It is a fact that now a days it’s becoming a tough job to launch a new shopping-cart company with increasing competition, but definitely much easier to get started compared to a decade ago. Let’s quickly look at a few tips that will help you kick-start your first ecommerce website and give you the confidence to run your business successfully.
Tip # 1 Chalk out a proper business plan
Building an eCommerce website can be a lengthy process. It begins with an idea, creating the website, creating a product catalogue, sales descriptions, marketing and much more. The process can take months to complete its launch. Hence a detailed business plan must be in place with its value proposition.
Prepare the product catalogue including the categories, images, codes, descriptions, attributes, and prices and all the relevant details. Fix the Payment Gateway options to be provided. Design and plan content, descriptions, images etc. well in advance and put all into a digital document.
Understand your Customers requirements. Connect with them via popular social networking platforms example Facebook or Twitter etc. to gain market share and stay ahead in the competition. Reach new customers and grow your customer base.
Keep a check on the inventory to service online customers. Check all related cost implications and don’t over-invest in design and technology when it’s not really required. Keep it simple but focus on the utility, convenience and ease of use for customers.
Tip # 2 Get a Hosted Solution at Minimal cost, include Mobile too
It is better to choose a hosted solution rather than self-hosting/customizing because that enables you to get your Online store up and running faster at no extra costs. With self -hosting you have the liberty to customize as you like, but at the cost of hiring a developer.
There are some standard solutions available out in the market that plug directly into accounting packages the advantage being pricing and inventory data on your website will automatically be updated from live financial data.
From amongst various tools in the market Sage Online is one such tool that allows you to build a website quickly and easily, without needing the help of a designer or a developer. Sage also proposes tools that help you market your business via popular social media and email.
The best method of gaining an edge over your competition is to make sure that your website is accessible on devices like mobiles, tablets so that your customers can access it anytime and anywhere. Make sure that your current website is made mobile friendly or create a separate mobile site. Mobile apps may turn out to be a bit expensive but worth investing for availing long term benefits.
Tip # 3 Start Marketing your website via Social Media
Today the need of the hour is to leverage social media extensively to interact with your customers. Social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.) blogs, and content on the website can help you get a top ranking in the search ratings on search engines. You might use pay per click ads on Google which search pages and can be affordable and effective. Put your website URL on business cards, signage, invoices, newspaper advertisements, etc for spreading your website.
A basic list of ecommerce marketing channels:
Tip # 4 Logistics Mandatory for success
Make sure you have a tie-up with a logistics company that ships across the nation and the world. Choose reliable services, as it is very critical to ship the right products to the right people safely and on time. To build and maintain customer expectation it necessary to take care that the customers do not suffer any kind of delay or damage when they receive the orders from your store. Since you have a huge dependency on Logistics to make your customers happy be sure to select the right logistics partner. Pick your logistics/courier partner depending on the coverage that you need, what issues if any, you can live with and what problems you cannot compromise on.
Tip # 5 Hassle free Payment Gateway solution
A trustworthy Payment Gateway is mandatory. Customers will pay online hence to make sure that they do not face any issues related to payments gaining their confidence is vital.
Today, payment providers offer secure payment gateways that allow customers to pay using different payment types such as Electronic Funds Transfer, MasterCard and Visa. Such multiple solutions are offered by a single provider which implies that you do not need different service providers but a single provider who is trustworthy may be most useful.
The service providers mostly integrate with accounting software and ecommerce shopping carts, and also comply with global security standards such as Verified by Visa and Master Card Secure Code.
Tip # 6 Use Analytics
To stay in the competition analyzing the performance of your ecommerce website is a must and an ongoing process. Any changes to your website and the results must be monitored and reviewed to ensure you understand what the customer is looking for. Create a Google Analytics account and apply the required tracking script to your website’s HTML. If you’re unfamiliar with how to use Google Analytics, spend time researching on analytics and learn from tutorial videos and by reading supporting documentation so that you know exactly how to analyse your website’s performance and gain insights from such analysis. The results will definitely help you gain more knowledge about your competition as well as your customer base and their needs.
Tip # 7 Optimize
Ecommerce solution is ultimately just similar to a business and will be a continual process. As Technology, trends and customer demands change, you too must adapt to the changes and win the customers to succeed in such unpredictable markets.
To stay on your toes what you need to do is stay up-to-date, be involved in researching the markets and emerging trends and the competition. Improve your website according to your analytics data to stay ahead in the race.
Choose wisely and get ahead in the completion keeping in mind what is critical for short term such as a mobile friendly site and what would be useful for long term such as mobile apps. Payment gateway options and Logistics need to be hassle free and reliable so choose them wisely based on deep research, because it would ultimately leave either a positive or a negative impact on the customers. The above tips shall definitely help you take a better decision while you are on your way building your ecommerce website.