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Building An Online Business During Difficult Times
March 12, 2010 - Mumbai

Online commerce grew by 12.4% in the past year despite the economy. A 12.4% growth is good when the market is strong. In a depressed market, this growth is impressive. To remain profitable in an economy where shoppers are increasingly choosing to shop online instead of heading to malls, you need to be online. If you are not yet online, you need to consider launching your business online. If you are online, here are some suggestions that can help you increase your website presence and in turn, your online revenue:

Website Content & Design: The internet has evolved and improved immensely since its advent. If your web store was designed in 1998, then it doesn’t offer customers the level of convenience they are used too. Your web store does not have to be complex or flash based but it should be sleek in terms of design and navigation and informative in terms of content. Any website failing to meet these requirements will not lure in and convert visitors into customers.
  
Inventory & Information: Don’t let lack of inventory cost you current and future sales. Always ensure that your web store has a good range of products in stock at all times. If you don’t have inventory, your disappointed visitor might not return.

Always, support your inventory with detailed, persuasive descriptions and images. When selling online, customers can touch and feel or see the product they are purchasing. Your detailed description and images reassure potential customers about their product choice and increase your potential conversion rate.

Marketing Campaigns: Whether you are marketing – online or offline, you need to make sure your campaign is positioned accurately to reach the right audience. If your marketing campaign reaches the wrong audience, there are two possible outcomes – the first, you will not receive any traffic and your investment will be in vain. The second, the campaign generates traffic but fails to convert visitors into customers. Either way, it will be a waste of your investment and efforts.

Feedback and Reviews: Customers are typically of two types – the serious variety that research every possibility before making a purchase and the impulse buyers, who purchase is mood based. In a market affected by job cuts, majority of customer have curbed their impulse buys and conduct careful research, read reviews etc. before spending their hard-earned money. By requesting and adding product and service reviews from previous customer, you can reassure individuals about their purchase and convert them into customers easily.

Customer reviews and feedback have another benefit. They can help improve your ranking on search engines. Once you receive a review, you need to create keyword-rich content that matches keywords prospective customers use to look for your product online and add it to your web store. This will help ensure your web store is found on the first search page, which increases the opportunity of sale.

Engage Customers After Sales: Repeat customers are a good source of business as they are more likely to recommend your web store to family and friends. You can convert one-time customers into brand loyal customers by engaging them year round. Create a database of customers and regular keep them informed of offers, discounts, new additions etc. This will help keep your web store brand in the customer’s mind. Another benefit of building a loyal customer base is that these customers are loyal to you even during difficult times i.e. they prefer to purchase from you rather than a competitor.

By following these simple tips, you can start an online business and create an alternate source of revenue. Moreover, you provide existing customers with an easy method of shopping and through open your business to globally situated customers.

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