E-commerce is a complex business. You’re competing with massive global giants, as well as with millions of smaller businesses just like you, and delivering to a busy customer that has become used to quick and convenient online shopping. It’s enough to overwhelm any small e-commerce business.

So what are the secrets to success? Start with these tips from HulkApps.

A Great Website

As an e-commerce business, your website is your shop. You wouldn’t want to step into a physical shop that was outdated, confusing, and difficult to navigate, and the same goes for your website.

Did you know that 88 percent of consumers are less likely to shop with you again if they have a bad experience on your website the first time? And a “bad experience” can mean anything, from confusing layouts to being just plain unattractive.

You need to make sure your website is well-designed, both in terms of its aesthetic and its usability. If you’re not confident with web design, either hire a professional or build your website on a platform like Shopify that you can easily customize to your brand.

Reliable Payment & Shipping

Your website can be the most beautiful, sleekly designed site in the world, but if you don’t keep your promises in terms of payment and shipping, then no one will shop with you again.

In particular, you need to make sure your customers feel safe using your website for payments. Good design helps with this (75 percent of people automatically don’t trust a poorly-designed website), but using a reliable payment service is the most important thing. Consider all the market-leading options and make sure to clearly display which system you are using on your website.

Shipping can feel a lot more complicated. For a new e-commerce business, few things can seem as intimidating as trying to compete with giants like Amazon with their free same-day shipping. However, providing reliable and affordable shipping isn’t that complicated - this beginner’s guide by Shopify contains all the basics you need to know.

Helpful Customer Service

If anything does go wrong with an order, customers need to know they can rely on you to make it right. Your customer service needs to be responsive, personal, and genuinely helpful - customers can see through empty platitudes and promises, and will eventually look elsewhere.

One area that is particularly important is your returns policy. Make sure it is clearly explained on your website, and process any refunds as quickly as possible to ensure brand loyalty. Customers have come to expect easy, seamless returns, and will become very easily frustrated if you don’t deliver.

But customer service isn’t just about what happens after a sale. According to Forbes, “three out of five customers never complete their purchases due to poor customer service.” You need to be available to answer questions, clarify key points, and go the extra mile for your customer whenever possible.

As Floship explains, one thing you can do is pick the right tools. There are several software packages available including live-chat, analytics, and CRM capabilities, so have a good look around to decide which one you need.

And One Secret to Covering Your Bum

Naturally, growing your business and keeping your customers happy is your primary focus - but as your business expands, you’ll also need to think about protecting your finances and your data. Every entrepreneur should build a safety net for their company in case of legal issues. For instance, for a reasonable price, you can register your business as an Illinois LLC through an online formation service, which will help to protect your personal and business finances.

You’ll also need to consider cybersecurity for the sake of yourself, your staff, and your customers. It’s a good idea to develop a strong cybersecurity plan that will allow you to prevent hackers from obtaining your customer’s personal information.

These three points represent the main areas every e-commerce business should be focusing on. The quality of your product is, of course, important, as are your marketing and backend processes like accounting, but they don’t mean much if you don’t focus on making your customers happy. A seamless online shopping experience, from basket to payment to shipping and, if needed, returns, is the only way to guarantee that.

Connect with HulkApps for more information, ideas and tips to help you on the path to success.