Insider's Guide on Doing Business Online

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THE INSIDER’S GUIDE ON DOING BUSINESS ONLINE I-BIS Innovative Business Growth Incubator for Start-Ups

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

I-BIS Innovative Business Growth Incubator for Start-Ups project is funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union (2016-2018). Project number: 2015-1-UK01-KA202-01348

European partners of the project: University of Sheffield (United Kingdom) Inova Consultancy Ltd. (United Kingdom) Kaunas Science and Technology Park (Lithuania) Fundación General Universidad de Granada Empresa (Spain) Vaasa University of Applied Sciences (Finland) Š2018 All rights protected







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ABBREVIATIONS CPC: Consumer Protection Cooperation CPM: Cost-Per-Thousand CRO: Conversion Rate Optimisation DIY: Do It Yourself EBGC: European Business Growth Catalyst FBA: Fulfillment By Amazon GDP: Gross Domestic Product GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation IBIS: Innovative Business Incubator for Start-Ups PCI: Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard PCI-DSS: Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard PESTLE: Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental Factors Model PPC: Pay-Per-Click SAAS: Software as a Service SEO: Search Engine Optimisation SME: Small-to-Medium Enterprise SSL: Secure Sockets Layer UI: User Interface USP: Unique Selling Points UX: Digital User Experience VAT: Value Added Tax VOIP: Voice Over Internet Protocol WOM: Word of Mouth


The Innovative Business Incubator for Start-Ups (IBIS) is a European Commission-funded programme aimed at driving growth and innovation in start-ups. The project offers a unique, hands-on experience designed to equip new entrepreneurs with the tools needed to drive their business into the future. Inspired by the previous European Business Growth Catalyst, the IBIS team has gathered from Finland, Lithuania, Spain and the UK to develop a pan-European approach to growing start-up businesses and assist participants inquire into their business, its development and growth in order to achieve positive action and take steps leading to sustainable growth. As part of the IBIS project, partners developed the Insider’s Guide for Doing Business Online in order to provide a comprehensive overview on how to start selling their products and services online. The Guide was produced jointly by the international IBIS team in order to make the Guide internationally relevant. It covers detailed country specific information about Finland, Lithuania, Spain and the UK. The Guide is also useful for start-ups based in other European countries. It is a learning resource including general information about doing business online, therefore businesses can benefit from it regardless of the country they operate in. Besides providing theoretical knowledge on key aspects of online selling, the Guide also includes some practical tips on how to start selling online. It guides start-ups through key elements of reliable e-commerce, e-commerce strategy, digital user experience, communication with customers, customer service, different payment methods and logistics. The Guide also includes a wide range of online tools and tips on how to make the most out of them by overcoming potential challenges. Although it was primarily designed for start-ups, it is also a useful tool to incubators in order to assist start-ups in expanding operations online. Enjoy the Guide!




E-commerce* and digital marketing are increasingly important to all businesses, providing opportunities for development of commercial activities across borders and to reach potential customers. The EU’s Digital Single Market1 strategy is removing barriers to online trade within the European Union. The EU is looking to create a digital version of its free-trade single market, which should enable cross-borderer e-commerce in the region by prohibiting price discrimination against customers in different EU countries. Due its rapid growth, global reach and cost efficiency, the internet is a fruitful platform for business growth. Even though, success may not come easy, e-commerce and digital marketing is challenging due to competition faced in the market. Besides digitalisation in business, internationalisation is a growing trend in online business and is important for enterprises aiming to grow their business. With online business everywhere, companies need to reach for potential customers in international markets. The capability to serve online customers in local cultures could increase start-up competitiveness and business growth. Insider’s Guide on Doing Business Online is especially designed to help start-ups by providing information on common issues they might face when carrying out online business activities in Europe and beyond. It underlines key success factors for e-commerce and provides tips on using online business tools. The aim of the Insider’s Guide is to encourage start-ups to develop their e-commerce activities and to grow their businesses. The Guide focuses on the business side of e-commerce: the importance of content development, marketing and online customer service. This Guide combines the viewpoints of the entrepreneurial spirit and the international business environment, differences in languages and culture when providing guidelines on key issues related to digital marketing and e-commerce. Though digitalisation provides access to international markets for start-ups, companies are still expected to understand local differences in markets and consumer behaviour in order to develop great customer experiences and successful online business. This Guide provides a short cut to understand what the potential barriers to international online business are and how to overcome these. Though it has a specific viewpoint on female entrepreneurship, this Guide is a valuable learning resource for all start-up businesses regardless of the country they operate from.

* The definition of the words in purple are available in the Glossary on page 101.


The Insider’s Guide is divided into three main sections: this first section provides a basic introduction to what this Guide is about? As this Guide is an outcome of the initiative of the European Commission, IBIS project, and project team will be shortly introduced. The second part of the Insider’s Guide will provide a short introduction to online business with a specific focus on e-commerce. As the internet has become an integral part of consumer buying process, consumer behaviour is critically reflecting the reliability of the e-commerce. The key to success is to focus on customer satisfaction and build digital buying experiences that are smooth, effortless and fun. Branding and digital strategy are discussed in this second part of the Guide. The third part of the Insider’s Guide provides information and valuable tips on setting up an online business and designing customer experiences online. It will also provide insights on how to find potential customers and promote sales as well as how to create content, engage and communicate with customers online. The Insider’s Guide on Doing Business Online outlines the selection of different online marketing tools available for doing business online. It provides insights on how to make most of them when avoiding potential pitfalls. It is produced in cooperation of the partners in an international IBIS project providing insights on doing international business online, but also identifying cultural differences and insights supporting the adjustment of business in relation to cultural differences among participating countries – UK, Finland, Spain and Lithuania.



I-BIS The Innovative Business Incubator for Start-Ups (I-BIS) is launched with the aim to drive innovation in Start-Ups. This Training Programme offers a unique, hands on experience designed to equip new entrepreneurs with the tools needed to drive their business into the future. The international IBIS Training Programme has been developed in partnership with European Commission and inspired by the previous European Business Growth Catalyst (EBGC). IBIS assists participants to reflect their business, development and growth from new perspectives and to take positive action and steps leading to sustainable growth. IBIS aims to support start-ups across Europe during the challenging years of growth through a new business learning programme based on the European Business Growth Catalyst, and includes the viewpoint of female entrepreneurship. The IBIS Training Programme is targeted at start-ups: • In the first 3 years of their business • Willing to grow their business in the next 2 years • Owners and managers who are able to implement real development and growth of their business Furthermore, IBIS provides business incubators with enhanced possibilities to support start-up companies. The beneficiaries include policy makers, researchers, regional developers, municipalities, consultancies, educational units, institutions and other bodies working with start-up activity and SMEs.

Through action learning, the IBIS Training Programme places learning in a practical environment and develops real skills to support active growth of companies. Training is based on process of group consultation and peer support rather than on traditional methods of learning and supported by a trained facilitator and business experts. During the programme, participants will get access to an online Learning Hub where they will have access to learning materials, networks of other start-ups, and incubator services across Europe. IBIS provides cutting-edge training and guidance material for start-ups and the trainers in business incubators, helping them to implement the IBIS programme for the benefit of start-ups in their organisation. During 2016-2018, IBIS has organised two pilots of the Training Programme for SMEs. The modular structure of the learning programme and training materials have been developed on the basis of the needs analysis and the feedback gathered from the participants of the programme. The project team behind the IBIS consists of partners in four European countries developing a pan-European approach to growing start-up businesses in the UK, Finland, Lithuania and Spain. The organisations forming the IBIS consortium are: The University of Sheffield (UK), Inova Consultancy Ltd. (UK), Kaunas Science and Technology Park (Lithuania), Fundaciรณn General Universidad de Granada Empresa (Spain) and Vaasa University of Applied Sciences (Finland).

Female entrepreneurs

European Commission’s statistics show that women are underrepresented in the business world. In Europe “women constitute 52% of the total European population but only 34.4% of the EU self-employed and 30% of start-up entrepreneurs�.2 The IBIS partnership has recognised this gap regarding the number of female entrepreneurs and therefore a key goal has been to integrate the perspective of female entrepreneurs into the project. In order to ensure that female entrepreneurs are well represented in the IBIS project, Inova Consultancy has been included in the partnership. Inova has specialist experience in running workshops, training courses and mentoring programmes aimed at women starting up or developing their business. There have been some positive actions taken by partner countries to support female-led start-ups. At the beginning of the project, partners conducted a needs analysis in which there was a special emphasis on women. In the UK there was a focus group organised specifically with female entrepreneurs. Discussions concluded that women face major challenges regarding confidence and work-private life balance, thus the IBIS Training Programme covered these areas of challenges. Furthermore, all partners aimed that at least 20% of the training participants be female entrepreneurs. The IBIS Training Programme consists of a total of eight modules, one completely focusing on female entrepreneurs. This module was designed to support female entrepreneurs to develop their soft skills and focused on how they can maximise their brand. It not only gave them the opportunity to explore their soft skills, meeting other female entrepreneurs was also a pivotal part of the module. The Learning Hub of the IBIS project is an online platform where start-ups have access to materials that complement the modules of the Training Programme and it also offers support to start-ups by providing a map of incubators from several European countries where businesses can find support. In the Research Library of the Learning Hub female-led start-ups have access to materials specifically designed for them. Through the aforementioned positive actions, the IBIS Consortium achieved equal representation for men and women in the project.




This section presents the basic concepts and forms of online business. The reasons for why an online business is the best investment are provided and practical tips to consider before starting selling online are listed.

3.1. Boosting e-commerce in the EU Digital transformation is characterised by a fusion of advanced technologies and the integration of physical and digital systems, the predominance of innovative business models and new processes, and the creation of smart products and services.3 Currently, EU businesses are not taking full advantage of these advanced technologies or the innovative business models offered by the collaborative economy. The state of the digitisation of industry varies across sectors, particularly between high-tech and more traditional areas, and also between EU countries and regions. There are also large disparities between large companies and SMEs. The value of e-commerce in the EU is growing, but its full potential still remains untapped. Only 15% of consumers buy online from another EU country and 8% of companies sell cross-border. As part of its efforts to unlock the potential of e-commerce, the European Commission had adopted a package of proposals to stop unjustified geo-blocking, increase the transparency of parcel delivery prices, and improve the enforcement of consumers' rights on 25 May 2016.4

3.2. What is e-commerce? E-commerce refers to purchases made on the internet.5 The word is commonly spelled with different variations including ecommerce, e-commerce and eCommerce and encompasses everything from buying or selling online (such as retail sites or marketplaces), to mobile commerce, business-to-business sales, data collection, and financial and trading transactions.6 The term e-business typically refers to businesses that operate solely online whereas e-commerce refers to both virtual and brick and mortar stores that sell online. Mobile e-commerce or m-commerce refers to e-commerce sales coming from mobile devices. Though m-commerce is not replacing e-commerce. A larger portion of e-commerce sales is mobile. In Germany, the US, and the UK, m-commerce is approximately one third of all retail e-commerce.7


E-commerce is naturally global. As over 3,7 billion people8 are virtually connected and we are living in a digitalised world, e-commerce provides a fertile ground for selling products and services to people internationally. Though we all know online retail giants such as Amazon, eBay, Alibaba or Walmart, the continuous growth in e-commerce is based on small and medium sized businesses. E-commerce covers all industry sectors and any traditional business should now look at their digital footprint to keep up with the competition. E-commerce is for you, whether you are9: 1. A brick and mortar store owner who wants to expand into the online retail space. 2. An inventor of a new widget who needs an outlet for testing and selling. 3. An inactive seller who's not experienced with web development but still wants to find and sell quirky / fashion items 4. Business who is more offline but would like to sell relevant items to increase revenues (bands, charities, etc.) 5. A blogger who would like to expand into eBooks or other digital products. 6. An experienced sales person who is looking to act as an international sales agent without having to store and ship products Though anything can be sold online, gaining international success requires differentiation from local competitors. As it is difficult to compete with price the differentiation is often based on specific features and qualities on products and services offered, which creates new opportunities for small-scale businesses when reaching niche markets with local flavours. Popular items selling online include handmade products, clothing and traditional artefacts expressing the specific characteristics of local cultures.

3.3. Main reasons to start selling online E-commerce has great impact on the overall value chain. Distribution is way different than it used to be. Consumers have the possibility to buy a product directly from the producer. Wholesalers and retailers are no longer necessary in the playing field and can be missed. E-commerce is a great driver of change in that sense. Customers have more control: they no longer need to wait before their order arrives and are able to choose where they buy.


Main advantages of online business for business owners10: 1. Provides limitless freedom - not being tied to a particular location or desk from nine to five can be very empowering;

2. Low overhead and high margins – eliminate things such as pricey office or retail space and long-term lease commitments, but you can also eliminate things such as pricey office or retail space and long-term lease commitments, but you can also eliminate having to tie up your money in stocking inventory. A drop-shipping agreement with the manufacturer or a manufacture-to-order arrangement can greatly reduce your financial-risk and will allow you to maintain more consistent margins with less upfront cost. 3. Access to a worldwide market. The beautiful thing about an online business is the ability to run it 24/7 without boundaries. There are no geographical boundaries and there are no specific hours of operation -- an online business can produce revenue around the clock, even while you sleep. 4. Offers incredible scalability. Once a successful marketing and advertising strategy is identified an online business can simply open up its target and increase budget to grow very fast. Besides the huge opportunities e-commerce provides, there are also challenges related to marketing your start-up as you do not have any brand recognition, the budget is usually limited and lot of times is needed to deal with your potential customers in a completely digital environment. Understanding your customers and fulfilling their needs, defining your strategy and focusing on lean marketing online are key elements for online business creation from start-up viewpoint discussed in coming chapters below.


3.4. Practical considerations before the start of selling online Selling online requires some investment from the business to get a high return on investment and quality service.

Going online needs to be an integrated part of the overall business strategy. The first step is to draft a business plan, addressing the following areas: • Value proposition; What does your business offer and how does it compare with other offering? What are your unique selling points (USPs) including online USPs? • Market; Make sure you know your industry in all the markets you operate and envisage to enter. Who are your customers and the end-users? Will they be different in other markets? How would you define your customers’ behaviour? • Competition; Who are your closest competitors? (Everyone has one!) How and where do they sell their products? At what price? What are their USPs? • Human resources; What skills do you need for your e-commerce activities? Do you need new staff, train existing one or outsource? What is the cost? • Logistics and warehousing; Has your business got the adequate resources to store, pack, ship and handle returns? Does your business need to rent or buy a new premise? Have you got your own fleet of vehicles? Should you outsource? Would you consider drop – shipping? • Financing; Has the business got or can it secure the right financial support to meet online demand? What payment gateways will you use online? Could the customers pay in different currencies? What is the business currency strategy? • Pricing; What is your online pricing strategy? How will it fit with your offline pricing strategy? • Marketing; How and who will promote your new e-commerce activities? Has the company got the right budget? Who has search engine optimisation (SEO) / online marketing expertise? Who will provide customer support? What are your social media, mobile and content management plans? • Technology; Will the business implement a multi-channel strategy (proven to increase sales by 400%)? How will you offer an integrated and user-friendly shopping experience? Will you comply to Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards? Is your e-commerce solutions localised?


ONLINE TOOLS Export Trampoline is an online information service for Nordic companies aiming to international markets provided by Google and partner companies. For more information Google Market Finder is a tool developed by Google for searching potential new markets for your business and planning your operations. For more information Google Trends is a search tool to discover what are trends in popularity in particular search-terms either locally or globally.



This section presents the main factors of e-commerce reliability. Practical solutions of e-commerce options are provided with critical points to be considered to make online business as reliable as possible. Practical tips about must-have features of e-commerce sites are listed.

4.1. E-commerce reliability factors Due to increasing competition consumers have multiple options to choose where and how to buy online. Consumers have become more critical and impatient. Reliability of e-commerce is a key issue for consumers when buying online. There are both international and national regulations regarding the consumer law binding e-commerce that every business needs to be aware of. Online retailers are expected to provide all the necessary information that is legally demanded including basic business and contact information, conditions of contract and terms of ordering and delivery. Due to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) there are limitations how any businesses are allowed to collect personal data about their consumers: Personal data of European consumers must handle with extreme care and also consumers need to offer the option to control and eliminate any information pertaining to them. Information regarding the collection and use of customer data needs to be communicated to the consumers themselves. Reliability is created when defining the common elements of online store with customer in mind: How consumers find basic information is important for them and what the transparency of information is as well as how their personal information is secured. What are the first impression and the usability of user interface alike affecting on consumer’s experience of the online site? What is the quality of the online buying experience as a whole? The biggest difference compared to brick and mortar sales is the lack of face-to-face communication in the sale process. Investing in customer service and product information in the site, online retailer may downsize the insecurity and provide trusted and secure environment for customers used to direct contact when buying. Factors related to the assessment of the credibility of an e-commerce site among consumers include: • Overall visual appeal of the website (including layout, typography, font size and colour schemes) • Website structure and navigation made easy • The quality of product information and product images • Localisation of international e-commerce site (including language, payment options etc.) • Recognition and reputation of a business or brand image • Quality of customer service


E-commerce websites handle a lot of traffic and are under a big pressure. There are eight elements that entrepreneurs should consider to ensure e-commerce site reliability from the operations viewpoint: 1. Functionality. The extent of the operational aspects of the website software and its fitness of use. 2. Security. The extent of safety assured against malicious or accidental intrusion of unauthorized users when using the website. 3. Reliability. The extent of which the website remains available and working. 4. Integrity. The reliability, consistency ad correctness of stored data. 5. Trustworthiness. The extent to which the users perceives the website to behave consistently, reliability and correctly, building a trusting relationship. 6. Content Adequacy. The extent to which the information presented is contextually applicable to the user and sufficient for the user’s needs. 7. Scalability. The website readiness to meet rising demands in users and usage. 8. Availability. The extent of website accessibility to users through different browsers in differing times.

4.2. Business law and regulations for online business Beside commercial issues (e.g. usability, pricing, design etc.) there are number of legal issues that companies need to be aware of when selling goods or services online. There are several restrictions and regulations that may affect on online business and especially on consumer sales. These restrictions and regulations are affect either internationally, e.g. EU level or nationally. Be sure to check the country’s legal restrictions to be certain that you are not selling or attempting to ship a prohibited item. There are also recommended guidelines such as using fair business and marketing practices, creating secure online payment methods and protecting consumer privacy. SME’s need to be aware of consumer rights (consumer law) and data protection regulation. Any e-commerce retailer operating in the EU and selling to consumers is subjected to regulations related to distance selling, which includes online selling.


There are e-commerce rules and regulations that are industry standards. Even if they are not regulated as written rules, they are good self-regulated practices that customers are aware of: • Anti-spam law; consumers are protected from receiving unconsolidated marketing material affecting to all marketing as you need your customer’s permission for any direct marketing efforts first. • Privacy policy; transparency is a basis for brand trust therefore a clear and accessible privacy policy is a must. • PCI (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance; all companies are responsible for ensuring that they customer’s payments are being processed through a secure network and is stored in a protected database. • Collecting taxes; companies may collect taxes differently but they need to be collected accurately depending the laws and regulations. • Keeping business records; • Shipping; specific regulations regarding shipping some items may exist • Holding inventory; • Terms and conditions; having a solid terms and conditions will reduce personal liability in case of any problems are faced in the business. For selling goods online, there are legal differences between countries, which keep businesses and consumers from selling and buying cross-border. These differences include consumer rights when goods are defective. As part of the EU Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy and its plan to boost e-commerce, new laws have been adopted in 2017 and 2018 to tackle geoblocking and promote customers trust through better protection and enforcement. Directives, laws, regulations, principles and guidance in the EU11 related to digital environment include: • Code of EU Online Rights • Data Protection Act and similar legislation • Regulation on geo-blocking • Provisional agreement to make cross-border parcel delivery services more transparent and affordable • Revisited Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation • Guidance on unfair commercial practices



This section presents the basic concept of e-commerce branding and creating value. Five powerful e-commerce brand strategies are presented and practical tips to build a great online e-commerce brand are listed.

5.1. Customer-centric strategy While seeking to maximise your sales, the product itself is not as important as a thorough research into your target customers. The message you send with your brand, package and delivery matters more than the final product they are buying. Positioning an online business requires understanding of current delivery channels and the added value they bring to consumers, and especially to your potential new customers. Without providing relevant products and services for customers right here and now, no other single activity will make the business flourish. A strategy, ensuring that your customers is your business priority is a customer-centric strategy. Customers-centric strategy support customers maintenance before and after the sale and create a good purchasing experience, grow customers affection, and ensure growing sales in the future. Customer-centricity means12: • • • • • •

Customer-focused leadership In-depth understanding your customer Designing the experience Empowering the frontline Focusing on the metrics than matter Relying on the feedback which drives continuous improvement

The customer-centric e-commerce strategy is your roadmap to follow. It combines all predetermined goals and provides a clearly defined plan for how to accomplish them. Managing the customer experience is based on real time consumer feedback, information and facts instead of opinions. When establishing an e-commerce site, selecting your target markets and developing customer profiles representing key customer groups is important in supporting the development of the site and product category, communicating with customers and planning marketing campaigns. The basic elements of any customer profile include demographic and psychographic features, e.g. name, age, gender, location, education, occupation, income level, hobbies and interest, personality characteristics, use of social media, values, needs and wants which frame the specific choices and buying behaviour. Customer preferences should also be evaluated from an e-commerce position: • • • • •

What product features are important for customers? What social media platforms do customers use? Do customers value fast deliveries over free delivery? What kind of payment service is favoured? Any other customer preferences


5.2. The basics for e-commerce branding As an e-commerce entrepreneur, you have to develop the right kind of strategies and implement the ideas that help you to attract the right customers and enable them to buy. In order to create and promote brand value these questions have to be answered13: • What customers' problems problem your business solves? • What is online business mission? • What do your current customers think and feel about your business? • What do potential future customers think or feel of your business? • How would you like your customers to identify (think and feel) online business in the future? Business is mixed with emotion, engagement, and expectation. Great branding is the most powerful competitive advantage a company can have. People purchase products because of a story, an emotional connection they feel with a brand.14

5.3. E-commerce brand strategies The traditional principles used at core business must be applied in your e-commerce strategy as well. Your philosophy should focus on building a business – not a website. The website itself is only a delivery channel. There are several effective strategies on how to build a powerful brand strategy for your e-commerce store. 1. Identify unique selling proposition (USP): Defining unique selling proposition is a crucial step ensuring your sales growth. Unique selling proposition is naming the key elements that make your business unique in a world of competition, stressing the problem and company existence hypothesis.


The starting point while identifying your USP is to put yourself into your customers shoes13: • Identify your customers’ needs and preferences • Know what motivates your customers' behaviour and buying decisions • Uncover the real reasons customers buy your product instead of a competitor's Successful business ownership is not about having a unique product or service; it is about making your product stand out - even in a market filled with similar items. Customers have become more sophisticated in their quest for commerce by taking many different avenues and journeys before making a purchase. 2. Be refreshingly authentic and trustful The goal is to construct an authentic feeling for the buyers so that the customer associates something specific and desirable with your brand that is unique from the rest of your competitors offers. It means you can be a little more awkward, flawed and still have a professional attitude. Show more of the real you in your business but ensure the consistency of maintaining communication on every product page. Here are some examples of qualities you can highlight on your store to position your brand appropriately: • Where was your product made? • Does it meet any specific regulations? • What material is it made out of? • Where is the material sourced? • If it is a food product, is it organic? People like to buy from people they know, like and trust. Talk about how you run your business and why you make the choices that you make. Transparency gives customers a feeling that they are good guys: ‘I know these guys’. 3. Change the Branding Rules Taking risks and changing the rules of the branding game can bring new attention to your ecommerce store and extensively grow your brand.15 If your product is unique, the marketing strategy should be unique too. You can even educate your customers about your new branding of business and develop customers interest and loyalty. The main aim is to get people talking about your unique brand.


4. Treat each customer as an individual Every seller should speak in their customer’s language and use their preferred channels. Some may be captivated by social media others through push notifications or even traditional ways of direct mail. It is crucial to conduct analytics audits and adjust communication according to target customers preferences: • The channels that are driving your revenue and your customers to your website. • Understanding what motivates or frustrates your customers. • Identify unprofitable customers and focus results on engaging them more richly or removing them from the costly sales funnel. Focus on your ideal person who is buying from you and narrow down your niche from the beginning on. If it is good for everyone it is not great for everyone. • Focus on the lifetime value of your customers and build with the end goal in mind. Create a customer care package: handwritten note, a coupon for a future purchase, discount card they can give to a friend, that creates a good feeling towards your brand. E-commerce strategy should be considered as an overall strategy with a long-term growth plan. It is imperative to have a proper roadmap as part of the foundation for success.

PRACTICAL TIPS TO BUILD AN AWESOME E-COMMERCE BRAND • Start selling online using well developed and trustable e-commerce website builders, like Shopify, BigCommerce, WIX, Volusion. By pickling these builders, you will be able to implement and adjust various solutions for your business: SEO, design, paid search. • Optimise your product: using SEO, running shopping, retargeting campaigns and adds. Also ensure you have short and clear product description, and clean and smooth product photography, product description videos. • Get reviews on your product on your product pages.16 Customers are more likely to buy from a site that has product ratings and reviews. If your customers leave a great review, do not forget to thank, but, also respond to the most negative reviews and take this opportunity to improve your business. • Introduce Brand Ambassadors. Brand ambassadors can present brand in a preferred light and drastically increase brand sales. Those who are achievers in their own sense and also reflect the ethos of the brand can be collaborated with, in a mutually beneficial manner.17


• Invest time and money in your social media. Make sure you are running Facebook and Instagram adds. These are huge channel these days. Also invest in organic social media visitors, by posting content and engaging attention - this will be building your brand. The more followers you have the more sales you will have too. • Do not be afraid to sell. Sales are the core and main goal of your business. If you do not have sales, you do not have business. Put out your message clearly and with dignity “Hey, I make something awesome”.




In 2016 approximately 20% of businesses offered e-commerce in EU28 and companies in general generated 18% of their total turnover by selling online.18 These statistics are based on businesses employing 10 or more employees. However, online selling is an option for everyone, from sole traders to larger companies.

User experiences are key elements of the business as they may either support the growth of the business or turn into costs. Good experiences may lead to more sales and better customer loyalty. Satisfied customers provide positive feedback and support marketing, leading to new customers. On the other hand, bad experiences may lead to the need for more resources in customer service and problem-solving, more complaints and loss of customers. Focusing on developing exceptional customer experiences may provide a competitive advantage for any business. Before using this new opportunity, there are a lot of factors to be considered in order to optimise e-commerce as much as possible. This chapter will explore a key concept of e-commerce, digital user experience. It will also give guidance on the different online sales channels and platforms and outline some practical tips on how to choose online channels that fit your business the most.

6.1. What is important when developing digital user experience? Digital user experience (UX) is a key concept regarding online selling. It includes all aspects of the customers’ experience and feelings when purchasing something online and the processes that enhance customer loyalty and satisfaction. A closely related concept is User Interface (UI), which is the actual graphic design and visual aspect of a certain site.19 In early 2000s Peter Morville collected the different facets of UX and called them the ‘User Experience Honeycomb’. In seven hexagonals he summarised the key factors that have an impact on user experience.20


According to Morville, these 7 factors are key to create a web platform that enhances the satisfaction of online users, in this example, online customers.21 1. Useful: the products and services of businesses need to be useful and fill a need of the customers. 2. Usable: the platform (online channel) needs to be user-friendly and easy to use. 3. Findable: all information needs to be easy to access and in case the customers have questions or problems, they need to find solutions easily. 4. Credible: the products, services and businesses need to be credible and trustworthy. 5. Desirable: the design of the online channels, the products and services need to be attractive. 6. Accessible: the online channels, the products and services need to be designed in a way that it is accessible to all users, also to people with special needs and disabilities. 7. Valuable: the platforms, products and services need to satisfy customers and Lorem ipsum deliver value to potential sponsors. One single webpage can never provide a successful user experience alone but failing with usability user experience can be destroyed. Successful digital user experience requires: • • • •

Understanding on what are the real customer needs, Developing processes that support the fulfilling the customer needs, Developing systems that support service processes and Designing usability reflecting the understanding of user behaviour online.

Well-designed online user experience is enjoyable. Here are some useful tips for developing user experience when buying online: • Make finding items fast and easy; focus on internal search function and ease of the product comparison. Make sure that the all product information is available and it is correct. • Make buying easy; visualise the customer’s buying journey and minimise the steps, asking for only the most valuable customer information. Provide all the cost related information early in the process and lead the customer to finalise the buying process. • Use calendar and timing; motivate customers to make decision on buying by customising your offerings and campaigns individually regarding the time of the day and season. • Use the language customers are familiar with; test information and language used with real people and use only language and terms that are understandable for your customers.


• Serve customer well online; use chat to serve your customers well and make sure that customer service personnel is educated to provide all the necessary information and help when needed. Inform your customers clearly what are the other options for customer service when chat could not be used. • Measure, monitor and develop; make sure you know what your customers do online and what is different compared to planned customer journey. Identify the obstacles of buying and react immediately. Invest on tools and capabilities to monitor, analyse and develop the user experience online. • Design for all platforms; consumers are increasingly viewing websites and buying using multiple devices, the common goal for user-friendly development is responsive design, i.e. multi-platform design that balances functionality and branding. Focus on experiences and functions that are most important in each platform. Digital services may be complex thus trying to develop everything at once may lead to poor user experiences with lots of errors and shortages in the site, thus focusing on one thing at a time, doing right things and doing them well from the beginning is a better way to great user experiences online. Different visitors look for different information in the website. Four groups of e-commerce site visitors and what they do: 1. 2. 3. 4.

They do know what they are buying and focus on buying They search for products and information They look for cheaper price They look for new ideas

The structure of the online store should facilitate the fulfilling of needs and processes of all these different group of visitors. The key elements affecting the usability of online store are related to layout of the store, landing page, product category settings, products listings, product pages, product information, product pictures and colours, availability information, product reviews, shopping basket, registering as a customer, ordering, product search and customer service.

6.2. Channels for selling online E-commerce is a great way to expand businesses nationwide and cross-border. According to statistics, it is more popular to sell nation-wide than to sell cross-border because of the possible challenges that may come up with cross-border selling (high cost of delivering, lack of knowledge of foreign language).18


There are several options and channels where businesses can sell their products and services online. You can use different e-marketplaces,22 or you can also choose selling online through your own website and social media. Statistics show that businesses generate higher turnover by their own website than by selling on marketplaces, however it does not mean that marketplaces cannot be effective tools to complement your online selling.18 You do not need to pick only one channel, in fact, using a multi-channel strategy can be a beneficial choice.23 There are some key factors that need to be considered before picking the online channel(s) that fit your business the best. The two most important things are to know your business and product and to know your customers very well. If you have a clear view on these two key elements and have a good sense of your product, it will help you to decide which online channels to use. The best e-commerce solutions are user-friendly and fulfil the changing needs of both online customers and retailers. Site speed and reliability are key factors for retailers when choosing an e-commerce solution. From international e-commerce viewpoint the solution need to provide potential characteristics and functionality for localisations of the online sales, marketing and buying. Depending the size and the focus of your business, business model selected (e.g. manufacturing your own product or reselling existing brands) and the preferences of your target customers the e-commerce solution that is right for you will be different.

E-commerce platforms are software products that enable businesses to create and build storefronts for selling online. They provide an easy way to start with online business. Depending the select business model, focusing in the key business areas such as knowledge and competence in marketing and sales instead of technical issues or online payments and shipping. E-commerce platforms provide built-in solutions for payments, logistics, online marketing and accounting making the management of e-commerce with fewer resources needed.


6.3. E-marketplaces The use of international e-marketplaces can provide opportunities for overseas sales that you would not otherwise be aware of. Selling online through e-marketplaces is a great way to: • Provides an additional sales channel to market and sell products • Build a customer base in another country • Increase exposure for your brand and products across many countries • Test the demand in a new market • Provide trust in a new brand / product to the customer • Potentially provide a cost effective route to market solution at lower risks • Offer a localised experience - local currencies, local payment methods, suitable delivery methods and compliance with all the local terms and conditions • Appeal to local buyers and avoid miscommunication with translated pages • Help consumers compare products through standardised product pages and access to all the product range on one platform • Provide greater transparency in the purchasing process since availability, prices and stock levels are all accessible in an open environment. Some of the available online marketplaces are24: • • • • • • • • • • •

General marketplace (Amazon) Auction marketplace (eBay) Social media (Facebook, Instagram) Handmade and crafts marketplace (Etsy) On-demand production marketplace (Cafepress) Unique items marketplace (Bonanza) Niche marketplace (Not On The High Street) Subscription box service (Cratejoy) Classified listings website (Craigslist) Comparison shopping sites (Google Shopping) Daily deals sites (Groupon)

Choose your e-marketplace carefully. There are thousands of e-marketplaces around the world. Some are big players worldwide. However, they may not be the major player in each market. For instance, Polish consumers will first go and buy products on Allegro – not Amazon. Some e-marketplaces also operate in a certain part of the world or in specific sectors – i.e., Mercado Libre (Latin America). Facebook Marketplace offers local marketplaces based on location around the world.


Before making a decision, you should check: 1. Whether the e-market place fits to your strategy, product range and size of the business, e.g. if you sell handmade crafts or designs, the suitable marketplace might be Etsy ( or SpoonFlower ( 2. Whether the e-market place has localised versions in other countries. There are 15 different versions of Ebay and Amazon worldwide: / 3. What are overall costs of selling on it is. Selling on e-market places is not free. Businesses should add the listing fee, commission and currency charges, or other fixed costs. 4. What are the features incl. product variety sold, security issues, add-ons, support and other services provided? 5. What are payment, delivery options incl. geographical distribution (e.g. to which countries they deliver) and return policies, and how they fit for your customer segment. 6. What is the number of active users and the amount of potential customers? 7. Whether multiple language versions are provided.

6.4. Hosted and self-hosted e-commerce platforms There are three common concepts of e-commerce platforms related to different types of online sales: 1. Traditional product-based sales, 2. Content-based product sales and 3. Subscription-based sales. Traditional online stores are focused on selling a great variety of products, where speed, good quality product images, usability and ease of buying are most important features among cost efficiency. Content-based product stores are often providing experiences that are not purely related to product sales but also to use of digital content related to products offered. Examples of such business concepts are lifestyle-oriented businesses and expert services in multiple sectors such as craft and design (e.g. or wellbeing. If content creation and related services are especially important, the most used online store platforms are ones integrated with good digital publishing and content management systems.


Examples of subscription-based sales are service reservations and bookings in relation to travelling, events and personal lifestyle services that are immaterial. The e-commerce solutions for subscription-based sales are often individually made for the specific business purposes but there are also several platforms for appointment reservation, management and invoicing are in the market. The choice of best suitable platform is a matter of the business concept, so this is the first thing you need to decide when developing an online store. Hosted e-commerce solutions (Cloud or 'SaaS' – Software as a Service) tend to provide user-friendly interfaces and back-office software to people with less technical expertise. At a monthly or yearly fee a hosted platform has cloud hosting, holding all site files and handling security and speed. The supplier is responsible for the maintenance and these system features tend to be upgraded as part of the contract. Points to consider: • Know your requirements first to ensure you get the right package: some package offers different options and features that may not be relevant or crucial indeed. • Fees; some suppliers charge a variety of fees such as set-up fee, package fee, transaction fee, support fee. Make sure you add all the costs • Limitations: some providers apply revenue caps and then will force an upgrade or charge more if you exceed the cap; the amount of data that can be transferred monthly to and from your online store can also be limited. • Storage allowance; this is about how much data, images etc. you can store online. Some providers apply excess storage charges. • Hosting location; first check which country your website will be hosted in. This may impact on your website performance or search engine optimisation (SEO). Check also where the support and maintenance team are based, whether they provide 24 hour support to ensure your website is not down during your peak selling time. From the SMEs viewpoint it is also valuable to think of other features offered such security of the e-commerce site, clearness of product pages and usability user interface. As different platforms provide different features and service packages, it important to consider what kind of platform is suitable for your product category and items to be sold as well as the resources and knowhow you have. Depending the amount of functions included the monthly cost may rise and some features may require expertise on database programming. If you want to control everything on your own, you need to consider self-hosted platform or even a custom build online store that allows you to build the exact experience that you want. When creating your own online store, it may take weeks for developing and testing and requires knowledge of software and or coding. Using professional expertise may be valuable even though it might cost more.


Developing self-hosted e-commerce site requires investing in server (software or a cloud service platform), secure domain-name, business email address, online shop software and possible added service packages and analytics. Furthermore, you need to establish website design and integrate functionalities, such as SSL certificate, payment gateways, delivery options, stock management software, web analytics and social media platforms. Examples of international e-commerce platforms include: • Shopify ( is one of the most successful international website/online shop platform suitable for both Start-Ups and small businesses and high volume businesses. It is cloud-based all-in-one platform, sophisticated, customizable, responsive and more developed choice compared to many national platforms. Strong international success makes it a safe option. It provides common features required from an online shop and is relative easy to start with even with lower budget. Shopify is a leading online store platform for small businesses in many countries due its affordable pricing. • WooCommerce ( is the most popular (powers over 28% of all online stores) international online shop. It is a fully customizable, open-source add-on platform for WordPress with customer support provided in 58 countries. Key elements include easy extendibility with add-ons and great support for content marketing. Basic features of WooCoomerce are free, though paid extensions are often required. For the use of WooCommerce a web-hotel or WordPress maintanance service is required. WooCommerce is especially targeting businesses with real focus on driving sales and business growth with a bigger budget for development. As WordPress has a built-in blogging and content management it has multiple customisable options for social networking, bookings or whatever is needed. • Squarespace ( is an all-in-one platform with free hosting for running a small lifestyle business from your home. Even though it does not provide a lot of capabilities in SEO or customer relationship management, it is a platform for small retailers or professionals to sell their services. • BigCommerce ( is a hosted e-commerce platform especially developed for the purposes of e-commerce storeowners’ providing all functionalities with one monthly subscription including speed, optimisation and security. • Magento ( is an open-source e-commerce platform, which allows businesses to create online stores, accept payments and manage products. With paid solutions additional features, cloud hosting and support are offered.


When selecting the best e-commerce platform for you, you should think of: • Do you need skills and expertise in technical know-how including code? How much time it takes and what are the costs? • Is there integration provided with payments, logistics and marketing services in the market and are they suitable for your purposes? If not, how much does it cost to acquire them? • Who is responsible and what is the time for response when there is a problem with data security or technical issues? What are the potential costs involved? • How is the system going to be developed in the future and is it updated with possible features of integrated services? What are the potential costs are involved? The common mistakes, when selecting e-commerce platform are: • Use of local platform which tie your business to a specific service provider • Use of rare software with small amount of partners • Any expensive software not related to your actual budget nor size of sales and market Depending on the country and the type and size of your business, the necessary features of e-commerce site may vary. With a small budget you may need to work more for developing online site and content marketing yourself. National platforms may provide you better services and support suited on local customer needs if you are not planning to global. Though, if you are planning to develop an international business, platforms with agile options for international sales management suit better for your needs. When managing international e-commerce there are multiple requirements that are important to your customers. If you sell your products and services abroad only casually it may be enough just to provide English version for you e-commerce site. But if you plan seriously to expand your business, localisation of the e-commerce regarding the currency and language used in target country is extremely vital for the business success. Only 64% of all European consumers have skills to communicate in English , and less in other countries. At best online store platform provides also required international documents for custom clearance and national options regarding the language settings, desirable payment methods and shipping. These are often very important factors for localising e-commerce and responding customer needs leading to better customer experience, more sales and growth of business.


6.5. Challenges for international e-commerce The key issues related to internationalisation of e-commerce include: • Highly localised country-specific strategy and e-commerce operations, e.g. language, currency, payment and shipping options, backend shop etc. • Localisation of online marketing, advertising and search engine optimisation • Understanding the consumer and business culture of target country as well as specific characteristics of your field of business as well as competitive environment • Testing and adaptation to the market are commonly used successful strategies. There are several common challenges you need to notice when planning and expanding your online business25: • Expanding business internationally takes more time and effort than planned; Think carefully whether you have resources required for localising e-commerce and who is responsible for the work required in practice. • Without practical knowledge relation to target business culture and consumer preferences makes it difficult to plan successful operations; without in-depth understanding of cultural issues it is challenging to earn the trust required for e-commerce. Think of whether you can invest in someone who is fully familiar with all aspects of your target market and may help you to deal with all issues important to international business necessary. • Consumer preferences vary thus your best-selling products may not sell in the target country; Think carefully which products have best sales potential and profit margin when localising. What are marketing costs peer click or per order? What are the current market prices for product category and who are your competitors? Are you able to reach better sales in terms of profit compared to home market? • Do you have enough resources for developing the international business from the beginning to more successful e-commerce; when driving growth there is need for development resources for scaling the business. • Do you have enough resources for customer service? Increased sales means more customer contacts and need for customer services in national context. Investing on customer service in target market or buying local services might be necessary for creating customer satisfaction.


• What is the investment worth of; the truth of the business success of each target market is revealed only when wins and losses are analysed per country. • Long-term commitment; each target market requires good business strategy, long-term commitment and hard work.

PRACTICAL TIPS Lack of reliability is one of the main issues for slowing down the e-commerce growth. When you want to ease the consumer decision-making process leading to sales you should: • Provide a simple and easy ordering processes, information on subscription or buying, sales and delivery terms • Provide payment methods and processes that are familiar and recognised • Provide multiple delivery options and real-time packages tracking is made easy • Keep your promises, e.g. orders delivered on time • Provide an option for comments and customer reviews included • Provide security and Data Privacy Certificates • Provide necessary contact information and consumer service • Share your story and the information of personnel of the e-commerce site • Provide instructions for payment, cancellation and refund Once you selected which channel(s) you want to use to sell online based on your business model and business goal and established your e-commerce site, there are a couple of tips on how to monitor your performance and generate more business online26: • Be present on social media and communicate with your customers • Read and take user reviews seriously • Monitor the success of the online channels you chose • Keep in mind that it costs 5 times more to get a new costumer, than to retain existing customers27 • If it makes sense for your product, produce product review videos.



This section will present different strategies and techniques to support companies in the search for new customers and the promotion of their sales. Effective online marketing strategies will be described together with useful tips and resources for businesses.

7.1. Effective marketing strategies to promote your sales When you are making decisions on whether and how your offering (product or service) needs to be adapted for your market in order to promote your sales, there are many things that be considered. First, it is important to understand the current state of the industry and the main factors that could influence the business. A widely used tool for analysing potential market is the PESTLE (political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental factors) model, which helps you to identify the external forces that could have an impact on potential market and your business. When using the PESTLE tool, it is important that you not only identify the factors affecting your company but also evaluate their impact. Assuming that you know what your customers think is extremely short-sighted. And, in the fight to stay innovative, many companies lose sight of truly understanding their audience. The needs, experiences, and expectations of clients and customers change. Taking the time to check in and discuss what’s important to potential customers is the only way to deliver an experience that delights them. The Smart insight model introduces 5 creative techniques to gain customer insight: • Technique 1: Empathy interviews Technique focuses on the emotional and subconscious aspect of an audience’s actions by revealing why they behave as they do. Being as close to informal conversation as possible, empathy interview encourages participants to relax and start telling stories. The purpose is to reveal how your customers experience the world. • Technique 2: Observe customers in their natural environment Seeing customers in a natural setting exposes not only which products they use, but also their feelings and utility for those products. Method reveals how users interact with the products and what they use them for. • Technique 3: Watch how customers buy your product


By paying close attention to how customers' approach, consider, and decide to buy something will help you to understand customers' frame of mind. Following customers’ path to purchase can give you insight into their thought processes and what they consider important. • Technique 4: Attend an event or trade show This is particularly helpful for understanding B2B customers. Observing how potential customers position themselves and interact with their customers will reveal their self-perception and direction for the future. • Technique 5: Gauge the competition Knowing your competitors’ perceived strengths and weaknesses is invaluable for differentiating yourself in the market. Once you get an idea of their positioning, you can compare it to other companies’ positioning within the industry. Understanding how much time and money they invest in innovation, new product development will help you to identify where they are heading. Whatever industry you are, the key competitive advantage is the experience that you offer to your customers. The better you are to listen and understand your customers, the more business opportunities you will get through engagement and advocacy; loyalty facilitates repeated business and advocates bring more leads and customers. Advocacy requires changes in business thinking: • Serve first, sell second; provide value continuously and invest on content marketing • Invest in great experiences that are personally touching and authentic • Engage and listen to your customers proactively • Seek out complaints on your own and address them emphatically • Identify happy customers and use them as marketing champions • Use word of mouth (WOM) for generating leads through advocates. Content marketing can significantly enhance the profile and presence while driving results, but needs a well-defined and strong strategy. High quality resources, good distribution and finding relevant audience to engage with your content are key factors driving results for content marketing. The fundamentals for an effective content marketing strategy are: a blog, high-quality content, effective social media channel to contact with your audience and market the content and the platform for posting the content. Content management strategy starts with blogging; blog is a magnet for traffic, links, comments and engagement fro m your audience. 46% of buyers read blogs before making purchase decisions. And as many as 95% of buyers may find your online store through search engines, for which blogging with unique content is the essential. In a market without face-to-face contacts, your content provided is the key to build and nurture customer relationships both in a short and long term.


Most e-commerce sites have either blogs in-built or as add-ons. Your blog should not only advertise the products or your brand but educate your audience, appeal to them on an emotional level and engage them to your product niche. Especially when selling professional services, blogging is a great way to develop professional credibility, educate potential customer in the topics related to your knowhow and service offerings and engage. Writing high quality content that people want to read and share requires passion and time to sit down for writing. As blogging can give a great value for business, consider asking for help for writing if needed; the costs of outsourcing should be considered as an investment for future success. Social media is another key tool and a marketing channel from both general marketing and content marketing viewpoint. For sharing your content efficiently you need an engaged audience interested in hearing from you. Social media requires a two-way conversation, dialogue, between you and the market. Audience linking your page or otherwise initiating contact give a permission to interact with them. As nobody is willing to read constant marketing messages, you are expected to provide valuable high-quality information and entertainment on a daily basis.

PRACTICAL TIPS TO CREATE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA BRANDING Social Media Marketing: Represent Yourself Globally Online When used correctly, social media platforms can be a huge benefit for a small business and establishing their brand:

• It is important for your business to choose the platforms(s) that best fit what you want to communicate and the audience that you wish to reach. This means fitting your brand’s voice and connecting where your target audience is present. Consider how your brand will appear visually, such as the importance of reflecting your voice in the logo and colours that you use.


• Once the platform(s) is set up, it is important that your team dedicates regular amounts of time to maintaining the platform(s) and posting consistently. Make sure that the voice used is uniform across platforms, including the topics you choose and the way they are presented. This voice should also be steady when responding to and interacting with other people online. • The connection created is the most important result that your social media branding will have, therefore, it is important to take advantage of it. Promote the platform(s) you are using within the company and other people you know (and do not be afraid to connect with influencers or big-name social media players to get your name out there too). Social media tip: even if you’re only on one platform, grab the name profiles on the rest!

7.2. Creating attention and traffic online To find customers online, entrepreneurs need to create a strategic approach to digital marketing, driving traffic and communicating with customers. Finding and reaching new customers is directly related to attention and traffic you can drive to your online site from the beginning. Targeting influencers, getting attention and drive traffic all play a critical role in attracting, retaining and impressing online customers. Some practical ways to driving traffic28: • Send free samples to Instagram influencers; Instagram is one of the most effective marketing channel for e-commerce. Knowing how to target influencers is a great way to drive awareness and traffic to online store. • Reach out to bloggers, vloggers and press via email; by telling a unique, interesting story of your product or write a good pitch, you may get being featured. Getting covered from a popular blog or vlog or from press may drive a lot of traffic and help creating sales. •

Post your store to Reddit

• Ask your network for help to share your post in Facebook; extend your network by offering your product for free for testing and to share the post: through friends and family the rate of success will be much higher compared to strangers. • Engage potential customers on Twitter before opening the store; generated follow-backs through following selected people on Twitter. • Instead of waiting for influencers to feature your business, you can feature them first; write a post featuring people with big audiences, e.g. Instagram or Twitter users, bloggers or vloggers, and send it to them via email or Twitter. • Create and use mailing lists. • Deal with your customers at a personal level, be social and make them feel special


Due high competition it is challenging to find audience for your website. With the buying power of large online stores, you need to find a way to earn your place in the conscious of search engines, social media and potential customers. Attention and brand awareness is generated through content marketing. Besides selling products or services, ecommerce site need to provide information, which supports brand personality, attracting social media attention, links for SEO and hopefully also leverage viral traffic effects for attention. After building following, other ways including mastering SEO, following a content strategy, engaging with fans on social media, spending on social media adds and on Google Adwords provide strategies to market and develop online business. Do not forget to keep track and measure the entire value chain.

ONLINE TOOLS Websta is a free tool for managing the content from a desktop. It catalogues the most popular Instagram hashtags and users. Websta Hot features the most popular hashtags currently used. It allows viewing Instagram on a customer display mode for computers with the same features used in the mobile map. Pinterest Browser Button is the simplest way to browse other sites and post the image without having to leave the site your on. For more information - Web Website widgets for Pinterest allow visitors to save an image to Pinterest from your website helping others to discover your content and increase your reach. You can also follow and pin buttons, and board and profile widgets to your site. For more information IFTTT (If This Then That) is a free tool that allows, as apps and devices to talk to each other, you to make receipes for some action when something else happens, e.g. when taking an Instagram photo, then pin it to a board on Pinterest. Canva is used for graphic design in various file formats and has templates for various social media image templates within right sizes. It also offers content inspiration section featuring tutorials to begin with design for free. PinGroopie is a simple way to reach new Pinterest groups relevant to your business to drive more traffic to your site. Google Drive Research tool allows you to conduct Google searchers without leaving your Drive window. For more information


Google Webmaster Tools can be used to check indexed pages on your website, submit your sites to Google and disavow bad links. It gives information on search queries that have a large volume of impressions but low clickthrough rate whenever your own used marketing software cannot do so. Conversion rate calculator pits out a conversion rate when you enter the total visitor count during a specific time frame and the number of times during that time frame those visitors took a specific action. A/B Test Calculator Works for a basic scenario with two groups of people (A & B) who get to see one version of your website and for whom you track the number of conversions or goals (purchases, downloads, clickthroughs, etc.). Evernote is a freemium online application for content writing, blogging, research, note taking, brainstorming etc. Feedly is a freemium tool providing and organising the latest news of the day, all in one place. Wistia is freemium tool that provides powerful video hosting with analytics and video marketing tools. SurveyMonkey with free version







Google Alerts is a content change detection and notification service sending emails from results matching user’s search terms. For further information is a free online tool that suggest you the keyword for various other marketing actions such as content marketing and SEOs. The key words generated can be categorised on the basis of top search engines such as Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon and App Store. Followerwonk supports finding relevant keywords in bios and profiles of Twitter users relevant to business and look for a chance to help people or provide value without direct sales pitch.

7.3. Online advertising and SEO Marketing will always be crucial to e-commerce success, as attention is needed to get anyone to buy from your site. Marketing your value propositions online requires understanding your customers, good planning of the use of online marketing activities, marketing communications and scheduling the activities. Testing and measuring the outcomes of the activities is also a need. Different tactic to marketing planning is simply to go on testing how different activities in practice to see how they really work. Market


activities in e-commerce are focused on online advertising. Social media advertising might be a great way to share your viral articles. Make sure when sing paid advertising campaigns to have strong, personal and irresistible headlines in place to generate clicks. The more people want to read your content, the better chance you have to communicate your message to a wider audience and generate traffic to e-commerce site. Look for influencers in your social network that may be interested in your content or offer a “guest post”. There are numerous ways how you can promote your site and generate traffic with advertising: • Display ads; visual ads that appears on third party websites and usually related to your content in variety of formats such a as statistic images, text, floating banners, wallpaper, popup ads, flash, videos. Display adds are often affordable but rates will vary depending whether you contact third party site directly or through marketing site. Google Display network allows demographic, geographic, contextual and behavioural targeting. • Social media Ads; either organic (feedback from your target audience) or paid advertisement. Potential platforms besides Facebook include Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumbl, Reddit. LinkedIn is the most practical channel for B2B sales. • Search Engine Marketing (SEM); Online paid advertising based on keywords. SEM ads appearing in Google, Bing or other search engines ate text ads. They are either Pay-Per-Click (PPC) or Cost-Per-Thousand (CPM). • Native advertising; sponsored listings at the end of blog posts, appearing on Facebook feed and posted to other social media that are integrated with the platform. The forms of native advertising include in-feed, search ads, recommendation widgets and promoted listings. You can promote and post native advertising through networks like Adblade, Adsonar, Outbrain and Taboola. • Remarketing and retargeting; When people visit your site, you can drop a cookie to that your ads appear over and over to remind them about your products and services. This is an inexpensive form of advertising wand may be more effective compared to PPC when done right. It increases conversation as it reminds people from previous contacts and who you are. Remarketing can be set up on Facebook Remarketing, Google Remarketing etc. or use a third-party platform or provider for remarketing campaigns. • Video Ads; YouTube ads are well known, though any other social media platforms can also be used for posting videos including Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo and many more.


• Email marketing is a cheap way to build customer loyalty and boosts sales. With a email campaign manager, such as MailChimp, you can track the results. For succeed email campaign you need fist to build a list of email addresses. Using quizzes or simple Newletter-sign-up on your site will help for finding e-mail addresses. With email campaigns you can focus on promotions, discounts, features or content you’ve posted to your blog. A concise message makes it easy to get the point and increase conversions. Writing ads is one of the most important elements of building a succesful Adwords campaign. Along with choosing right keywords and targeting variables, content itself may differentiate good campaign from a failed one. Whenever you start paying from advertising it is essential to monitor campaigns and track your results. The better you understand how you make money and why, the easier it is to focus on right things to do without overspending. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) means tailoring your website to Google’s ranking preferences; links to your website will appear under various different, relevant search terms. Relevant keywords used can bring you a significant amount of traffic on a daily basis from search engines. As an e-commerce site you can generate traffic from ling tale searchers and potentially across a lot of pages. But your site needs to fit for search engine requirements. There are different ways to optimise for search engines and SEO knowledge requires testing and experiences in practice. Though some basics factors to start with optimisation exist: 1. On-site factors; starting point for any SEO campaign is your website. To ensure Google views your site in the way you want it to do, you may want to work with • Title tags and meta descriptions, e.g. content that appear in search engine listings for your page. Title tags are the link texts and meta descriptions longer explanatory texts underneath the title in search engine result pages that you may ask for the click within. This may help to increase the number of search engine visitors to commit to view your website and or product page. • Keywords used within content; look for consistency between your content, title and meta tags. Too many keywords may trigger Google’s eye for spamming. Also avoid duplicated text when possible in your website as it may lead to filtered website and reduced visibility and ranking. • Linking; your website need linking to and from other pages within your site, which helps Google to choose right anchor text for your links and rank your pages within your site.


• URL structures; when possible use descriptive keywords that note category and product displayed to help Google to index and position your site within relevant search engine results pages. • Keywords research; research different keyword phrases to attempt to find the optimum for both your product pages and website. To begin with keywords search look for keywords with traffic volume, keywords that indicate buying intention and keywords that are not too competitive. You can take advantages of several tools and plenty of resources for more information on how to research your keywords list. • Writing good e-commerce product descriptions; today product pages need more attractive information than basic product description with size and colour options and product image. Every product page should be unique, compelling and contain the very best sales copy for your intended audience. When writing your content think of how your product fits the daily life of your potential customer and suggest the way how it can be used to address a specific problem or a need. • Incorporate Search engine optimisation (SEO) and product reviews; rework with the product description to include search-engine friendly content and important keywords. You can use keywords selectively and consistently in places they make sense whether in the title page, product description in meta tags and also in the ALT tag, i.e. an optional description included in the HTML code where the product image is inserted. • Add relevant links and a call-to-action to your product page; hyperlinking related products within product description or any other relevant products may increase sales as it makes easy for them to see related items and encourages buying more. Call-to-action statements may also help when engaging customers creating a sense of urgency to make a purchases now not later. • Product page spelling and grammar counts; grammar and well-written content create trust among your customers but even tiny mistakes may quickly lower their interest or opinion of you. 2. Off-site optimisation factors are largely about links. You should also be aware of social signals, citations and other mentions of your site when creating a diverse profile of links for sharing and spreading your authority. • Link building; links are primary activity for most SEO. They are useful both for visitors in discovering new and interesting websites and for search engines when ranking pages. When you link from other established sites, you should be careful, as Google does not like forced links. You need to build diverse range of links from related, quality websites on a consistent basis. Usable strategies for link building: provide content and start commenting on other blogs and reach out to other related discussions, guest post articles on other blogs find trusted directories to list your e-commerce site or ask for links for other forms of promotion. Contests, giveaways, infographics, free reports etc.


may be used for marketing with a view to getting your links passed around the web when getting others voluntarily write about you and link to your website. These techniques also seem less forced in the eyes of Google. Though, never ask for links in giveaways or competitions. Localised profile in search engine may drive more local traffic. Google uses an adjusted algorithm to treat local searches so that they are ranking local sites in the right local area for customers. Several strategies can be valuable when building strong local ranking by Google: • • • •

Incorporate business information on every page Add your exact business information to listings Engage with social media platforms Generate local media buzz

Google is also using social networks as mechanisms for choosing how to rank different sites by picking things likes shares, likes and retweets. This way it gets better picture of how popular your site is and is capable of ranking sites in the way that delivers the most value for the users - that is ranking the best, the most popular sites most accordingly, according to the number of links and the levels of social activity around these sites. The most efficient way to create strong social presence on social media is to build your own social media strategy. Social media is about connecting with audience for direct traffic. While search engines can provide endless traffic streams, you need to work with social media to provide other channels for information and to develop your e-commerce. In the end, Internet marketing is about a combination of both well-optimised website and audience seeing it.

7.4. Webanalytics Webanalytics is a key tool to assess and develop the profitability of online store. It means measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of web data for optimising web usage. And it can be used as a tool for market research as well assessing the effectiveness of a website or a marketing campaign. It provides information about the number of visitors in your site and the number of page views. This way it helps to gauge traffic and popularity trends with is useful market research and planning. The two categories of webanalytics are on-site and off-site analytics. Off-site analytics refers to web measurement and analysis of potential audience, share of voice and buzz that is happening on the Interent. On-site analytics measures visitors behaviour once on your website including drivers and conversions in a commercial context. On-site analytics is based on information regarding hit, page view, event, visit, visitor, impressions, click, frequency, page depth, engagement time, visit duration etc. whereas off-site analytics is based on data analysis, social media exploration, share of voice on web properties. Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics are the two best known and widely used on-site web analytics services.


Search engine advertising is a tool for driving traffic and creating customer relationships. Counting purely on traffic may lead to disappointment, as conspicuousness and customer‘s recommendations are key factors affecting the selection of e-commerce site. Thus e-commerce should focus on customer relationship building and retention. Conversion rate is the percentage of users to take a desired action. A high conversion rate depends on factors such as the amount of interest of the visitor, the attractiveness of the offer and the ease of the process. The interest level is maximised by matching the visitor, right place and the time. The attractiveness included the value proposition and how well it has been presented to connect with the customer. The ease of completing the desired action is dependent on site usability, which includes intuitive navigation and fast loading pages. Developing the usability of the online presence is related to conversion rate optimisation (CRO). CRO refers to adjustment to the shopping experience that makes it easier for customer to take a desires action. Based on behavioural data collected from website visitors and experimenting on the basis of the information you can make adjustments in the process to facilitate desired actions. On the very basic level optimisation focuses on developing e-commerce business forward, that is growth of the amount of purchases of products and services. Optimisation helps to make the most of the investments on marketing and sales.

ONLINE TOOLS As there are huge amount of tools for online business and social media management depending which social media platforms you’ll use, the best way is to start experiencing with some of them and find the ones that are best for your purposes. Here are some commonly used tools that are selected on the basis of their free-to-use or freemium option provided. Google Analytics is a free most used web analytics service on the Internet offered by Google. Google analytics for Mobile Phones allows gathering data from iOS and Android Apps. Google Analytics Content Experiments is a free tool that provides data around the search queries in the Google and other resources for planning specific Google Adwords advertising campaigns. For more information Google Ads is an online advertising service where users pay to display brief advertisements, service offerings, products listings and video content within the Google ad network to web users. Services are offered under a pay-per-click (PPC) and cost-per-impression pricing model.


Google Adwords Keyword Planner is a free tool that provides data around the search queries in the Google and other resources for planning specific Google Adwords advertising campaigns. For more information r.html Google Trend is the part of Google’s search function that creates statistics about keywords, subjects and phrases, which people enter in the Google Search features. MozBar is a free all-in-one SEO toolbar which uses all the tools provided by Moz for boosting mainly the company’s website. Social Mention is search and analysis platform that basically categories the word or phrase into contains strength, sentiment, passion, and reach. It suggests few key words related to that search. It categorises the words and phrases in regards to the emotional understandings of the potential customers. Bitly is a link management platform and URL link shortener for social networking, SMS and emails. It gives an efficient way to share links and to analyse their performance. Facebook Insights is a free tool that provides information about the specific groups, which you may target on. Such tool allows users to access data from two main sources: one, called self-reported data, is from the people who share on their profiles. For more information LikeAlyzer is a simple and free-to-use tool that provides analytical information, advice, recommendations and links, which are related the Facebook pages. The pages are grade from 0-100 to show how efficient the pages are, then the users will know which area need to highly focus. Agorapulse offers two free Facebook tools allowing you benchmarking your page and run competitions, quizzes and sweepstakes on your timeline. The main suite is a management and engagement tool for several social media accounts, including Facebook. Twitter Analytics is an easy access tool that helps you to understand how the content shared on Twitter grows your business.


Twitter Ads is a free service that helps to build tailored campaigns around goals, audiences and budget when promoting Tweets or brand and drive traffic to website or attract new account followers. For more information is a free tools creating understanding on someone’s Twitter account. It gives rich insights about any public Twitter profile including topics, mentions, hashtags, followers, location and more. Instagram Audit is a free tool provided y Iconosquare for growing following and engagement on Instagram. It provides key analytic information about your followers, what they like and who they follow. Cyfe is a freemium tool that monitor multiple set of data of several Instagram and Pinterest users through various widgets within one dashboard. Repost is a simple free-to-use app that allows share quickly things with followers you find around Instagram, while automatically creating back of the original poster. You can search users and hashtags, find out what is currently popular etc. Ink361 is a freemium tool that provides insights for marketers, analysts and brand leaders to grow and engage with their audience on Instagram. You can track followers and followings over time and view statistics on your posts, use of hashtags and filters, likes and comments as well as optimise your tactics. Unfollowers is a freemium tool to manage your contacts for both Twitter and Instagram. Pinterest Analytics is a built-in analytics platform on Pinterest available to anyone with a business account allowing to track a range of metrics including your pin activity, your audience activity and which pins are driving traffic to your website. YouTube Analytics provides a dashboard for analytics, e.g. watch time, average view durations, realtime overviews for uploads, earnings, watch time, audience retention, demographics, playback locations, traffic sources, devices and live streaming. BuzzSumo helps to analyse what content has been shared on the most popular social media platforms and what content performs best for any topic or competitor. It helps to find key influencers to promote your content.


Wollerwonk is a freemium tool helping users to find, analyse and optimise about both Twitter followers and competitors’ information, which can be used to boost the business. You can search bios for certain words to find people for influencer marketing or people to target directly. Hootsuite is a freemium platform for managing your social networks including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ with plenty of engagement and collaboration features. It enables the campaign execution across multiple channels from one dashboard. Buffer is a freemium social media marketing management tool to optimise the schedule and spread Tweets out to maximise engagement. Works also for Facebook and LinkedIn. Siteliner is simple and free tool that provides the search option for any URLs to analyse any duplicate contents, broken links etc., which might seriously affect the web engine ranking. Similarweb is a freemium online tool in the web platform which provides useful information for any searched website. Some of the information it provides about the website is global ranking, country ranking, category ranking, total visit over time, average visit, web traffic by country, advertising display ratio, web content to name few. SMMartbox provided by Iconosquare is a curated directory of 300+ Tools for Social media marketers for free. Tweetdeck is a social media dashboard application that is used for managing Twitter accounts connected to Twitter. Currently the app is integrated into Twitter’s interface. MailChimp with freemium tools is world’s largest marketing automation platform helping to find audience, engage customers and build the brand with campaign building and marketing automation tools. It integrates with all major e-commerce providers so that purchase data can be used to send personalised campaigns.



In this section, we introduce the idea of online engagement and communication with customers with the intention of creating digital communities. The perspective as customers as community members will help increase brand loyalty and promote the business efforts.

8.1. Digital communities for customer engagement29, 30 Working in a digital world means that customers expect brands to be online (and on top of the situation) all of the time. If done correctly, businesses can benefit from the virtual community created in this situation. Having initial contact with potential customers is a good first step. However, it is not enough to create a loyal, engaged community. Customer engagement is based on promoting client interaction, encouraging the sharing of experiences, expectations, and hopes for the future. If done well, this engagement will create spaces where people come together around an idea or product that they deem important. In this sense, people are able to ask questions, make comments and suggestions, and generally connect with others who are in similar situations. In turn, this creates a sense of community and loyalty. And this community is one of the most under recognised resources for marketing campaigns—after all, who better to sell your product that someone who already bought it and loves it. It is important for businesses owners to recognise that this digital space is growing so rapidly that it is absorbing part of the physical community of traditional businesses, a customer base that is essential to business survival. However, engaging with customers is something that must be cultivated and developed, requiring investment and interaction.


8.2. Three strategies to effectively engaging with customers31, 32 Although we have access to a plethora of communication possibilities, being able to engage and communicate effectively with customers is more important than ever if business want to generate customer loyalty to their brand. Therefore, it is essential that a business choses the right options for their needs if they are to be successful. We identify three steps to encourage business-to-customer relationships and a variety of tools we can use to communicate with clients. Step 1: Develop Emotional Connections In the same way traditional companies create relationships with customers that enter into the stores and talk about their families, jobs, etc., it is important to promote emotional connections virtually. How can you do this? In the same way that traditional businesses know the names and about the lives of their customers, make an effort to get to know the people in your virtual space, what they like and dislike. A simple trick would be to start by listening to what your customer is actually saying (and not saying) and how they are communicating. This means that attending to customer needs should be put at the top of your to-do list. By figuring out what is important to your customers, you will be able to better respond to their wants and demands. In addition, you will be able to celebrate the good moments, and support them when times are rough. Step 2: Build a Community As a traditional community supports local business, your online community allow you to maintain your online presence. Therefore, creating beneficial relationships within a virtual community can permit you to create a space of continuous engagement without having to be present constantly. How can you do this? By using one or a variety of different virtual platforms you can set up an online community where people interact via written and video messages, photos and memes, etc.


One potential option would be to use Facebook Groups to generate a safe space where company employees and customers can interact in a way that is beneficial for everyone. Consider using live streaming to bring your community into your space or offering webinars to answer questions that your customers might have. By humanising your brand (giving it a specific voice and/or face), you are creating another connection point with the service or product you are offering. Step 3: Make you Community part of the Team

In a traditional business, the owners must listen to the local customers, adapting and changing along with their needs. With this in mind, allow customers to become part of the innovation, development, and feedback team that helps you improve your offer. How can you do this? By actively showing your customers that their opinions are valid and being implemented, you are showing them how they are part of the team. At the same time, show your customers how much you value them and their endeavours by promoting what they are doing—consider highlighting one customer project per week to continue the community feeling. Promoting the idea of co-creation along with engagement allows customers to feel as though they are receiving from you at the same time they are giving to you (like a good relationship). Be sure to recognise accomplishments and give credit where it is due, further integrating your customers, promoting community building and brand loyalty.


PRACTICAL TIPS TO INCREASE ONLINE ENGAGEMENT33 • Use Social Media: Creating communities on social media platforms can help you listen to and understand your customers, in addition to giving you the opportunity to analyse their hashtags, places they have been, etc. • Hold a Contest: Especially one that asks your customers to interact with your product/service or each other. This will grab their attention, promote communication, and reward participants for taking part. • Offer Exclusive Content: By proving customers with content that is only available to those people who form the community, you are offering them additional value for their participation. • Create Specialised Offers: Like the previous action, this motivates new customers to join the team while encouraging old customers to maintain their membership with the community. • Provide Virtual Tours: Introduce your virtual community to the physical entity of where you are working with video tours of your space and staff. This will help the community feel as though they are connecting with the business. • Host an Event: Continue to promote the feeling of inclusion by hosting an online or offline event with customers. It can be anything from a webinar to a meet-up in a city where your community is especially strong. • Send Newsletters: Do your research into information that will interest your cliental base and send out well-organised, easy-to-read newsletters to give them added value. Do not try to sell your product—connect to your customer.


ONLINE TOOLS Sprout Social is a tool for social media marketing with Tweets and Facebook posts on a dashboard to respond. Reply by Buffer is a social customer service software for Twitter. Likeable Local helps to generate leads and referrals through its platforms and to share content to social platforms. Social Mention can help to track brand mentions and social interactions. It also shows the key words and hashtags involving your company. SocialRank helps to manage followers both on Instagram and Twitter. Hootsuite makes it easy to follow conversations for customer service. Tweetdeck helps to manage multiple Twitter accounts with easy all on one screen. FanPlayr brings engagement by enabling businesses easily generate online gamified coupons. MailChimp is a freemium email marketing automation platform and newsletter service with detailed analytics. SlideShare is a free document sharing service online. Edocr is a freemium digital publishing and document sharing service for sharing content, enhancing SEo and generate leads. is a freemium social media relationship management tool for Twitter. WordPress is a platform for blogging. ZenDesk is an online customer service tool for tracking, prioritizing and solving customer support tickets. Evernote is for content curation and authoring. Spreadfast is a social media campaign tool.


Trustpilot is a freemium product and customer review tool. Hello Bar allows creating a separate, non-scrolling bat at the top of an webpage on your site for more subscribers and social shares. Hubspot is one of the most popular marketing automation tool. WebEngage is a A/B testing tool for customer engagement testing to identify problems within user experience of your site. Uservoice is a tool for gaining solicit feedback from customers. Rapportive is a free tools that helps to identify a person or clients on the basis of their social media engagement and profiles across various sites. The Identity can directly be transferred to the users Gmail account. Invoca keeps track on phone calls called daily.



In today’s world of instant feedback and evaluation, customer service has become a vitally important communication tool. Customers are very aware of their voice with a plethora of review sites and social media at their disposition. One positive or negative tweet, a blog post reviewing the service received or simply a picture on Instagram can have great reach in a minimum amount of time, especially when broadcast by the right outlets. Providing outstanding customer service for e-commerce is therefore not only important but it should be an integral part of any marketing and business strategy. If done correctly, great customer service can add tremendous value to your brand and enhance your marketing strategy, customer retention techniques, and in addition, raise awareness of your products and services. No longer are poorly-staffed call centres enough to provide customer service point. In our increasingly digitised world, multi-channel customer contact points have quickly become the bar and excellent heterogeneous customer service is a strategic way to manage all customer related questions about your business. By taking advantage of email, social media, direct phones, live chat, and VOIP, you can not only reach your customers proactively and instantaneously, but you can also collect vital user data that can feed back into your customer service strategy without great expense. By combining the use of a range of different tools, you can ensure that you are covering as many points of contact as possible. The main goal of using these different contact channels is to deliver a ‘wow’ experience to our customers that makes that feel valued and hopefully become trusted repeat customers and share their positive experience with their networks of co-workers, friends, and family. As the chances for communication in online store are less compared to common brick and mortar, most customers make their decisions without contacting any personnel of the online store. Though, it is important for e-commerce to provide easy ways to get contact whenever needed. Also quick response is expected. This is especially important when something goes wrong, and sometimes is does. The customer service and brand image is as good as how you treat your customers regarding the customer complaints. These situations are valuable as customers do remember how you have been able to resolve their complaints and how they feel about it. The best way to develop sustainable customer relations is to treat them well from the beginning to the end of the buying process. As most of the customer activities made online do not happen during common office hours, do inform your customers clearly when customer service is open for contacts.

9.1. Email customer support One of the simplest ways to get started with providing good customer support is to provide an email contact for your customers. This can be done by either publishing a contact form on your website, an email address, or both that customers can use to get in touch with you. All you have to do then is to wait for questions and feedback to come flooding in.


We have probably all experienced a number of requests for different subjects landing in our inbox on a daily basis. It can be difficult to keep track of all these requests and in some cases email can go dead or unanswered. This is something that you will want to avoid at all costs. One of the easiest ways to make sure that all emails get dealt with effectively and that you do not forget to respond to a customer’s questions is to separate your personal email from your e-commerce store inbox. Having a separate email for your customer service is straightforward and it will help you to organise what emails you need to respond to. You can flag emails that need a reply and ensure that these emails are answered promptly. Once you have dealt with a customer’s query, closing the email, which you can do by moving it to a specific folder or unflagging it, will help to prevent you losing oversight and control of your inbox. Thinking about the ‘wow’ experience: having a separate contact form and public email makes it easy for your customers to contact you. These should be very visible so that your clients do not have to go hunting around your website for these. Answering emails in a personal manner, instead of a formulaic anonymous reply, will increase your ‘wow’ factor and will make your clients feel valued. They will appreciate to know that you, or someone in your company, has taken the time to reply to them personally. This will make your customer feel more attached to your brand and potentially turn them into repeat customers. You might find that the same questions keep coming up from customers. To avoid falling into the formulaic trap, consider adding the answer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on your website.

9.2. Communicating via social media Many companies tend to forget the ‘social’ part of social media. Social media is not merely an advertisement platform, where you shout about your products and then leave again. It is just as much, if not more, about social interaction. Frequently search for your company or brand name being mentioned or talked about on social media is a great way to engage with your customers. When you find a post that mentions your brand make sure to reply to the posts. This will show existing customers that you care about them and address them on a personal level and it shows potential customers what they can expect from you. It shows that you listen to your customers and that you will take their feedback on board. This level of feedback can and should extend to review sites, such as TripAdvisor if you are in the service industry, or review platforms on e-shops if you use those to sell your products. Engaging with customers this way will not only help to get your name out there, but it will also help to build trust in your brand. It provides an easy form of communication with customers who are either talking or asking about your products or services. Tracking social media posts about your brand will furthermore help you collect vital data that you can use to improve your customer engagement.


There are a wealth of general and specialised social media sites out there and the most effective platform to provide social media support is through Twitter. However, you should be aware that because Twitter is such a fast-paced and straight to the point platform, if you do not answer customer queries promptly you might be in trouble. However, as most e-commerce companies have Twitter feeds it is almost expected for you to have one too. About a third of customers who use Twitter to voice concerns, expect that you respond to their tweet within thirty minutes and nearly half of customer within one hour. These are really tough targets to meet and largely depend on the size of your operation. As your company grows, you should consider having a role dedicated to answering social media queries and interacting with customers through social media. However, do not fall into the trap of simply passing this job off to an intern or work-experience student. Your social media presence is your company’s face to the world and messages should be carefully crafted. Where does the ‘wow’ factor come in? Be as active and responsive as you can across the social media channels that you chose, which should include the main platforms and a few niche ones, specific to your brand. For a real ‘wow’ factor, really engage with your customers and try to answer their messages, whether they are directly sent to you or as part of discussions online, within one hour.

9.3. Instant communication via live chat A recent study has shown that having a live chat facility on your website yields the highest level of customer satisfaction. From customers studied, nearly a quarter said that they had used live chat, and three-quarter of those were happy with the experience. Live chat is a brilliant tool that allows you to speak directly with your customer for a range of reasons. Consider this – customers can use it while they are at work. They do not have to call you and they certainly do not have to listen to the same horrible hold music. Well-trained and supportive live chat staff will make the customer feel valued and instil trust and a feeling that any problem can be resolved quickly. The survey further yielded that customers who used live chat preferred it over any other means of contact because they received their answers quickly and half of customers agreed that it was the most efficient communication method. How do we ‘wow’ the customer? Try and find a service that allows you to answer live chat questions while you are on the move. If this is not an option, get started with a live chat platform that doubles as a contact form on your website to make sure that absolutely no requests are missed. And finally, avoid cheap live chat services that will use a simple script and pre-formulated messages as it will often leave the customer frustrated and unsatisfied.


9.4 Resolving customer complaints Businesses can meet customer expectations when focusing on developing user experiences based on real customer needs and understanding on the processes related to buying online. Though, most companies receive customer complaints, as all transactions do not go as smooth as businesses might hope. Customers may have misunderstood or misused a product, wrong item has been delivered or something is missing from the delivery and something needs to be done. Regardless the cause or validity of the complaint there are several principles that you need to follow: 1. Listen your customer carefully and if possible contact immediately personally by phone 2. Admit your mistake, do not argue with the customer nor underestimate customer’s experiences or feelings; there is nothing to win when arguing with the customer, even you would be right. It is only leading to loss of the potential future purchases of that customer. At worst you may get the possible enemy who will discourage from making purchases from your business in the future. Social media is an easy way to spread both good and especially bad experiences. 3. Do not make any excuses, blame someone else or put the problem to someone else’s responsibility someone else even though the problem is not your fault 4. Apologise; the power of apologies is tremendous as no one remains angry when get apologised. This is a very powerful method to calm any angry customer. 5. Resolve the problem; usability is the key for great buying experiences online. Thus inexperienced buyers are not to blame as the problems occurred during online buying due the poor usability of the programme used. 6. Refund and try to give a positive surprise; for a small online business the loss of profit may hurt a bit as the company might loose the cost of product and/or the cost of shipping but for most customer service problems this is simply the best response in a long term. It is just a part of doing business. 7. Log; customer complaints may be beneficial for the business if the are logged and analysed. Understanding what is the reason behind the complaint may provide an opportunity to improve for instance the user interface or product detail page layout leading to better conversion for the business over all. Loggincustomer complaints may also help to identify customers not wanted taking advantage of seller’s generous refund policy or bringing continuously extra costs for some other reason.


In case something goes wrong big, you may need crisis communication. This kind of situation may rise due technical problems, lack of product security control, illegal or unethical act faced from third party etc. You can also prepare and create a plan for potential crisis management before anything bad happens so that you know what to do then. Good crisis communication is important as it at best improves the brand reputation. Managing your crisis communication well requires: • • • • •

Fast reaction Honesty Transparency and openness Empathy Taking care of any problems

ONLINE TOOLS Groove is a helpdesk software with a free option for small businesses managing their customer support. Freshdesk with freemium option customer service software turns emails and tickets easily into knowledge base articles within multiple languages and access via mobile apps. Trello is free tool that keeps track of everything as cards. Twitter is online news and social networking service that can be used for customer service by creating an account for customers to tweet for issues related to customer service. Tweetdeck is a personal browser for staying touch with customers tweeting. Zopim is a free chat support software by ZenDesk. Disqus is a common comment plugin for any webpage most commonly used fro blogs. Zoho Support Desk Account is an easy to use CRM specific freemium tool. C-Desk is a free helpdesk system that includes cross-team service request management and many other features. Skype provides free IM and video calls.



When selling goods and services online, most customers will expect a clear channel for paying for these goods and services electronically. There are several options that you can use to take payment from your clients and offering a range of these will greatly improve your chances of completing transactions. Making it as easy and seamless as possible for your customers to go through the payment process will ensure that transactions are completed successfully. Offering several payment methods such as credit cards online creates credibility, e.g. more reliable brand image. Each of us has some preferred payment option. When this option is not available it is common to remove to another site for purchasing. Online customers may also have some national preferences in terms of payment and delivery options that you need to be aware of when serving your customers.34 When you offer a digital wallet, credit card and domestic bank credit and debit card as a payment option, there are no global option that suits to all shoppers In Europe as each country has its own special needs when it comes to paying online purchases. Thus you must adapt your offer to each country if you do not want to miss out on sales. When it comes to paying for good ordered from online stores, European shoppers globally prefer to pay through digital wallets, such as PayPal and Alipay. Visa and Master card are also very popular followed by domestic credit cards and debit cards. Other internationally recognised operators include Amazon Payments, Ingenico Payments Services, Safepay, Skrill and WorldPay. When considering a payment service provider, it is important to choose certified one that does not demand opening an account in target country but provides multiple international digital payment options. Though paying online purchases by credit, debit, or prepaid cards is very common in Western Europe, there are big national differences among countries that online retailers must be aware of. For instance in Netherlands, 84% of the Dutch use the national payment method iDeal for online purchases and in Germany consumers prefer to pay by invoice and digital wallets followed by direct bank transfers; credit card is less preferred payment method in Germany. In Eastern Europe cash-on delivery is still very popular. The advantage of this method is that online shoppers do not have to share their personal information over the web and they can pay only when they have their goods in their hands.35 The main forms of receiving payments from customers for e-commerce are through credit card and bank transfers and e-wallets. There are many companies that offer these services for a small transaction fee, so these will need to be factored into any financial model. There are differences regarding the pricing of the payment system services and speed of the settlement depending the payment service providers and also the e-commerce platforms in the market marketing c-operation. Selecting the needed payment options for e-commerce is also related to your service level regarding the consumer preferences and buying behaviour in the target market and the potential payment options available with the e-commerce platform used.


The specific rules and regulations may also exist nationally regarding the online payment that you need to be aware of. For instance if Germany and France there is a certain timeframe for charging debit and credit cards otherwise the payment is voided. Several nationally and globally operating payment service providers (e.g. Nets) offer hands-on e-commerce and mobile payment systems to be integrated with online stores. They facilitate the acceptance of several electronic payment options for online transactions, thus being increasingly popular. Increased security standards, security protocols and processes in place, demanded by credit and debit card issuers like Visa and Master Card, ensure that the transactions are more secure thus downsizing the possible consumer risk and doubt for online monetary transactions leading to increasing interest on online buying. Retailers need to ensure that they have privacy policy explaining how they use customer data in order to fulfil an order. When collecting credit card payments directly, retailers need to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), which includes security and encryption requirements for any businesses. As these rules are relatively difficult for most SMEs it might be easier to use or licence a payment gateway from a third party, such as PayPal. Third parties collect the data and process payments on behalf of the retailer. When selecting an online payment service, you should think of36: • Conversion factors; conversion refers to the proportion of customers visiting your online store who make it all the way to the purchasing a product or service. Conversion at the payment stage refers to a proportion of completed purchase. Providing all the payment options that are favoured by your customers will increase the amount of completed purchases. With more expensive goods, invoice and instalments should also be considered as payment options. The reputation of selected payment service provider affects the reputation and image of the whole e-commerce site. • Everyday management aspect; as selling online requires a lot of resources, pay attention to aspects that will help managing everyday operations, e.g. automation of accounting reports, settlement cycle length, customer service and technical support. • Reliability – payment priority; when selecting the service provider key issues include service availability or uptime, payment service provider’s background and experience and risk management issues. Service provider that it approved by the Financial Supervisory Authority makes operations safer, as it requires a significant investment in risk management from financial institutions and regulates their activity.


• Payment service fees; any payment service provider can never be free in the financial sector. However when evaluating the most cost-effective service, there are things to consider as the amount of fees may vary depending multiple factors such as possible hidden fees, commission or monthly fee pricing model, service contracts and cancellation period In the following chapters information will be provided on common online payment options available.

10.1. Credit and debit cards To take credit card payments from your customers, there are several ways that you can go about this. You can set up a merchant account with your bank that will allow you to take credit card payments directly from the customer. This can either be in the form of an automated online system, which you will have to program yourself and adhere to strict regulatory guidelines or through the use of a card machine, as you would find in a shop. Both of these will involve a commission by the bank, and you will have to ask your financial institution for more details. A payment gateway (third-party account) may be also needed. It is your credit card processor or transaction handler capable of hooking into credit card accounts belonging to the online shopper and your internet merchant account. This gateway handles the verification and the transfer request when interacting with the card issuer’s bank to authorize the credit card in the real time when purchases are made online. There are both national and international operations in the market. The advantages and disadvantages of merchant account include • Advantages: the ease of transaction, protection and control without intermediary handling the money, faster money transactions and your business name included on the transaction statement. • Disadvantages: the higher cost, your responsibility to handle disputes, chargebacks and any compliance, when fraud or security issues may rise, and hidden fees. Advantages and disadvantages of a third-party merchants include • Advantages: you do not need any approval for merchant services by a bank, you have a company on your side working on behalf of your business, you can provide a well-known and trusted service for transactions. • Disadvantages: potentially higher fees, service provider’s name on the transaction, reputation depending the choice of payment service.


Several companies offer services that will handle the secure taking and processing of credit and debit card information for you. You will be able to set up a business account with all three companies and then use their backend-system to seamlessly process credit card payments. The fees involved in using companies to take care of the transactions are generally higher than going straight through your financial institution. Credit cards are not processed cheaply, and monthly processing fees are linked to the transaction volumes. However, as we will see in the section on e-wallets below, there are other benefits to using card processing providers.

10.2. Bank payments and electronic invoicing Bank payment system is used by customers with accounts enabled with Internet banking. It does not involve any physical payment card. Instead of entering card details, the system gateway allows one to specify which bank they wish to pay from. Then user is directed to the bank’s website, where customer can authenticate oneself and approve the payment direct from a bank account. The bank payment has typically seen as being safer compared to credit card payment, with the results that nearly all merchant accounts in India offer it as an option. Bank payment is also used in many Western countries37, for instance a relative similar system, iDEAL is popular in Netherlands. When using invoicing, a solid strategy catering to different types of clients, e.g. consumers or business clients is necessary. Making firm policies facilitating shared understanding between you and your customers helps to avoid any surprises or confusion when customers get their invoices. Your should decide: • Whether you’ll requiring payment upfront or offer instalment payment options? Requiring payment before delivery downsizes the risk of seller and increases the difficulties of buying downsizing the conversion rate of buying. Risks against fraud can be avoided by using secure digital identification services. By having a higher level of verification needed both the consumer and the retailer have better assurance that the transactions are authentic and handled in a safe and secure manner. From B2B business viewpoint invoicing after purchase is the most common way in practice. • How much time is allowed for your customers to pay the invoice? • Do you charge late fees either as fixed amount or percentages? • What types of payments you’ll accept on your invoices? • Whether you deliver your products or services before or after the payment? • What is your return and refund policy? • How do you follow up payments?


10.3. Digital wallets The use of digital wallets (e-wallets) if a popular option amongst e-commerce merchants as they allow for the seamless integration into existing workflows and websites. E-wallets require customers and merchants to sign up and create accounts, into which they deposit and withdraw money from linked bank accounts and credit cards. E-wallets are very popular in Europe, North America, and China, where increasing amount of transactions takes place using e-wallets. Once integrated into your workflow, major digital wallet companies, such as Google Wallet, PayPal, AliPay, Square, and Amazon Payments will you to take credit card payments from customers without them having to register for an account, making payment as easy as possible. PayPal is the global leader in online payment solutions, and easy to begin with: Website Payments Standard is an easy way to start accepting credit cards online with a simple integration to online shopping chart it allows customers to pay securely and easy. Paypal also provides a free PayPal Shopping Chart, which can be set up easily if you do not have one. Paypal accepts all the major credit cards, debit cards and bank transfers. Website Payments Standard is secure and there is no need for a separate merchant account or gateway. Customers do not need a PayPal account and fees are low. PayPal provides also a Website Payments Pro, which is all-in-one solution providing features similar to merchant accounts and gateways through a single provider. The pricing of the service is based on the number of transactions. With this service customers paying by credit card stay in the e-commerce site for the entire transaction. This option is also integrated to several popular shopping charts. Square ( a mobile payment processing app for Android and iOS phones and tablets. A Square e-wallet lets your customers pay with their phones, eliminating the need for card or cash. Its Square Register application for tablets can serve as an attractive alternative to traditional cash registers. Square offers a selection of tools to track sales, tax, top-purchasing customers, and much more. Like PayPal, transaction fees can become considerable quickly and need to be carefully evaluated. AliPay is the most popular e-Wallet in the Chinese market and if you are selling in China it is a must-have to offer to your customers.


10.4. Alternative methods of payment For some products and services, the ability to bill customers directly through their existing telephone or mobile carrier is the most efficient way to effectuate payment. For products such as mobile phone apps with in-app purchase options, being able to allow the customer to pay through the same gateway as they have acquired the app will make the transaction seamless for them and in many cases will not require any details from them other than their username and password. Some services and products can also be paid for using special premium pay-per-call phone numbers that can be called and will charge a given amount per call or numbers than can receive SMS text messages that will then be charged at a specific rate plus standard network charges. In some cases, you might prefer that customers transfer money directly into your bank account. For this you will have to generally provide them with your IBAN and in some cased BIC number. The advantages of direct bank transfer is that in most cases you will not have to pay transaction fees, as these are generally paid by the person sending the money or in the case of the UK, are free. For small-scale local business this might be a best solution to start with. For more information, you will have to check with your financial institution. On the downside, people might be reluctant to send money directly to your account as it exposes their bank details and it involves dealing with their financial institution. Most people these days have online banking, but transferring funds to you will involve them leaving your site and logging into their home banking system to transfer funds. There is also the possibility of entering your IBAN and BIC number incorrectly and a hassle involved in reversing payments. For people who do not have online banking, a trip to their local bank branch might put them off all together. It is also a matter of trust. Offering bank transfers is a great way to save on transaction fees. However, it is best when offered with an alternative payment option, such as credit card payments of cash on delivery.

10.5. Taxes Taxes vary greatly in different countries and product categories, which is why the issues is considered challenging among SMEs. As long as you operate inside EU borders, there is a national lower limit for yearly turnover affecting the taxes. As long as your sale is less, you are allowed to pay your taxes in your home country. Thus, for most of the small online businesses with occasional international sales, the international taxation regulation does not require any actions to be taken in practice. When the turnover is more than the limit, you need to register in the target country and to pay VAT. When expanding your business, the capability to handle several tax rates is required.


ONLINE TOOLS Besides the links provided below, there are multiple systems potentially in your own language provided. Due is a free online invoicing and payment tool for seamless payments with further options for taxes, discounts and language. Sighted is a free online invoicing tool for sending invoices, accepting multiple payments, tracking time&expenses and manage clients. Zoho Invoice is a freemium tool for invoicing and billing but includes also sales and marketing tools. It allows to automate reminders, and collaborate with tea members. It integrates with common payment gateways such as PayPal. Invoicera is a freemium invoicing software that provides free invoicing templates for different language/currency for global clients. Hiveage is a freemium tool for small business providing customised invoices and other features. Wave provides a free accounting, invoicing and receipts scanning software for small businesses including invoicing, recurring payments and the ability to see when invoices are viewed etc. PayPal is one of the most popular and reliable tools present today for electronic transfer of money thus can be used for commercial purpose. Paypal has a mobile option for payments. Payoneer in one of the oldest global payments processing services available in more than 200 countries in accepting 150 different currencies. 2Checkout is another trusted payment platform allowing users to accept credit cards, debit cards and PayPal globally. It is available in 87 different languages and integrates hundreds of online shopping charts. Amazon Pay online payment-processing service is available in multiple international and Eu countries, as Amazon provides its users an option to pay with Amazon accounts on external merchant websites. Google Pay is a digital wallet platform and online payment system on mobile devices enabling payments with Android phones, tablets or watches, apps and websites. It works with multiple banks and payment providers and payment cards.


Directpay Eu is a payment method for consumers who do not own a credit card, or for those who are reluctant to use it for online purchases. A payment widget provides a local payment option to pay direct from one’s own bank account throughout the European banking system and it provides local support in native languages.



Logistics is simply the management of the way resources are obtained, stored and shipped to your customer. This involves planning, executing, and controlling the movement and placement of these goods and services, which must all occur within a given system that is designed to achieve specific objectives. In essence, e-commerce logistics boils down to • tracking and obtaining all needed raw materials, • keeping track of inventory, • using partner organisations for storage and delivery of your products. The more e-commerce competes on customer experience, the more every detail matters; consumers are expecting good and clear communications and flexible service at every point of the purchasing journey.

11.1. E-commerce shipping and fulfillment As part of total buying experience, best product or the lowest price does not guarantee sales, when customers research and compare products and retailers in the market. They compare shipping services as well as a part of their total buying experience. Appealing delivery services offered may affect the selection of the retailer and also whether consumers would shop with the same retailers again. It is evident that shipping services play a major role in consumers’ purchase decisions that online retailers should be aware of. Besides the speed of shipping, consumers also want more information about the status of their order, e.g. confirmation from a retailer that the order has been received and when their order has been shipped. Good communications and transparency of the delivery process sets clear expectations about when the order will arrive. It may also help to minimise the amount of potential order cancellations; unsuccessful deliveries represent inconvenience in terms of time and cost, sorting out redeliveries, cancelled orders and refunds, which is why customers are interested in tracking their order status. And if you cannot provide a variety of and flexible enough delivery options, control and convenience, you may loose the sale. Notifications when the order has shipped are considered as important as when checking out for 30% buyers. Good delivery experiences and fast delivery affect on brand image, customer loyalty and can increase costs. High shipping costs, high return costs, challenges in possible problem-solving, long time to delivery, difficulties to change or fix faulty products are key concerns of online buyers when buying from other EU-countries. The average online shopper is willing to wait up to six days when paying for shipping and seven days for free shipping. 46% of consumers have abandoned a shopping chart due to long shipping time or shipping time information not provided at all. The key for retailers is to offer delivery speed options. Though speedy options are expected, most of the buyers are looking for the best deal so they’ll select the economy option. The most


common circumstances for faster shipping request are personal circumstances like travelling, holidays or birthdays. This is when consumers are willing to pay premium for fast delivery. As new options from carriers and third-party providers have been developed, shopper satisfaction has increased due possibilities to change delivery rate and reroute packages. Also preferences for alternate delivery locations continue to grow. Over half of shoppers are interested in shipping to an alternate location with extended hours and lower fees.38 Smaller businesses do not necessarily need to partner with many different organisations to manage their e-commerce logistics. If your operation is small enough, you can generally work with local businesses and organisations to ship and store your products. As your business grows and the supply pressures and demand grow alongside it, you will need to branch out to multiple partners to keep up with demand. For each step in your supply chain, there are a variety of partners that you can work with. Choosing partners that best compliment your workflow is essential. This requires finding balance between the most cost-effective solution and one that provides the most seamless integration and best customer experience. To successfully manage the logistics side of your e-commerce, it is very important to integrate your workflow with the one of your partners to ensure smooth cooperation and making the interaction with your company seem as one smooth process for your customers. The most important thing for online retailer is to think of business and operations from customer viewpoint. When you put a lot of effort on customer experience online regarding the shopping and communication aiming to keep your customers happy, it is as important to plan your shipping strategy as well. Shipping is a point where customer finally experiences the product and service in person. It may also bring you major expenses, depending your shipping strategy. Several issues to consider include: • • • • • • • • • •

Shipping rates and methods Shipping costs Packaging and marketing Packaging options Insurance and tracking Customers declarations and forms Business accounts Labelling your packages Using a fulfilment warehouse Apps to support shipping

When considering costs and pricing, customer is not interested in the costs of shipping for retailer. Shipping costs has a big psychological impact on customer behaviour and buying. Depending the value, speed and quality of delivery and size of the order, the cost of shipping may vary. The leading shipping service providers and the service they provide in each country may also vary. You may control your shipping expenses:


• Get acquainted with the representatives of major carriers and what they may offer • Leverage flat rate shipping that facilitates the standardisation of the shipping process and ease the variability of shipping costs • Compare and negotiate shipping rates when possible • Use the software and equipment provided by carriers may downsize your costs • Manage your supplies • Consolidate your accounts to achieve discounts • Seek out shipping refunds Modern technology has helped every e-commerce retailer to teach the whole world. Even though, the most of SME’s do not sell beyond own borders. Processes and regulations may vary but are not as complex as thought when shipping internationally. But you need to do your homework: • Learn local rules and regulations; before expanding internationally make sure that you are not permitted to export your products to the target market. • Understand payment preferences • Communicate clearly; tailor your website to display local language choices if required and display prices in local currencies • Be clear about what are the countries you ship to and those you do not. • Explain fulfillment and shipping times and destinations. • Custom processes; international shipments that crosses national borders are potentially subjected to regulatory custom processes before reaching destination • The required documentation varies based on the destination country, content and value of delivery and the type of shipping service delivering the package. • Depending its value, shipment may be subjected to duties and taxes assessed by the destination country and other additional fees. Choose the right delivery partner who connects with customers; as global shoppers require similar convenience compared to local customers, chosen international delivery partner should keep the costs low and still meet the customer expectations. When making the choice, focus on the ease of integrations, visibility of the shipment and premium shipping options.

11.2. Item tracking When selling physical products online it is vital to keep track of stock so that you do not accidently sell products that will take a long time to manufacture after point of sale. Since logistics has become as complex as it is, with distributed storage and delivery, and our ever increasing reliance on digital technology, there are options for you to keep track of your inventory and where it is in the supply chain.


Inventory management solutions within your e-commerce platform will give you visibility into how much of a given product you have left and will give you real-time insights into your products, so you’re never behind on customer orders. Most e-Commerce platforms, such as WooCommerce, have sophisticated integrated inventory management solutions that you can take advantage of, taking products out of your active catalogue as soon as stocks are depleted. It is of equal importance to track your sales order once they leave your distribution centres as this will inform the delivery status and delivery times of purchases. Keeping taps on the entire delivery process will also allow you to handle potential disputes effectively when you are using partner companies for delivering your product. If you use business partners such as UPS, FedEx, DPD, or Yodel you can also track items based on the fulfilment numbers they provide. Once the product leaves your store, it is a good idea to keep watch over certain orders to make sure that they reach the customer within the promised timeframe. Generally, it is a good service idea to provide customers with the delivery service tracking number so that they can track delivery themselves and potentially contact the courier to change delivery options. As your business grows and order tracking becomes more complex, you might want to consider full-blown warehouse management tools such as mobe3, SAP, Excalibur WMS, or Shipedge.

11.3. Fulfilled by Amazon If you want to focus entirely on getting sales or manufacturing and marketing your product, Amazon offers you the possibility to sell your products through their existing infrastructure with a service called Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA). After signing up for an account, you list all of your products on your Amazon store front, and select the markets that you want to serve, nationally and internationally. Once the products are entered into your store front, you send, or deliver, all of your products to an Amazon warehouse, from where they will be shipped on your behalf. Using this route can have many benefits to for your business. • Amazon will take care of taking payments, delivering your products to end-customers, managing customer services and handling returns on your behalf. • Using FBA makes you eligible to earn the Prime badge on your store front, which allows Amazon Prime members to take full advantage of their memberships. It will make your listing visible to Amazon’s most loyal customers who choose Prime products for its fast-delivery option.


• Being highlighted as FBA will provide your customers with an extra level of trust as they know that their order is being handled by Amazon rather than a company they might not have dealt with before. This will increase your chances of selling your product. However, as with all services there are costs involved and logistics need to be considered carefully. All items need to be labelled according to Amazon’s guidelines before you send them to the warehouse. Although, there are no subscription fees, contracts, or minimum inventory requirements, Amazon charges a hefty fee for use of their platform and infrastructure. You can expect to pay a fee for each fulfilled order and a monthly storage fee depending on the amount of product you are storing in the Amazon warehouse.

11.4. Product returns Returns are three times more relevant for online retailers compered to brick and mortar. A well-thought and smooth delivery experience may affect on future buying decisions of the customer; when handling returns right you have established potential lifelong, profitable customer relationships. As engaged, repeated customer account for 40% of retailer’s total revenue, each chance to enhance customer relationship has to be taken seriously. For each 1% of shoppers who return for a subsequent visit, overall revenue will rise by about 10%. Thus, facilitating product returns may be a good chance to provide extra value for your customer and a way to learn from. Even though many consumers prefer in-store returns, a total of 55% prefer dropping their returns off at carrier locations. Providing flexible returning options ease product returns for your customers. Simple instructions and transparent processes for the delivery downsize the risk of failure and minimise the insecurity consumers might otherwise face. Even though, returns are often the area of lowest satisfaction among online buyers39. The elements of the best return experiences identified are: • Easy returns while collecting valuable data; following up with customers, providing a simple link to make a product return, asking for feedback and monitoring social media are simple ways to better service while collecting key data from customers. • Free returns shipping • Hassle free policy • Easy-to-print return labels or return label in the box • Receiving and inspecting the returned product quickly • Timely refunds • Acting on customer feedback; providing necessary information proactively you can advice your customers to prevent future returns. • Practising continuous business improvement; product returns and even dissatisfaction is always a chance to develop business for better service and fostering happy repeat customers.


ONLINE TOOLS Besides the links provided below, there are multiple systems potentially in your own language and country provided. Multiple e-commerce platforms provide also tools and integrations to third-party services. ABC Inventory is a free inventory management software system for SMEs with no limit on number of records in the database or workstations to be installed on. Further information Delivrd is a freemium for a single user cloud-based inventory and order management software covering every single detail of the order fulfilment process. Delivrd can be integrated with WooCommerce or Shopify e-commmerce platforms. Odoo is a free open-source inventory management software designed as an ERP but can be made for the use of small businesses. All data will be combined in the backend so purchases can flow into inventory and into accounting. inflow is an inventory management software focused on small businesses with freemium option.



FINLAND GENERAL INFORMATION Population: 5.5 million Official language: Finnish Currency: Euro (EUR) GDP per capita: 44,878 USD Median age 43.2 years ONLINE POPULATION Finland’s population consists of 5.5 million people, with approx. 4.13 million in the age group between 18-79 years of which 97% have an access to the Internet. 3.3 million of these Internet users shop online, 49% of population shops every month and 46% of population shops abroad every month. These online shoppers or e-shoppers on average spend €2,170 per year, and as estimated €135 per month (2016). Finnish residents are strong online buyers, whose interest in online shopping is increasing. They are using mobile device more frequently for their online purchases. They are sophisticated, experienced, relatively wealthy and open for buying from foreign websites. E-COMMERCE Buying products online is a natural element of everyday life for Finns. The Finnish e-commerce sales reached €7.2bn in 2015, which means there has been a 9.6% e-commerce growth. In 2016, the growth is forecast to reach €8.0bn. The VAT-rate in Finland is 24%. BUYING PATTERNS / ADVANTAGES BUYING ONLINE The most popular search of information for Finnish online shoppers (2012) is search engines, such as Google, used by 66% of Finns. Second most popular is looking for prices on comparison sites with of 53% and reading of consumer reviews with 38% of Finns. Other sources of information are considerably less popular: look at product catalogue (23%), look and try product in a shop (19%) and social media (11%). The top most popular countries from which Finns are buying are: 1. Germany (25%), 2. China (23%), 3. UK (21%), 4. Sweden (20%) and USA (14%). The most popular online purchases estimated (2016) are 1. clothing and footwear (34%), 2. media (28%), 3. home electronics (24%), 4. Healthy and beauty (14%) and 5. Sport and leisure articles (11%). Relative small amount of purchased articles are groceries (4%). 19% of Finns buy online at least once a month. Finns aged below 30 years and those aged 30 to 44 years make purchases at equal rate online.19% of population shops via mobile phones each month. In Finland the buying via mobile phones is closely tied to which age group a consumer belongs. The most important reasons for online shopping for Finns include: 1. Convenience and time saving, 2. Bigger and better selection, and 3. Cheaper price.


PAYMENT METHODS AND DELIVERY Finns have favoured payment options other than card payments; Debit or credit card (31%), 2. Direct bank payment (30%), Invoice (23%), 4. Paypal, Payson or similar (12%). The range of payment options is an important feature of online store payment for 83% of Finns. Most shoppers in Finland want to collect the products at a collection point when buying clothing and mobile phones. When buying books they prefer to have them delivered to their home though the letterbox. 4.1 day is the maximum number of business days a Finnish consumer is prepared to wait for their products. They highly value all information about the delivery schedule (88%), free returns (80%) and free shipping (76%). 54% of Finns considered fast delivery (1-2 days) as an important feature of an online store. STATISTICS Online shoppers: 3.3 million Average spending per online shopper: â‚Ź2,170 Mobile shoppers in 2013: 19% of consumers E-commerce growth in 2015: 9.6% Standard VAT-rate: 24% SHARE OF SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE BY PLATFORMS Facebook 75% YouTube 72% Whatsapp 61% Instragram 28% Twitter 18% Pinterest 15% LinkedIn 18% Snapchat 10% The average number of social media used by Finns is 2.3. Women have a higher veneration to social media than men. Especially Instagram and Pinterest are used by more women than men. YouTube and Twitter are a bit more used by men while more men than women use LinkedIn. The 15-25 years old move from Facebook to Instagram and Snapchat. Mobile devices are preferred devices with most social media. EXPECTATIONS The prospect for foreign retailers to generate business in the Nordic countries including Finland is promising. The trust in international payments, deliveries and consumer protection is increasing and new habits are formed. For buyers it is important to see clearly the total price of the purchase in the online site. Also the good ad clear pictures and information of a product is important. Finns are patient as 26% expect to wait up to seven days though most of the consumers are expecting the fast delivery (3 days max).


NATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS Finnish Commerce Federation eCommerce Finland European Consumer Centre Finland FURTHER INFORMATION nd/ mer-is-clearly-different-from-online-buyers-in-other-nordic-countries s.pdf rce-in-the-nordics-2017.pdf


LITHUANIA GENERAL INFORMATION Population: 2.9 million Official language: Lithuanian Currency: Euro (EUR) GDP per capita: 16,730.23 USD Median age: 42.7 years ONLINE POPULATION Lithuania’s population consists of 2.9 million people, of which 72% use the internet. 650,000 internet users shop online. These online shoppers or e-shoppers on average spend €630 per year. Of the Lithuanian population, 35% uses social media. E-COMMERCE The Lithuanian GDP reached €36,800 million in 2014. Of the total turnover, 1.13% was spent on e-commerce. The VAT-rate in Lithuania is 21%. BUYING PATTERNS / ADVANTAGES BUYING ONLINE The most popular purchase categories are entertainment, electronic goods and clothing. 33% of Lithuanians make an online purchase at least once a year. According to a survey by the Lithuanian postal service, the most common reason for Lithuanians not to want to shop online is the desire to inspect the goods personally before buying. Foreign online stores already have a 36% share of the country’s e-commerce market, indicating a willingness to shop abroad. PAYMENT METHODS AND DELIVERY Lithuanians pay for 48% of online purchases by using online bank transfers. 23% are paid for using a payment card, 14% with cash, 7% using an e-wallet, and 7% with various other payment methods. The card market is dominated by Mastercard, with a 77% market share. 22% use Visa and 1% American Express. STATISTICS Online shoppers: 0.65 million Average spending per online shopper: €630 Mobile shoppers: 4% of consumers E-commerce growth forecast (2017-2021): 10.7% Standard VAT-rate: 21%


SHARE OF SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE BY PLATFORMS Facebook 64.33% Pinterest 14.48% YouTube 11.59% Twitter 3.37% Instagram 1.6% Reddit 1.13% At the moment, the largest age group of users is the 18 to 24 with a total of 348,200 users, followed by the 25 to 34 age group. The gender division of users is currently 46% male to 54% female in Lithuania. Lithuanian businesses are focusing on communication with customers, primarily on Facebook. Twitter is only used by approximately by 20,000 Lithuanians. Generally, Lithuanian companies have yet to discover the marketing and communications advantages of social media. Google+ is used mainly by bloggers, students, politicians, journalists, entrepreneurs, PR people and IT enthusiasts. Although, Google+ is becoming more popular for business. LinkedIn is mostly used by advertisers, designers, marketing agencies, and small information technology shops. Business people tend to register on LinkedIn to upload their resume and showcase their connections, but they do not use it actively. Most users are based in the capital city and LinkedIn has become much more popular in the last 2 or 3 years. EXPECTATIONS As noted by Gemius e-commerce report, 70% of Lithuanian consumers value the fact that prices online are better than in physical stores. Also, three out of four users strongly value the possibility of making a purchase from their own homes instead of having to go to a store. It is forecasted, that one in three online shoppers from Lithuania think their online expenses will increase in the upcoming year, while only 3 percent think it will decrease. FURTHER INFORMATION b=2&country=lt uania.pdf ithuania-4231.html


SPAIN GENERAL INFORMATION Population: 46.5 million Official language: Castilian Spanish Currency: Euro (EUR) GDP per capita: 30,017 USD Median age: 52.3 years old ONLINE POPULATION Spain has a population of approximately 46.5 million people, 88% of which use the internet. Of these internet users, about 22.2 million shop online. Online shoppers spend an average of â‚Ź1,089 per year. Spanish residents are slowly being converted to online shoppers. It is becoming very popular among traditional clothing stores such as Zara and Mango, allowing shoppers to purchase from the comfort of their homes. E-COMMERCE Spanish e-commerce sales reached â‚Ź18.2bn in 2015, an 11.6% growth. In 2018, revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate of 9.8%. User penetration is currently 59.8% and is expected to hit 64.1% by 2022. According the Spanish Institute for Statistics, 31% of all Spaniards have bought online at least once. This number goes up in regions like Madrid or the Basque Country and down in Extremadura and the Canary Islands. BUYING PATTERNS / ADVANTAGES BUYING ONLINE The most popular online purchases are: 1. fashion; 2. food and personal care; 3. electronics and media; 4. furniture and appliances; 5. toys, hobby, and DIY. In 2018, the top online stores by net sales in Spain are:;;;; and People are purchasing these items online mainly for comfort reasons, followed by the possibility of finding better offers on products and prices than they could in a similar amount of time in physical stores. While the number of people in Spain purchasing online is increasing, they are still far behind other European countries such as the UK and Germany when it comes to the amount of money spent per person yearly.


PAYMENT METHODS AND DELIVERY Spaniards do not have many qualms about paying for things online via credit or debit cards. Approximately 63% of all online purchases in Spain are made using these cards. Other virtual options (such as Paypal or Googlewallet) make up about 15% of online payments, payment on delivery about 11%, using prepaid cards around 7%, and finally bank transfers at about 4%. Most shoppers in Spain wish to receive their purchases at home (81%). In comparison to the rest of Europe, this percentage is one of the highest. Home delivery is followed by picking up items in the physical store or other convenience points. Spanish shoppers also prefer to receive their purchases in the afternoon and, if possible, the same day, opening a huge market for possibilities such as Amazon 24 hour delivery. STATISTICS Online shoppers: 22.2 million Average spending per online shopper: â‚Ź1,089/year Mobile shoppers in 2017: 34% of online sales E-commerce growth in 2018: 9.8% Standard VAT-rate: 21% SHARE OF SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE BY PLATFORMS Facebook: 69% YouTube: 73% Whatsapp: 73% Instragram: 40% Twitter: 39% Pinterest: 22% LinkedIn: 24% Snapchat: 12% Approximately 58% of Spaniards use some type of social media platform and 50% are active mobile social media users. Unlike the rest of Europe, the most used platforms in Spain are WhatsApp followed by YouTube. Slightly more women than men tend to use most social media platforms (ex. 52% of Facebook users and 55% of Instagram users are female). EXPECTATIONS Spain can be considered as a country that is very promising for generating international retail support. The number of online shoppers is continuously increasing, especially when it comes to buying international products. Buyers value good time for money comparisons and easily delivery. They expect good customer service and facilitation in returning goods if necessary.


NATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS Spanish Commerce Federation FURTHER INFORMATION tml GITAL_IN_2018_006_SPAIN_v1.01.pdf


UNITED KINGDOM GENERAL INFORMATION Population: 65.64 million Official language: English Currency: Pound sterling (GBP) GDP per capita: 39,899 USD Median age 40 years ONLINE POPULATION As of 2018, the UK population consists of 65.64 million people. 90% of adults in the UK were recent internet users. In 2018, almost all adults aged 16 to 34 years were recent internet users (99%). UK shoppers are increasingly likely to use online shopping. Online spending for food, clothing stores and other retail goods have drastically increased in recent years, achieving record proportions in 2018. The average UK shopper spends ÂŁ4,611 per year; this is significantly higher than other countries in Europe. E-COMMERCE Online shopping is becoming an increasingly popular choice for UK shoppers. Business-to-consumer ecommerce turnover in the United Kingdom reached 13.7 billion pounds in 2017. Online shoppers in the UK make 80% of their retail purchases online, up from 74% the previous year. Overall online sales increased by 18.0% between May 2017 and May 2018. The VAT rate in the UK is 20%. BUYING PATTERNS / ADVANTAGES BUYING ONLINE When deciding on a purchase, 47% of UK consumers research products online to help them make a decision. Search engines are by far the most favoured source for looking for information online for UK shoppers, 97% of shoppers use search engines, 41% have used Wikipedia and 40% used user review sites such as Amazon, Trip Adviser or Google reviews. In 2017, 93% of adult online shoppers bought from UK based sellers in the last 12 months, while 31% had bought from sellers in other EU countries and 31% from the rest of the world. Online shoppers in the UK spend more per household than consumers in any other country. 93% of UK shoppers buy online as well as in store. The most popular online purchases (2018) are: 1. clothes/sports goods, 2. travel/holiday accommodation, 3. household goods. Reports suggest the availability of use of debit and credit cards and the ease of delivering items is driving increased online purchasing. The key drivers for online shopping are availability of choice (54%) price comparison (53%) and convenience (49%).


PAYMENT METHODS AND DELIVERY UK shoppers have a preference toward paying via credit or debit card (42%) when making online purchases, but this is closely followed the option of PayPal or other electronic methods (39%) if available. Free delivery is a common feature of many online retailers; during black Friday 2017 for example 62% of consumers received free delivery on their purchases. However, 38.6% of consumers commented that a delivery change would not dissuade them from their purchase. Customers instead seem to expect variety in their delivery options, and more control over how and when their purchase is delivered. More than half of UK customers expect to see next day (58%) and click and collect (55%) as standard when making online purchases. Options such as same day delivery or named hour services were less in demand, at only 1-10 customers preferring this option. STATISTICS Online shoppers: 43.5 million Average spending per online household (Per year): £4,611 Mobile shoppers in 2018: 47.78% of consumers E-commerce growth in 2018: 13.65 % Standard VAT-rate: 20% SHARE OF SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE BY PLATFORMS Facebook 95% Twitter 45% Whatsapp 45% Instragram 31% YouTube 30% Snapchat 23% LinkedIn 18% Pinterest 12% Social media platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest are more commonly used by women in the UK, whereas Twitter and YouTube are more commonly used by men. The average age of Twitter users are younger than that of Facebook. Similarly with sites such as Snapchat and Instagram, the age of users is typically younger than that of Facebook and LinkedIn. Mobile devices are the most preferred devices with which to access social media, this is true for both men and woman and most age brackets. EXPECTATIONS UK customers are wary of product information they see online, less than 20% said that they often trust the product information included on a retailers website. 39.4% of customers regarded “a clear representation of the product” to be the most important factor of online shopping. Thus it is important to be accurate and include clear information that is useful to the customer. Customers


also expect a variety of delivery options as standard, 39% of UK customers said it should be “cheap”, 32% said “convenient” and 21% “fast”. This is affected by age range however, with 18-24 year olds preferring cost effective delivery options while 35-44 year olds preferred convenience. NATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS The UK’s online retail association FURTHER INFORMATION UK internet users 2018 report /2018 UK Retail sales, 2018 Ofcom Adults media use and attitudes, 2017 .pdf Ecommerce in the UK, 2017 Changing customer behaviour, 2018 pping-habits-16014 Online retail growth, 2018



Company Branding

Content marketing

Customer retention

Branding is the way a company is able to influence both internal and external viewers about their views, values, and general purpose. A company should be careful to cultivate a coherent image that corresponds to what they are trying to accomplish.

Content marketing focuses on creation, publication and distribution of content for targeted audience online. Aims at attracting prospect attention and generating leads, expanding customer base when transforming prospects into customers, increasing online sales and brand awareness and engaging online community of users.

Customer retention is an ability to retain customers over some period of time. High customer retention means customers of the product or business tend to return to, continue to buy on in some other way not defect to another product or business. The ability to attract and retain new customers or serve existing customers is based on the value the customers generate as a result of utilising the provided solutions and the reputation of the brand.

Data Mining

Digital marketing

Digital user experience

Data minding is the process of discovering patterns in large data sets with the use of machine learning, statistics and database systems.

Marketing of products or services using digital channels to reach consumers. The key objective is to promote brands through various forms of digital media.40

The experience of a website from the intended user’s perspective. This may refer to how efficiently users can perform actions or how intuitive a webpage or app might be (e.g. how many clicks are required to access key functions such as a log in page).

Digital Wallet

Display advertising


Digital wallet is an electronic device or online service allowing an individual to make electronic transactions such as purchasing on-line with computer or by smartphone. Several electronic accounts and ID documents can be stored on the digital wallet on the phone and used to authenticate the holder’s credentials.

Display advertising is advertising on websites or social media through banners and other formats made of text, images, flash, video and audio to deliver general advertisements and brand messages to site visitors.

Businesses that operate solely online (e-commerce refers to both virtual and brick and mortar stores that sell online).


Emphaty interviews


The sale or purchase of goods or E-commerce

Customer interviews that are carried out in order to obtain the highest level of understanding with the client. There are two people present in an empathy interview, one moderator (question-asker) and one note-taker. This type of interview is usually carried out during 30 minutes to an hour and it is beneficial to do it in person or over video in order to see the customer’s reactions, body language, etc.

GEOgraphically-BLOCKED is the practice of preventing users from viewing Web sites and downloading applications and media based on location.42

services, whether between businesses, households, individuals or private organisations, through electronic transactions conducted via the internet or other computer-mediated (online communication) networks.41

Lean marketing


Mobile Payment

Lean marketing is a highly iterative marketing process. Iteration, testing, and measurement are core tenants of the Lean philosophy.43

Mobile commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services through wireless handheld devices such as cellular telephone and personal digital assistants (PDAs).44

Mobile Payment (also mobile money, mobile money transfer and mobile wallet) refers to payment services operated under financial regulation and performed via a mobile device.

Multi-channel retailing

Online chat

Online marketplaces

An ecommerce selling strategy that targets customers on various channels beyond a company's website.45

Online chat refers to any kind of communication over the Internet that offers a real-time transmission of short text messages from sender to receiver to be responded quickly through a web-based application provided.

Online marketplace is a type of e-commerce site where product or service information is provided by multiple third parties, and consumer transactions are processed by the marketplace operator and then delivered and fulfilled by the participating retailers or wholesalers.

Order fulfilment

Payment Gateway

Pay-per-click (PPC)

Order fulfilment refers to complete process from point of sales to delivery of a product to the customer.

Payment Gateway is a merchant service provided by an e-commerce application service provider that authorizes credit card or direct payments processing for e-business, online retailers or brick and mortar.

Pay-per-click (PPC) is an Internet advertising model used to direct traffic to web sites. Advertisers pay a publisher when the ad is clicked. PPC is commonly linked with search engines such as Google Adwords or Microsoft Bing Ads but it is also used by social networks such as Facebook or Twitter as one of the advertising models.

Responsive web design


Search analytics

Responsive web design is an approach to web design, which makes web pages render well on a variety of devises and screen sizes. Content, design and performance across all devices ensure the usability and the user satisfaction.

Scalability is an attribute that describes the ability of a process, network, software or organisation to grow and manage increased demand.46

Use search data to investigate particular interactions among Web searchers, the search engine or the content during searching episodes.

Search engine marketing

Search engine optimisation

Social Media

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of Internet marketing promoting websites by increasing their visibility in search engines results pages through paid advertising.

Methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP) — including Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.47

The collective of websites and applications that enable people to create and share content are considered social media. They are also becoming an important resource in the realm of company branding and selling capacity.

Unique selling points

User interface

Voice over Internet Protocol

A feature of a product that makes it different from and better than all its competitors.48

Everything designed into an information device with which a person may interact. This can include display screens, keyboards, a mouse and the appearance of a desktop. It is also the way through which a user interacts with an application or a website.49

Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) is a methodology and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communication and multimedia sessions over Internet.

Webanalytics Webanalytics is the measurements, collection, analysis and reporting of web data for the use of web usage optimisation and for business and market research and to improve the website effectiveness.


Chapter 1 • European E-commerce Report 2017. Available at • E-commerce industry in Europe. Statistics & Facts. Available at • Your Europe. Practical guide to doing business in Europe. Available at

Chapter 2 • European Centre for Business Growth. Available at • European Commission. Support tools and networks for women. Available at • I-BIS project website. Available at

Chapter 3 • Five Online Businesses Anyone Can Start. Available at • How to Make Your First Ecommerce Sale (Infographic). Available at • Prime Rules For Running A Successful Online Business. Available at • How China is changing the future of shopping. Available at • 5 ways to lead in an era of constant change. Available at

Chapter 4 • Fogg, B.J et al. How Do People Evaluate a Web Sites’s Credibility. Available at • EU Commission. E-commerce Directive. Available at • EU Commission. Code of EU Online Rights. Available at • EUR-Lex. Consumers. Available at • Your Europe. Data protection and online privacy. Available at


Chapter 5 • 25 Ways to Thank Your Customers. Available at • A Better Brand: Ecommerce Branding Guide (Step-By-Step Guide, Resources & Worksheets). Available at • Branding An Ecommerce Website? What You Need To Know In 2018. Available at • 7 Examples of eCommerce Brands Rocking Social Media Marketing. Available at • How To Build a $120K per Month Ecommerce Brand in Less Than A Year. Available at r • 4 Methods for Building a Successful Ecommerce Brand. Available at

Chapter 6 • How giant websites design for you (and a billion others, too) (video). Available at • Comparison of online channels in the UK (article). Available at • Biggest online marketplaces for your ecommerce business. Available at

Chapter 7 • Branding Mistakes that Your Small Business is Making (article). Available at • 15 Inspiring Examples of Small Business Branding (article). Available at • Social Media Branding Strategies (article). Available at • Branding is What People Say about You—Sharing this Responsibility (video). Available at • Understanding Branding for Small Businesses (video). Available at


• 6 Practical and Proven Ways to Drive Traffic to your New Online Store. Available at • Pinterest Analytics Tools and Tips for Measuring Success. Available at

Chapter 8 • 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation: Learning how to Listen (video). Available at • How to Engage Customers on a Dime: Different ways to interact with your customer community (article). Available at • Meaningful Ways to Engage Customers in Conversations and Social Media Guide (article and download) Available at • 6 Ways to Increase Customer Engagement (infographic). Available at • Customer Engagement Trends for 2018 (article). Available at

Chapter 9 • Why Onine Businesses Should Invest in Customer Support. Available at • Providing great social media customer service. Available at • Social Media Customer Service Guide: 7 Steps to Improve Satisfaction. Available at • Deloitte. The digital transformation of customer services. Our point of view. Available at .pdf


• Customer Service Tips: 20 Tips to Keeping Customers Happy. Available at • How to Use Technology to Improve Customer Service. Available at • • • • • • •

Chapter 10 • The 15 Most Popular Payment Solutions. Available at • A-Step-by-step Guide to Processing Online Payments. Available at • How to Accept Online Payments – Sage Business Startup Essentials. Available at • Ecommerce Shipping: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Shipping Profitability. Available at

Chapter 11 • UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper. Tech-savvy shoppers transforming retail. White Paper 2016. Available at


• Business Insider. Logistics Strategy Bundle: Your guide to seamless execution. Available at • Logistics Management – The Ultimate Guide. Available at • 10 Ways through which SMEs can Cut their Logistics Costs and Increase Margins. Available at • How to Set Up Logistics for Your Startup. Available at • Small Business Logistics. Available at • What is logistics and how does it apply to ecommerce? Available at



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Accepting Credit Cards and Paypal on Your eCommerce Site. Available at


Online Payment methods. What to consider when choosing a payment service? Available at


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The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsiÂŹble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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