8 tips for starting a successful eCommerce business

There is nothing better than watching your business grow. But when you’re starting something from nothing, you have to take care of many things – branding, marketing, investment and many related things.

You probably have a great idea for your business, but it takes more than that to succeed. Even the best ideas can go down the drain if there is no traffic to your website. Too many people invest in an idea before they know it’ll sell, so don’t be one of those people. Be prepared before you launch your site.

On one hand, the fact that over half of the world’s population is now online means you have a huge pool of potential customers; on the other, you will have many competitors, so you have to find a way to become the customer’s best choice.

If you follow this advice, a large number of people will see your products and probably buy them.

Choose unique eCommerce niche

The biggest mistake you can make is to sell everything from every niche. If you don’t have an enormous budget, you can’t compete with Amazon. Even if have a budget to rival Amazon’s, there is no way you can win this battle.

To achieve long-term success, you have to come up with something unique. Let’s say you want to sell watches. What kind of watches are you selling? Are they wooden? What’s unique about them? As you know, people from all around the world selling watches over the internet, so you have to give people a reason to buy products at your website.

If you choose a niche that interest you, you will probably be more inspired to work and to understand your customers.

Research market

You can’t just put your product on the market without researching your competitors. Make a list of them and follow their work. Also, you don’t want big companies as your rivals since your Google rankings will be better if you don’t compete with them.

Be as specific as you can in order to have fewer competitors. Nevertheless, you should make sure that your niche is competitive, but not overly crowded.

Now that you know your competitors, you should focus on your target audience. Who are your future customers? What are their habits, passions or concerns? Research your customers and give them something your competitors didn’t give.

Focus on branding

Branding is essential for your business because it will secure a long-term relationship with your customers. Storytelling is a valuable part of building the brand. Start with your unique value proposition and continue with the story about your business – how and why did you start it.

Your brand should be recognizable by its style. Creating a unique personality can be challenging, but when you choose one, you should stay consistent. Don’t be everyone else.

Next, branding is all about treating customers the way they deserve. Give them an opportunity to interact with you and provide them with good customer service. Once you start your business, you will be able to collect personal data. Use these data points in order to recommend customers product based on their search terms, current contents of a customer’s wishlist or cart, demographics and else. Remember, people are not just buying a product, but a background behind it. They will be dedicated to you if your vision matches theirs.

Make customers feel safe and secure

People are still afraid to shop online because of the potential for financial and identity theft. So, your job is to make them feel safe and comfortable when buying from you. For example, you should use an address that begins with “https” because “s” stands for “secure”.

Also, it very important to use security standards in order to protect cardholder data. If you implement PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards), you will ensure that customer’s credit card information is always kept as safe as possible during processing.

Social media

According to research, 75% of people purchased something they saw on social media. If you want your business to succeed, you have to put your heart and soul into engaging people on social platforms. This is a place where you can communicate with your customers and where you can present them your new products. If you analyze your profile, you will get to know your target audience better.

Nevertheless, if you try to get followers on every social platform, you will never achieve anything meaningful. So, look at your target audience and decide which platform is the most profitable for your brand. Depending on what you’re selling, different social platforms may offer more value than others. For example, if you sell women’s apparel, Pinterest will likely be a worthwhile place to spend your time. Another platform that will likely be helpful to you is Instagram. Surely, you will work on other platforms too, but it’s best if you decide where to invest most of your time and money.

Don’t be annoying. Sheer quantity of brand promotions won’t bring you to your goal. Instead, you should provide your customers with quality content.

Make your website mobile friendly

As eCommerce is spreading more and more on social networks, people are constantly searching for products on their mobile phones. They are making shopping decisions on the move, so you have to give them an opportunity to buy your products while they still want to. If your website is not mobile-friendly, they will go somewhere else.

Invest in SEO

The internet is crowded with eCommerce websites, and the truth is that the number of them will rapidly grow. It’s really hard to reach the first page of a search engine, so you should learn SEO skills or even hire professionals. Here are some things that you can do to get at the top of the search engine:

  • Target keywords – keep them on each page of your site, in your ad campaigns and URLs. You can use SEMRush, Ahrefs or some other tool that will help you find the right one, so you can implement it in your content.
  • Make a blog – boost your traffic by putting keywords in your content and engage people with your stories.
  • Reach out to influencers – Choose influencers from your niche and build a relationship with them. Maybe they won’t have millions of followers, but it’s important that they are loyal. This could be a win-win situation, so don’t be afraid to reach out to them.

Don’t rush the launch and test everything

Take one step at the time. Unless you’re sure that you have considered all of those things, don’t launch your site. You only get one shot to make the first impression, so don’t make a mistake at the very start.

Test everything before you make this decision. To do so, you can try using tools such as Google Analytics Experiments, Unbounce, Five Second Test, etc. Some of them have free trials, so you don’t have an excuse.

It’s fine if you throw up some sort of “Coming Soon” page, but you should postpone the big announcement until you’ve laid some substantial groundwork such as SEO, social media, ads, etc.

Never stop evolving

You have a lot of work to do, but you should  never stop developing your business. Trends are changing, but it’s exciting to learn something new every day. If you stay consistent, the success will follow you.

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About the author

— David Webb

David is a Sydney-based business consultant, marketing analyst, and a senior editor at BizzmarkBlog.

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