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6 considerations for managing an online business

July 2, 2015

Follow these six rules for managing your online business. 

Whether you maintain a physical store and have an e-commerce catalog as an add-on function, or if your website is your only point-of-sale, it is important to have an effective strategy for selling your products and services. Knowing which areas to focus on can help you reach new customers and grow your business. Accordingly, here are 6 considerations for managing an online business:

1. Don’t be afraid to innovate
If you have been in operation for some time, you may think you know the best way to do business. In fact, you may be an expert in your field. However, if that confidence causes you to avoid making changes, then you might miss out on important opportunities. Especially with regard to online business, innovating is essential. That could mean having to install new sales platforms, launching a new social media campaign, developing better inventory management protocols, or myriad other ways you can improve your business.  New technologies continue to be released to the market that help companies manage their day-to-day operations. Consider leveraging these solutions to work for you. Not sending your customers loyalty cards just might be the thing holding your business back from reaching new heights. 

“Focus on simplicity and think about the end user.”

2. Be attractive to your customers
Beauty is subjective, but in this case, any effort is better than none. If you maintain an online e-commerce catalog, that platform should be visually appealing, easy to navigate and intuitive. There are many resources available on the Internet that advise you on how to design your site for optimal use. You should always focus on simplicity and think about how the end user accesses your site. Sites like Amazon and EBay are successful because they have elegant designs and intuitive layout. Also, don’t forget to use responsive site design on your site. This will allow visitors to access your catalog on their mobile devices and view your pages in their correct format. Not doing so could mean many lost sales. The same logic that applies to your site design should also apply to your branded materials, promotional emails and other targeted advertising efforts that help create awareness for your company.

3. Pay attention to the numbers
We live in the age of big data. That does not just apply to engineers and manufacturing technicians. Companies like Facebook and Twitter use data analytics to derive insight from the customer information located on their sites in order to create more effective targeted advertising strategies. You can use data analytics to monitor traffic on your site, assess what your customers’ preferences and likes are, and develop better marketing strategies going forward. Many sales platforms and point of sale devices today feature data analytics capabilities. Use these solutions to analyze and understand the trends behind the numbers. If, for example, the bulk of your customers access your site more on a particular day of the week, perhaps you could benefit from offering special deals on that day.

Offer your preferred customers deals and discounts. Foster brand loyalty through proven marketing strategies.

4. Foster brand loyalty by being loyal
When people talk about brand loyalty, often, they expect that customers must inherently be loyal. However, the truth is that companies must do their part to show repeat clients and preferred customers that their business is appreciated. You can show your best customers that you recognize and care for their contribution by offering them special deals, member discounts and other perks. Another strategy for developing brand loyalty is maintaining constant communication. You can do this by sending emails and messages to customers that focus on products they are interested in. If you have a client that is interested in sound systems, let him or her know when the newest speaker set hits the market. That effort is likely to help you sell more in the long run.

5. Become a thought leader by blogging consistently
Today, most businesses have a website and also maintain a blog. The reason is that SEO is improved significantly by blogging on a regular basis. That means the chances that customers will find your company through an Internet search are much higher if you are always publishing new stories that discuss relevant issues to your blog. Additionally, by maintaining a blog, you will establish yourself as a thought leader in your respective industry segment. If you sell gym equipment, discussing new exercises and nutritional supplements could help you access a wider range of customers.

6. Love what you do
Perhaps most importantly, you should love doing what you do. Business isn’t just about sales and marketing, products and point of sales devices. Passion goes a long way. If you are truly committed to seeing your business expand, then you probably care about the products and services you offer. Show your customers that you are enthusiastic about your offerings, because optimism is infectious. If you take the aforementioned suggestions seriously, you will have a site that is visually appealing, lends itself to data analytics, discusses topics that your customers are interested in and honors repeat clients. Being good at business is one way you can show the world you care.

Ultimately, online businesses are intrinsically appealing. They offer customers instant information, home delivery, anonymity and the convenience of visiting whenever they want. These suggestions are simply meant to help you take a good thing and make it better. 

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