Want to become an e-commerce entrepreneur? If you want to get up and running with an online store, here are the four crucial steps to get your e-commerce business up and running.
But after you’ve gone through these basic steps, you need to start thinking about the bigger picture.
Avoid these unhelpful myths and rumours to help you set up an online shop on the right foot.
Online and offline retail are completely different
In a world of multi-channel retail, selling boils down to great customer service and experience.
Stop focusing on the difference between e-commerce and traditional retail, and embrace the personalised and friendly experience of face-to-face retail.
Use all means (both online and offline) available to you to make your business a success.
- Online and offline retail can be merged to increase sales.
- You can use creative guerrilla marketing, pop-up shops, and targeted flyers to raise brand awareness.
- Don’t ignore the promotional opportunities within other channels.
Think about how you can transform special customer experiences, like bridal shops giving away champagne, into an online environment.
- Here are 25 special ways you can thank your customers.
- Recognise that time is a precious commodity, so don’t waste people’s time with complex checkout pages and bad search functions.
- Network offline to increase your sales online. Be part of your local business community to win more custom and find local partnerships.
Build it and they will come
Spending wads of cash on a pretty looking website doesn’t mean that when you launch you will suddenly have loads of customers and sales: the real legwork comes afterwards.
- Make sure your store has been properly audited for SEO before, during, and after launch.
- Great on-page SEO isn’t something you can just implement once and forget forever. You need to keep refining and honing your on-page experience in response to user data and keyword difficulty.
- Prioritise SEO promotion, digital PR and blogger outreach during the first few months of your store to build a solid foundation, and maintain a consistent level marketing and promotion throughout the year.
Product reviews and roundups are an easy way to score some backlinks to your store, but make sure you focus on quality sites with relevance and authority.
E-commerce is Passive Income
After years of hard work, you might be able to pass the reigns of your store to someone else, but don’t be fooled into thinking that running an online store is a quick fix source of passive income.
Take ownership and guide your brand through the tricky early stages. Don’t automate things too quickly and learn how to manage a remote team well.
- People often find the management side of running an online store a surprise: You have to remain organised and switched on.
- Just because you use an ‘all-in-one’ online store builder like Shopify, doesn’t mean you won’t have to work to make your business successful.
- Research and master all you can about your industry sector or niche so that you can make better decisions about what solutions to use, what platforms to invest in, and when to hire freelancers.
- You might be lucky enough to find a buyer for your lucrative drop-shipping or e-commerce business early on, but don’t rely on this too much.
Partick Foster from eCommerce Tips says it well,
“Markets change fast. People tend to want to drive their own projects through to completion, whereas serial asset buyers will try to drive your price downs.
You can turn off the ‘noise’
Unhappy customers, broken product pages in your store, social media fails; it will all come trickling back to you.
You need to be able to tackle the oncoming stream of strangers coming into contact with your business.
- Managing an E-commerce business can be personally stressful, but you have to learn how to cope with all the feedback you get and act accordingly.
- E-commerce businesses are very dependant on their users and customers so make sure you treat yours well.
- Show respect for any feedback you get and always be gracious about reviews.
Know when you need to take a back step and have a break. Don’t take things personally, it will wear you down.
The best way to make more is to sell more
Don’t just chase after new customers and more traffic. The key is to make sure that your existing traffic is working for you and that you are converting visitors and leads into customers.
You need to focus on fostering relationships and return business just as much as finding new business.
Sell better. Be more sophisticated, targeted and personalised.
Send out targeted emails with personalised offers and follow up on customer feedback to begin nurturing a loyal pool of customers.
Use tried-and-tested conversion rate optimisation techniques to help optimise your store’s design and copy.
Don’t always listen to the ‘experts’ and don’t always pay attention to the hype.
Trust your instincts, listen to your data, and you will be fine. What makes you a good online entrepreneur and why? Patrick Foster, e-commerce entrepreneur, coach & writer.