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How to Boost Your Freelance Business: 5 Ways to Level Up Your Online Store

Want to know how to build a successful eCommerce business? Check out these top tips for revamping your eCommerce website.

Posted 4 Nov 2022
How to Create a Successful eCommerce Business: 5 Ways to Level Up Your Online Store

Continuously improving your online store is necessary to stay alive in today’s digital market. The eCommerce boom means more shoppers are online than ever before – and so are your competitors.

The key is to find parts of your business, from web design to operations, that either attract more customers or save you more time and money. Step by step, you’ll have a more streamlined and profitable business.

Whether you’re an established eCommerce business or a freelancer just getting started, here are five ways to level up your online store.

1. Make it Mobile-first, Not Just Mobile-Friendly

This might be a no-brainer, but given that mobile accounts for over 70% of e-Commerce traffic these days, we couldn’t leave it off the list! Your entire site, from search to checkout, should be mobile-ready – planned and designed with a smartphone in mind.

Responsive web design will ensure that no matter where your customers find your products (e.g., a desktop, smartphone, or tablet from any manufacturer), their experience will be smooth. And this will lead them to an easy purchase.

What exactly includes a “mobile-first” design for online stores? BrowserStack came up with a quick checklist, including but not limited to the following:

  • The website should be fast.
  • Optimize images correctly to speed up site loading.
  • Layout and design must fit the small screen, with navigation spaced so the user can easily click where they want without accidentally hitting an unintended button.
  • Keep the steps to complete a transaction at a minimum.
  • It must be easy to find the action buttons: Buy, Call, Sign up, for example.
  • You should design user engagement for touch screens with swiping, scrolling, or tapping.

2. UX Design That Converts

When it comes to the design of your online store, you need to balance your visual brand with easy functionality and a clear call-to-action for your customers. If you don’t yet have a fully fleshed-out brand identity, you can learn how to design an eye-catching brand from other entrepreneurs and design experts.

If you’ve already developed your visual identity, the next step is to manifest it throughout your online store in such a way that the shopper

  • cares about your story
  • trusts your business
  • navigates your website intuitively. 

You should position your online store to grow by combining UX and conversion design principles. But how? You could hire a freelance designer or web developer. Or, if you’re feeling creative and ambitious, use a suite of online tools to create and manage your design assets. Envato Elements offers millions of assets and provides expert guidance on learning best practices in UX design.

3. Hands-off Customer Service

The success of your online store also depends on the satisfaction of your customers. 

Your reputation is on the line with every service experience your shoppers have. Plus, customer support is essential even before the sale! If buyers can’t find an answer to their question quickly, they might bounce to a competitor.

Chances are you don’t have the resources to monitor your online customer support around the clock. That’s where automated solutions come in.

Online customer service providers often operate a help ticket system where a real person has to get back to your customer when they submit a ticket. Your role is to provide the help desk with as much information as possible and answers to FAQs so that, hopefully, they can provide an immediate response. 

Live chat is a common feature with some of these online support desks. For e-commerce businesses, live chat can be a powerful shopping cart tool for unsure customers. This feature can reduce cart abandonment rates and increase conversion by allowing customers to ask questions and resolve concerns. Popular solutions include Help Scout, Zendesk, and Groove, which offer monthly subscriptions with tiered rates depending on the level of service you require.

To further strengthen your customer service, integrate seamless call center solutions like Nextiva for online call support, or use SMS marketing tools in your eCommerce business to keep your customers happy and engaged. You can also automate nearly every element of customer interactions, such as email, using a tool like Zapier.

Put FAQs on your website

Providing an FAQ section on your website is a significant first step in hands-off customer service. You give the customers the information they need, and you save yourself time by preempting their questions and tickets. You can create these manually or use a tool that helps search through existing questions and suggest new ones. For WordPress websites, check out plugins such as Instant Q & A or Templatic.

4. Hands-off Tax Compliance

Tax compliance

Growing your business is exciting, but it also means more complicated tax compliance issues – especially as there are more and more countries with internet tax on online sales. You might be liable for collecting and remitting tax in new places, whether VAT, GST or US sales tax.

If that’s the case, you need to know the local tax rates in other states and foreign countries. Some countries have tax thresholds, so you need to keep track of how much you’ve sold there, while other countries don’t want you to collect tax on B2B sales, so you need to check which buyers are tax-registered businesses. 

On top of all this, you must collect two pieces of data confirming your customer’s location and send tax-compliant receipts. This can be as stressful and tedious as it sounds, but there’s tax compliance software like Quaderno that will automate much of the process for you. 

Easy integrations with payment processors like Stripe and plugins like WooCommerce (plus a flexible API) mean that the tax calculation and collection process fits seamlessly into your website’s checkout.

The best part? By automating the sales tax process, you can remain focused on growing your online store and keeping customers happy.

5. Continuously Optimize SEO

Part of building the best online store possible is ensuring that it ranks in search engines so shoppers can find you. This means following good old Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices, which require some content work and technical maintenance. 

Here’s a sample of SEO tasks that you can do continuously or at regular intervals to make sure your online store is at the top of its game:

  • Research the top-performing keywords for search volume and ranking difficulty. Place these words in landing page copy, blog posts (titles, headlines, and body), and meta descriptions, and use them as anchor text for backlinks.
  • Check where your competitors are getting features and backlinks. See if there are any hyperlink opportunities for your products or content.
  • Stay on top of technical SEO errors, such as broken URLs. 
  • Schedule a routine SEO clean-up whenever it fits your schedule: weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc. A smoothly running website registers well on search engines and will improve your domain authority.

Many entrepreneurs and designers use tools such as Moz or Ahrefs to help with these tasks and many more – all intending to rank higher in search results and get more traffic.

Guest Author: Annie Musgrove

Annie Musgrove is a tax researcher at Quaderno, where she writes about entrepreneurship, the e-commerce industry, and global tax policies that affect online businesses.

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