5 Steps To Take Before Launching Your Ecommerce Business
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Would you get on a rocket ship if you knew it hadn’t had a pre-flight check?
Neither would I.
Perhaps you wouldn’t get on one either way! The point is if you’re about to launch your new online business, do you know what needs to be functioning correctly for it to soar? Have you gone through your checklist and can you confidently say that you’ve not overlooked anything technical that could cause it to come crashing down to earth?
Prepare or prepare to fail, you may have heard that before, if not, now you’ve no excuse.
For your e-commerce business to be successful, you need a broad skill-set and a slice of luck. I can’t help you with the latter, but where you can help yourself is by being prepared, and ensuring your business has what it needs to succeed.
And that’s what this article is about. We’re going to go through that pre-flight checklist together and get your business air born.
1. Choose An Ecommerce Platform That Can Support You
If you don’t choose the right e-commerce platform, then everything else you’ve done in getting your business ready might be in vain.
There are a lot of platforms available, BigCommerce, Shopify, and Wix are the big three for e-commerce, and they all provide different functions, and you should choose one that can support your new business now, and in the future. Fortunately, there’s a list of questions you can use to find the right one.
- Scalability: The Platform has to be one that’s able to accommodate your company’s growth, not hold it back.
- Integrations: These are plugins that you can connect to your websites template that provide technical solutions.
- SEO: Not all platforms are built with e-commerce SEO in mind, ensure yours is.
- IT support: You want a platform that provides multiple channels for support.
- Payment option: Your website needs multiple payment options, so your customers don’t leave at the checkout.
Now it’s time to choose a theme.
2. Use A Theme That Suits Your Business
A theme is a template for your website, think of it as the structure of your house and your site as the decorations, for the finished product to look and work, the theme you choose has to support it.
The first step should be to choose one that suits your e-commerce business, your brand’s personality, and one that will appeal to your target audience. Next, think functionalities, just as with platforms, themes differ in what they can do.
To provide your customers with a hassle-free and enjoyable shopping experience, consider the following:
- Easy navigation: If your website is confusing, your customers will leave frustrated, their journey from landing page to checkout should be seamless.
- Quick loading times: Three seconds is all you have before your customers reach for the back button; speed is everything.
- Responsiveness: Smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops, your audience uses all of them; your site has to be responsive to work where required.
3. Build A Flexible Strategy
OK, your platform and theme are perfect for your business, but have you considered change?
For your business to have continued success, it has to be adaptable, as nothing is inert when it comes to e-commerce. Changing trends, sales platform popularity, search engine algorithms, and unforeseen offline influences all need consideration when building your business strategy.
As I’m writing, we are in the middle of an unforeseen pandemic, causing monumental problems, both on and offline. Did you think you would have to know how to keep your e-commerce business save during the coronavirus when you first decided to start your business?
Many online businesses will fail due to lack of stock, shifts in global purchasing preferences, and home delivery demands. So, ensure you’re ready for change by having a flexible strategy in place before you start, and one way of doing this is by having the right tools.
4. Have The Right Tools For The Job
To be prepared for the ever-changing shifts in consumer preferences, external forces, and the success of your business, you need to know about and equip yourself with a range of tools that can help you adapt.
There are tools for every imaginable need. From shipping solutions, outsourcing design and content needs, customer service and marketing campaigns, and they can help you on every step of your journey.
Some worth considering are:
- Packhelp: For personalized shipping solutions.
- UpWork: For hiring part-time contractors.
- Tailor Brands: For branding designs and logos.
- GrooveHQ: For customer service.
- Mail chimp: For email marketing campaigns.
5. Put Yourself On The Right Sales Platforms
Your decision on where to market your e-commerce business is entirely dependent upon your customers, but how do you know where they are?
Customer demographics can help as your audience’s age is often a good indication of which platforms they use, as can the product or service you provide. Go online and search for customers that are interested in your particular niche by finding communities that fit your target audience; this can help you connect market-related communities and discover their shopping trends.
Another invaluable resource for discovering where your audience is, are free online social media marketing courses, such as those provided by Hubspot, they provide all the demographical data you need.
- Your website: Your site is, of course, the home of your brand, and this is where you apply your SEO efforts, but did you know that you can drive traffic to your site from social media?
- Instagram: If you use images and videos then this is where you should be.
- Facebook: An excellent place for joining market-related communities.
- Twitter: Build a following by providing interesting and relevant content, invaluable for getting your brand known.
- Pinterest: Ideal for sharing your latest product images and a proven way of driving traffic to your site.
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