Online shopping is the mainstream trend both for large companies and small entrepreneurs. Some online stores operate as independent websites, while others take advantage of platforms such as Etsy or Amazon, which offers them the support of a thriving community and an established brand name.
And many of these ecommerce websites need help to grow their sales, establish their own brand name and become more visible on search engines and the social media. All these entrepreneurs need an online retail consultant. And it could be you, working from home as a freelancer or home-based business owner.
What Does an Online Retail Consultant Do?
An online retail consultant or ecommerce consultant evaluates an online store and recommends strategies for:
⦁ Improving and upgrading the design
⦁ Scaling and improving the website functionality
⦁ Increasing the visibility of the website by a sound SEO strategy
⦁ Improving the user experience by making navigation more user friendly
⦁ Optimizing the entire shopping experience by simplifying the checkout process;
⦁ Improving the security of online payments by choosing reputable payment processors.
Online retail consultants work either on individual projects or as long-term consultants for clients who want to keep their website permanently optimized for the best shopping experience for their customers.
If this type of activity is exactly what you are good at and passionate about, this is what you need to know about working from home as an online ecommerce consultant:
1. Get Certified
A simple Google search will show you that you have lots and lots of competition in the niche of online consulting, both from companies and individual freelancers. So, any potential client will look for credentials before they decide to hire an online consultant.
Certification is important – even if it is in the form of a diploma from an online training organization. Look at the types of certifications held by other freelancers or home-based business owners in this niche, and try to obtain them too.
2. Build a Portfolio
Most certainly, you have past experience in optimizing ecommerce websites, or even running your own. List all the relevant projects you have worked on, either independently or as an employee. Discuss with your former employer before you list the clients you have worked for, because they may have included confidentiality clauses in the agreement with their clients. Do not post work references without this clearance, you may be taken to court for breach of your former employment agreement.
3. Determine the Price for Your Services
The majority of online retail consultants price their service on an hourly basis. Others will negotiate a price per project. As a beginner, you may not charge a lot per hour, plus your initial engagements will be short projects. Thus, you will probably make more money by negotiating a price per project.
As you gain more customers and more credibility as a freelance professional, you will get hired for longer term projects for customers, which you should price per hour.
4. Speak in Terms Understandable to Your Clients
Some of your clients will not be tech savvy – that is exactly why they need your services. When you work for these customers, try to explain to them what you advise them to do, or the actions you will take with respect to their websites, in simple words which they can understand. They do not need a magician with a wand or an obscure guru, but a full understanding of what you propose to do to improve their websites. This is their own business, after all, and they need to feel that they are still in control of it.
5. Ask for Testimonials and Credentials
Your happy clients will have no reserve to give public testimonials about your work. They may even post a credential in the footer of their web pages (“website optimized by…” with a link to your website). So, even if you have just started your activity as an online retail consultant, do not be afraid to ask for testimonials and credentials for your work. They will help you grow your reputation and find new customers.