How to Start a Successful Online Retail Business

Online retail business owner

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Why are some internet businesses wildly successful while others barely generate revenue? It turns out that online shoppers aren’t necessarily looking for fireworks, incredible designs, and a bunch of bells and whistles. Often, online shoppers just want to find the products that they are looking for and then move on quickly. Therefore, here is an outline of the top 10 things that you need on your website to ensure online retail success!

Store Name, Location, and Contact Information

If you’re 100% online, obviously you won’t have a physical address. However, many online retailers neglect to list even basic information, such as an email or phone number. In this day and age of overwhelming information, your customers need reassurance you’re not just another internet retailer. Customers want to know that if a problem arises or they have a question, they can communicate with a real person.

Product or Service Descriptions With Prices

While it may be one of most basic things to include, website owners often overlook this. Having an easy-to-read, easy-to-navigate, easy-to-find descriptions of products and/or services including pricing and fees, so there are no surprises - is one of the most crucial elements in successful websites.

Pictures of Products or Services

People are visual, which is why easy navigation is so important. On the same note, having great images of your products or services (perhaps as they’re being performed) visually communicates a wealth of information to your customers and makes it easy for them to evaluate if they’ve found what they’re shopping for.

Ordering Process

People need to easily find your ordering process. They don’t need to stumble upon or have to search for it. Your ordering process should easy to locate and easy to use.

Lines Carried

Listing the product lines you carry and/or the clients you serve clues customers into the type of business they’re looking at. You don’t have time to educate/inform people on your business, therefore they need a quick, easy way to figure out if you’re the kind of business they were searching for when they found your website.

Company Background

Again, shoppers don’t want “just another retailer.” In a sea of look-alike sites, they want to personally connect with your company. Having a short description of your company and its story sets you apart from other sites.

Policies On Warranties, Returns, and Refunds

Your site visitors don’t want to search for the fine print. Your policies on warranties, returns, replacements, refunds, and other important shopping factors need to be included up-front, not as a footnote on their email confirmation. If they’re unsure, they won’t risk the purchase.

“You May Also Like”

People like to shop and buy, so it’s a good idea to include links to other interesting items, services, and information to your site or others’. We live in a hyper-connected age anyway, so making it easy for your customers to find other sites isn’t a disadvantage for yours; it actually builds your credibility and underscores your focus on the customer.

Updated Information

Customers are turned off if they see you haven’t updated your site. If it’s January and you’re still advertising Christmas specials, it’s a red flag that you don’t take your business and your customers seriously.


Your catalog should be online and easy to access. “Call us for more information” is not something any internet shopper wants to read. Since it’s the Information Age, they should have all the information they need to make a purchase at their fingertips. Not having your entire catalog online is an indicator that your online business isn’t a priority for you.

All 10 of these items underscore one point: Make it as easy as possible for your customers to make a purchase. Make ease-of-use a priority and every other aspect of your website secondary. After all, what’s better—a pretty website or one that’s wildly successful?