commercebusinessThe field of e-commerce has proved to be a gold mine with endless reserves over the past few years for online entrepreneurs and customers alike. It has helped bridge the gap between the supply and demand ratio in the consumer market, thanks to the simplicity and efficiency at making the best out of this increased connectivity.

Singapore is one of the few Asian countries that has been able to tap into the market and has successfully cultivated a thriving e-commerce startup culture. In 2010, the value of the Singaporean e-commerce market was pegged to be US$1.1 billion and is expected to hit nearly US$4.4 billion by 2015. Additionally, Singaporeans engage in an equally healthy domestic e-commerce participation, which has ensured that the strength of the Singaporean dollar is preserved.

Although e-commerce sites for entrepreneurs is what a flame is to a moth due to its minimal initial capital requirement, the cost of maintaining it with the help of an all-in-one provider or by yourself, is a rather resource-intensive challenge. So today, we will share an infallible set of tips with you to optimise your e-commerce portal and transform it into an uber-profitable and highly reputed online venture.

Paving the path to professionalism
The attention span of the average customer has significantly shrunk over the years; however, when it comes to the attention span of an online shopper, it’s even more fickle. An e-commerce website that reflects amateur interface design or unreliable spam-like content will be instantly clicked over and dismissed by the user.

This is why spending a little on redesigning your e-commerce platform to give a clean, professional appearance can earn your business a lot more traction. Apart from that, here are a few key ingredients that make up the foundation of a successful website recipe:

Transparency and accessibilityEvery relationship begins with an introduction. So if you don’t introduce yourself to customers, people will be less likely to engage and buy from you. So tell your story and explain to your customers why you do what you do and what makes you different from other sellers.

A website with no concise business contact information makes the whole point of your business rather moot as the customers have no way of pursuing their interest in your business further. Hence, essential details like your company number and personal contact number along with the e-mail and physical address of your organisation must be mandatorily added in the ‘Contact Us’ section of your website.

Safe payment gatewaysCredit cards and debit cards are the most widely used avenues of payment used by online shoppers. This is why the integration of a secure online payment gateway service with your website makes it a lot more convenient for your customers to instantly convert their shopping instincts into a valuable purchase.

Proactive negotiation with suppliers Business contract negotiations operate on a vastly flexible plane of monetary terms and conditions when compared with shopping as a consumer at fixed retail prices. Suppliers are usually intent on seeking long-term, large-scale deals; therefore, a counter-offer is something they’ll gladly pay heed to in the negotiation process.

Getting longer payment terms approved can give your cashflow a much-needed shot in the arm. In case you opt to pay your supplier via credit card that has a host of solid reward schemes, your cashflow will get an even further boost.

Well-insured return policiesThe game of e-commerce is no stranger to suffering from being a victim of probability. What probability, you ask? Well, the probability of a few damaged/defective products being shipped to your customers of course.

You must make it clear to your supplier that all costs of damaged goods must be handled by them so that you do not get stuck making losses shipping replacement products and kick your profit-making model into a tizzy.

The author is Country Manager (Singapore) of

The views expressed here are of the author, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them

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