9 Need-To-Knows for new Online Store Merchants

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Think you’re all set and prepared with your products and targeted market of customers? Then start setting your shop up on Boutir! Here are 9 must-know tips & tricks that you cannot miss out on:

(Only available to Business and Business PLUS merchants. Please log in to your account at the right hand side of the page to access the following article.)

Step 1: Start your own online store

Needless to say, you will need the right tools and platform in order to kickstart your company’s journey. With a whole variety of online platforms and software for you to choose from, it is important that you pick the one that best fulfills your business’ needs. You know your own business best, so keep in mind that doing a little bit more research will help you go a long way. Simple, fast and convenient to use, you can consider using Boutir as a platform that will grow your business with you, an aid to help you in every step of the way. For more information  about Boutir’s features, check out: http://www.boutir.com/subscription

Step 2: Your store’s Domain Name

Using a customised store domain name that is unique to your company’s brand will help build and instil brand familiarity within your customers. A short, and easy-to-remember name can leave a lasting impression and allow your customers to easily recall what your brand and company is about.

Some commonly seen and used domain names like .com / .my, etc. However, as an online store, we recommend that merchants use .store as a domain name. Other than it’s obvious and clear cut domain name, (It already has the word “store” and people can infer that you are selling products or services.) your SEO ranking would be further elevated as well. For example, if your store is abc, your domain name will be abc.store.

Step 3: Prepare your store logo and store banner

A store logo is a visual representation of one’s products and services. It can be a symbol made up of texts and images related to your brand’s personality and values. Customers should be able to instantly recognise your brand with just one look at the logo. Still, the ultimate end goal is to be unforgettable in your customers’ minds. We have handpicked 4 top tips to aid you in creating a store logo that stands out from the rest:

  • Brand Recognition & Identity

A great store logo will help people recognise your brand — the identity that you want your customers to perceive your company to be. For example, if a company is dedicated to being environmentally-friendly, they would use colours like green to help customers relate to all things mother nature. The colour could better convey your company’s identity eg. zero-waste management, total organic produce, etc. If your store logo could allow anyone to associate and relate to your brand in the direction that you want, you are already one step closer to success!

  • Convey your brand’s concept

A great store logo can straightforwardly convey your brand’s concept. Take Nike as an example. The big tick of Nike’s logo signifies a wing, which conveys that their products are made for great mobility and speed in sports. As for Starbucks, the logo image of a mermaid conveys the message that the smell of their coffee is as mesmerising as that of the looks of a mermaid.

  • Easy-to-Recall and Obvious Differentiation

Here’s a tip: Images are much more attention grabbing than words. Find and focus on the main essence of what your shop is about and go on to create a great logo that: leaves a huge lasting impression, is easily remembered, and one which stands out from your competitors. All the best!

  • Colour & Aesthetic Sense

Aesthetically pleasing images are naturally easy on the eyes, yet attention grabbing. Thus, when considering the usage of colours or the ratio of elements in your logo, do keep in mind the balance and harmony between the colours. Canva is a tool suited for pros and even beginners to design logos and there are free to use samples of logos for you to start with. Let your creativity take over and start designing now: www.canva.com.

Step 4: Product Uploads and Categories

Once you have prepared your store logo and store banner images, the next focus would be uploading of your products. There are many ways for you to upload your products like direct import using Instagram or even through CSV on our desktop management platform (if you would like to upload numerous products at one go). If you have only a few pieces of products to put up, you can simply use our mobile platform to upload. After uploading, you can start categorising your products. With the different categories set available, finding desired products would be like a breeze for your customers. The chances of them making purchases would drastically increase as well.

Step 5: Availability of popular Payment Methods

Many business tools online have different and most commonly used payment methods made available. For example, PayPal, Stripe, iPay88 , Alipay, Wechat Pay, Cash payment, bank transfers. Merchants who would like to use PayPal and Stripe as a payment method would have to apply online for an account. No registration fee is required, as only the filling in of details is needed. Some payment methods like Alipay, would require merchants to have proof of their Business Registration.

Step 6: Delivery Methods

When you are picking the platform to open your store on, it’s best that you choose one that allows you to freely set your own delivery methods. You can set your delivery methods based on the products and services you are offering. Some commonly used delivery methods/services include local delivery, Pos Laju, City Link, GDEX, etc. Many customers are mindful of delivery fees when they make a purchase. Thus, it is best for you to plan out the costs to set an affordable delivery or even postage fee for your customers.

Numerous merchants and companies have tried offering free delivery service to their customers and had found out that this does have a big positive influence on customers’ purchase decision. You could try this system out and see if it suits your business! According to a 2015 research done by WalkerSands Communications, they have found out that 83% of the respondents have indicated that “Free Delivery Service”  is the most persuasive factor that will lead them to perform the final purchase decision.

Carl Hartman, the CEO of Temando had stated that, free shipping service can be the determining factor of success and failure of a whole transaction. 85% of the customers would give up carts full of selected products at the end before making payment, due to the costly shipping fees. The other 35% of customers have expressed that they would give up purchasing their whole cart of products as there is no free shipping service provided.

Free shipping is just an additional form of service. If the fee for it is cheap and reasonable, customers would pay. However, some customers feel that it is not worth spending money for an overly expensive shipping service. Especially now that most online shopping offers free shipping, they would have this mindset: free shipping is one of the most basic services that should be provided by any online store!

Step 7: Store return policy

There would definitely be customers who would request for refunds or returns of products. Thus, before starting your business, you must set the terms and conditions of your store’s return/refund policy to avoid any misunderstandings and unsuccessful transactions. Some common return policies include that refunds/returns are allowed within one to two weeks from the purchase date, the packaging and product condition must be of the same as when it was first purchased, etc,. You can tweak your return policies according to what you’re selling.

Step 8:  Communication Channel with your customers

When customers would like to purchase a piece of product or even enquire more information about the product or the company, the communication channels that you have to interact with your customers would prove to be very important. Most merchants use social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Line, WeChat, etc. You do not have to open communication channels on all the platforms though. Instead, you can choose the ones that is most suited and convenient to your business to facilitate your customer enquiries.

How can messaging tools on social media help drive sales?

  • Make a good impression on your customers

If customers have burning questions on hand and want an instant reply, they would be able to use the messaging tools available to interact with store owners. The “Making Proactive Chat Work” research done by Forrester Research has stated that 44% of the respondents have expressed that an experience of immediate interaction and support from the store owners is the most important elements in the whole process of online shopping. A report on eMarketeer.com has also found that over 60% of customers would prefer to shop on online stores that provides social communication tools on their platforms.

  • Reduced labor costs

Being able to give immediate replies can reduce the time needed to answer to large amounts of enquiries (as compared to the traditional methods like making phone calls, or typing emails). Store owners can communicate with several customers at once using instant messaging tools with no restrictions or limits to the number of replies that can be sent back and forth.

  • Reduced time spent on decision-making when shopping

If the customer is able to get an instant response to their queries and not wait for long for a reply, the whole decision-making process of their purchase would be much faster. Customers might even consider getting more products as they would be more assured in buying from you after the trust built through the interaction of answering queries.

  • Build a better relationship between you and your customers

Ever since 2008, Wells Fargo, an American bank had integrated instant social communication tools into their system. They have found that the customers who interacted with their company staff through their instant communication tools feedbacked positively. Customers had felt that the staff had great empathy in listening and had thoroughly understood their needs. This hastened customers’ process of making a second purchase. Even when the staff gave recommendations through the messaging tools, they had showed tremendous patience with customers. This, in comparison to traditional phone calls and emails, have been proven to be much more effective.

Step 9 : Link up your Facebook & Instagram Pages to your online store

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerburg once said that “Social Commerce is next to blow up”. In order to keep up with the upcoming rapid development of social commerce in the near future, Facebook Marketplace has been developed and introduced to many countries around the world. Instagram included, has come up with their own platform for ecommerce. With this in mind, it is very important that you link up your online stores with your Facebook and Instagram pages, so that your customers can get the latest updates from your brand and shop at the same time! In addition, you can also include the link of your Boutir store onto your social media pages to increase their sense of trust with your brand and ultimately make repeated purchases.