So you are getting all set up to begin your own business online. Now that you have the legal side covered and are all set to begin crafting your website, where do you go from there? At this point, it is great to have an experienced ally to point you in the right direction, provide some helpful advice and even warn you of a few pitfalls often encountered. With this in mind, allow me to share some of my advice and experience collected over being in this very spot before. Following are 8 of my very own business tips that will allow you to get your e-commerce business off the ground. 1. Determine your niche Finding the niche that is just right for you is important for the passion and determination you will need for pushing your business forward. This is something that can’t be emphasized enough. I know for a fact that if I hadn’t had the inherent interest and passion about my products, I’d never have made it as far as I have. But, here I am three years later business and passion still going strong. 2. Find suppliers for the products that you want to sell. The best provider would be a specialty provider that doesn’t operate on Amazon. By locating your very own niche market you will not have as much competition and your customers will be able to find you better. Furthermore, you will want as many suppliers as you cannot just one supplier. Despite their immaculate reviews and the great trust you have for your suppliers, they will eventually run into a hiccough and you will be met with fulfillment issues. This is where you will be grateful for the backup plan in the form of a secondary supplier. 3. Set aside plenty of time to work on your business The results that you can expect from your ecommerce business will be directly related to the amount of time you spend learning your trade and investing in your website. I laugh when I think that my initial idea was that my own work was going to allow me the freedom to work when I please and travel all the time –– major misconception! Your time must be consumed with researching important trends and ways to make your ecommerce look and function better. Keeping ahead of the competition is an all-time task. Look to your big fish competition for solid strategies and proven techniques, then look to the smaller fish for clever innovative ideas that you can improve on. Then if you are ever in doubt and have questions about what you are doing, take them up with Google. There is always something more to learn and new questions to ask. 4. Choose a platform with great customer service If you have enough funding, go all out and get your own personal custom made web page complete with a team to maintain it. If you’re like most others starting out in this game you will probably have plenty of other things to do than figure out how to build from the ground up. A tool like Shopify. I chose this service on the basis of their impressive reviews and 24/7 customer service. If you are anything like me, you will put their service to the test with important questions at all hours of the day and night –– questions they will have to call their superiors for help with. If I dislike any details of the page I am free to navigate the sites back areas to make the changes I deem necessary. Furthermore, there is a whole slew of features that can help out with important aspects of ecommerce. If you’re wondering about what platform to choose – compare – look at this Shopify and Wix comparison for example. 5. Choose apps based on their reviews Be sure to check out supporting apps like Abandoned or Persistent Cart once you have accrued a greater quantity of traffic. There are actually hundreds of such sites and you should select those that will fit your needs the best. This may require some experimentation but it is definitely worth it once you find a winner. Find reviews made by those with similar situations as yours and contact the Apps customer support. If an App has poor customer support, they are no good. No matter how enticing the features they offer, eventually they will be nullified by downtime and other errors. 6. Put Artificial Intelligence To Work For You through The Use Of Chatbots These days, customers expect immediate help. When you have a question, they want to be able to get an answer right away, no matter what time of the day it is. Providing excellent customer service is one of the best ways to get and keep new clients. No matter how hard you try, however, it is sometimes difficult to keep up with support requests. In situations like these, you can turn to AI-powered chatbots for assistance. These chatbots are designed to handle customer inquiries, providing nearly instant answers to questions or concerns. They work around the clock, meaning that customers can get support at any time of the day, even if a real person isn’t around to help them. Keep in mind, however, that chatbots are only as good as their code. That means that they can only answer questions that they were programmed to handle. They also may struggle if customers submit questions with spelling errors or poorly formed sentence structure. As technology continues to advance, however, these chatbots are becoming more intelligent than ever. Many of them are capable of recognizing questions in multiple languages. They also are doing a better job of looking at whole sentences rather than just identifying keywords. Adding chatbots to your customer service arsenal could help you better meet the needs of your clients, enabling your business to grow. 7. Find the right influencers Once more this will be very dependent on the specific niche you re in. But you can often find considerable support by connecting with the right influencers and providing them with free stuff in return for their help. This should only be done if you have already researched how influencers will work in your niche and understand how to spot the real effective ones from the fakes. 8. Tap Into The Power Of Video Marketing Video has taken over the Internet. It is hard to get online without seeing some kind of video content, regardless of whether you are using a mobile device or a traditional computer. Smart business owners are incorporating video marketing into their overall marketing strategy as a way of better connecting with customers. Video content is interesting and engaging, allowing you to leave a lasting impression in the minds of consumers. Adding video content to your website is a great place to start. If you use Wix.com, which is a website tool that I previously discussed, there are plenty of ways to add video footage to your content. For instance, you can include a single video, you can create a video background, or you can use video strips that cover the full width of the screen. Adding videos from your social networking accounts or other types of video footage allows you to make your site more fun, interactive, and beneficial to your visitors. 9. Get Ready For Voice Search Currently, most people type their searches into a browser or search box. Soon, however, that may change. As of right now, over a fifth of all of the mobile searches on Google are conducted via voice. The number of voice searches is predicted to rise to more than 50% by the year 2020. With the popularity of voice search on the rise, it is the perfect time to begin preparing your site. Go through your content and evaluate your keywords and descriptions. Think about how each item would sound if it was being read out loud by a virtual assistant like Siri or Alexa. Focus on longtail keywords, as well, since most people use longer search phrases when they are speaking than when they are typing.