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Owning your own business is a hard-earned achievement, one that I value highly.

Most people don't do it. It's much easier to work for someone else, instead of setting out to do your own thing. Meeting people with that determination and energy who have made the bold decision to open up their own shop, is a big part of what inspires and motivates the work at Citrus-Lime.

Learning from experience is a big part of improving, and after 20 years working with independent retailers - we've learned a lot!

Growing a successful Ecommerce site is one of the key topics we get questions about all the time.

Before retailers come on board with Citrus-Lime, it's really common that they will have had an underwhelming experience selling online. This frustration is one that we come across every day.

From two decades of work with successful retailers, who have a thriving Ecommerce website that supports their physical shop, here's what we've learned:

List all your stock

People can't buy what they can't see. Your Ecommerce website has got to be the online equivalent of somebody walking through your door and taking a look around. They need to see everything nicely displayed and ready to buy.

Show accurate stock positions

This builds trust in your business, and means that people are more likely to pop into your shop because they know you have what they need. It's also essential for Click & Collect, various marketplace feeds like Amazon and Ebay and for your Google Shopping feed (the most effective online marketing we've seen).

Get new stock online FAST

Products achieve the best margin at the beginning of the season, when demand is high. This diminishes over time as the season comes to a close, when products achieve their lowest margin. Therefore, the sooner you get products online, the more you can sell in that optimal window of full margin, before sale time kicks in.

Keep it simple and easy to use

This means having a mobile-friendly website with a great find and filter function, so it's easy for shoppers to find what they want.

Flexible payment options

It's also key to make it easy for people to pay however suits them. Do you offer finance, as well as card payments, PayPal and Apple Pay?

Click & Collect

The fastest growing trend in Ecommerce for a reason. Customers love it, and it works so well for independent retailers.

Check out more here

Flexible delivery options

Research shows that the majority of online shoppers are happy to pay more in order to get their purchase whenever suits them, and they'll buy from the retailers that can meet that need. Do you offer next day delivery? Saturday? Pre-10am?

Pictures and descriptions

Essential for helping browsers make their buying decision, showing multiple pictures and a detailed description helps to build trust in your site, and stops visitors heading to another site for more information.

Content optimisation

Get your content in front of those searching for it - essentially, keeping search engines happy.

Check out this article for a simple approach

Keep in touch

Reward loyalty, remind people you're there. Retaining customers is cheaper than acquiring new customers. Give people plenty of reasons to come back to you.

Related to this article ...

Cate B, July 2019. Boost Click & Collect Sales

Cate B, June 2019. Click & Collect is a Gift to Independent Retailers

Cate B, Apr 2019. Simple Ecommerce Checklist for Independent Retailers

Grant H, Sept 2018. The Modern Day Customer Journey

Grant H, Jul 2018. How do you rate an Ecommerce site as successful?

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