Starting an e-commerce business has some inherent risks in the wildly volatile online shopping environment, but with the right preparation and foresight you can iron out many common issues in setting up an online business, even before they arise.

If you’re planning to launch an e-commerce site, use the following tips to build and sustain a successful online business.

Find a good e-commerce platform

To make your e-commerce business succeed, you need to choose a platform that best fits your needs as a small business or startup venturing into online commerce. Look for the best website hosting platforms that offer extended support to a new business along with a dependable customer service team to resolve issues as they arise.

Similarly, choose your software taking into account key factors such as scalability, pricing, payment terms, mobile-friendliness, data security, key tools and additional features you may need as you grow. Lastly, don’t pinch pennies when hiring a web developer.

Identify your target audience

This is an extremely important step in conceiving and building an e-commerce store from scratch. Educate yourself and your cofounders about the habits, lifestyle and preferences of your potential customers. This is the only way to prepare a successful marketing strategy that will deliver tangible results.

Customer interviews and surveys can play an important role at this stage to help you determine if your product fits the needs and wants of your target customers.

In addition, whatever you’re planning to sell, it is important to treat your venture as a proper business and have a solid business plan in place along with adequate funding to sustain your e-store in the beginning.

Create and implement a robust marketing strategy

For your online store to be noticed by your potential customers, you need to put it out there using an aggressive marketing plan focused on building your site’s visibility on the web.

The best way to reach your consumers and build a strong brand recall is by using multiple digital marketing tools such as social media advertising, content marketing, SEO, PPC, blogging, local link building and so forth.

If your e-business is not generating expected results and you’ve been losing sleep over it despite your best efforts, it’s time for you to give SEO a shot and put your online business on the path to greater revenues.

Ensure a seamless checkout process

Not all e-commerce sites have a foolproof checkout process, which is one of the leading causes of cart abandonment. Test and retest your checkout process and payment system until you’re sure that they’ll pose no issues to unsuspecting shoppers just when they’re about to make a purchase.

Simplify your checkout process by eliminating compulsory signup, using auto-fill, providing affordable shipping fees, enabling easy return/exchange and refunds, and ensuring easy access to order history and account information for returning customers.

Giving your customers the assurance that their information is safe, by placing safety and security features at strategic points throughout the purchase process, is also a great way to make them prefer your e-store over others.