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How to grow your online business

How to grow your business online

Revamp your e-commerce site to increase online sales.

Want to transform your e-tail site into a buyer-centric, engaging experience that grows sales? We turned to the experts, including a distributor of industrial parts and equipment, to uncover five basic tips to help you capture more customers online.

Selling online usually grows your business geographically, so you need to be prepared to export.

1. Smaller is often better – test the waters first. Launching your e-commerce effort with a small online store, or by using sites such as Amazon.com or Yahoo! Merchant Services, is often the best strategy. When NRI Industrial Sales in Toronto decommissions industrial facilities, they aim to sell the parts, equipment or even the entire facility – all to avoid landfills. So, they implemented their own e-commerce site, helping them achieve 100-percent year-over-year growth.

2. Keep your online store rich in content. “It’s easy to order something, but we still want to further optimize the front-end in terms of design and search engine optimization,” says Jamil Rahman, director of sales at NRI.

Ashwin Nayan Rai, a consultant in the manufacturing and logistics practice at Cognizant Business Consulting, agrees. “Industrial customers expect the same engaging experience that retail sites offer. Retail sites are rich in content, like photos or video. Your customers expect that buying experience at your online store.”

3. Shipping matters, so give customers a choice. Shipping plays a central role in the online experience. You can improve the customer experience by providing speedy deliveries, flexible shipping options (with price integrated into the ordering cart), and free shipping on certain items or once you reach a cart minimum.

4. Get the back of your house and supply chain in order. Take a hard look at how e-commerce affects your business. “Where will new demand come from and how does that impact your supply chain?” asks Carlos Irastorza, a UPS marketing manager. Selling online usually grows your business geographically, so you may need to be prepared to export.

Tools like Quantum View Manage® can help keep you on track of all your shipping activity with comprehensive updates. It’s the easiest way to manage shipment tracking, customs brokerage and inbound-outbound scheduling – right from your desk.

5. Use technology tools to strengthen your business. “Having the right online tools in place opens you up to industries you might never consider to be your target,” says Matt Hanna, a UPS marketing manager. “It’s not local or regional expansion; it’s expansion of your whole opportunity base.”

Online logistics tools, such as the UPS Developer Kit, make sourcing, selling and shipping products easier. These tools list shipping costs and estimated delivery times on your site and also control the creation of shipment labels, commercial invoices and billing information. And, if you need help, a UPS Ready® provider can integrate UPS Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for you.

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