So you want to start an eCommerce business. Or maybe you’re already delving into the depths of an eCommerce site. Either way, here are several tips from the pros on how to be successful whether it’s your main source of income or a side hustle.
By one count, there are roughly 110,000 ecommerce companies and online firms generating revenue of meaningful scale on the Internet. Retail ecommerce sales in the US alone are expected to amount to more than $461 billion this year … and predicted to rise to $638 billion by 2022. Source: Small Business Trends
The article quoted above lists some pros and cons to eCommerce businesses:
- Low overhead – way not as costly to run as a brick-and-mortar store.
- You can collect customer data and get to know them.
- You can customize your site.
- Greater reach – from being an neighborhood store to nationwide or global.
- Easily adaptable
- Lack of credibility
- Customer service challenges
- Marketplace saturation
The next question is where do you set up your store? On your own website (self-hosted) or on an existing platform where you rent your space? Study both options and research the top eCommerce platforms here. Do your homework. Read reviews.
Some things to consider:
- If you mount your own store like on a WordPress site using WooCommerce, it’s yours and you own everything, but who’s going to manage it? You have security issues to think about and you’ll probably have to hire a developer to build your store.
- When using an existing platform like Shopify or Squarespace, it may save you time and money upfront, but you are bound by their rules and customization.
- Make sure you have the ability to add a blog to your store – this will help with SEO.
Once you’ve decided on which platform, you’re next step is to make sure it’s optimized. Optimized for search (SEO), usability — User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) and performance. Put yourself in your shopper’s shoes and go through the whole buying journey as they would. Does it make sense? Do all the elements work properly? One kink in the works can ruin your chances of success.
Design and Marketing
The design of your eCommerce store is very important. It’s not what you like, but what your target market likes.
- Design and user experience – make sure it’s easy for a customer to check out. Don’t make people jump through hoops.
- Content – regularly produce new content.
- Create compelling product copy.
- Technical and code – you do need some technical expertise if you’re going to build your own website. If you use one of the existing platforms, they cover this for you. Make sure they have good customer service and tech support reviews.
- Social media – you need to post several times a day to attract people to your store. Add both share and follow button on your store’s page to make it easy for people to follow you and easy for them to share your content with their friends. Don’t just post your stuff. Not every post needs to sell.
- Linking and URL’s – links to your social networks, product reviews, videos, etc. Put your store’s URL everywhere.
You have 2 seconds to catch a visitor’s attention. If they don’t see what they want right away, they’re gone.
Once your eCommerce store is open
OK, you’ve got your site ready for prime time. Now you rake the money in. Really? Not so fast. It’s not “if you build it they will come.” You still have to do some marketing. The best thing is to …
- Clearly identify your target market(s) and do some research. Start with my free Define Your Target Market Workbook.
- Once you’ve defined your targets and figured out how best to reach them, set some goals then put a strategic and tactical plan together to help you reach the goals. Which social media networks does your target frequent the most?
- What type of content are you going to produce to attract them? Blogs, videos, or podcasts?
- If you’re not sure where to start or which way to go, I’d be happy to do a Free 15-minute phone consult.