7 Habits of Highly Effective Ecommerce Site Owners

ecomm

Habits are important–they define your work ethic, your efficacy, and, most importantly, your routines.

Nailing down healthy and effective habits to help you manage your business is crucial in the ecommerce world, especially since ecommerce can be anything but habitual from the outside looking in.

Here are 7 habits you should keep in your routine to help you run a more effective ecommerce site:

1. Use Transparency as a Weapon

Well-reviewed ecommerce business owners tend not to be afraid of their weaknesses. Instead of hiding weaknesses (as is done by many poorly reviewed businesses), they use transparency as a weapon to win over potential customers.

For example, if you’re a small business, you might explain that you’re a mom-and-pop shop and do your best to get orders out on time, but sometimes things can take a bit longer. You can then ask them to please excuse the delay upfront. That way, if you do get your shipment out on time, the customer is pleasantly surprised. Ecommerce stores on SiteJabber have found that being even a little more transparent upfront yields customers that are more forgiving, loyal and likely to write positive reviews.

2. Proactively Develop an Online Reputation

Bad reviews need not hurt a properly prepared ecommerce business.

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Instead of waiting for a bad review to appear and then scrambling to repair their online reputation, well-prepared ecommerce businesses will get out in front of negative reviews by claiming and developing their online reputation as soon as they launch their site. They tell their business’s unique story through text and pictures and invite customers to review them. Having a well-developed online profile on review sites can be a valuable tool to generate new business, but also should your business receive a negative review, it can be read in the boarder context of your business.

3. Constantly Solicit Feedback to Improve and Engage

Successful ecommerce entrepreneurs continually ask their customers about their experience. Just asking for feedback signals to your customers that you care and can engender greater loyalty. And by listening to fans and critics alike you can equip yourself with knowledge you need to continually improve your business.

While you can certainly collect this feedback privately, using a public review service can be an useful way to do this because it allows you the chance to resolve issues with unhappy customers before they cut and paste their complaint all over the web.

4. Cultivate and Leverage Happy Customers

Happy customers are a significant resource for all businesses, but this can be particularly true for ecommerce sites. One great review can be read by thousands of your potential customers and can result in significantly more business. And having a large number of reviews can be a tremendously effective tool for earning the trust of prospective customers and improving conversion rates. Moreover, if you do happen to get a negative review, it can be read alongside reviews from your dozens, hundreds or even thousands of happy customers. So cultivate happy customers and collect as many reviews as possible.

5. Respond to Every Review

On SiteJabber, ecommerce businesses that respond to every review tend to get better reviews over time. We recommend publicly thanking all reviewers regardless of how they’ve rated your business because it (a) communicates to existing and potential customers that you care, and (b) it doesn’t look like you’re only doing damage control when you respond to a negative review. Smart consumers can easily identify engaged, customer-centric businesses and reward them with more business.

6. Answer Bad Reviews the Right Way

With the right response to a bad review, it’s possible to prevent damage to your online reputation and even improve it. By engaging a reviewer and establishing a human connection, you can often not only improve the situation, but change the customer’s mind. Frequently, a polite response to a bad review can result in the reviewer giving your business a second chance.

If you feel like you can resolve a customer’s complaint, send a private message offering the resolution. Once the customer’s concern has been satisfied, politely ask the customer to reconsider their review. One study found that 95% of unhappy customers will return if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently. And don’t forget, your public responses will be read by other potential customers who will see your professionalism and commitment to providing customers the best possible experience, even if you’re not able to reach a resolution.

7. Don’t Way for What Can Be Had for Free

For ecommerce business owners, claiming and managing your basic business profile on review sites should be free. Avoid services that try to charge to remove reviews or otherwise promise to “manage your reputation”. And also avoid sites that charge by the number of reviews you collect and force you to collect a certain number of reviews in order to earn higher star ratings. These services’ pricing and services are not aligned with the success of your business.

RELATED: The Art of Ecommerce: How to Create a Successful Website for Your Business

Image: iStockphoto

About The Author

Jeremy is the CEO of SiteJabber, a leading consumer review service for online businesses that offers free accounts for businesses to develop their online presence with reviews. Jeremy received an MBA from Harvard Business School.