E-commerce is a booming industry. Hundreds of new online stores are opened every day around the world. How do you start a successful online store?
Shopping online has become the default option for buyers. If a brick-and-mortar business isn’t present on the Web, its chances to outperform competition are slim. Besides being able to reach more customers, having an online store offers additional protection against the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. It doesn’t matter whether you sell digital products or clothes, books, toys, or even food. More than 2 billion people worldwide are already buying goods and services online. Even a lot of UK students prefer to take marketing assignment help from online portals.
Conventional wisdom says that customers want to touch and feel the products before they buy them, but that’s no longer the case. Store owners rely on photos, videos, and customer reviews to convince website visitors to make a purchase. They set up reminder systems that sent automatic messages to people who forgot items in their online shopping carts. Chatbots help retail businesses stay in touch with their clients 24/7. There are dozens of ways to increase conversions and turn even a small online store into a multi-million dollar company. Let’s take a look at 7 steps that every online store owner should take to make their e-commerce journey a resounding success.
Choose a Platform and Hosting
Experienced online entrepreneurs advise covering the bases, like choosing an e-commerce platform and a website hosting provider, before moving on to the next stage of building your retail brand. You don’t need specific IT knowledge to create an online store. There are dozens of reliable and affordable platforms out there, like WooCommerce or Shopify. They have pricing plans tailored to the needs of retailers big and small. When you choose a hosting provider, make sure that they have specific options for e-commerce. Alternatively, you can go the self-hosted route by setting up your own server.
Create a Brand Name
Once you have a foundation for your digital retail company, think about a recognizable brand name. Avoid sounding too clever or too generic. Ideally, the name of your store should be relatively simple, catchy, and unique. It should associate with the products you offer or express your way of doing business.
Your brand will double as a domain name, make sure that it’s not taken already. Purchase the domain name from a hosting provider or a website registrar.
Pick a Theme for Your Store
Starting your online store with a professionally designed pre-made theme is a wise choice. Creating your theme from scratch can consume a lot of time and money, that are better spent on improving other areas of your business. Your theme should be easy to navigate and have a positive first impression on potential buyers.
Features of a great theme:
- Mobile-first design. Most buyers shop from their phones. Your theme should be mobile responsive.
- Clear navigation. Simple, uncluttered UX and easy-to-understand shopping categories. Fast, convenient navigation increases your sales.
- Lightning-fast load times. Optimize your HTML, CSS, and JS files to make your
pages load faster than 3 seconds. Reducing the bounce rate will help your SEO.
- Communicate your brand through visuals. Modern shoppers despise text walls. Use catchy images, professional photos, short videos that showcase products instead of text. Choose an attractive color palette.
Find Best-Selling Products
If you are opening your first online store, focus on a few best-selling items instead of creating a one-stop-shopping solution. You should find a promising niche and study your audience to do that. You can take an already popular product and make it better or tap into an unexplored market. Following the trends is another approach that lets you find interesting product ideas and try them out.
Your product must fulfill a need and be more exciting than the offers of your competitors.
Set Up Payment Gateways
You have a platform, a great-looking theme, and a promising product. Now what? You have to set up Payment Gateways, shipping options and write down a comprehensive warranty and return/refund policy. Choose the payment methods that are used by the majority of your buyers. Find reliable and affordable shipping partners. Most importantly, create a set of rules that operates as a legal framework for you and your customers.
Amp Up Your Marketing Efforts
You can’t launch a store without a multi-channel marketing campaign. Buy Google ads, use social networks and messengers to promote your products. An advertising campaign for a new store can be costly. Avoid mistakes by hiring seasoned professionals, test often, and focus on the channels that yield the best results. Many e-commerce platforms provide advanced features for setting up marketing channels and ad campaigns.
Stay in Touch With Your Customers
Use specialized tools like the Facebook Pixel or Google Analytics to track how many customers you get, and where the traffic comes from. Once you understand your audience, make sure to stay in touch with them 24/7 and turn them into repeat buyers. E-commerce chatbots are powerful lead generators. You can connect them to popular social media platforms and messengers, making the buying process easier and faster.
Setting up a successful online store can be a gamble, especially in today’s unpredictable markets. But you can increase your chances of winning and reduce the risks if you approach your business rationally. Following these basic steps will help you create an e-commerce store even if you have little previous experience.