7 Essential steps to your ecommerce Store
If you’ve always toyed with the idea of launching your own ecommerce store but didn’t know where to start – then this is the blog for you!
Over the next 4 minutes, this blog takes you through the steps you need to take in order to launch your first profitable ecommerce business.
Step 1: Choose An Industry And Product
For most aspiring ecommerce business owners, choosing the right niche and product is the hardest part of the process. We strongly advice that you choose something that you have a keen interest in personally because your interest and experience will help you make the right product choices. It will also help you to choose affective imagery and make it easier to write engaging copy that will attract readers to purchase.
For example, if you’re into adventure sports, you could consider launching your first ecommerce store in this niche. Selling everything from boots and helmets to goggles, jackets and much more and linking blog’s about your own adventures and experience with the products, to the online store.
Step 2: Choose The Right Platform
Once you’ve decided on the ‘what’, you need to concentrate on ‘where’ you’d like to sell.
There are hundreds of options out there and though it’s always enticing to jump straight to marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy, you should think twice about making these platforms your only means of retail. These channels can be a great way to introduce your brand to customers but you should also aim to sell on a platform that will provide full control over your brand, mark-up and inventory in the long-term.
Naturally we’re a bit biased here at Milk Bottle Labs, but when it comes to selecting your ecommerce platform, Shopify is the best option out there in our option.
Shopify is a cloud-based, fully hosted enterprise business ecommerce platform that provides businesses with everything they require without the high price tag and hazards of conventional enterprise applications. With Shopify as your ecommerce platform, you get:
- No transaction fees,
- No bandwidth restrictions,
- A fully dependable, highly-scalable e-commerce platform based on SaaS,
- Unlimited products,
- 99% uptime,
- Integrations to extend and customize platform capabilities and greater API limits for apps,
- To run custom domain checkout,
- Dedicated account management and technical support, &
- Priority customer support.
Step 3: Analyze Your Market
- So you know what you want to sell and where you’re going to sell it. Next up is a solid understanding of your buyer!
‘What’ does your customer need, want and desire? To know, you need to conduct some market analysis.
If you have sold on platforms like Amazon, eBay or Etsy before launching your own online store, then consider identifying the products that resonated most powerfully and with whom.
Use tools like Facebook ads manager, Keyword Planner Tool, Google Trends, and industry reports to help you understand which products are in high demand, and get ideas about how you should position your offering(s) or hire a professional to conduct market research.
Step 4: Analyze Your Competitors
It is vitally important to analyze your competition because an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, products, product gaps, customer service, prices and marketing will inspire you to do things better, fill gaps in the market and exploit weaknesses. Information is power, and a thorough understanding of your competitors will help you use data both defensively and offensively to improve sales.
Step 5: Setting Up Your Business
With all this research and understanding under your belt, it’s time to set up your own ecommerce store. The basic steps include:
- Name your business: Choose something memorable, with an available domain name!
- Create your logo: Something that is timeless and transferrable to all media (web, paper, fabric, etc).
- Understand your SEO: SEO is one of the most crucial parts of any ecommerce store. Together with a substantial mix of off-site tactics and technical optimization, successful SEO efforts need both analytical and creative thinking.
- Develop your store: including attractive product descriptions, enticing product images and great categorization.
Step 6: Don’t Neglect The Technical Stuff
All your efforts in steps 1 though 5 will be in vain if you don’t have a fully functioning website, so don’t forget the following:
- Domain name: It’s the unique name, which identifies your website. You can check out sites like GoDaddy, Register.com etc.
- Hosting: This is the place where your website would be stored so that it can be accessed throughout the world. Ideally, you should choose between a dedicated hosting server and vps hosting plan.
- CMS (Content Management System): This application empowers you to publish, modify and edit your site’s content.
- SSL Certificate: SSL or Secure Sockets Layer enables you to protect your customers’ card information and strengthen their trust in your store.
- Payment options: Ideally, you should add as many payment options as you can because this will increase conversion rates and sales. In addition, a payment gateway is also required so that payments transfer to your bank account.
- Test, test & test again! Regularly make sure that everything is working properly and that all transactions are secure, thus enabling consumers to use them seamlessly. Ideally, you should periodically explore your website to make sure that everything is running fine and that every question is promptly answered. In particular, pay attention to creating a smooth user experience and periodically test software quality, reliability, system assurance, performance and capacity utilization.
Step 7: Promote Your Online Store
Now that you’re well set with your ecommerce store, it’s time to concentrate on the marketing aspect. A well-designed marketing strategy should comprise of a mix of SEO, social media, paid ads (Shopping Feeds and PPC), review generation, PR, newsletters, email marketing and content strategy, among others.
Each of these aspects needs finesse, testing and experience to generate success but there are lots of resources available to help if you’d rather outsource this activity to others.
Indeed, many new ecommerce store owners prefer to outsource certain parts of their marketing strategy to experts, especially the complex technical parts such as SEO or PPC. But, if that is the route you choose, remember that the buck always stops with you! Even if you do outsource some responsibilities, the success of your online store rests with you.
Launching your first e-commerce store is daunting but entirely do-able! Follow the steps above and you’ll be well on the way to success!