Launching an eCommerce business is an exciting but daunting endeavor. You may have all the funding and structural support you need to start a business, but that doesn’t mean success is assured.
It’s estimated there are between 12 and 24 million eCommerce stores worldwide, but not just anyone can make a webstore successful and profitable in the long term.
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, here are some essential tips you need to know before you dive into your eCommerce adventure.
Brand Building Is Vital
Some people find the concept of ‘brands’ offputting, but anyone looking to get ahead in eCommerce should take them very seriously.
Brands aren’t necessarily household names anymore, nor are they exclusive to Instagrammers. A successful webstore needs to establish some semblance of a brand from inception, to give people something to latch onto and explain what you do in simple terms. Don’t put all of your efforts into defining your brand in the early days, as it will naturally grow, but place the same importance on it as you would your choice of products.
Brand building will guide every aspect of your business. It will determine how you design and structure your website, from color schemes to how products are presented.
A brand will determine your marketing strategy and the type of audience you seek, helping to define your message and giving your store a more professional appearance. Products and processes are essential, but in today’s contemporary market a brand is something you can genuinely build a business around.
Marketing Is A Priority
How you market and promote your eCommerce store will have a huge bearing on its success. Marketing has become more advanced than ever before and requires knowledge of a number of different channels to find an engaged audience. Underestimating its performance can make it difficult for you to find one.
Just like when you’re choosing your platform, you need to consider what marketing channels you will use to promote your eCommerce store in detail. This will again depend on your products, but also what spaces their target audience exists in. A successful eCommerce store launch will likely require a mix of both paid and free marketing through popular channels such as social media, Google Ads, and potentially more unique forms such as in-person conventions and promotional events. Using tools such as Hootsuite allows you to manage multiple channels from one place, an essential asset for novice social media managers. Research your audience and target your audience on Facebook or other social platforms. Congregates and maximize your marketing within that channel.
You must also think about the messaging of your marketing. If you’re trying to build a brand then the language of your campaigns will differ from a website trying to promote a product first. Websites with a wide range of products will fare better if they promote their business first, whereas one selling a flagship product will want to make it the centerpiece of their marketing.
Choose The Right Platform
Your website is the center of your ecommerce business. You may get traction on social media and negotiate product deals in person, but your website is where the sales that keep your business going happen. It is vital you make the right platform choice for your business, and that doesn’t mean just choosing the best available product.
There are lots of different platform styles and ways to sell online. Making the right choice is an important step in determining how successful your business will be.
You can choose your platform based on a number of factors, but the most significant is the type of product you intend to sell and the projected growth of your business. Template store builders are some of the most popular formats for first-time ecommerce store owners, due to their user-friendly management systems, easily customizable designs and integration with plugins to boost effectiveness.
If you don’t feel your business plan warrants its own ecommerce website, then selling through marketplaces such as Amazon or Etsy is a viable alternative that allows you to gain access to a huge existing marketplace without having to manage the technical side of running an ecommerce store. This is appealing to many smaller businesses but does limit creativity and freedom.
User experience counts for a lot
In the world of ecommerce, user experience is about more than the customer is always right. A great idea for an ecommerce store is nothing without the right execution and the right execution puts user experience at the forefront of design.
If your website isn’t set up to suit the needs of your customers, you’ll struggle to make sales. In terms of actual useability, your website needs to be fast. If a page takes more than three seconds to loads a visitor is much more likely to leave the store and move onto a competitor. User experience is also a case of how easy your website is to navigate.
If you built your online store eCommerce website using Wix Stores, then here is a great tutorial – How To Speed Up Your Wix Website To Load Super Fast Up To 92%? [11 Easy Techniques]
Users will also become agitated if they can’t find their way to your products, or the journey from landing page to check out isn’t straightforward. How the different elements of your ecommerce store, from content to products to category options work alongside each other is the key to creating a user experience that puts the customer first.
Optimizing your website for other devices may be the most important part of developing a successful user experience. A large portion of visitors will be browsing on mobile or tablet and will expect your website to be optimized for them. If you don’t optimize your website it won’t display text or images correctly and make it impossible for all but your most tech-savvy visitors to navigate.
Quality over quantity
Some of the biggest ecommerce stores thrive on keeping things simple and doing the obvious stuff right. Focusing on quality over quantity is a safe way of developing a platform for more success.
Don’t overload your website with products at launch. Have a simple range you don’t need to spend time building numerous categories and groups for. It will make it easier for first-time visitors to understand what you’re selling and stop them from getting overwhelmed. Follow a minimalistic approach when it comes to presentation. Opting to use simple product pages that put a focus on imagery and calls to action will yield the best results and user satisfaction. This is about controlling the user journey.
While the temptation is there to be overly ambitious with your store, it’s best to pull back the reins and build a journey based only on customer feedback within the initial months.
Many of the most important lessons of running an eCommerce store can only be learned while managing one. These tips will help you to get off on the right foot, but it’s necessary to stay vigilant of problems and always look to improve your service.
Co-Founder of WebsiteBuilderly.