With the latest technological advancements available in today’s highly modernized times, it’s easy to shop and get what we want without needing to leave the house. Online shopping is so widespread that over half of Americans choose to buy online rather than personally visit brick-and-mortar stores. What’s more is that 80% of those with internet connection have purchased something online during the past month.
Indeed, there seems to be no stopping when it comes to the rapid growth of e-commerce business. The e-commerce market is booming, and even though the industry is continuously growing at the rate of 20% per year, you can’t deny the fact that competition is fierce and expansion couldn’t be tougher.
To help grow your online store, check out this e-commerce startup guide to get on the road to success.
Find your online niche
Just because people are buying all sorts of things online doesn’t mean you should be offering everything under the sun. Just take Amazon for example. Even though they are known to be the second largest retailer, they didn’t start out as an e-commerce website selling anything and everything. Instead, the company first began selling books and their focus was to become the world’s largest online bookstore.
Finding your niche allows you to streamline processes, making things such as marketing products and doing inventory easier. If you have a lot of product ideas, break them down and narrow them down even further to discover your niche. This way, it helps you focus on the right area until your market matures, at which point it will be time to grow your business.
- Always start small and do things better than others to stand out from the competition.
- Before adding new focus areas, make sure to first master your current offerings.
- The secret is to find your niche now, then evolve into a multimarket business later on.
Have a brand vision for your startup
The next step in this e-commerce startup guide is to set a crystal clear brand vision. Your e-commerce should have a philosophy - a vision that you carry forward until you reach success. For most business owners, there is only one vision in mind: to earn money. While looking after your profits is perfectly normal, this, however, won’t resonate to your customers. Instead, create a vision that will solve the problems of your potential clients.
Companies with a higher purpose tend to reach a larger audience than those who don’t. If your online business deals with selling beauty products, envisioning selling 100 tubs of antiaging cream in a day would feel ordinary, but thinking about touching lives by bringing people their youth back is something extraordinary. Think of a long-term vision rather than short-term goals.
- Your first impression with customers is your website, so start with choosing the right domain name.
- Make it short, simple, attention-grabbing, and sweet but meaningful.
- Have a vision from the start to serve as your guiding light towards the path of success.
Invest in your e-commerce website
It can’t be called e-commerce if it doesn’t have the practicality, allure, and convenience of online shopping. All your marketing strategy and efforts would turn to nothing without a great and fully functioning website. Make sure that you have a visually attractive website to stimulate consumers. Moreover, your content should directly speak to your target audience. The design, layout, pictures, videos, and wordings should never disappoint potential buyers.
Building an e-commerce store requires technical knowledge and proficiency, and you may not be an expert in all the areas required to come up with a great looking website. Consider hiring professionals to help you out with programming, graphics design, and content marketing. Likewise, choose a website provider that will serve all your business necessities. Basic features might be good to start with, but as your business grows, make sure to expand your turnkey solutions as well.
- Use website builders if you are on a budget such as WordPress.
- Keeping and maintaining your website is essential, so be sure to factor in the cost of regular updates.
- Getting a personal domain allows you to freely choose your website address for a fee.
Build your e-commerce team
Starting an e-commerce business might be easy, but reaching its full potential is difficult. A small startup business won’t require hundreds of employees, but as your business grows, you’ll learn that you can’t handle every task alone. Building a team of talented people is critical to the expansion of your business. People that work for you serve as the backbone of your trade, so getting the right people is crucial.
Once your business has traction, you need to find the best talent imaginable and retain them for as long as possible. First, make sure to strictly abide with job requirements. Just because somebody you know is a friend doesn’t mean that they’re the best match for the position. Then fill in the gaps as you go along with specific areas. Train employees every now and then and motivate them when the going gets tough.
- Find employees who are flexible and passionate enough to get the product to sell.
- Consider outsourcing talents such as search engine gurus, accountants, and writers.
- Encourage open dialogue with team members to promote healthy communication.
Understand your e-commerce customers
Finally, in this e-commerce startup guide, don’t forget to understand your customers. You should know what they want, how they feel, and how you could meet their needs. The best way to retain current customers and maintain the growth for new ones is to optimize customer experience. By looking after your clients, not only do you increase sales, but you also develop great customer loyalty that will give your business an edge over your competitors.
- Utilize customer engagement to make their experience as real as possible.
- Remember that you sell online, and your goal is to make them feel like they are in an actual walk-in store.
- Use tools like Drift to communicate with clients browsing your website.
- Getting data from your customer analytics would equally help you gain valuable client insights.
- Tracking tools such as Google Analytics allow you to determine how visitors interact with your website.
- Improve, maintain, and practice great customer service at all times.
- When dealing with complaints, don’t sympathize but be emphatic with their feelings.
- Use social media to solicit customer feedback, either from a potential buyer or past clients.