Digitalization is the name of the game for modern businesses, so more companies require financial services. As a forward-thinking business leader, you may already be using online financial services or “fintech.” However, catching up on the trends is not enough.
You want to ensure your company has the best setup for online financial services. Otherwise, you might not be taking full advantage of more effective tools and strategies. Fortunately, this article will provide a comprehensive guide to better e-commerce.
I will discuss ten ways you can optimize and improve your e-commerce business, so you can fully understand your options. These include choosing the right financial services like credit unions and banks vs. fintech companies. Compare your current methods with the following examples to see which ones you could add:
- Review your digitalization strategy.
- Check your eCommerce accounting methods.
- Improve the look of your website.
- Give your website a new look.
- Have an international bank account number for banking purposes.
- Use virtual credit cards for online sales.
- Assign roles for each team member.
- Maintain physical credit cards.
- Use a well-rounded e-commerce banking platform.
- Boost your marketing campaign.
1. Review your digitalization strategy.
Begin by looking back at your current eCommerce approach. Remember that you adopt this online service not because more businesses are doing it.
Instead, you adopt eCommerce to improve how your business works. A company undergoes three stages when implementing technological changes:
- Digitization means replacing analog tools with digital ones. As mentioned, it is like performing bank deposits in digital wallets instead of physical accounts.
- Digitalization takes it a step further by improving those aspects of your business. For example, some companies adopt blockchain technology to provide new services and ensure no hidden client fees.
- Digital transformation expands your implementation of digital tools to your entire organization. For example, a Fintech company does not limit its digital services to payment options. It could use machine learning and blockchain technology too.
Which stage applies to your business? If you only replaced regular credit card options with e-commerce tools, you might still be on digitization.
You could yield better results by improving your overall online strategy. Perhaps you need a platform that is a better fit for your organization.
For example, you may want to find an eCommerce platform that provides virtual credit cards. They can help you assign various payment tasks and facilitate the transactions.
Check your business needs first before looking for new eCommerce services. Perhaps your current system could provide additional features if you upgrade your subscription plan.
You could contact your current e-commerce platform regarding it could improve your digital transformation. Otherwise, it might be time to look for a better alternative.
2. Check your eCommerce accounting methods.
I mentioned analyzing your current eCommerce platform. It should facilitate online payments, but it must also help you organize cash flow. You may want to consider accrual accounting.
It allows you to break down each part of online payments. Let us look at an example to help illustrate this concept. Let us say you are using Amazon, and a customer named John placed a $200 order with you:
- Amazon processes his payment and sends the item as soon as possible.
- Then, Amazon pays out settlements every two weeks.
- John placed the order on the 5th of the month. In response, Amazon pays you on the 14th and deducts $50 for fees.
Most businesses use cash accounting so that they would record the transaction as additional revenue worth $150. On the other hand, accrual accounting separates it as $200 as sales and $50 as fees.
As a result, it provides a more accurate overview of your company. Accrual accounting also facilitates forecasting your financials and avoiding unexpected circumstances.
You may also want to store accounting information in cloud storage. In other words, save records online instead of Excel spreadsheets. This method has the following advantages:
- You can access your accounting records anywhere and anytime. Also, team members can easily open the data for specific purposes.
- It removes your dependence on one device, and it automatically saves backups.
- Moreover, cloud storage is secure. It encrypts your data, so people would need to log in to access your account.
More importantly, an eCommerce platform simplifies payments. It records transactions and updates your records automatically. Does yours fulfill these purposes?
You may need to adopt a new approach like accrual accounting instead of replacing your platform. On the other hand, you might need to replace your eCommerce services.
3. Improve the user experience.
Your eCommerce page serves customers, so it should be easy for them to use. Start with enhancing website navigation with the following examples:
- Add an autocomplete feature for the search box. It helps shoppers find a product if they cannot recall the exact name.
- Also, add sorting options. Allow customers to organize their shopping list by price, size, and brand.
- The shopping cart tab should always be present on the eCommerce pages. Moreover, it should notify customers how many items they added, so they can quickly check out.
- Never omit the prices and fees applicable to the customers’ items. Also, show them any special offers that may help them save money.
- Moreover, recommend products on the homepage so that people could consider them later. You may also include an option to receive notifications once a particular item replenishes stock.
- Use those updates to send newsletters regarding your latest products and services. Also, you will need the registration data to improve search engine optimization or SEO.
- Provide a quick or standard form of shipping. Show the estimated date and time of delivery, and only ask for sensitive information once. For example, include a checkbox for customers using the same info for their shipping and billing address.
- Include an FAQ page, but make sure the entries are short as possible. Do not provide unnecessary details and simplify answers.
- You should consider building a customer support team. Many still prefer speaking to someone instead of directing their concerns to a chatbot.
- Still, you should have a chatbot for your eCommerce website. It can answer simple queries, so your support team can concentrate on more serious concerns.
- Show customer reviews on the homepage and each product page. These could encourage them to buy stuff and show new customer trends and behaviors.
4. Give your website a new look.
You want customers to love their shopping experience, right? In that case, your website should look appealing. Start by adding images to your product pages.
You should show high-quality previews for each product. Avoid using stock photos and hire a photographer to capture unique images. Make sure they take these pictures in the best ways possible.
Then, write detailed yet inspired product descriptions. You want the text to entice customers into buying your products and services. Meanwhile, it should share all the necessary information.
You may skip this part if you serve technical industries. Your clients may prefer a detailed specifications list. Next, ensure people can easily spot the buy button and the prices.
Show whether or not a product or service is available. Otherwise, you may frustrate your customers after a failed transaction, so they buy at another online store.
On the other hand, show people whenever a product is running out. That could encourage them to grab an item immediately before someone else does.
Also, make sure they can view details regarding their delivery, returns, and refunds. Recommend products that are similar to the ones that customers recently purchased.
More importantly, optimize your website for mobile devices. When you hear the word “eCommerce,” you may think of computers, but people prefer using that service on their phones.
Your website may look fantastic on a PC, but it may become distorted on a smartphone screen. Fortunately, you can optimize your old website to these new standards.
Use responsive web design, so your page will automatically adapt to the ever-growing list of mobile devices. Talk to your web designer about other SEO practices for mobile devices.
5. Have an international bank account number for banking purposes.
The most significant advantage of e-commerce over traditional services is that it facilitates global payments. You do not need to go through their slow process.
As a result, online banking helped small businesses quickly expand worldwide. This alternative financial institution eventually facilitated the creation of IBAN accounts.
International bank account numbers allow you to avoid fees when you pay with the correct currency. If your business is in the European Economic Area or the United Kingdom, you have access to a nifty e-commerce platform.
It allows eCommerce businesses in the UK and the EEA to have IBAN accounts. The application process can take up to five days, and you must verify your business information.
You must make sure that your business is a limited liability entity. In other words, its name should have the following extensions:
- LLC (Limited Liability Company)
- LTD (Limited Liability)
- LLP (Limited Liability Partnership)
- PLC (Public Limited Company)
- BV (Besloten Vennootschap)
- AB (Aktiebolag)
- EEOD (Ednolichno Druzhestvo s Ogranichena Otgovornost)
Its IBAN accounts allow EUR, USD, and USD. The EUR accounts connect to Estonia, GBP links to the United Kingdom, and the USD connects to the United States.
You can use your new IBAN account through that platform. Then, you can access other features like applying for multiple banking services or creating virtual credit cards.
Alternatively, you could use your standard account details and start managing your cash flow. However, you will miss out on zero-fee online services and slow down your transactions. More importantly, you need a platform that is safe and secure.
6. Use virtual credit cards for online sales.
We see more virtual tools and services as digitalization grows around the world. As a result, we now have virtual credit cards, a must-have for small business owners.
Let us discuss what a virtual credit card is first. It is an electronic service that lets you make online transactions without sharing your original credit card information.
As a result, you could keep your actual credit card safe from potential fraud. You must contact a traditional bank with a regular credit card to resolve the issue.
In response, the financial institution may freeze your account to protect the funds inside. You might miss payments if you tied them to that specific account.
Another problem with traditional banks is that assigning budgets for expenditures, especially online advertising, is challenging. Most online ads allow a price range instead of a specific amount.
You can assign a virtual credit card to each online account. Then, you could set specific budgets for each virtual card and assign them to your team members.
Consequently, those team members could manage that part of your online advertising budget. The virtual credit card also provides other bonuses like:
- Cashback on all eligible card purchases, sometimes with no limits
- Receive rewards after a specific period, usually a month
- Credit limits for companies in particular locations
- Favorable payment terms
- Payment options for various currencies
- Notifications for updates and card limits
- Assigning virtual cards in a few clicks
7. Assign roles for each team member.
Do you want to know if an e-commerce platform is suitable for small businesses? See if one of its financial services lets you choose access levels for your financial team members.
Yours could work on one project, but each member plays a different role. Let us say you have a team handling online ads. One member may act as the manager who oversees every transaction.
Meanwhile, one person could handle Facebook ads while the other deals with Google ads. Your virtual credit card should help them monitor their ad sections.
However, you might want only one person to access the entire online ad campaign budget. Some platforms cannot provide this feature to e-commerce retailers.
Fortunately, the best eCommerce platforms let you assign various roles with specific permissions. Here are some examples:
- The Owner role grants full access and permissions. You can add and remove team members, assign them permissions, and view their accounts. You can add and edit, and remove integrations. It is usually the default role when you open an eCommerce account.
- Admin has all the Owner’s permissions, except he cannot remove the latter. That is why you reserve this role for your fellow business owners.
- The Accountant can view transactions and accounts. However, this person cannot create or use cards and accounts, view card details, make payments, or manage integrations. The Accountant can export data regarding online purchases and invoices. It is suitable for external and internal roles for online retailers.
- Buyers hold physical credit cards but can only view transactions made on their assigned accounts.
8. Maintain physical credit cards.
It is easy to assume that people will soon ditch conventional banking tools like credit cards. We would not need them as digitalization advances worldwide, right?
Contrary to popular belief, many individuals and eCommerce businesses still want to have physical credit cards. They prefer the assurance of holding their assets in their hands.
That is why you still have people taking out small business loans from brick-and-mortar financial institutions. You could know someone who still uses credit cards for everyday banking needs!
ECommerce businesses would appreciate providing physical cards to their most trusted employees. That is why some related platforms allow both plastic and virtual cards to online merchants.
The best eCommerce platforms let you order multiple physical credit cards for your business. They allow you to store foreign currencies like GBP, USD, and EUR.
It lets you simplify complex transactions and secure crucial ones. Do you remember the Buyers role for the virtual credit cards? You could assign that position to the card holders.
It allows you to designate buying media or shares to your most trusted business partners. For example, the Buyers could manage the monthly fees for outsourced digital marketing.
You could make direct deposits to your account as you do with regular credit cards. In other words, it works similarly to savings accounts from conventional financial institutions.
Note that your eCommerce credit card could be a charge card you must repay monthly. Otherwise, you might incur a fee. It may not charge penalties, but its partner banks might.
Large online retailers may need more physical cards to facilitate transactions. You could contact your eCommerce provider for further assistance if that applies to your business.
9. Use a well-rounded eCommerce banking platform.
An essential benefit of e-commerce is quick and easy global expansion. Many businesses want to turn into online retailers to accept more customers.
What’s more, they want to expand what their business can do. That is why your e-commerce platform should be able to integrate with other financial services.
Fortunately, the best eCommerce banking platform provides such versatility. It seamlessly integrates with Google Ads, automatically allowing you to receive receipts for Google Billings.
It also provides an overview of your online ad spend. You could look at one platform instead of going through each one. Your platform should also facilitate bookkeeping.
It can automatically retrieve your monthly Google Ads invoices from your account. Then, it could export them via email or Xero, so your accountant can quickly get to work.
Moreover, you want to sync payment details with Xero or another cloud-based accounting service. It must allow multiple integrations to ensure it serves most company types.
You can lose track of them as you add more, so your eCommerce platforms should provide a centralized dashboard. It must inform you about each integration with a clean and detailed interface.
You want an eCommerce platform that allows SEPA, non-SEPA, and SWIFT transfers. Also, it must enable integration with PayPal, Stripe, Clickbank, and Braintree.
The eCommerce service should also assign a dedicated account manager. You would need one as a first-time user to provide much-needed assistance on business management.
Your account manager will resolve issues you may encounter as soon as possible. As a result, you can concentrate on expanding your business.
10. Boost your marketing campaign.
Your eCommerce store will not provide results if it does not gain visitors. That is why you need to step up your online marketing efforts. Start with launching a content marketing strategy.
Write blogs about your products and services. They will inform people about your brand’s offerings and lead them to your product pages. Then, include these other methods:
- Social media – Every business has a Twitter and Facebook page, so yours should have one too. They can expand the visibility of your marketing materials so that you can gain new customers. Also, they provide updates to existing clients.
- Affiliate marketing – An affiliate program rewards ordinary people who promote your content. They share promo codes that new customers may use to get discounts. Affiliate marketers gain rewards after each code activation while you get new clients.
- Email marketing – These online messages are an old and reliable marketing tool. Encourage people to sign up for newsletters so that you can send regular updates and promos.
Use SEO to increase your chances of appearing on the first search results page. Most people never look past it, so make sure they choose your brand.
Research the words that people use when looking for your products and services. For example, you would search electric cars using terms like “Tesla” or “electric vehicle.”
Then, incorporate those keywords into your website and other marketing materials. The next time someone searches those terms, Google will likely include your brand on the first page.
Note that SEO requires more techniques, but this description shows the gist of how it works. You can learn more about it from numerous online resources.
It is not enough to have an e-commerce system for your business. You should follow the best practices to receive the highest-quality results.
For example, it should allow multiple integrations with other platforms, so it suits your business as it grows. You may also want one that facilitates payments via virtual credit cards.
Contact your current eCommerce provider for more information about their latest services. On the other hand, you may want to replace it with a better platform.
Frequently asked questions
How do I make my eCommerce service successful?
Ensure customers can easily use your platform. Its simple design and responsive controls should help them find what they want.
What makes a good eCommerce homepage?
It is easy on the eyes while having a design unique to your company. Also, it should facilitate the online shopping experience with intuitive navigation tools.
How do I sell through multiple eCommerce platforms?
Find one eCommerce platform that can integrate with numerous services. It would organize your integrations in a simple dashboard so that you can quickly check them.