Vital tips for building a successful – and safe – online business

The UK is a particularly strong centre for business and international trade, even in spite of recent decisions made regarding its departure from the European Union.

One area of particular growth is that of e-commerce, in which the UK leads in comparison to Europe – the UK’s e-commerce revenue pre-pandemic reached just shy of £693 billion. There has never been a better time to enter the e-commerce market; what should you know before you take the plunge?

Maintain focus on customer service

Whether you are building a digital business from the ground up, or transitioning your existing company to a new approach and income stream, your customers need to come first.

Customer service is arguably the single most important facet of any business, no matter the medium – and there are ways in which you can foster a positive relationship with your customers online, without retreating behind your digital storefront.

For one, keeping an active customer service team can help you manage queries and complaints with ease. Your customer service team can also be paired with your marketing team and strategy, where social media platforms allow more direct communication and conversation with potential and returning customers alike.

Centre digital solutions

Of course, taking a business online involves adopting and engaging with digital tools, from the building of a website to the incorporation of digital banking processes.

In moving your business to an e-commerce format, your approaches and solutions should also be digital – not just to take advantage of new technology, but also to reflect the ever-changing expectations of your customers.

One major way you can adopt this philosophy is with regard to payment solutions. Direct debits and standing orders can be time-consuming exercises for new business clients, and inability to support dominant payment technologies such as PayPal and Klarna could see you losing commercial custom. The digital solution can be found in the form of the open banking platform – an API-based solution that streamlines payment processes, bringing your e-commerce check-out into the modern age.

Ensure site security

Adopting a new digital-forward business model is an overwhelmingly positive move, but one that also presents challenges unique to the digital space.

These challenges are easily overcome, but can be seriously if not properly mitigated. One major challenge is that of cyber-security, with businesses and individuals collectively losing £1.3bn to cyber crime in just the first six months of 2021.

Customer and client information needs to be kept as safely and securely as possible; banking information should be completely confidential, and account passwords should not be stored in plaintext format in order to prevent skimming. 

Make your business a conversation

Here, we come full circle back to customer service and engagement. A successful business is an adaptive one – making your move to digital a shrewd one.

But adaptivity can also be enabled through transparency and communication with your customer base. Their input can help you streamline your offerings, find new avenues for income and growth organically. Don’t be afraid to treat your digital business as a conversation. 

Photo by AllGo