Updated: May 13
We are living in a time were, to open an online store is fast and easier than any time in recent memory.
We are living in a time were, to open an online store is fast and easier than any time in recent memory. Even you can setup your store in few hours. Yet, actually, it's not that easy to succeed in the e-commerce space. Here is a quick note to refer before starting your dream project.
1. Do try your idea or product before you launch.
Most entrepreneurs work endless hours to create the best product they can gather before taking it to market. Eric Ries author of Lean Startup thinks that's the worst thing a start-up can do. It's hard for most entrepreneurs to acknowledge, but sometimes your product is just not that impressive. Don't wait until you have put months into an e-commerce site to find out whether there is a demand for your product. Start to market the same product or concept with your own network. Try to sell to your friends, Facebook groups, your own private network or if you already running a physical store try to sell this concept to your existing customers online. You can start a small online store with very limited budget to test it. if its worked it showed proof of concept and demand. Try selling samples of your product before spending sweat, capital and tears to launch an online store.This process will also help you to refine the product or structure before it goes live.
2. Don't assume that you will get traffic automatically and people will find you quickly.
This is one of the most common misconceptions about running an online store. Most of the entrepreneurs think that creating a website is the major job and then traffic will follow automatically. No one will find your site luckily- the web is too big. Visitors who coming to your new site searched, may saw a display ad, or was someone told to visit your site. You need to have a solid plan to get traffic to your site, you need to have a marketing plan for driving traffic to your website. You can hire digital marketing experts or outsource the work to professional Digital Marketing agencies.
3. Set aside a Budget for Testing
Free marketing is amazing but has limitation and it's not scalable in the initial days. You need to think about scalability from the early days. If your online store is not scalable it's not worth the time and investment. sometimes this will require testing different channels and strategies to find what works best for your store. This is going to cost you, make sure you have a separate budget for channel testing. Successful e-commerce companies invest a lot for testing in every aspect to marketing channel, to colors to funnels to layouts, all these factors play a crucial role in traffic & conversion. So keep aside a budget for testing.
" test everything and assume nothing". You will astonish to see the most neglected channels can bring great traffic to your website.
4. Listen to your Visitors
The goal of any e-commerce business is to make money, but that objective is easier to reach when we listen to website visitors and understand their requirements.
As an online business, you will hear from your customer from Day 1, This doesn't mean you ought to follow up on everything, but make sure you are listening to them. Visitors can throw lights into certain aspects you may never be thought before. Plus when visitors see you're listening, you're naturally creating a deeper relationship with your visitors. When you planning the store design consider technologies/apps for deeper customer interactions at every stage of the funnel. They should never feel lost in your store.
5. Eat what you can chew.
This is one of the most common killers for e-commerce business. When you launch your store stick to what you are great at. If your goal is to source and sell great sneakers, be a great merchandiser and that's it. Don't start designing or manufacturing your own sneakers in the early stages. Don't try to develop new technology or reinventing the wheels- there are a lot of technology already developed that can make your life easy. Focus on your core capability.
6. Start with a Minimum Viable Product
Got a green light when the test is encouraging, Don't get over excited and pack everything in a single go. You obviously can't launch with every feature you want from the start, make sure you have a great foundation for scalability and launch with Minimum viable options. Get organized and automatic as much as you can before launch. Try to avoid operations mistakes its comes with a cost and it's expensive to fix it later. So you don't save anything by rushing. Keep cool and build a great foundation for your dream store.
7. Mobile First
This is certainly important, The traffic from the desktop is declining YOY and your site should be ready to attract mobile visitors. The day has gone for mobile optimized web page and now most of the successful online stores are build for Mobile first and then optimized for the desktop. Invest time & money to make sure your online store is mobile ready.
8. Don't give up
The reality is important, Albert Einstein said it best "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." 99.9 percent of successful stores worked day and night to get there. It's important to know that it won't be easy and it won't come quickly.
Building an online store is a dream for many, however, no matter how much work you put in, make sure you test your product or concept before going live and building a community around your store is a key to success.