Building a business can be difficult, especially if it’s your first venture into eCommerce. But just because you don’t have experience yet doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the lessons other people have learned. In this post we’ve put together our top 7 tips on how to make a success of your eCommerce business:
1. Create a Beautiful Logo – Logos are important for business success
A logo used to cost a fortune to design, but there’s now lots of ways to create cheap, or even free, logos without compromising on quality. A logo doesn’t just look pretty, it makes you look professional and will play into a visitor’s first impression of you and your store, increasing buyer confidence.
2. Build your Social Footprint – Social media and reviews can boost or ruin business
Buyers are increasingly, whether they’re aware of it or not, influenced by social proof factors. There are several ways we can tap into this, but we have to be careful, if it’s not done correctly it can backfire! Let’s take your social media sites as an example. Should you feature these prominently on your website? Well, that really should be determined by how many followers and engagement you have!
Linking to a social media site which may well be a picture of tumbleweed rolling through an abandoned town with no followers and no engagement can actually do you more harm than good. Focus on building your networks first, then utilising it once the ball gets rolling. Product reviews can be seen in the same light. They really are a fantastic way of demonstrating both the quality of your product and the trustworthiness of your business, but if you decide to show reviews for a product that hasn’t been reviewed yet this could be detrimental. No-one wants to be the first person to buy a product, and by asking customers to make this choice you are actively deterring purchasing.
3. Invest Time in Strong About and a Contact Page – Invest time into explaining your business and provide contact details
It may seem counter-intuitive to invest time building a page talking about yourself rather than your products, but a powerful story is valuable for visitors to relate to. Who exactly are you? What inspired your products? What are you proud of? I’m an online business so why do I need an address in my contact details? For a lot of visitors your stores physical location can influence the buying cycle. Knowing it’s a real place they can see on a map builds up trust. Knowing which country allows them to calculate customs and duties. Knowing its local can persuade them to support local. A contact page also serves as a valuable port of call for pre-sales enquiries. Make sure you buy a custom domain for people to email you questions. An @gmail.com or @yahoo.co.uk just won’t cut it at this level!
4. Think About Your SEO Strategy – Search engine optimisation has a lasting positive impact on your business
One of the most, if not the most, important things to consider with new online stores is your Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO for short. SEO is the art of producing content that lets search engines such as Google and Bing know your page is relevant to what someone is searching for. It’s the bit of your page that tells google “I’m selling brown shoes!” so that you turn up in the results when someone searches “brown shoes for sale”. Facebook and Google Adwords may have immediate, paid for, short-term boosts to your sales, but an entire website optimised for SEO will have lasting effects, although some time does need to pass before you see the full impact. There are many great guides out there that go into real depth with SEO so we suggest you check them out. What’s important is that you implement what you learn!
5. Utilize Multiple Sales Channels – Experiment with different marketing strategies
It’s important to dedicate time, energy and money to each marketing channel you decide to try. It’s all too easy to give it a go, see very poor results and decide it just doesn’t work for you. There are literally hundreds of different avenues to marketing but not one of them will just flick a magic switch that quadruples your sales overnight. They all take time, energy and money. A realistic mindset from the outset is going to be crucial. Accept that it will take a lot of trial and error to refine your message and figure out where that message is best placed. Record absolutely everything and make use of analytics to work out your returns on investment. The only true waste in marketing is not learning from your past experiences, but that’s not the same as ruling something out if you only tried it once!
6. Don’t Just Rely on Your Webstore – boost your sales with Ebay and Amazon
A thriving web store really is the ideal dream for any online business, but the reality is it takes a huge amount of time and effort to build your web traffic and sales to the point where its self-sustaining. You’re going to have a big hole in your wallet if you just sit back and wait for that to happen, so it’s going to be important to utilise existing marketplaces in the meantime. Don’t baulk at the size of the fees on marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon. For the vast majority, this fee is a fair representation of the traffic flowing through those sites every day, and is easily accounted for in the increased sales. Selling 5 items for a 10% profit margin is better than selling 2 items at a 20% margin!
Listing your products in multiple places has obvious advantages, but it also creates a few new problems, which brings us to…
7. Invest in a reliable Stock Management System
As soon as you have stock listed in more than one location, the prospect of over-selling (selling a product you don’t actually have in stock) starts to rear its ugly head. A crude way of dealing with this (that used to be the only way) was to hold back stock, only listing a limited quantity on each site. This meant you never sold stock you didn’t have, but it also limited your sales potential and consumed a lot of time moving stock around as it sold out on various listings. Stock Management systems are the answer to that, ensuring that all your stock is available, in every location you have a presence. A good one will ensure that when a sale is made, the stock is deducted from all listings in real-time.
Building your own website and brand is undoubtedly hard, but with these steps we hope you feel more informed and empowered to know what actions you can take to make a real success of it.