By Anurag Avula
Deepavali is a great time to start your new online business or to take your existing business online.
So what is your next step? You've created your online store, taken some amazing photos of your products and activated an appropriate payment platform. Congratulations, you are up and running. Now you just need to sit back and wait for the customers to come pouring in, right?
Well, yes, in an ideal world -- but with the explosion of growth in e-commerce, you still need to make your store stand out from the crowd, grab your customers' attention, hold it and keep them returning for more. Here are five golden rules to start a successful business this Deepavali.
Make your site clear and simple to use
When a customer reaches your site it should be obvious what you sell. Use a clean and professional template design that is simple in its message. Don't allow the customer to be distracted by countless and un-needed information. Show your most popular and best-selling products first as a way to draw people in to start exploring your site. Consider using a "carousel" picture collage so that they can easily scroll through the images and see what's on offer.
It's the little extras that make a big difference
Free shipping, great returns policy (or free returns over a certain purchase value), a toll free number -- making use of incentives to attract users is a great way to encourage loyalty. If you are able to offer these great advantages, make sure you shout about them loud and clear on your homepage.
Testimonials and reviews
Take one of your glowing references and put it somewhere obvious on your homepage. If you can accompany this with a picture, it reinforces the fact that real people trust and use your products and services. Customer reviews are trusted 12 times more than marketing by a company
Daily deals and other discounts
Daily deals are another hugely popular idea. By selling a limited quantity of products for a short amount of time you can generate new interest and increase your client base. Once you have drawn them in -- invite them to preview your other products.
Make a connection
Try to re-think your site as a content site that happens to sell products. Talk to your customers as you would to a friend and engage them so that they keep coming back for more. If you can demonstrate that you are passionate about your products and give tips and ideas on ways to use them, such as a demonstration video or a pinboard using your products, it adds more value to your site.
(Anurag Avula is the CEO of goshopmatic.com. The views expressed are personal. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)