It’s easy to set up an e-commerce website. You can have your site live with products ready to buy in a matter of hours. Anyone can do it.
Creating a successful e-commerce site, however, requires a few extra qualities. You need to have focus. You need to have a plan. You certainly need plenty of energy.
Above all, you need to commit.
Why? Many see e-commerce as a get rich quick option and then get downhearted when a) no one comes to their site and b) they make no money at all.
According to failory.com, e-commerce businesses have a failure rate of about 80%. That’s not surprising because you don’t have to put a lot of financial investment into building an online store. Platforms such as Shopify nowadays make it pretty cheap to get started.
People get sucked into the notion of ‘if we build it, they will come’. This is generally not the case. Once you’ve built your site, the major part of your work will go into building your customer base.
1. Finding the Right Niche
Niche is a big buzzword in the world of ecommerce and other ways of making money online. It can often be misconstrued as a product or service for sale that few people have thought of but which has a potentially decent sized customer base.
In fact, a niche is all about finding the right focus for your e-commerce store.
You may be lucky enough to have your own product to sell online in which case you’re niche is already sorted for you. If you are getting products from elsewhere, however, narrowing your range can help focus your marketing activity and improve your chances of success.
Our top tip: If a particular product area is too competitive, you may find it difficult to rank on search engines which can make it difficult to get people to your store. Check who is also selling your line of products and what your chances of outranking them are.
2. Choosing Your E-Commerce Platform
There are numerous e-commerce platforms available that offer subscription services depending on the level of seller activity you are likely to have. Many of these such as Shopify offer an extended free trial so you can try them out.
The key here is to choose the platform that works for your business model and delivers what you are looking for. Check reviews and the type of ecommerce site that gravitates to each platform and try to match it your offer.
3. Building Your Site
In a rush to go live, many newbie e=commerce entrepreneurs throw their content up on the site and then are disappointed when customers don’t come flooding in.
The planning stage of any website is vital but it’s even more important for e-commerce. That includes making sure you have quality content, attractive images and well-developed user experience or UX model for your site.
- Does your site look professional?
- Is it easy to navigate?
- Do you offer different options to buy?
4. Getting People To Your E-Commerce Site
Once you are open for business, the truth is that your work has only just begun. Getting people to visit your site is going to take a large marketing effort and there are many approaches you need to take.
The first is to ensure that all your pages are search engine optimised so that they can be found on sites like Google. This is not just a simple case of putting in certain keywords. SEO takes time and effort and it often doesn’t see an effect for months.
Other options are going to be including content like blogging to improve your online visibility as well as engaging with social media. You may also want to try approaches such as pay per click advertising which can deliver more immediate results.
5. Commit to Outstanding Customer Support
Trust is a key factor in e-commerce. Customers have to feel comfortable using your site as there are, unfortunately, plenty out there who are willing to take advantage.
Part of this comes from having high levels of security for checkouts but it’s also about the customer support you provide.
That means having, for instance, an easy to understand returns policy as well as a helpline that is responsive and customer-centric. Get this aspect of your e-commerce business spot-on and customers will return again and again and recommend you to friends and family.
Get it wrong and you can expect your business to suffer.
Choose Web Design Southampton
If you want an experienced partner with several years of e-commerce development success as you start your business, the team at Web Design Southampton can certainly help. We work with platforms such as Magento, BigCommerce and WooCommerce and have a proven track record of producing high-quality sites that hit the mark.