Are you starting, or have you already started an eCommerce business?
If you’re thinking about expanding your knowledge into an eCommerce business, you have a lot of work ahead of you in order to excel to the heights your business needs to achieve. Congratulations, you have just stepped into unfamiliar waters. However, it doesn’t have to be a bad experience.
Most eCommerce business startups are flawed and fail within a couple of months because they do not realize the steps required to create a company which drives success internally with a workforce and externally within their audience.
Here are some tips you should always remember when beginning your eCommerce business journey.
#1 – Create Your eCommerce Business
For starters, you need to have a business name. Something niched down which will specifically target the people you want purchasing product from you. After this, you need to secure a domain name and build a website around what your eCommerce business will be selling.
It’s important to remember your business needs the right tools in order to create a brand name in which people will know, like, and trust over time. The right tools consist of choosing a product niche in which you will sell. Make sure your eCommerce business is constructed around this principle because you will be selling to a pinpointed audience.
Also, remember to start thinking about your customer service policies and how you will fulfill the needs which must be met within your company. It’s important to make sure everyone stays happy with your business.
This first step is important because it’s the launching pad from which your company will blast off. You really don’t get a second chance to make a first impression with potential clients if you launch first and then decide you don’t like the name of your business three months down the road. Secure everything and make sure the internal parts of your eCommerce business are to your liking before you branch out into the www.
#2 – Create Your Business Strategy
How will your business make money? What kind of products will it sell?
Let’s talk about fulfillment strategy, to begin with – you need to decide how you’re going to get your products to your customers. Here are some examples:
(a) Drop Shipping
Drop shipping is the way a lot of new business go. However, you must decide if you would enjoy selling other people’s products. This is the system where you sell a manufacturer’s goods on your own site and have them ship the goods out to the customer.
It can be very lucrative to drop ship because you don’t have to handle any of the shipping or worry about storing products. And it’s easy to manage the business because you can work from anywhere in the world selling other people’s products.
(b) Make Your Own Product
There are many benefits to creating your own product. You could even set up a drop shipping option within your company, arranging for your manufacturer to ship for you, just like other brands have done. Or, you can create distributor relationships and allow other people to drop ship your product.
When you sell your own product, you’re not sharing in any of the profits. However, there’s more work to be done on the business and it could mean a large up-front investment. This, in turn, could mean your business won’t be able to scale up as quickly as you had hoped.
(c) Use 3rd Party Fulfillment
Most people use Amazon as third party fulfillment for their business because it’s fairly easy to set up and get going. As long as you already have a selling account, you just connect your store to Amazon and orders can get processed quite quickly.
In the end, you have to determine the best fulfillment strategy for your business and how it will serve your customers and your needs. It is here where you will determine which platform you will sell your product on and how you will get it to your customers. Some businesses have had great success using all three of these options, and you have to determine what’s best for you.
#3 – Launch Your Online Store
Whether you have decided to drop ship, sell your own products, or even create a WooCommerce store for yourself, sooner or later you have to launch. So many people are afraid to launch. What if they haven’t completed something correctly?
Let’s talk about it so you can be sure everything is in order.
As you go through the steps to create your online store, you should also be thinking about the day you go live to the world. In between setup and processes, you need to create a viable option to make sure your launch doesn’t fall flat on its face when the time comes.
Here’s where most people fail. However, you can avoid failure if you start an email list at the beginning. This goes hand in hand with communicating with your target market on social media as well. Have a Facebook page built and start engaging with your audience before launch. Get them talking about the product or store you’re fixing to show them.
While doing this, you share your email opt-in. Maybe it’s on your Facebook page, or perhaps you have a landing page set up for this very thing. Either way, make sure you’re getting these same excited people opting into your email list weeks and weeks before your store goes live.
Before the launch, you should continually send them emails which are valuable and will help them. This is the best way to keep them engaged, reminding them of the upcoming launch date. Perhaps you could even put one of those countdown clocks in the email to visually show them. It spices things up.
These tactics are called the ‘pre-launch’ and Jeff Walker, author of Launch, an expert on launching a product, relies on this heavily within any type of launch in your business.
What you do before the launch determines how your launch actually goes. Unless you’re Richard Branson, you’re going to have to work to get your brand known and your store busting out sales daily.
If you’ve set up your eCommerce business correctly internally, mapped out the perfect internal business strategy, and created engagement with your pre-launch, you will have a noticeable impact.
#4 – Grow Your Store
Now that you’ve successfully launched your online store, the next logical step is to start growing your business. It’s crucial for you to keep your momentum by performing a couple of actions all aimed at taking your business to the next level.
(a) Expand Your Social Media Presence
Leveraging the power of social media is almost a given no matter what kind of business you run. The potential to reach more people for less money is just too big an opportunity to pass up.
While having a presence in all social media channels isn’t necessary, building a home where your target audience hangs out can make a huge difference. As long as the social media channel you choose is relevant to your products and audience, you should be good to go.
It wouldn’t make sense to be on LinkedIn, for instance, if you are selling products like shirts or bags. You’d be better off on Instagram or Pinterest where you can showcase them and highlight their best features. Even Facebook can be a good option with its store feature and large post image sizes.
Social media also helps you know your audience more through insights and analytics. It allows you to see relevant information about your audience that will help you create more targeted content in the future.
Being active on social media is an effective way of increasing a brand’s following and engagement. It will take a lot of work but the benefits you’re bound to gain will be all worth it.
(b) Start a Blog
If you want your brand to have legions of loyal followers, keeping them engaged is your best strategy. Starting a blog is an excellent way to do this and for a number of reasons.
A blog allows you to showcase your knowledge and expertise of the industry you’re in. By sharing valuable information, you are positioning yourself as an authority on the product or service you offer while building trust.
As a consumer yourself, you know for a fact that people will most likely buy from someone they trust, right? You have the opportunity to become a trusted name by having a blog. By producing quality content, you are effectively keeping your audience engaged and showing them that you care about them.
More importantly, having a blog allows your business to speak directly to your customers via the comment section. This two-way communication helps you understand your audience better because you’re able to get their feedback directly.
This gives you the opportunity to know what they want and in the process, create content that’s more catered to them. If you keep doing this consistently, it wouldn’t be surprising to see your traffic, following, conversion, and sales go through the roof.
(c) Build Trust by Flaunting Customer Reviews
When it comes to growing an ecommerce business, building trust should always be a priority. Like we mentioned earlier, people will most likely buy from someone they trust.
When you’re just starting out, you don’t have a lot of that yet which is why showing some proof of legitimacy is also essential. One good way of doing this is to show people how reputable your brand is through customer reviews.
Seeing other people happy with your product or service is a good way to entice others to buy from you so they can have the same positive experience. There are a lot of creative ways for you to do this. You can either post some of your best testimonials on your social media pages or better yet, post them directly on your website.
In today’s world, a recommendation is one of the keys to success. People usually read reviews first before clicking on the “buy” button. Many times, customers will simply see who has the most number of 5-star reviews and choose them.
Instead of leaving it to your customers to find these reviews, why don’t you make things easier for them by featuring them in a prominent spot on your site? If you want to accelerate your business’ growth, encourage people to leave feedback and show them the good things other people have to say.
(d) Think Outside the Box
Ecommerce trends are popping up left and right. While most of them are effective for other businesses, not all of them may be relevant or suitable for yours. Sometimes, you have to dig a little deeper to find out which of these tactics will be best for your business.
Below are some of the tried-and-tested ones you can implement:
Grow your email list
Though some people consider it passe, an email list is still one of the most effective marketing strategies business owners rely on. Sending out high-quality and consistent communication with your customers make them feel valued and keeps them updated on your latest offerings.
Special limited promos
Whether it’s a 50% discount or a “buy one get one,” occasionally running promotions will be good for your business. We’re all suckers for sales promos like these especially if they’re on for a limited time only. You can expect a rise in your revenue with offers like these on a monthly basis.
Collaborating and selling products from different brands is also a good way of putting your business in front of fresh eyes. By letting their audience know about the collaboration, you’re practically gaining some free advertising that puts you in a position to gain new customers.
There’s no question how effective PPC (Pay-per-click) can be when done right. With the right budget and target audience in place, your business has the potential to not only gain more followers but also increase sales and revenue.
With PPC, it’s not a question of how many people you reach but how many of them are actually ready to buy.
SEO is another marketing tactic that doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Landing on the top of search results is definitely an advantage that you can exploit that would separate you from your competitors. People online are naturally lazy. They’re less likely to go beyond page one after conducting an online search. Imagine the opportunities you’ll get by being on the first page.
There’s a lot of work to be done, but there’s good news! Ecommerce is definitely the way to go, and your efforts will be totally worth it. Here are some stats to prove it:
Starting and growing an ecommerce business is a long and arduous process. It requires a lot of time, effort, and patience to create a business that you can run from just about anywhere in the world.
The good news is you don’t have to do it alone because there are freelancers who specialize in ecommerce operations who can help you. If you’re looking to start an ecommerce business or trying to grow an existing one, then you’ve come to the right place.
Sign up as a FreeeUp client so you can get introduced to talented and experienced individuals who can give your business that much-needed boost.
For an even more in-depth look at starting your own online store, head over to our friends at X-Cart to see their article on How to Start an Online Store That Actually Grows. It’s packed with information on choosing your niche, registering the right domain, designing your online store, adding products, starting marketing, and much more.
Noel Rosos is a personal development writer, motivational speaker, entrepreneur and founder of Life’s How You Live It, a personal development blog dedicated to helping people live the life they’ve always dreamed of. He is also a writer/contributor for Arianna Huffington’s wellness site, Thrive Global. He is an affiliate marketer, a full-time husband and father, and a self-proclaimed FAILUROLOGIST.