There are thousands of online startups being launched each year, but the failure rate, according to multiple sources, is more than 90 percent within the first four months. And yes, one might argue that this statistic is inaccurate and borne from pessimistic views, but the numbers do not lie. To avoid the same fate, here are seven key factors that any online startup needs to hit the ground running.
Content is your currency on the web. Without search engine-optimized content, an online startup will remain in the shadows until either luck or time guides visitors to their website. Online businesses must be a producer of highly engaging content, regardless of what product or service they are providing. Creating and posting content on a regular basis improves your chances of being viewed by a much broader audience. Imagine if you only had one article or blog post created. How likely will it be found by viewers compared to a business that creates and posts content every week? Be sure to optimize your articles and blog posts for search engines that index and serve them to viewers.
A user-friendly and intuitive interface makes all the difference between your viewers sticking around and possibly purchasing something and leaving as soon as they land on your pages. Contrary to what most people think, a website is much more than a set of pages linked together by a shared codebase. That interaction creates a unique experience for the customer and will influence him/her to buy and even spread the word about your brand. Creating the right user interface design involves knowing your users, defining how people use your site, anticipating mistakes and then correcting them, and giving and asking for feedback to determine the next step.
User interface pertains to the look and feel of a website and its pages while user experience or UX refers to the set of tasks focused on optimizing products and services for efficient and enjoyable utility. It determines how simple it is to purchase a product or sign up for a service. This includes website features, such as shopping cart software or the ability to make appointments. Your website’s UI will be the one to attract attention to viewers, but its UX determines bounce and conversion rates.
A considerable concern surrounding the trillion-dollar eCommerce industry is security. Every year, millions of dollars and tons of user information are stolen from companies by hackers and their malware. Give your users peace of mind that their information is secure by keeping your systems up to date and storing information on remote servers with secure backups. Aside from a system that regularly and systematically scans for malicious programs, you should also have a system for destroying data that you no longer need, such as credit card information of past customers.
If you’re running your entire startup online, it’s a no-brainer to invest in good internet connection otherwise you run the risk of inadvertently taking the site offline and losing sales and profits in the process. While price is a huge factor when choosing a service provider, you cannot afford to skimp out on a good internet connection as your business will suffer greatly. When comparison shopping for ISPs, your criteria should be led by uptime guarantee, customer support availability, and then only should you look at price.
Customer reviews and testimonials, specifically positive ones, can seal the deal and foster lasting relationships with new clientele. Nowadays, before making any purchases, people browse through dozens of reviews and testimonials to see if the company and its product/service is legitimate and trustworthy. Products bearing five stars on Amazon and other eCommerce sites will always be preferred over competitors that have fewer stars. Dedicate an entire page on your website to testimonials left by satisfied customers. Aside from adding integrity to your site and brand, customer reviews can also answer specific questions that potential customers might have regarding the product/service.
Because there is no physical office connecting you and your audience, you’ll need a reliable customer support team to answer queries and resolve issues. If a customer has questions about how they can upgrade their account, they should be able to just send you a message through your website. Nowadays, it’s becoming increasingly common for online startups, especially tech-related ones, to have customer support representatives on standby in a chat window.
The world of eCommerce is highly competitive and fast paced. You’ll need all the help you can get to survive and succeed for more than six months. Make sure you have the seven things aforementioned in this article to establish a solid foundation from which to launch your commercial rocket.