You can’t get rid of a feeling that it’s high time to start your own ecommerce business but you are not sure how to do it right? Let us tackle this problem and offer you a short step-by-step guide in which we’ll highlight the most important and sufficient issues of any ecommerce business setting-up.
Decide What to Sell
Needless to say that the very first question to bring to the forefront is a product you are going to sell. This choice is a not as easy as it may seem to be, at least if you want it to be right. Your task is to find out a niche in a market you will be able to fill.
The main rules you should follow involve looking for a unique item which is either a customers’ pain point or passion, considering your personal experience and drawing inspiration from the industry titans. You can look through some forums or other social sites and make a list of products which can bring you success. Don’t forget that the more exquisite the product is the more chances you have to conquer a solid place in the market.
Carry a Competitor Research
Obviously, after making product choice you need to investigate your competitors’ business. This stage will help you to learn what strategies they use, whether they work or no, and what the best solution for you is. Turn their weak points into your strengths and learn from their virtues.
Setting up Your Business
Name your Business
Once a decision concerning a product type has been made and competitor research is over, you will face another challenge – choosing your business name. This process can be regarded both a real art and science. You should be creative while selecting a name and at the same time stay smart enough so that later it will make your business go round. You will have more chances to get a positive result if your name is short, easy to keep in mind and ingenious.
Besides, don’t forget that it must have a direct connection with the product you sell and differ from you competitors’ versions. Moreover you also can’t but steer clear of consulting a lawyer or some databases like USPTO in order to make everything legally. Domain plays an important role, too. You can either choose domain name that have already been in use or step off the beaten track and create your own one. By the way, there are several tools which can help you generate a business name like GoSpaces, NameStation, Domaintyper etc.
Another task to cope with is logo which is vitally important for creating a positive first impression. Your store face must attract customers and consequently involve them into the shopping process. In most cases a creation of a top-notch logo demands good investments, i.e. a professional help offered by the talented and experienced brand designers.
However not every entrepreneur can afford such ace and as a result there is a need to find a way out which is cheaper but not less effective. These may be logo generators and DIY, or crowd sourcing. Nevertheless, whatever way you are going to choose, keep in mind that your logo must be simple, recognizable, versatile and timeless.
Pay Attention to Website Design
Great online stores have great design. We all prefer stylish and scrumptious stuff which is pleasant to look at and to use. Your online-store design is not an exception. The first thing worth of mentioning is a precise identification of a target audience. Who are they, your potential clients – women, men or both, teens or adults? This piece of information will help to set the main principles of a further website development. A high-quality level of design including exclusive photos and handy site structure isn’t the last point to take into consideration, too.
Understand Search Engine Optimization
Having a snappy name, sumptuous logo and cool design is not enough to score a success if you don’t make the next step – come closer to your customers and show your product. A path to any online-store lies through a search engine therefore we can’t but mention the power of Search engine optimization (SEO) in the world of online marketing.
SEO makes it easier for Google (or any other searching engine) to understand what exactly your store is and what products or services it offers. For instance, with the help of keyword research you will be able to find out what words or phrases are more frequently used by people while they are looking for your product. Just don’t forget that this isn’t a one-shot process and you need to use SEO regularly in order to get to the top of a Google page.
Build Your Store
Visiting any website we always pay attention to its visual side and how convenient it is in use. A good website is always a fruit of hard work of website designers and developers. These people take care of its attractive look and easy use. However their work may strongly depend on the ecommerce platform you will choose.
Nowadays there are plenty of platforms (e.g. Magento) and the best way to make a right choice is to take into consideration the key features like number of products, budget, product type etc. Besides, check whether a platform offers necessary extensions for your online-store and whether they are up-to-date.
Get Ready for a Launch
Get Your Business on Social Networks
A good source, which can support your online-store reputation and make people talk about it, is a bunch of well-known and so much beloved social networks. These sites are good to let your potential customers know about your existence and share this piece of news with their friends. To ascertain that it will work, make your posts frequent and bright. Note that they must be also short and meaningful. If you add a picture and a catching heading that would be just perfect.
Determine Your Shipping Strategy
Imagine all previous things helped you to involve a customer into your online-store. So here comes this long-awaited moment of getting to a checkout page and … nothing will happen if you don’t think over your shipping strategy. Very often customers quit the shopping cart if the shipping and handling fees are high. Therefore you should consider all possible ways to get rid of any stumbling blocks at this shopping stage. Use free shipping offer and unique labeling packaging, insurance and tracking or any other method to make your online-store trustworthy.
Get Email Marketing Ready
Another important step in setting-up your business is the choice of email marketing service. This is a kind of a connecting bridge between you and your clients. It allows you to inform them about any news, discounts, and special offers, i.e. use any boost which can nudge customers to make a purchase. However, to get the desired effect a service should meet your demands. There must be a set of necessary features like import mailing list, group email contacts, social media tools, auto response, spam test etc.
The variety of services is really wide and it’s up to you to choose the one which suits you both technically and financially. Besides, don’t forget about a prelaunch checklist which will help you to launch your email marketing campaign effectively and prevent common email marketing mistakes.
Define Key Performance Indicators
To gain a strong position at the market you should always stay determined. Setting of goals is essential but it can be not enough for high results. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are part and parcel of any business. They show how good you are in following the benchmarks and getting top reaching estimated results. These KPIs may be different and consider absolutely various areas of your business – shopping cart abandonment rate, traffic sources, page views per visit, customer service email count, number and quality of product reviews and so on.
It’s Marketing Time
Automate Your Email Marketing
In fact, email marketing is a powerful tool able to amp up your profit in case you make maximum use of it. There are a number of instruments you can use to catch customers’ attention and increase your sales. For instance, email cart abandonment emails are aimed to remind your customer that shopping is not over or welcome email series, which show your deep appreciation of joining namely your online-store family. Reminding of new arrivals and seasonal sales is a good option, too.
Allocate Resources for SEO & A/B testing
Another point to take into consideration is SEO use after launching your online-store. As we have already mentioned it’s a dynamic process which requires your constant participation. have to prove search engine that your site is one of a top-quality – provide great content, build trust and earn links. On the whole, investing in SEO is worthwhile as it bears its fruit. Besides, you not to forget about A/B testing which allows choosing the best option in any testing area – let it be a simple photo or a whole selling strategy.
Use Product Listing Ads to Get First Sales
There is no doubt that one can’t but forget about the role of ads in eCommerce. Every online-store needs it and Product Listing Ads is one of the solutions which are worth of your attention. PLA is more than just a usual text advert – it includes products photos, their prices and, what is important, a store name.
Constantly Improve Website Usability
But whatever ways you choose to attract customers they won’t give any positive results if you ignore usability factor. Your website must be catching but not overcomplicated, convenient in use and of course customer-oriented.
You can find thousands of pieces of advice how to become a successful entrepreneur, but as Colin Powell once told there are no secrets to success. It is always the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. So, stop thinking and start doing!
If you have any questions about anything I’ve mentioned in this blog post or anything else related to Magento, please feel free to drop me a message via this form. I am on the team performing Magento development for large Magento projects.