E-commerce: How to get a foothold and thrive in a fiercely competitive space

By Matthias Knobloch, Junior PR Manager at 1&1 IONOS

Online retail can seem like a scary task to take on for any emerging business. For all the exciting products you may have; all of the heart, soul and effort required for the creation of a shop, there is no guarentee that anyone will actually buy from you. So, as a small or medium-sized retailer, what‘s the best strategy to make your e-commerce offering the best it can be?





Start with a well thought-through concept

Before committing to setting up any sort of online offering you need to have a clear idea of your concept. Start by asking yourself: what are my main competitors doing online? How are customers searching for my products? Is my domain name clear and understandable? These are all questions that need to be answered before setting up your online retail strategy.

Choose the right technical setup

The right e-commerce set-up for your business depends on what kind of online shop you want to start, what knowledge you have and what resources are available.

If your business is just starting out and you need a powerful but easy to navigate, customisable shop, software-as-a-service (SAAS) solutions are recommended. These include sufficient web space for what you want to achieve, important payment and shipping methods, professional design templates and demo-shops. There’s also options to integrate popular online marketplaces and comparison portals allowing a multi-channel strategy.

Turn visitors into buyers

Users often search Google to discover new products, so improving your search engine ranking is a must. Therefore investment in search engine optimisation (SEO) measures and targeted search engine advertising (SEA) is essential

Your website’s user-friendliness is also very important. A responsive shop with fast loading times, the option of different payment methods and hi-res product images all help reduce bounce rates and increase sale conversion.

Secure customer trust

More so than ever, customers value the security of their data, and expect encrypted, uncomplicated payment processing methods. Sensitive data should only be transmitted in encrypted form to prevent theft. In addition, legal information such as Ts&Cs, data protection declarations and contact details should also feature prominently on your website. Integrated customer reviews also increase the trustworthiness of the shop, as potential customers increasingly rely on the experience of other buyers.

The best strategy to tackle giant online retailers isn’t to take them on directly. Instead it’s much more fruitful to start your online shop by focusing on what your customer needs, investing in the most applicable shop solution for your products, and making the most of popular marketplaces and comparison portals to maximse sales.

To find out more about building your own e-commerce site, visit: https://www.ionos.co.uk/ecommerce-solutions/ecommerce-website-builder

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