How and Why Small Businesses Need to Optimize Their Websites for E-Commerce

Posted by on October 7, 2013 in Sales 2.0 [ 0 Comments ]

Small business owners should extend their connection with consumers online and focus on e-commerce.

Your e-commerce storefront needs to be as warm and welcoming as the mom and pop brick-and-mortar locations that have historically attracted customers for the past several decades. Many small-business owners thrive on the idea of “buying local” and developing strong customer relationships, fueling the technological development for online purchasing to rekindle that relationship. At stake is the level of sales your company expects and the overall bottom line for the business.

Related: E-Commerce Shopping Cart Solutions

Get on the Same Page
A recent survey of more than 3,000 consumers commissioned by brings to light the idea that customers are growing weary of customer service that ends at the front door. According to the study, more than 80 percent of consumers indicated it’s important for small businesses to be personal and intimate, as well as local and convenient. A SMB can easily achieve these standards by adopting an online store. However, the majority of SMBs are not holding up their end of the bargain. In fact, only 34 percent of consumers said the local companies they frequent the most have a business website.

This can have a significant impact on the financial success of a small business. According to the study, nearly 60 percent of shoppers would visit the website, spread the word about the enterprise and visit the physical storefront if the business provided a site that met their expectations. With growing frequency, consumers visit a website anticipating they’ll be able to shop for and purchase products or services. Consequently, a large part of the equation for creating an improved online presence is having a portal for Web-based commerce.

Related: Five Tips for E-Commerce Website Design Success

Open the Lines of Communication
One part of improving e-commerce sales can be accomplished with relatively simple moves on the part of small-business owners. An infographic developed by the online marketing firm ReachLocal, emphasized the need for companies to provide even the smallest level of convenience. According to the source, 66 percent of small-business websites don’t have a form that allows consumers to ask for information about a product or service. This can be detrimental for a couple of reasons.

  • It gives your customers the impression that you’re inaccessible, or you’re not interested in giving feedback. While you may be confident that your business offerings speak for themselves, not all consumers are on the same page.
  • Moreover, the feedback or questions visitors have in response to your products and services can provide essential information for the way you market to them in the future. Customers who visit a traditional storefront expect employees to help and address any concerns they might have, and that same level of customer service should extend into the digital world. Many companies have already invested in providing live chat options or at least a Web form for a greater depth of customer interaction.

Meanwhile, the role of social media can’t be ignored in jump-starting your e-commerce platform. Social networks act as extensions of people, organizations and enterprises of local interest. Although there are several avenues to make purchases and sell items online, there are few that have integrated a social media strategy.

Related: 10 Surprising Stats About Great Customer Service

​Make E-Commerce Local
TechCrunch, a website dedicated to all things technology, provided the example of myTAG, an online platform selling things locally. The company diverges from other Internet sites by allowing members to develop profiles, incorporate video content and rate the business or individuals selling products on the site. The strategy behind this venture was to create a more transparent relationship between buyers and sellers in an e-commerce environment. Moreover, myTAG is using technology that uses keywords and hashtags to match common interests between consumers and sellers. Connecting with customers remains the highest priority for small businesses, but the resources that allow them to establish these important relationships are continuously evolving.

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