The digital age has changed the way we do everything, even business. Online businesses are a dime a dozen these days but how do you make sure you succeed? Velda Tan, Founder & Head Creative, Collate the Label, and Krystal Choo, CEO and Founder, Wander, give us some tips.

GET THEIR ATTENTION
Grab customers’ attention both visually and by making your website – and hence your business too – user-friendly. “Have a website that is easy on the eye, and also easy to navigate, with call-to-actions at the appropriate places,” says Velda Tan, Founder & Head Creative, Collate. “Use photos of high resolution. Also, use photos that tell a story as online shopping is emotive.”

Tips on how to run a successful online business from Velda Tan and Krystal Choo VELDA
Velda Tan

UNDERSTAND AND ADAPT 
Don’t be too rigid with the way you do business; instead, be open to changing and adapting if you need to. “At Wander, we strive to really understand our users,” says Krystal Choo, CEO and Founder, Wander. “They aren’t looking for another app to displace boredom – these are genuine people looking to expand their social circles and meet like-minded people. So there is an element of curiosity, being adventurous, yet also wanting safety with the type of people they meet online. We made a ballsy move and expanded to other interests and let them chat in groups. In just a few weeks, hundreds of communities were created by our users.

“Many online businesses are afraid to adapt to what their users need because of the sunk cost in building their existing product. I see it as a very linear, causal relationship. Giving your customers value is what makes your business valuable. So be attached to making your customers happy, and business will follow.”

KNOW YOUR COMPETITION & YOUR CUSTOMERS
Stay on top of trends and know what you’re up against in the industry that you’re in. “Have a spirit of excellence and always deliver what you promise,” advises Velda. “This is a sure way to build trust.” And always put your customers first. “Know your target audience and always listen to what your customers want and need,” she adds. “And always help your customers solve their problems. The faster you solve their problems, the better the customer experience, and the quicker they return.”

TURN DATA INTO ACTION, QUICKLY 
It’s the 21st century and data is king so use it to your advantage. “Online tracking tools are sophisticated, yet easy-to-use,” says Krystal. “Data can tell you where your customers are dropping off, where they are sharing, and whether they are feeling accomplished or impatient. This helps you tailor your product to serve them well. Constantly optimising and improving your product not only helps them, but makes them feel like you’re invested in their experience. Data shouldn’t drive the business, but be used as a tool to give insight and point to the right actions to take today.

“It’s important not to be too emotionally attached to certain outcomes, but to keep an open mind about what may happen, and use data to tweak along the way. This lets you move quickly, and in the end, you’ll see a huge gain from small, constant, data-supported improvements.”

Tips on how to run a successful online business from Velda Tan and Krystal Choo KRYSTAL
Krystal Choo

HAVE A CLEAR PURPOSE 
Know what you’re out to do with your business and use that as its core. “When you have a clear purpose, people feel good about using your product and talking about it,” Krystal shares. “Being purpose-driven at your core forms the lifeblood of your company, and trickles into the words you choose and the products you make. Customers can feel this difference – and you’ll stand out amongst the competition.

“When Wander was a singles app before we pivoted, women were sharing our app and people were forming positive, encouraging relationships on Wander – something unheard of in the singles industry. That’s because our purpose was to enable positive human connections; there’s no sleaze or trolling on our app. Now that we are about discovering the best communities in your city, there’s no friction – we’re just even more inclusive. That would’ve been impossible without first having a clear purpose.”

Did you find this story inspiring? Read more on how to be a successful Singapore entrepreneur: EXCLUSIVE: Watch Rachel Lim talk about her fears, role model and the first thing on her bucket list; VainGloriousYou founder Tricia Ong reveals the secrets to being a successful Singapore entrepreneur and 7 surprising business secrets from a Singapore lingerie entrepreneur.