Nowadays, launching an online store is so easy. There’s no need to start writing codes from scratch as the process of launching one has become so seamless with the introduction of several eCommerce platforms such as Wix, Shopify, BigCommerce, etc.
Thanks to these simple drag and drop solutions, anyone can work on their site 24/7 without the need of a coder, designer or a tech team to help them through the process. And even more surprising, is that there are millions of seven-figure businesses and online stores using simple ecommerce website builders to power their massive businesses.
However, it’s one thing to design and launch a site… and it’s another to generate endless traffic and sales from your online store. To achieve success when selling on these platforms, there are still a few things that you need to know — all of which will be highlighted in this article.
Seven Things to Know Before You Launch an Online Store
Before you even think about registering a domain name, signing up for your hosting solution and what site builder you want to use, you need to first think about what you are going to sell online and how you can provide better services and products than what’s already out there.
These seven key factors and talking points will definitely help in the decision and launch process.
Market Research, Competition and Site Monitoring
One of the most important things to do when beginning an eCommerce business is to analyze the industry. This gives you a nice concept of your competitors, market reach, and target consumer base.
The eCommerce industry has seen the mushrooming of many startups catering to different niches. This is why an initial analysis is important to give you proper insight that can be used to tweak your business model.
Figuring out how you’re going to track web traffic and conversions is one of the first things you can do. Google Analytics provides one of the most common ways to do this.
It takes only a small bit of coding to set up on your site, and the rest is fairly simple, but you may need to set up eCommerce tracking and set your sales goals.
So, before you launch your online store, you need to know how your website performs through a range of metrics such as landing page conversions, social media, ads, etc.
Comparing and Choosing the Right e-Commerce Platform
The most affordable and viable approach to start an online store in the current market dynamics is through an eCommerce platform. The next realistic step is to know how to compare e-commerce sites and pick the ideal one.
The easiest way to do so is to search for all the web demos from the front end, admin, dashboard, and merchant view of these platforms.
Picking the Right Pricing Package
One thing is to select a platform based on its feature set. Another thing is to check the cost of the platform. It is not a must to choose an eCommerce website with a long list of features that puts a huge hole in your wallet.
There are many platforms that provide all the features needed at an affordable price. There are, however, other kinds of expenses involved with operating a marketplace. They even provide users with a 14-day free trial to decide if the platform suits your needs.
Getting Set Up on Social Media
You need to have a social media presence while running an online shop and a robust one at that. This is how many customers will find out for the first time about your products, so you must know how to build compelling profiles.
For all your social media handles, try to get the same username for each. For example, try to align your Twitter profile with Facebook profile. If your store name is Shop With Us, your Twitter handle should be (www.twitter.com/ShopWithUs), and your Facebook page should be(www.facebook.com/ShopWithUs).
Also, don’t be compelled to think that you must have a presence in all the social media platforms. Focusing on a few platforms and making your profiles and engagements compelling enough is a better option than spreading your efforts too thinly.
Tip: If you want your brand to stand out and appeal to potential buyers, don’t forget to customize your cover and profile images.
Promoting Your e-Commerce Store
You need to learn how to advertise and promote your store to gain traction within the intended customer base. It doesn’t matter what eCommerce platform you choose to build your online store; if you don’t promote your e-commerce store or market your products, you won’t make substantial sales.
You must set your budget for marketing. Pre-launch marketing earns you the much-needed traction even before the business goes live. To carry out your pre-launch marketing strategy, you need to know about paid marketing, such as Google Adwords.
And if you are looking for some new and creative ways to promote your online store, check out this list of 25 unique ideas.
Establishing Your Shipping Options
Shipping will make or break your online store. If the delivery costs are too high, even those customers who add your items to their shopping cart will abandon your platform without finishing the purchase. This is particularly true if you market something that can be sold in a big box store such as Amazon or Walmart online.
With that in mind, providing flat rate delivery or absorbing shipping (or at least half of it) as a cost at your end might be a smart option to keep consumers on the road to conversion.
Of course, you don’t have to care about this move if you use drop shipping, but companies that manufacture a product or sell wholesale goods will need to think about shipping before the store goes online.
Establishing a Newsletter
One of the most powerful instruments to have in your marketing arsenal is an email newsletter. Nothing compares to that, seriously. Think about it: an email marketing plan will constantly put you in your subscribers’ inboxes. Knowing how to use this gives you the chance to present coupons and discounts, new items, and useful information to your subscribers.
Selecting an email marketing network is the first move. MailChimp, Aweber, and Continuous Touch include a few options you can learn about. You’ll then need to pick your template, configure it, and compose the content of your welcome email.
Before launching your online store, you’ll want to get all of this set up. After all, they’ll want to subscribe to keep tabs on you for additional information.
And if they subscribe, they’ll expect to receive at least one email automatically. Ideally, you’ll have multiple follow-up emails prewritten, so there’s no chance of slipping behind schedule if you’re swept up in the hustle and bustle of launching an online store.
You put a lot of effort into setting up an online shop, so it is important to pay similar attention to the time leading up to its launch. It’s also important to make sure you avoid the common mistakes that new ecommerce sites often fall into.
One of the most important things to remember when starting an online business and store, is that you need to have an audience. It’s extremely simple to create a great looking store that allows you to collect payment and ship out products, but without an audience… What good is it?
With that being said, make sure you have an aggressive marketing plan in place to grow your business across all mediums and platforms. This includes search, social media, site content and also a newsletter or customer mailing list.
By putting in the time and effort to make sure all of these key factors and elements are in place, it ensures that you have the greatest possible impact on your niche. The greater the impact, the more likely you are to find success with your new ecommerce business.