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A lot goes into running an online store, but nothing is more important than building your customer base. This includes attracting new customers and ensuring their business for years to come. Fortunately, there are practical methods to achieve both of these goals. Whether you’re already an e-commerce entrepreneur or you aspire to be one, here’s some advice to set you on the right path.

Be accessible

Any successful business prioritizes customer experience above everything else. To make your company stand out, you must make yourself accessible to existing and potential customers. Think of it this way: If there is someone interested in one of your products but they want questions answered before they purchase it, do you have a better chance of selling the product if they can get in touch with you or if they feel ignored?

This also applies to customers who already have one or more of your products; if they know you will answer when they reach out with a concern, they’re more likely to give you their business in the future. This part of running a business is so important that you should dedicate a certain amount of time each day to responding via email, social media, and phone calls.

Keep an evolving inventory

It’s critical to keep things interesting for customers, particularly when you don’t have a brick-and-mortar store. One effective way of attracting customers is by regularly changing your inventory. Managing inventory requires work, but it’s well worth it for two reasons:

  1. It can attract new customers who do a general online search or product search for a particular type of item.
  2. It can help you retain customers because they will know there’s always something new.

As long as you offer your best-selling items year-round, you can change the rest of your inventory as much you’d like. For instance, if you run an online wholesale clothing store, you can rest assured that people buy clothes no matter what the season. So if you switch out inventory every season, you have at least four opportunities a year to keep things interesting.

Make checkouts easy

Unlike with traditional retail stores, customers can go from your website to a different one in a matter of seconds if they lose patience or if the checkout process is confusing. To help prevent shopping cart abandonment, upload professional videos and photos of your products, and provide links that work properly and guide them through the process. Also, make checkout quick and easy. Furthermore, provide product recommendations for items that are related — or complementary to — the items they are buying.

Use email marketing

Email marketing can help grow and solidify your customer base because it builds goodwill and keeps your brand in the back of the customer’s mind. There are several ways to implement email marketing, a few of which are:

  • Notifying customers of a new product
  • Announcing sales or giveaways
  • Offering promos, coupons, discounts, etc.
  • Recommending products based on recent purchases
  • Sharing blogs from your website

Offer an amazing return policy

Another great way to attract and retain customers is to maintain a liberal return policy. Since customers can’t see a product in-person before buying it online, there will be times when their expectations aren’t met. Don’t allow your customers to regret shopping from your store. Make it easy for them to return an item they’re not satisfied with; or even better, offer to send them a new product and let them keep the original one.

To have a successful online store, you not only need to find ways of bringing in new customers, you also need to maintain a strong customer base. Be sure your company remains accessible to customers, regularly change your inventory, and make the checkout process quick and easy. Also, take advantage of email marketing and offer a liberal return policy. Following these tips will help your company build its brand and stand the test of time.

Photo Credit: Pexels

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