If you’re a stay-at-home mum with time on your hands, then starting a home business could be the best thing you do today. While there are many things you could do – childcare and pet-sitting being just two of them – you might do what many other people have done before you and start a business online. Provided you have a computer and an internet connection; you can set up your own ecommerce store, using a popular website builder or through a dedicated virtual storefront, such as Shopify. Within hours, you can be up and running, selling your goods and making a profit. Easy! Well, not quite…
While it is relatively easy to set yourself up online, there is no guarantee that your customers will buy from you. If you don’t conform to their wants and needs, you may not ring up many sales. And as a customer yourself, you can probably identify some of the usual customer expectations, as you will have been in their shoes yourself as you have browsed the various stores online.
The following are just some of the expectations your customers will have when they visit your online store.
- A decent website. And by decent, we mean something that not only looks good but is functional to use as well. While you may not have web design skills, you can still make an effort, ensuring your customers have a good time using your website. Ensure it’s good to look at, with bright and varied colours, and high-resolution images of your product. Remove anything that might irritate the customer, from popups to annoying jingles when they load up a web page. And make sure your site is easy to navigate, from the product page to the shopping basket. If you need help, hire a web designer, but otherwise, concentrate on redesigning your site yourself if there are any flaws, using your own experiences as a web user to create something user-friendly.
- Fair pricing. Let’s be honest, if the customer can buy the same thing cheaper elsewhere, then they probably will do. Even your loyal friends and family will turn their noses up at what you’re selling if you have priced items too highly. You don’t have to undervalue your products by selling them at a dirt-cheap price, but the least you can do is research similar product lines to yours, and then price your items accordingly on your website.
- Something a little different. We aren’t necessarily talking about your product, although if you can offer something innovative, then you may be on your way to a small fortune! Rather, we are referring to your website, and those small touches that win over your customer’s loyalty. You see, it’s the little things that will please your customers, such as free shipping, competitions, freebies, etc. If you can add something that your competitors aren’t, then you are going to win over the hearts and pockets of your customers.
- Good communication. You need to respond quickly to your customers when they need something from you. Keeping them waiting on the phone for ages, or ignoring their emails, are two ways to alienate your customers. And while you can’t be at their beck and call 24/7, you should at least implement such things as a chatbot or a FAQ page to manage some of your customer’s queries. You see, the longer it takes for your customers to receive a response from you, the more likely it is that they will give up and head over to your nearest rival.
- Fast shipping and returns. Your customers don’t want to wait ages for their product, so ensure you get it out to them as soon as you can. Using a dedicated courier service, such as DPD Local Online, should be your priority when shipping, as this will speed up the process for you and your customers. You should also ensure your products are carefully packaged when sending them out for delivery, as your customers don’t want to be faced with damaged goods on arrival.Then consider your returns policy. If the customer is dissatisfied in any way, then you need to make it easy for them to return their goods. Not only does this fall in line with legal requirements, but it also ensures your customer will use your service again in the future.
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business, so never neglect their expectations. Follow our advice, and you are guaranteeing both good word-of-mouth and returned custom from the people your business needs the most.
This is what happens when you give your customers what they want. (image)