The abundance of eCommerce platforms today has eased the process of launching an eCommerce business. The presence of cloud software today addresses almost all aspects of a retail business, such as sales, shipping, customer relationship management, inventory, etc.
The buying and selling of products through the internet are one of the most popular methods of conducting business today. There are various reasons people choose to shop online today including lower prices, more choices, and convenience.
With the advanced technology available today and the low costs, launching an eCommerce business is a promising opportunity!
Top 7 tips to successfully launch your eCommerce business
There are four traditional kinds of eCommerce business models. These are Business-to-consumers (B2C), Business-to-business (B2B), Consumer-to-business (C2B), and Consumer-to-consumer (C2C).
Understanding these models along with vital elements of eCommerce, such as the current market, user interface (UI) design, eCommerce platforms, your competition, social media, purchasing features, shipping, and more is vital.
To smoothen the process of setting up your eCommerce in 2021, we have put together the seven most important tips to successfully launch your eCommerce business.
1. Analyze the market and your competition
Market analysis includes but is not limited to research on the demographics of your target audience. Research requires time and money. Before diving into why this is important, let’s look at the two types of research.
1. Primary research
You gather data through online surveys, focus groups, and/or in-person interviews.
2. Secondary research
Data and insights are available from other individuals or groups. These could include government or industry reports. For example, if you are looking to launch a business of online counseling services, you might want to take a look at the qualifications of the counselors you hire. These qualifications differ from country to country.
It is vital that you research your target audience and what they value. You need to understand what motivates your customers internally to purchase the services you offer and facilitate that motivation. You want to provide the finest customer experience along with popular products.
When assessing your competitors, identify their business model, sales funnel, and eCommerce platform to process what works and what doesn’t. Picking the right platform is the next important step, so let’s take a look!
2. Create your business plan
Coming to our last tip for today, creating a comprehensive business plan will never leave you wondering what your next step will be. You might have a ten-page document with scattered information on your goals, but here is a simpler way to put together this plan.
Lean business plans of one to two pages are gaining popularity. This compact plan for your eCommerce is your pitch. This includes the problem at hand, how your solution is unique, your team, financial predictions, and a description of your company culture.
Make sure to describe your products, your company, overall growth potential, and your operations plans. An operations plan includes staffing, stock, fulfilling orders, chain of command, and equipment needed. Try to envision what a day in your business will look like while keeping your target audience and market in mind!
3. Choose the right eCommerce platform
Choosing the right eCommerce platform will allow you to ensure scalable and long-term growth for your business. There are a few key aspects to look for when choosing an eCommerce platform.
1. Price and payment
Get a clear idea of what you will be paying for the platform on a monthly basis. Choose a platform that falls in your budget but also offers the features you will need. For example, some platforms do not support third-party vendors such as Paypal as a payment method. This could be a deal-breaker for some businesses while not for others.
2. Third-party integrations
These are needed to maintain your online business at an optimal level. Third-party integration features include payment gateway, shipping gateway, and inventory management. Paypal is a popular payment integration as it is known for its high security. Shipping gateways offer a simple order and invoice process, accurate rating system, tracking system, and appropriate speed of delivery. FedEx is a popular shipping service which offers their services to eCommerce platforms.
3. Setup and navigation
Choose a platform that allows you to incorporate your brand and aesthetic easily. Using templates is a great way to start setting up your store. Explore the different setups and designs offered by various platforms.
Don’t overcomplicate your website. You want to facilitate the purchase, not make your customers jump through hoops to reach the checkout page. You want a platform that supports a short and seamless shopping experience.
4. Design a stylish and professional website
38% of visitors will not engage with the website if the content or layout is not attractive. Your website is the first impression your audience has of your business. You want to make sure it is pleasant and engaging. You want to influence your customers in a way that they find you credible, trustworthy, and the best in your market.
a) What does your website represent?
Your brand. If you had a customer walk into your store, you’d want them to feel welcomed. Your website needs to translate and promote that feeling through its visual elements and user interface. A good website represents a positive customer care experience, usability, and helpful content, products, or services.
b) How do you get the best design for your website?
Do your research on UI trends and keep it up to date. This will help you maintain an optimal user experience on your website. If you aren’t familiar with web designing, you could hire an expert or learn the basics yourself with design tools! UI design tools will come in handy in this regard. These tools help you create a prototype for your design and focus on style and functionality. After selecting a theme or template for your site, narrow down a branding strategy and optimize your content! Be purposeful with your visuals and keep your site responsive.
5. Utilize relevant digital marketing strategies
While there are numerous digital marketing strategies, focus on the ones which will benefit your business the most.
No matter how great your website looks, you need to practice SEO strategies if you want to increase the quality and quantity of traffic to your website. SEO enables you to achieve this through organic search engine results. One of the most effective ways to practice this is to invest in keyword research and incorporate the results into the architecture of your website.
2. Email marketing
Email marketing is still a highly effective technique of digital marketing. Customers love receiving email updates of their favorite products and services. Focus on creating an email list, choosing the type of content you’d like to send your customers, and make sure to use automation.
3. Influencer marketing
As Seth Godin rightly said, “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.”
Reach out to an influencer who has a strong following and brand reputation to support your brand or endorse your product. You could also ask for collaboration to co-create content. People are more likely to trust and purchase a product used by their favorite celebrity or athlete than a simple advertisement. This could take place through giveaways, discount codes, and affiliate marketing.
Do you want to generate brand awareness, convert more leads, or just boost sales? Pick the strategy most effective for your goal!
6. Boost your social media presence
The heart of a successful eCommerce marketing strategy lies in the use of social media platforms. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook allow linking specific sites and allow targeting definite audiences. Research the advantages of each social media platform in relation to eCommerce before investing the time and money in growing your account!
The right platform also involves research on the users’ demographics, locations, languages they speak, etc. Analyze the data you collect and visualize how it will benefit your eCommerce business. Make sure to post quality content and keep up with the trends! It is important to engage with your audience online while maintaining your brand image.
7. Manage your inventory
Inventory management refers to storing, sourcing, and selling stock. You will need to be aware of how much stock you have, what price to sell it at, where to store it, etc. An efficient inventory management technique will reward you with increased sales, information transparency, decreased stock-outs, and lower costs. To achieve these rewards, you will need to pick the right inventory management and this can be a tricky process.
There is plenty of software available today to aid businesses in this process. Start with some research on these software and common techniques like auditing, cycle counting, and spot-checking. Consider the nature of your business, challenges you face, and the size of your business before settling on any one software.
You no longer need to rely on an in-person store to start a business. With the available technology, low-cost internet, and software, eCommerce is frequently used and preferred by customers all over the world!
With a solid business plan and a savvy website design, focus on finding investors and partners for your online business. Take these tips shared today and implement them to launch your eCommerce successfully in 2021!
Atreyee Chowdhury works full-time as a Learning Experience Designer and is passionate about writing. She has helped many small and medium-scale businesses achieve their content marketing goals with her carefully crafted content that is both informative and engaging. She lives in Bangalore, India with her husband. She loves to read, experiment with different cuisines, travel, and explore the latest content marketing and L&D trends in her free time. You can reach her on Linkedin or write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.