If you’ve been mulling over the idea of starting up an eCommerce business, then buckle up and take note, because there is an abundance of things to bear in mind, right steps to take at just the right time. Setting up shop may seem easy, because hey, we’re living in the Digital Age that has simplified everything, and it’s because of this misguided notion of effortlessness that so many startups fail.
If you don’t want to find yourself closing up shop sooner than you’ve set up, sit down, do your research and avoid the pitfalls that can hinder your success.
1- What are you selling?
This may seem like stating the obvious but bear with us and you’ll see it’s not. The reason why many startups fail is because they do things backwards. They select a product and then try to find the market for it. In order to actually sell a product, you have to conduct a market research and look for a hole. Once you find that hole, it’s your job to provide a product that will fill it. Don’t enter an already saturated field but be the one to fill the void. Visit forums, see what people are looking for and aren’t able to find, or if there’s a product someone is selling, make sure you provide a better one and present yourself as a worthy competitor.
2- Visible and functional
Once you have the product, you need to name it, and the name needs to be eye-catching, witty, and simply fabulous. It needs to attract attention, but beyond that, it needs to be available for you to be able to register it. The next step is definitely securing a domain name and website. In the perfect world your domain name would be the same as the name of your business, but if it’s taken, choose a close variation of it. Once that’s complete, you need an appealing logo and a smashing slogan, and if you find yourself at sea, eCommerce solutions like Shopify have you covered with these and numerous other helpful startup tools. Today’s consumers are a tough crowd to please, so you have to offer an amazing product with a side of kickass design and brand name.
3- Write a business plan
Once you’ve scooped out the competition and chosen both your product and established visual identity, it’s time to write up a business plan. A business plan is vital for putting all your ideas in one place in a comprehensive and elaborate manner. There are numerous tutorials and step-by-step guides on how to do this, so even if you’re a business neophyte, there is no need to despair. Once the plan is good and ready, your next step is registering the business.
4- Learn about SEO
In today’s competitive market, one of the strongest marketing tools is precisely SEO (search engine optimization). To put it plainly, SEO helps your page find its way on the very top on search engines (Google, Bing, etc.). Unlike paid ads SEO is the process of getting traffic from the ‘free’ and ‘organic’ search results on search engines. Aside from a great product followed by original product descriptions and optimized product images, another SEO tool that helps with achieving greater visibility is a blog. People respond to great content, and even if they’re not visiting your commercial page right away, visits to your blog page are a great stepping stone.
5- Consider all other options to get more traffic
Despite the fact that organic traffic is the best, it’s not just enough these days. You cannot simply ignore the importance of targeted paid traffic. While you search online, you will find hundreds of blogs suggesting Google and Bing ads, but I believe, you should not invest in such platform unless you have hands on experience of success with PPC or you have a relatively larger budget. For a startup on tighter budget, the best way is to use social media and buy website traffic from a vendor who delivers the highly targeted traffic.
6- Make sure to have killer offers
As previously said, people can be quite picky when online shopping, and it takes them only a few seconds to determine whether they like your website or not. Aside from clean and amazing design and name, you need to grab their attention with great shopping deals, discounts, and swag. People will go crazy over slashed prices and will buy anything as long as there’s a % sign next to it. Free shipping is also a major attraction, so consider that as well. When going about this, it makes good makes sense to position eye-catching banners with discount offers on the upper part of the home page of an online store, so they would be the first thing your shoppers see.
Bonus Point: Make it user-friendly
The shopping cart, login box and search box features are usually placed together at every eCommerce site. It’s almost impossible to imagine a store without a shopping-cart function included. The most popular shopping cart icon is a simple basket so it makes sense to choose something similar for your site. Make it your priority that these buttons are visible, because it’s a frustrating thing for a consumer to have to search for it. The main reason online shoppers are, well, online shoppers, is because of the convenience. If they have to work at it, they will just exit and move on to the next store.