Ecommerce businesses are becoming more and more popular. That’s probably due — at least in part — to how buying habits have changed with the availability of the internet as well as the influence of tablets, phones, and other mobile devices. One of the big reasons, though, is that ecommerce businesses have the opportunity to reach a much larger customer base than regular retail stores.Ecommerce businesses are becoming more and more popular. That’s probably due — at least in part — to how buying habits have changed with the availability of the internet as well as the influence of tablets, phones, and other mobile devices. One of the big reasons, though, is that ecommerce businesses have the opportunity to reach a much larger customer base than regular retail stores.
Take skis, for example. Before the rise of ecommerce, if you wanted to purchase skis you would have had to go to a local specialty store. If you didn’t like the selection your local store had, you would have to travel to another store, but likely wouldn’t want to travel outside of a 50-mile radius from your hometown. Even 50 miles may have been much farther than you wanted to go. Now, you don’t even have to leave your home.
Although ecommerce has been around for a while, until more recent years, you couldn’t always trust that what you bought online would be what you paid for, that it would ship in the amount of time promised on the checkout page, or that you would get your product at all. Unfortunately, buyers still face some of those issues today, but it’s much easier to spot scams and find trusted sellers to buy from now that there are so many businesses operating successfully online.
With the rise of ecommerce and the opportunity it presents, you may want to get into the business as well. It can be difficult to make yourself stand out and succeed in such a competitive market, though, so it’s important to have a plan of action. Here are ten tips to help you run a successful ecommerce business:
• Do your research. Once you’ve decided you want to start an ecommerce business, the first thing you need to do is crank out a lot of research. You’ll need to know what products are selling and what products are not, where you can get products at a wholesale price, who your competition is, what is making them successful (or not), who your target audience is, what your target audience wants, and so on.
• Choose your product. After you’ve done your research and chosen a few products you would like to offer in your store, it’s time narrow it down. If you offer too many products covering too many different categories, it will be difficult to effectively target any one audience and increase your traffic and business. Choosing one or a few products to offer will help you have better success, because you will be able to better focus your efforts.
• Make a business plan. Before you can start any kind of business, you need to have a business plan. A business plan helps you establish goals, decide where you want to take your business, and organize what you’ll do to get it there. It also shows potential investors that you have a plan and why they should invest in your idea.
• Get the funding. If you don’t have the capital to purchase product and start your business, you’ll need to get a loan, bring on investors, or find another source of funding. It’s important to take your time and carefully consider your funding options. Compare loans; don’t just go with the first place that offers you what you’re looking for. Don’t forget to consider the terms of a loan, like the interest rate or the terms of an investment, since things like the ownership percentage offered to investors can seriously affect your business down the road.
• Take it slow. It’s exciting to see things start moving as you get closer to your launch, but it’s important not to rush into it. Rushing can cause important things to get skipped over or malfunction after they’ve already gone live. When you see all the potential, it’s easy to get over-excited, but don’t let that excitement push you into business, website, and stock problems that can be difficult to fix.
• Test everything. Part of not rushing is making sure you have tested everything thoroughly before taking it live. It’s important to test more than just your website, shopping cart, and payment processor, though. You should be testing your ads, your landing pages, your products and… well, everything.
• Do major marketing. You could have the best ecommerce site in the world with the best products that money can buy, but if you don’t market, no one will find you. Although being on social media, running ads, and other promotions are vital, search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important marketing aspects for an ecommerce business. SEO may seem pretty daunting at first, but certain platforms make SEO easier. Shopify SEO, for example, is fairly user-friendly and can yield great results.
• Treat your business seriously. If you want your ecommerce business to be successful, you need to treat it seriously. If you’re more interested in running an ecommerce business on the side or as a hobby, that’s the kind of success it will have. To see greater success, you’ll need to treat it as the investment it really is and out in the time and effort required for success.
• Accept feedback. When you’ve built something from the ground up and nurtured and cultivated it, it can be difficult to take feedback that is anything less than positive. Feedback is extremely important, though, because it gives you the opportunity to see where you can improve and create a better experience for your customers.
• Always look for ways to improve. Accepting customer feedback is a great way to find out where you need to improve, but you should always be testing and reviewing your processes and site with the mindset of a customer, too. This will help you spot areas that need additional improvement, which may not have been pointed out already and can help you continue to grow and evolve with your customer base, keeping them happy and earning their loyalty.
What else do you think makes an ecommerce business successful? What stands out to you when it comes to some of your favorite ecommerce shops?