It takes a lot of courage to follow your dreams, leave your full-time job, and start something on your own. It would be wonderful to believe that everything will be a smooth sail from that point on but as many new entrepreneurs know, this is rarely the case. However, this isn’t a call for you to get demoralized but to take control of your e-commerce business even before the launch to ensure the best possible start.
Having a solid foundation will help you build and adapt your business along the way instead of having to make major changes quickly which could leave serious consequences on your financial state. So, here are a few pieces of advice to provide your business with the necessary kickstart into the world of e-commerce.
Look into the competition
This piece of advice doesn’t have copying as an aim but instead, learning about your competition can show you useful pieces of information about bad practices and not just good. You also need to know what you are up against so as to focus your resources and capacities on the right cause. If a particular market is oversaturated and analyses show that it will remain so in the foreseeable future, perhaps you can opt for a niche product whose market offers more convenient conditions.
You can learn about their marketing strategies and use that knowledge to invest in paid ads or work on organic marketing more. By researching their website, you will be able to see about their return policies, shipping fees, and the level of transparency which are all vital data in terms of creating a competitive advantage for your small e-commerce business from the start.
Research the customers
Your prospective customers will be the consumers and judges of your products and services so you need to make sure their interests are satisfied. Even the most specialized niche products, such as a slick drill collar can find their customers online because instead of purchasing at their local poorly supplied dealerships at high prices, they will find exactly what they need in your online store and have it delivered safely to their business address.
To understand what moves your customers, you need to look into the age, gender, occupation, educational level, location and make assessments when it comes to creating the most efficient marketing strategy that will target just the right audience. With this way of thinking, you will minimize the bounce rate because people will not wander into your website but visit it purposefully. ’The bigger, the better’ is not always the best policy and in your case, it can even be discouraging to see a high bounce rate, so targeting the right audience is your best bet.
Tend to your website
The website and the e-commerce platform is where the magic happens. It is where those leads convert into sales and to make that happen, you need to ensure that many of the website aspects are up to par. For instance, if the website isn’t loading fast enough, you will have people leaving by the bunch without even taking a look at your offer. Also, if you are slow to answer their inquiries, you will see many abandoned carts.
The purchase page design has to be pristine because any glitch with the currency, price or irregular display of certain data can lead to customers becoming suspicious and leaving your website to find another offer that is more transparent. Even after you kickstart your e-commerce business, you need to always be on the lookout for the things that could be improved or replaced because don’t forget that success in the e-commerce business is not a spring but a marathon.
Leverage on social media
If you decided that your website will be the only place of purchase for your products, that doesn’t mean that it needs to be your brand’s only form or online presence. Social media platforms have a major influence on businesses nowadays because they allow for more direct collaboration with your customers and real-time contact, should you choose so. Different social media platforms host different audiences and offer different benefits so you need to research which would suit your customers and products best.
What’s important is that your customers can maneuver with ease to your website so it is necessary for the posts to have a link to your website. Also, it is useful to have the links to your social media profiles on your website because somebody who came straight to your online store might want to praise your product and services across different media and even become your brand ambassador. All in all, knowing what a powerful media social networks are, it would be a waste not to harness that power for your brand’s benefit.
If you have an idea, some capital, and lots of enthusiasm, it is vital you prepare well before going into the world of e-commerce because no matter how specific your products might be, chances are that there is already someone with similar products on the market. Looking into your competition and your customers will teach you how to best market your products. Social media are another useful tool in this regard and they can be skillfully intertwined with your website to achieve maximum results.