Selling your products through the medium of an ecommerce store remains one of the most popular ways to make money online and for many, it's an integral part of their businesses bottom line.
In many cases relying solely on offline sales is no longer sustainable and the prospect of selling your line of products or services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is exciting.
That excitement creates competition and plenty of it. Entrepreneurs who own businesses of varying sizes feel they can make it online and that means you'll be competing with a lot of bedroom type sellers as well as industry leaders.
With that comes room to really establish yourself and the difference between success and failure can be a very fine line.
When you first start out in the eCommerce world, these are the key areas you want to focus on to ensure you can keep up with your rivals...
Repeat business is incredibly important to an eCommerce because you have to spend money to make money.
Advertising on the world wide web costs. It's not drastically expensive compared to other avenues but you'll soon find your SEO campaigns, PPC efforts and Social Media campaigns eating away at your resources.
This is where branding can seriously come into play and getting this right from the conception stage of your website is paramount.
How can you convey authority and appear as the industry experts before your customers read anything?
Look the part.
If you have a website, a logo and overall vibe that suggests you're the best, people will believe that to be the case too.
Spend the time and money getting this right in your early days and you won't have to go back a few short months after and have it all redone.
(and yes this happens to many people – trial and error works just as well as anything).
Branding is everything in the ecommerce world and this brings us nicely onto...
Setting Yourself Up To Sell
Throw anything that's not going to help you sell products out the window right now.
Someone tells you you need “X & Y” to make your business work, ask yourself will it help me sell?
This is what ecommerce is all about at the end of the day.
Everything else you do should be based around the notion of selling as much as possible.
It's a hugely simple premise but with so many different solutions, novelties and gimmicks being offered to entrepreneurs the premise should always be at the front of your mind.
They call it “shiny object” syndrome.
Every businessmen/businesswoman has done it at one point or another – they've been sold on something because it looked cool but it wasn't actually necessary.
Things like an SSL certificate, trust logos and credit card logos cost close to nothing but they help you sell.
Putting your best sellers on display and making the checkout button easily accessible costs nothing but help you sell.
Look at a niche ecommerce site that you deem to be successful and look at what they have on their homepage and replicate it as closely as you can.
Is this cheating?
Sure, a little bit but this is free information that only a fool would ignore in their quest for success.
Get Your Marketing Strategy In Place
There is much to be admired about entrepreneurial spirit but sometimes this enthusiasm can lead to gaps in strategies and there isn't much room for poor execution in commerce.
From the moment you decide to launch an ecommerce site you should have a very good idea of you're going to drive traffic to it.
You can build whatever you like but if nobody sees it, you won't make any money.
Even if you can get people to the site, you still need a good strategy to convert visitors into buyers and this is where things like email marketing, videos and well written product descriptions can really put you in a league of your own.
A real business has a solid marketing plan so that sales arrive steadily and consistently month on month.
A real business then looks at where the highest converting traffic comes from and then scales up those marketing efforts.
This is something you should pay special attention too as a keen eye can half the amount spent on advertising and double the amount of sales made from that advertising.
The Right Money Man
Every business needs somebody looking after the pennies so the pounds look after themselves and in the world of ecommerce that's known as a payment processor.
What you should be looking for here is a company that is trustworthy (so your customers feel safe) and pays out regularly (so that your business is safe).
For this, we recommend the likes of PayPal, SagePay & WorldPay to deal with your sales.
These globally recognized brands will help people trust your site (even if they've never heard of you before) and their low transaction fees make them competitive against merchant services offered by banks.
A business in its early stages will usually be operating with a fairly tight cash flow situation and the last thing you need is for that to be made even tighter by a problem with your payment processor.
Don't go for the cheapest option, go for the option that provides you and your customers with what's needed to be comfortable...
Choose an ecommerce platform that gives you the flexibility to work with the above guidelines.
The likes of CubeCart, ZenCart, Shopify, Magneto and so on are excellent for building sustainable brands that your customers will love.
Demonstrations of the backend systems are available at each of these sites and with their actual service being a “much of a muchness” it's a good idea to choose the one that looks the most easily manageable for you as you'll be running the show after all!
Speak to us today to discuss platforms or anything else related to your ecommerce venture – we'll be happy to help!