We love supporting and encouraging moms to look outside-the-box for income opportunities so they can spend more time with their families.
Do you work from home running an online store or toyed around with the idea? Then this post is for you!
Everyone always talks about bringing in new customers but keeping them coming back is a key to any successful online store. However, sometimes that is easier said than done. We all go through stagnant periods in business. Different seasons of busy and slow. But how can we manage pulling in new business all the while maintain the current clientele we have and keeping them happy? 1 trick: Consistency. Not blown away? Let me elaborate.
The mere definition of consistency is staying in agreement with characteristics and facts previously shown. Conformity with previous attitudes, behavior, and practice.
In essence, if you are consistent your customers will know what to expect. Not just with you, but with deadlines, with shipping, with correspondence, with quality etc. Creating a baseline for your business and working hard to stick to it will create a foundation that you can build upon.
If you say you will ship all items within 48 hours, do it. Stay up all night filling orders if you have too. If you say you will follow up on an issue for a client give them a time frame, and always check in on or before that timeframe has lapsed. Even if it’s to tell them you don’t quite have an answer. Once you have created this baseline of consistency you build a trust and bond with your customers. Once you have their trust, there are a few other tips and tricks that have helped us along the way!
6 Tips to Running a Successful Online Store
- Make your store uniform. I cannot stress this point enough. No matter what the item or object you are trying sell take pictures of your items the same way every time. Don’t take some outside, some inside, some laying out, some on a mannequin. Things need to be uniform and uncluttered. Pictures need to be the same size, same layout, same lighting. If you choose to show different ways of using or wearing an item you can have additional thumbnail images, but your main “shopping” page needs to be uniform and clean. For example let’s say you’re working with clothing. All images are shot the same wooden back drop. All are always laid out. And the image is always straight on. It’s clean and the images stay the same size.
- Make shipping and/or fees and deadlines very clear and in multiple spots. No one likes a guessing game or hidden fees. If you charge shipping make it clear. If you offer free shipping after a customer spends “$xx” amount of money make it clear. If items take a week to ship or take 24 hours to ship make it clear. This will not only avoid you having to answer emails and messages about when is my item going to be here, but it will also create a trust with the customer. We aren’t hiding anything. This is how much it costs, period.
- Always have some kind of discount, promo code, or a “gift” ready. People love sales. Customers love discounts. I will buy something more often than not just because it’s “on sale” or a good deal. This will give you something to give your customers to keep them coming back. People also love the classic freebie or extra unexpected. Every now and then slip “gifts” into customers bags as a thank you for their order. If you know they have kids, slip a small toy for their child to enjoy. If they are buying a hair care product, send a free comb. If they are buying a book, send a bookmark. People love free items and are more likely to remember your company and reciprocate by buying from you again.
- Maintain social media, make the small things matter. If you have only a Facebook page, maintain it. If you have several social media accounts maintain them. Nothing is more of a turn off than looking for information or searching for something new and seeing that it has been months since the owner has cared to update his customers. There are so many algorithms I could go into it would bore you for days, but it all goes back to the main tip: consistency.
Pick how many times a day, week , and month you want to post and maintain it. Ex: If you sell Wedding items, and on your Facebook page you start a weekly “Wedding Wednesday Post” Maintain that cache phrase every Wednesday you need to keep up that title and that post. Your readers expect it and it will help to drive new traffic to your page. If you ask a question or run a giveaway, make sure you do it consistently. Man your page. Respond to wall posts and private messages in a timely manner because these online forums are your store front. How you act and respond become your clients’ impressions of you. So always be overly courteous and helpful. Always post updates of products, promos, and customers using your products to your social media! Consistent interaction is key! Banter and interact with your users and remember to have fun!
- Find a reliable web-host. Nothing is more frustrating and more detrimental than getting someone to try or to find your site and it crashes. Having a reliable web-host that is available 24/7 by phone, chat or email is crucial. You can’t afford to be down hours while you wait on your host to respond. Age old saying: time is money. If your site is down, your losing money. HostGator is a great place to start. They not only offer the support around the clock, they are super user friendly. You can one stop shop for your domain name and build your site, blog or store with drag and drop features. Not tech savvy? They have a design team that can do it for you!Finding a reliable web-host is great, but plugging into a community within that webhosting company to help guide you through online marketing, and search engine optimization is what will help take your business to the next level. Feel like I am speaking Greek? HostGator offers access to their marketing team to help teach you about PPC and SEO and to teach you how to CONSISTENTLY drive traffic to your website.
- Handwritten Notes and being proactive with your customers goes along way. Yes, I mean getting out a real pen and paper and writing a thank you note to include in orders every now and then. It’s personal. You don’t have the option to make the impression that you would if people were walking into your brick and mortar building. So make that personal connection by writing a note. It can be as simple as “Thank you for ordering from us! We really appreciate your business” or can be as creative and personal as you like: “This is our favorite dog brush, we use it with our dog fluffy at home. It is always nice to share the same passions with someone else.”Don’t stop there, you need to be proactive with your customers. Follow up. Make sure people are satisfied with their product. Ask them to send you pictures of them using your products and feature them on your social media! People love the publicity and love to feel like they are part of and helping you!
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a business. Some days are downright frustrating, throw your hands up kind of days. Those are the days to remember that being consistent over a long period of time is what will matter. Even if everything is going wrong, be consentient in how you handle things, and you will keep customers coming back. Social Media is huge conglomerate that is changing the way business is conducted, but nothing will ever beat word of mouth between friends. You win 1 customer you win 10 of their friends!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.