase?
You may have given no thought to your customer’s experience shopping and buying from your website once the site design was finished, but a difficult-to-navigate checkout process is one of the biggest barriers to e-commerce sites making sales.
Minimize the steps it takes to complete a purchase. Consider not requiring customers to create an account to buy something: 37% of shoppers would abandon their carts during the checkout process if they were required to create an account to complete it.
Do I offer customers multiple ways to pay?
Another way to ensure that you’re ready to engage customers is by offering multiple payment methods. Yes, it may be more work on your part up front to accept credit and debit cards as well as PayPal and Google Pay, but in the long run, if you’re making it easier for people to buy from you, isn’t it worth it?
Is my marketing up and running?
Some first-time business owners think they can wait until later to start marketing their businesses heavily, but the fact is: consumers want to interact with your brand today. That means that you need a social media presence, not only to get the word out about your new company but also to interact with existing customers, answering their questions and providing them with reasons to buy from you again and again. You also need email marketing: the average return for email as a marketing channel is 3800%! In other words: for every dollar you spend on email marketing, you’ll reap $38.
Marketing is a constant effort, so there’s no one-and-done here. Make sure you have the resources to continually update your marketing channels and offer your contacts more incentives to buy.
Is my customer service process ready to roll?
Whether you as the business owner will be handling all customer service inquiries or you have a team to handle it, you need to make sure your processes are in place before calls and emails start coming in. It can be helpful to have your team work from scripts for common issues like returns, but make sure they know they should also be human and work off the script when the need arises.
Your customers should have multiple ways to connect with your customer service department: having the options of telephone, chat, email, and even social media makes them feel like they’re important to your company. Just make sure your reps respond in an appropriate amount of time! Your customers shouldn’t have to stay on hold for your 800 line for 10 minutes, and their emails should be answered within a day.
It’s important to understand just how necessary it is to continually ensure that you’re properly engaging your customers. Again, it’s not something you can do once and be done with. You need to constantly monitor how well you’re doing at meetings or even exceeding their expectations of your brand. A quick survey sent via email after a purchase can help you stay on top of that.
But don’t just take the pulse of your customers; also do something with the feedback. If you’re getting less than an A+, determine what the problem is. If, for example, customers are complaining about products taking too long to ship, look into faster shipping options. Or if they’re waiting on hold for customer service, hire more reps. You may need to keep reinvesting in your company to keep customers happy, but doing so will also boost your bottom line!