Launching an ecommerce store is an exciting venture. The ecommerce industry is thriving, and many entrepreneurs have high hopes for achieving success through online retail.
Anyone can create an online business, but it takes strategy and dedication to get customers for your ecommerce website and to have your store really take off. Because there's so much competition, your company needs a clear plan of action.
To help you get started, here are 34 of our top tips for anybody planning on launching a new ecommerce store!
1. Choose an ecommerce platform that can grow with you
Your choice of platform can make or break your success as an ecommerce entrepreneur. When you look for a platform, don’t just think of your store’s needs today.
Imagine where you want it to be 5 or even 10 years years down the road. The platform should be able to accommodate for your growth so that you aren’t limited in how much you can expand.
What’s more, your chosen platform should make it easy for you to manage your ecommerce site so that you can focus on your products and marketing efforts.
2. Take time to find a great niche
The ecommerce industry is highly competitive. Small businesses succeed when they find and commit to a highly specific niche. Your company should provide something that customers can’t find anywhere else or can only find from a few other sources.
Choose a niche that you’re personally interested in. You’ll feel more invested in your business if you're passionate and knowledgeable about what you sell. Identify a specific type of customer that you want to target to assist with narrowing down your focus.
It’s better to have only one or two products for a specific demographic than to feature a wide variety of items for the general public. This allows you to prioritize quality and establish yourself as an expert in your niche.
3. Don’t be afraid to experiment
Experimenting is critical, especially in the early days of your ecommerce business. It’s impossible to know if a particular design, strategy, or business model will work until you try it!
Carefully measure the results of every change you make to your business or website. Using A/B testing can be helpful when experimenting with something new.
This testing strategy shows the old version of your site to some customers and the new version to others. Then, you can measure the differences in how customers interact with your business to determine whether or not the change is effective.
4. Reinvest money into your business
Very few ecommerce businesses make a profit right away. In the first few months of operating your business, you may need to reinvest a good portion of your profits back into your company. You could buy new inventory or equipment, upgrade your web design, or create a new advertising campaign.
Reinvesting your earnings is the best way to expand your business and assist it in becoming sustainable. If you reinvest now, you greatly increase your chances of being able to live off of your ecommerce income in the future.
5. Follow a steady schedule
Shoppers like routine and predictability. If they know when to expect new content from your website, they’ll be more likely to visit regularly. Routine can aid you as well as you adjust to being an ecommerce entrepreneur.
In the first few months of your launch, try to settle in a routine with adding new products, blogging, or posting on your social media profiles. This can encourage your audience to keep checking in.
6. Get an early start on growing your sales channels
Your sales channels include every platform you use to sell your products. Most of your sales activity will probably happen on your own website.
Nevertheless, other channels like Amazon, Etsy, and Facebook Shops can be wonderful opportunities to expand your customer base. Try to choose and commit to your channels early.
It takes time to grow an audience on any platform. All channels function differently, so your strategies may vary across the range of platforms. However, remember to keep a consistent brand image and mission statement across all of your channels.
7. Cultivate relationships with influencers
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective forms of ecommerce marketing today. Finding the right influencers to promote your goods isn’t easy, though. The influencers you work with should be involved with your niche so that they’re knowledgeable about your industry.
This also ensures that their audience will be interested in your products. Even if you’re not yet ready for an influencer marketing campaign, it’s never too early to begin making connections. The most successful campaigns involve a long-term relationship between the brand and the influencer.
8. Make relevant business information easy for customers to spot
Ecommerce is all about convenience and timeliness. Shoppers like that they can complete a purchase within minutes at home, but if they run into any obstacles, they may simply abandon the page.
To encourage your customers to buy from you, make it as easy as possible for them to find all relevant information. This includes frequently asked questions, delivery information, contact information, and payment information.
Your “Contact” and “About” pages should be accessible from every other page on your site, and all important information should appear on each of your sales channels.
9. Focus on selling experiences rather than products
It may be very easy for your shoppers to locate your products or similar products elsewhere. While your products’ features are important, they may not be compelling enough to make a sale. The product descriptions on your website should instead emphasize how the products can improve customers’ lives.
In addition, how people view shopping with your business is equally crucial. Customers take note of how they feel after making a purchase and interacting with your brand.
If the shopping experience is enjoyable and memorable, your customers are much more likely to return. You could use humor, videos, or interactive elements on your website to make visiting your store even better.
10. Ensure that your website is aesthetically pleasing
A beautiful website helps keep shoppers on the page. Use an attention-grabbing banner, a consistent color scheme, and a few high-quality images.
Avoid cluttering up your site with too many graphics, though. Simplicity is generally better because it makes it much easier for shoppers to see the important elements of your store.
11. Find other ecommerce brands that you admire
Having a role model as you start your business can be helpful to learn and grow. Identify a successful business in your niche that you admire, and figure out why they’re doing well. Maybe they provide a unique user experience, or maybe they have an effective marketing strategy.
Use what you learn about this business to guide you as you make decisions that will shape the rest of your ecommerce journey. Don’t copy them entirely, though. If you don’t offer anything different, there won’t be a reason for people to choose you over another store!.
12. Provide clear-cut product categories
If you have more than a couple products, a clear system of categories will help your shoppers find what they’re looking for. Use a hierarchy that moves from general to specific.
You can put the same item in multiple categories if needed. The goal is for your customers to locate every item with ease.
13. Be active on different social media platforms
Getting involved with social media is pretty much an essential element to include on your ecommerce marketing checklist these days. Many shoppers look for brands on Facebook or Instagram, so being active on these platforms can massively expand your audience.
It also provides a direct link between you and your customers. You can encourage people to interact with your company by having them tag you in photos or commenting on posts. In addition, you can easily respond to their questions or concerns.
Different platforms have different benefits, so you may want to be active on several social networks. Instagram is best for sharing photos, and Snapchat is good for casual photos and videos behind the scenes. Facebook works well for responding to messages or sharing text posts.
14. Generate content that’s unique
Content creation can bring attention to your brand. This is an excellent way to supply something unique that consumers can’t get elsewhere.
You could create informative blog posts, engaging videos, infographics, or any other items that benefit your audience and showcase the value of your business.
15. Have complimentary shipping available
Major retailers like Amazon have set a precedent for free shipping in recent years. Today, most shoppers either expect this benefit or prefer to shop from stores that make it available.
You may have to mark up your prices slightly to offer this, but you’ll attract more customers with this strategy.
Another option is to ship orders for free for purchases over a certain dollar amount, which incentivizes shoppers to add items to their cart. This can also reduce the burden on your store to provide free shipping for every order, which can be financially difficult for small businesses.
16. Focus on marketing
While you should put plenty of time and effort into creating your website, don’t forget about your marketing efforts. If you don’t advertise your business, you won’t get any customers to view the store you've worked so hard on.
Post on your social media channels daily to strengthen your online presence. Reach out to blogs or magazines to see if they’re interested in promoting your store. Host a virtual event or a sale to celebrate your store launch and generate buzz.
17. Invest in ads right away
An advertising campaign can be expensive, but ads bring in customers. It may take a few attempts to discover the advertising strategy that works best for your store, so you should begin advertising right away.
Pay-per-click advertising often has an excellent return on investment, and it can bring results fairly quickly. If you reinvest your profits back into the ad campaign, your business can achieve exponential growth.
18. Work on reducing abandoned carts
An abandoned cart isn’t a lost cause. Plenty of shoppers will return to complete the purchase, but they may need a reminder. Send an email within a couple hours of the cart abandonment to remind the visitor that there are items still in their cart.
Then, a day later, send another follow-up message. You could even include a small discount to encourage them to go through with the sale.
19. Develop a relationship with your customers
Loyal, returning customers spend more on average than first-time customers. They’re a good source of word-of-mouth advertising as well. One of the best ways for your business to succeed is to foster long-term relationships with your customers.
Creating an email list is an excellent way to stay in touch with your customer base. You can break the list up into segments and send relevant updates, promotions, or informational content to each group.
You could also send out surveys to your loyal customers to get their feedback. Returning customers may have helpful insights into what you can do to make the experience even better for shoppers. Your shoppers will appreciate that you care about their input, too.
20. Build external backlinks
Backlinks are an effective way to bring more traffic to your store and boost your search engine rankings. They do require patience, though. Be prepared to reach out to dozens of websites and receive only one or two backlinks.
Guest blogging is a popular way to generate backlinks. If you write an article for another website, you can link back to your own page in your post. If you invite someone to write an article for you, they may include a link to their post on their own site.
21. Show customers your appreciation
Many customers like to shop from small businesses because they feel more of a personal connection to the brand. By showing your appreciation to your shoppers and making them feel valued, you’ll encourage them to revisit your online store.
You can show appreciation by including a personalized note in the shopper’s order or by including a free gift with their order. You could even host a customer appreciation event for your loyal shoppers by offering them a discount or giving them exclusive access to new products.
22. Be strategic with goal setting
Goals and objectives are key when launching an ecommerce venture. In order to determine whether or not your strategies are working, you have to know what you're aiming for. Your goals should be specific and measurable so that you can assess your progress with objective data.
They should also include a time frame. Where do you want your sales to be in one month? How many website visits per day do you want to be averaging one year from now?
23. Stop procrastinating and start working
There are so many different factors to consider when beginning an ecommerce business, and it can certainly be overwhelming. Many entrepreneurs hold off on launching their company because they’re stuck in the planning stages.
While it’s important to have a careful plan for your store, you also have to take action. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes as you start your business. Every misstep is a learning opportunity that allows you to strengthen your brand and your strategy.
24. Take advantage of upselling opportunities
A sale of any amount is something to celebrate in the early days of your ecommerce business. However, make sure that you’re not missing out on opportunities to upsell.
If a shopper has already committed to making a purchase, it can be fairly easy to convince them to upgrade their order or add another item to their cart.
A “Recommended Products” section can allow for successful upselling. Another strategy is to offer free shipping or a bonus gift if customers add an extra item to their order.
25. Finish your website before you begin selling
We’ve mentioned the importance of avoiding procrastination and taking action, but you shouldn’t launch your store so early that your site is still unfinished. By the time your shop goes live, your store needs to be complete.
Make sure that you’ve filled in your homepage, “Contact” page, “About” page, and all product listing pages. If your visitors see incomplete pages or missing details, they may quickly lose interest in your business.
26. Try other forms of marketing besides ads
Paid ads are a reliable way to expand your audience, but there are several other effective forms of marketing that you’ll want to try as well.
For example, email marketing is a good way to stay in touch with customers and advertise new goods, sales, and other promotions. Content creation and social media marketing can increase your online visibility as well.
27. Utilize retargeting ads consistently
Retargeting is the practice of advertising to shoppers who have already visited your site. If a consumer has been to your store once, they’re probably already interested in what you’re offering.
The purpose of retargeting is to remind them of your store and encourage them to complete the sale. Consistent retargeting efforts have an even better conversion rate than abandoned cart emails.
28. Incorporate user-generated content
Sharing user-generated content has a number of benefits. When you share a customer’s photo or testimonial, that shopper may feel a stronger sense of brand loyalty because they know they’ve been heard.
Potential customers also like to learn about existing customers’ experiences. They want to know what the product actually looks like and what users really think.
You could include a page on your website for reviews or testimonials. Sharing customers' content on your social media platforms is a good way to market your products as well.
29. Make use of automation when you can
Automation tools make the entire ecommerce process easier. Some ecommerce platforms have built-in tools to automate certain tasks, but you could also add third-party tools to your website.
Not only does automation save you time, but it also greatly reduces errors. When you're managing dozens or hundreds of online orders, mistakes can happen. To enhance customer satisfaction and ease the burden on yourself, take advantage of all of the helpful tools available.
30. Begin a blog
A high-quality blog brings eyes to your website. When you feature informative, engaging, and unique content, shoppers have a reason to visit your site over your competitors. This also establishes you as an expert and an industry leader.
Blogging can also increase your search engine rankings because it provides opportunities to naturally use keywords that are relevant to your business. The goal of your blog should ultimately be to educate your readers, though.
31. Add product videos
Your ecommerce customers can’t interact with the product until they’ve already ordered it. Videos showcasing your goods and demonstrating how they work can make your shoppers much more confident in their decision to put in an order.
You can use videos to reach new customers as well, as these are highly engaging. If your competitors aren’t creating videos, yours could bring attention to your store from interested shoppers.
32. If possible, take your own product photos
If there are existing products of the photos you sell, it may be tempting to use them on your site. However, it’s generally best to take your own photos for a number of reasons.
You may run into copyright issues if you use photos taken by someone else. Using existing photos also doesn’t help to set you apart from competitors.
Take your own photos to ensure that everything on your site is unique. You can take photos in a way that reflects your brand image and showcases the most important features of each item.
33. Plan an SEO strategy
Search engine optimization (SEO) includes a wide variety of techniques that aim to improve your search engine rankings for relevant keywords. This is a complex field, and a strong SEO strategy involves many factors.
It takes time and patience to develop a plan for SEO, but the results are worth it!
Most SEO strategies involve improving user experience in some way. For example, website speed is a factor in your search rankings because a fast speed improves the browsing experience for visitors. High-quality blog content can also boost where you show up on results pages because it’s valuable to the user.
34. Fulfill orders quickly
The time in between the customer placing the order and receiving the order can make or break their impression of your business. Delivering orders quickly will improve your brand’s reputation and increase the chances of customers making repeat purchases.
In addition, keep your customers informed during the shipping process. Send an email confirming their order and an email when the product ships. Offer tracking information and an estimated delivery date so that your shoppers know when to expect their items.
If you put time, care, and energy into your ecommerce store, you can turn it into a thriving business. Although the market is competitive, not every online shop uses these tips for success.
By making careful choices regarding web design, site content, and marketing, you can outpace your competition and become a leader in your niche.
Remember that ecommerce is a vast and constantly evolving field. Do your best to stay up to date on the latest trends so that your site stays current. However, don’t feel overwhelmed by all of the elements involved in building an online store.
All new ecommerce entrepreneurs make mistakes and have to adjust their strategy, but this doesn’t mean that their businesses have failed. Try to embrace the learning curve and enjoy the experience of planning, launching, and improving your ecommerce venture!