If you’ve been thinking of creating an E-Commerce site, you’ve probably already put some thought into what it will take to open your shop. No matter what stage you’re at in opening your own e-commerce business, these tips will help your launch be as successful as possible.
1. Find Your Niche
If you’re entering a saturated market, you need to make sure that there’s something about you that stands out. You should think about what makes your business in particular stand out from the crowd. The best reason to start a business is because you have noticed a gap in the market that you can fill. There are many different ways to stand out, but you should start your business by knowing why it is that you stand out so that you can capitalize on it in every aspect of your branding.
2. Research Your Competition
If you’re struggling to figure out what exactly will make you stand out from others in your market, researching your competitors should help. For example, if you’re launching an online clothing store, you can look at other small clothing businesses that make clothing similar to your own to see what they do that works, and most importantly what doesn’t work. If, for example, you are creating a clothing store and your competitor has a blouse that has negative reviews for an uncomfortable fabric, you can innovate on their idea by making your own blouse that is more comfortable for the customer.
3. Write a Business Plan
Once you’ve figured out what will make you stand out and researched your competitor’s strategies, you should outline a clear business plan. There are a lot of resources out there to help you with creating your own business plan, some of which we’ve compiled in this helpful list. Make sure to think of what your objective is and what your goals are for your business.
4. Commit to Learning About Being a Business Owner
There is no such thing as the perfect business owner. Because the world of business is constantly evolving, your role as a business owner and entrepreneur is also constantly changing and evolving. Make sure that you’re constantly researching ways to improve your business practices and checking on updates in your industry so you can stay on the cutting edge.
5. Brand Your Business
Every business needs a consistent brand in order to be recognizable to the general public. The first, and possibly most important, thing to determine is what you want your business to be called. Make sure you find a name that is unique and relevant to what your brand is about. Once you have your brand, figure out a color scheme that you can use on all of your marketing materials across your platforms. Having a set of 2-4 colors that you use for everything will form a link in your customers’ minds between those colors and your products. In addition, creating a logo for your business is important for brand recognition.
6. Understand and Utilize SEO
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the practice of making your website as optimized as possible for google’s algorithms so that your business will rank higher on google. For example, if you’re a clothing store that specializes in vintage-inspired clothing, ranking high for “vintage-inspired clothes store” would be very beneficial to your business. There are a lot of online courses to learn more about SEO, so make sure you do your research so your website and business can reap the benefits.
7. Put Customer Experience First
Customer experience on your e-commerce website is extremely important. You want your potential customers to enjoy their time spent on your website, and you want them to come back again. If your website is not stable and crashes frequently or if the layout is confusing and unintuitive, customers will most likely not enjoy their experience and will not want to use your website again.
Make sure that your website is secure as well — you’re handling billing information, which means that there is an added level of trust that your customers are putting into you and your website. To avoid internet crimes, which are any crimes involving false or fraudulent representations online, make sure that you are clear in what your customers will be receiving and what they should expect.
8. Optimize for Mobile
Once again, you want your customers to want to come back to your website and become repeat customers. However, 61% of people who visit mobile sites won’t return to a website if it isn’t easy to navigate or loads too slowly. This means that you’ll need to make sure that your website is not only optimized for desktop but mobile as well. If you’re using a pre-fabricated website design, make sure to choose a template that includes a mobile design.
9. Utilize Social Media
Social media is a huge form of marketing nowadays. Make sure that you make accounts for your business on all the major platforms: Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, and TikTok. Although you should create all of these accounts, you don’t necessarily need to put a lot of time and effort into making specialized content for each platform. Cross-posting the same images and text is okay because there are some people who will use one platform and not another.
One excellent way to promote your product is to send it to influencers that you know align with your company’s values. If you send out your product for free to influencers, you may be rewarded with a tagged Instagram story or post, but contacting influencers and making a specific deal for a paid promotion is a more sure-fire way to get promotion from influencers. Make sure that you have a contract made so that you can ensure you will get what you ask in return for sending them the products and possibly paying their fee.
10. Prepare Your First Launch
When it comes to your first launch, make sure that you don’t rush into things. Figure out what you want to include in your first launch, and think about the small details like packing materials. If you use fun packaging, your customers may feel more inclined to post their new products on their social media accounts, which means free promotion for you. A fun small piece of packaging you can include is a postcard with a thank you note or a cute quote that relates to your brand’s messaging. Make sure to use high-quality materials as well — like 1.5 mil film to laminate your cardstock postcards, a thickness usually used for things like business cards.
Customer experience is not just about your website, but about the entire journey from when they first see your product to when they begin using it. Keeping that in mind from the time that you make your first launch means that customers are more likely to come back to you again and continue to support your business for years to come.
Are you just starting on your e-commerce business? Are you already planning your first launch? What other tips would you have for new e-commerce business owners? Tell us about it in the comments below!