From planning your business venture to executing your plan – launching an online business can be quite a challenge if you haven’t fully prepared for it. It is common for people to do test launches, first build their online presence and then work towards engagement and then the product launch. However, all that only partially covers the full extent of launching your online business successfully. Numerous steps need to be considered to build your traffic, get engagement, and then product orders.
Most entrepreneurs understand the importance of knowing the market before getting started, and your online business can benefit from that knowledge. Customers’ data and insight about how your audience reacts, responds, and reviews your product will be a necessary prerequisite to launching your product in the market. For any business to be successful, new or old, there needs to be a demand in the market.
Similarly, before you launch your business, make sure your product meets the criteria set via customers’ data and insight, and then perform a pilot. Here’s what you need to do before you launch your business:
Research the Market
More likely than not, research must have been the first thing you did when you came to your business idea, and there’s no reason why now that should change. Before your business launch, you need to perform a detailed search of your market, customers, and competitors. You have to know the ins and outs of the market before participating in it.
- Research what your customers look like, and create a customer persona.
- Find out who else is offering products similar to yours and how their business is operating.
- Understand what communication and marketing mechanisms do your competitors use.
- Try to estimate or deduce how they’re performing so far in the market.
- Look for what kind of e-commerce system can give you an advantage over the competition.
- Check if your product is ready for the market, see the pre-order or wait-list for your offerings.
The more information you have, the better decisions you can make.
Understand Your Audience
After you have done your research, find out more about your target market, and what are they looking for? Track where your target market is spending most of their time, what terms are they searching for, and what do they look for in a product. In today’s competitive age, your customers need to feel that the brand is talking directly to them. Before you launch your business, you need to understand your market so your customers can actively engage, and try out your product.
- Identify the age/income/preferences range of your audience.
- The spending/ behavioral patterns.
- Interests/ budget/ time spent on site etc.
All this information can be used to target specific segments, put certain products on sale, provide e-commerce personalization and automate replies along with a lot more.
Know What Value Your Product Brings
Many online businesses offer the same product and target the same niche and their offerings are easily replaceable. It’s because their value proposition doesn’t offer anything unique, and you need to make sure your business is not one of them. Test your product according to your customer personas, and see whether the product clicks or not.
- Lower Price: Are you offering value of money to your customers?
- Product Features: Does your product offer something unique that the competitors lack?
- Customer Connection: Are you offering a worthwhile experience to your customers?
- Fast Delivery: Will you be able to ship your products on time?
Try creating value for your customers, if your product isn’t unique – add something unique like discounted price, added features, better customer experience, free shipping, etc.
Create the Buying Journey
Become the customer yourself, see the buying journey and check whether or not you would purchase your product. Feel free to be critical of the user journey, and find points that can become a hindrance in the purchasing experience. Add trackers to different events, and do a demo test to see which point isn’t working. See where in the buying process your customers bounce and take steps to streamline the process to ensure order placement.
- Study Different Customer Groups
- Categorize Stakeholders
- Get User Testing Feedback
- Identify Customer bottlenecks
- Visualize Relationships
- Analyze Relation Types
- Highlight Problems
Make sure your tracking and data reporting mechanisms are working alright, and you are getting the desired results before you launch your business.
Understand What It Costs to Run Your Online Business
Lastly, before you launch your business, understand what costs are expected to incur and prepare for them. This doesn’t necessarily mean the prerequisite of launching an online store, domain, and licensing costs. Instead, focus on the cost of running and sustaining that business for the next 3, 6, 12 months. Most online businesses are guilty of spending too much too soon and then retreating when things get difficult.
- Create an estimate of all the costs (shipping/ returns/ refunds/ storage etc.)
- The requirements of maintaining an ongoing promotion strategy.
- The cost of a contingency plan.
While you might have to factor in the actual, and overhead costs – you need to also consider the costs of additional efforts you make along the line. A business’s success depends upon the planning, testing, and targeting that goes into it as well as the periodic reviews. Having a plan for all that ensures you cement your progress towards success.Published in