Before you jump headfirst into setting up your eCommerce store, there are many things you need to take into consideration. Here at Sifu Web, we want to see every business succeed, so we’ve put together a list of ten things you need to know before you take any steps into the world of eCommerce.
What You Should Know Before Starting an eCommerce
1. The Competition is Tough
Unfortunately, there’s no getting around this. Online stores have seen a boom over the last decade, and it is now estimated that there are more than 20 million eCommerce websites live on the internet, and the number of online buyers is expected to reach 20 billion.
This is no time to become disheartened by stats though, you should use this information to encourage your creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, which brings us on to point #2.
2. You Need to Stand Out From the Crowd
Stiff competition means it is essential that you offer something that consumers can’t find anywhere else. First things first, you need to get your thinking cap on and devise your products unique selling point.
With the best will in the world, you won’t see many sales if you’re plugging your products in an oversaturated market with nothing new to offer. So, you need something that differentiates your brand, whether that’s a totally new, highly innovative product or an added benefit to draw people in.
For example, TOMS is well-known for its charitable ethos – for every pair of shoes bought, they donate another to someone in need. So, while they’re products are not necessarily ground-breaking, their unique selling point lies in their charity efforts.
3. Effective Marketing is Vital
Once you have the perfect products to be proud of, creating an effective marketing plan is essential for putting them in front of the people who are most likely to make a purchase.
It might seem daunting to start with, but like any mammoth task it’s made easier by breaking it down into smaller chunks and taking it step by step.
For example, the essential place to start is by identifying your target market – are you marketing to teens or the older generation? Is it typically more likely to be purchased by men or women?
By knowing your audience, you can tailor your marketing strategy to suit.
If you are relatively new to online marketing, you should prepare yourself with the best ecommerce dropshipping course so you start with a good foundation. Having a course that teaches you the understanding of branding, how to target your audience and what products can sell well will help with your success.
4. Choosing the Right eCommerce Platform is Essential
Part and parcel of making your eCommerce store stand out from the crowd is choosing a platform that helps you showcase your products and improve user experience. There are more than a few pieces of software available to help you do this, but by far the best is Magento.
Magento offers you the tools and flexibility to create a store that matches your unique business needs, which is why it’s used by leading brands such as Coca Cola and Nike. For more plug-ins and add-ons to enhance your eCommerce store, browse our extensive range of extensions for Magento 2.
5. Written Content is Hugely Important!
Once you have an idea of marketing strategy and the basic mechanics of your store in place, you’re going to need to think about the content – both written and visual.
First things first, in an online world, word-perfect content that gets your message across is absolutely vital.
If you sell a practical product, you might think that it speaks for itself, but if you want to generate leads and increase sales this definitely isn’t the case. You’ll certainly need a home page, product descriptions, perhaps an ‘about us’ page, and maybe even a blog if you want to create a space to share your industry expertise.
6. …and SEO is Key
One huge component of creating effective copy is maximising your SEO potential.
You may have heard the term a million times before, but its importance still can’t be understated. SEO dictates how well your webpages rank in search engines such as Google, and obviously the goal is to be as near to the top as possible to get valuable clicks from potential customers.
In the past, data suggested that the top result on Google gained 33% of traffic for any given search. However, more recent research suggests that ranking #1 isn’t the be all and end all, so don’t get disheartened if you’re struggling to beat your competitors for that top spot. Business 2 Community highlights that 21% of all searches lead to web users clicking more than one result – whether that’s through opening multiple tabs at the same time to compare and contrast or going back to look at each page individually.
This means that if your content is up to scratch you might still just make that lead even if you don’t rank number #1.
So how do you use SEO to your advantage? Most importantly, you need to identify relevant key words for your business and use this throughout the written content.
Keeping content regularly updated, accurate, and informative is also a big help.
If you want to learn more about SEO and how to maximise your business’ potential, we have a whole host of blog posts that go more in depth on the topic.
7. Visuals Can Really Help You Sell
Visuals go hand in hand with the written content of your store.
There are many ways you can introduce visual content to your store as well as your accompanying blog. Obviously, you’ll need images of your products so customers can see what you have to offer but you can also add images to spruce up your blog (if you want to know more, check out our recent guide on how to optimise images for the best results).
Video tutorials are a great way to generate new content, showcase your products and what they can do, engage your audience, and drive traffic to your eCommerce store. In addition to this, infographics are an innovative way to deliver a lot of information in a concise way that people will stick in people’s mind. They can be as elaborate or as simple as you want, depending on your budget or technical know-how, and studies suggest they’re 30 times more likely to be read than a purely textual piece.
Share these kinds of visuals on your site, and you’ll see an increase in traffic in next to no time.
8. Networking is Still Important
As an independent business owner, you might feel like you’re an island but it’s important to remember that there are millions of people chasing the same goal as you, and they’re not just competition – you can learn from them.
Reaching out to fellow eCommerce business owners both online and in person will help you to learn what makes a successful launch, as well as building up a network of people who may be able to help you
9. What Not to Do
Through building these contacts and drawing on other’s experience, you might also learn a thing or two about what not to do.
From rushing in without proper planning, to spreading yourself too thin with the number of products you offer, there are so many pitfalls you’ll need to avoid – and it’s best you do this by learning from other’s mistakes rather than your own!
10. Success Takes Time
Lastly, it’s important to remember that success takes time.
It’s unlikely that your eCommerce store will become an overnight sensation, instead it will take hard work, dedication, and no doubt a few tweaks to your website and blog before you really perfect it.
Just remember that no-one wants to see you fail, and if you follow the steps outlined here, you’ll have a solid foundation to build upon over time.