Become a digital entrepreneur by following these tips
After several stumbles, Luis Miguel Rodríguez, founder of Suxess Clothing, can finally say he is a successful entrepreneur.
For four years, the young Puerto Rican has been selling headwear designed by local artists. He sends them to international destinations from the comfort of his home with just a click. But it was not always that way. In the beginning, he tried to sell his headwear at events, and then in stores. He also had a booth at a mall. None of those strategies worked.
That was when he launched his product on the web.
“Since the previous experiences were a flop, I put all my energy into the online business. It was a more economical strategy, and one I could reach more people with. Now everything is running super well,” Rodríguez says.
So what should entrepreneurs do to be successful in their online businesses?
- Emulate your heroes
Just as the best movies are influenced by other movies and directors, the functions on your webpages should look like, and work like, your favorite websites for purchases or services.
“I always look for references, studies on how people like to see the products. I look at similar webpages and base myself on colleagues’ and friends’ experiences. I also ask people why they buy a particular brand,” Rodríguez says.
Sebastián Vidal, executive director of the startup accelerator Parallel 18, summed that experience up by noting that entrepreneurs should be in contact with people with more business experience. “You do that by taking part in workshops and training sessions and by looking for mentoring by people who are in your industry,” he said.
- Focus on UX (user experience)
In the digital world, it’s essential that the user’s experience and the purchasing process be quick and obstacle-free. “If a page hangs when it is loading or I click on a link and it does not work, I’m out of there. That’s why I make sure that doesn’t happen on my website,” Rodríguez says. Navigation within a website should be simple and intuitive for the user, and totally adaptable to mobile devices.
Experts recommend presenting only a few products at a time, to make choices easier for the user. Alan Taveras, co-founder of Brands of Americas, says that a website should be “clean,” with products or services divided into clearly-labeled categories.
- Implement a secure-payment processor
Another key for maintaining credibility is leaving no room for identity theft. To do this, sellers should use an internet payment processor that is proven safe and guarantees that the user’s sensitive information, such as credit-card number and postal address, will be protected.
Some of the processors used most are PayPal, ATH Móvil for Business, and Amazon Payments.
- Make shipping and tracking a priority
Rodríguez points out the importance of ensuring not just that the package arrives, but that it arrives in good condition. To do that, it’s vital that you implement a system to track your shipments and that the e-business has contact information available should a problem occur.
The entrepreneur also suggests that customers be informed of the company’s returns and exchange policy before they make their purchase.
- Market yourself like a pro
Product promotion is a fundamental part of success in sales, and if your business is digital, it’s a good idea—in fact, essential—that you use social media to make your brand known.
Taveras suggests making short videos for social media explaining the benefits of your product or service. The more services you use, the better. A combination of three or four will give better results than focusing all your efforts on just one.
Facebook, for example, allows businesses to establish a schedule for publishing creative, attractive ads and paying to ensure that they reach more people within certain segments. Rodríguez has had success in publishing on an every-day basis.
For Instagram, linking to influencers increases the probability that your publication will reach more people. Also, inviting your customers to take photos with your product, or to write reviews about their experience and publish them on social media, may attract new customers.
Other strategies are using email blasts to send discount coupons to be redeemed at checkout and doing flash sales during off-season periods.
- Rethink your market and niche
If your business is not generating the expected sales, it’s time to reinvent yourself. That brings us to the importance of studying your market, knowing your customers’ behavior patterns, and knowing—or finding out about—their needs.
Banco Popular of Puerto Rico (“Popular”) holds no affiliation or relation to the individuals or entities mentioned in this article. This article is for informative purposes only, and is in no way an endorsement or guarantee of its accuracy. Neither Popular nor any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, or related entities are, or will be held liable for any special, direct, or indirect, damages, resulting from the information contained in this article.