Get Started: The Best Online Trade Processes For Your Business

Online Trade Processes and Packaging

Following the boom of the online marketplace over the past few years, more and more businesses are rushing to trade online and set up e-commerce sites. Not only has this allowed them to reach more consumers, build up brand awareness, and better target customers, but it also means that businesses are effectively able to trade around the clock.

And with 77% of UK adults buying goods or services online in 2017, e-commerce businesses really need to make sure that they’re able to provide the best service possible for their customers. To do this, business owners need to think about their processes, and the best way to set these up. We’ve put together a few tips to help get you started:

Shipping and Delivery

Shipping and Delivery

Reliable delivery that is fast and affordable is something that customers really do value - and can often play a big role in the decision-making process when choosing your business over another too. So when it comes to deciding what shipping and delivery options you’re going to offer your customers, it’s best to give them a choice.

Free delivery is always popular but you don’t want to end up out of pocket. A way to get around this is by only offering free delivery on orders that exceed a set amount, therefore encouraging customers to bulk buy or purchase more items.

For all other shipping costs, flat-rate shipping is one of the most simple solutions. You can vary costs and set up tiered pricing depending on what country the products are being shipped to, whether they’re being sent first or second class, or by express delivery; and whether they’re being tracked. To get a general idea of prices you can look at the Royal Mail and FedEx shipping calculators.

Once you’ve worked out your pricing and delivery timeframes, make sure these are stated clearly on your website, especially before customers check out.

Returns Policy and Refunds

Returns

When it comes to refunds, your customers are entitled to certain rights. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, consumers are entitled to a refund, replacement, repair or compensation when goods are faulty or falsely advertised. However, aside from this, you may wish to offer your customers a refund if they’ve simply changed their mind.

When taking these considerations into account, it’s important to draw up a returns policy in writing so that both you and your customers know where you stand. You’ll want to make this as clear as possible, state it on your website, and include the following:

    • The number of days they have to return the product - 28 days for example
    • How they should return the product - include a postal address etc.
    • In what instance they’re entitled to a refund or an exchange What condition the product needs to be in - the condition that it was received in for example)
    • When they can expect to see the refund in their accounts

Packaging

Packaging

The packaging that you choose is not only the first thing your customers will see but also has an important role of protecting your products. As most shipping options will depend on size and weight, you’ll want to keep your packaging as light as compact as possible, while still being sturdy enough to protect the contents.You should also consider branding your packaging and doing some offline promotion by putting product samples, discount vouchers and business cards inside.

Another thing to think about is how you can make your packaging as environmentally friendly. With consumer growing increasingly concerned about the environment and sustainability, getting onboard with this could be a huge advantage. When choosing the packaging you could check if it can be reused, if it can be recycled and whether it’s biodegradable or not. For example, cardboard is relatively cheap but is also a recyclable material that has been used for many years, reducing the unnecessary use of plastic.

If you do decide to go down this route, then you should clearly state this somewhere on your website so your customers know where your company stands on sustainability.

Online Payments

Online Payments

When it comes to taking payments online, you’ll want to make the whole experience as seamless as possible for the customer too - particularly considering the growing demand for convenience from modern consumers. Most businesses will already have a merchant account set up in-store, but if you don’t then you can do this by contacting your bank and setting this up with them. You’ll then need to set up with a payment service provider such as WorldPay or Sage Pay to manage the payments online.

Deciding what kind of credit cards and payment methods you want to accept is also an important step. Visa and Mastercard are commonly accepted, but you could also think about other credit card providers such as American Express. Payment options such as PayPal and Apple Pay could also help enhance the overall customer experience by allowing them to pay via mobile or without a card.

Once you’ve chosen what payment methods to accept, make sure this is really clear on your website and checkout page so that customers know what their options are upfront.

 

Setting up these processes can take careful planning and resource, but once they’re in place, you can sit back and watch your online business go from strength to strength! You can check out our full guide to e-commerce for your business here.

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