Want a slice of the internet pie? Then an ecommerce business could be the way forward. With potential customers in any part of the world and no need to cover the expense of a physical store, there are plenty of advantages in delivering your business model online.
So what do you need to focus on for ecommerce success?
Build your Website and find the Perfect E-Commerce Platform
Your ecommerce website will be the primary way in which your potential customers will interact with your business, so the design, structure and user experience (UX) need to be seamless. Make sure that your website is mobile optimised too, as more than half of online users now browse via phones or tablets.
There are plenty of easy ways to build a modern website which offers the necessary ecommerce functionality, slick design and excellent experience, with Shopify, Woo Commerce (WordPress) and Magento being just three market-leading options to explore.
Again, there are plenty of ecommerce solutions to choose from, and many are integrated with other website builder and service packages.. The right ecommerce platform will offer payment options and technologies with which your customers are familiar and will make it extremely easy to integrate these technologies into your website. These decisions are essential in defining the implementing a robust multi channel marketing strategy.
Do your research to find the right provider and you’ll benefit from hundreds of templates, easy drag and drop widgets and essential services such as hosting, domain name registration and payment processing integration.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a longer-term, essential means of building your page rankings for target searches. There are a wide range of SEO strategies which generally work around creating useful content that your target audience will value; content which includes the key search terms that your audience are looking for. This works in conjunction with techniques which optimise your website for Google’s search bots to analyse and rank.
Different search engines use different (and constantly changing) algorithms to read, assess and rank sites. Remember that their purpose is to give their own search engine users the most accurate listings for their search criteria. So rather than trying to ‘beat the system’ with black-hat techniques (something that can get your website penalised or blacklisted), put in the time to develop your SEO over time using white-hat, legitimate techniques.
There are plenty of SEO specialists who can provide these services for you and courses to help you develop your skills in the field.
Other Digital Marketing
Once you have your ecommerce website in place, you will need to market it to your prospective customers. Create a multi-channel marketing strategy which defines your short and medium-term approach to the market and the budget you will use. These could include online PPC marketing for instant qualified traffic, social media marketing for awareness and leads, PR for brand building and offline marketing for awareness.
You’ll need to create a strong brand that appeals to your target audience and which stands out from the competition. Use a graphic designer who can create impactful brand assets that can be used across digital and physical mediums.
How will you manage your fulfilment and customer service? Will you have a small volume business for which you fulfil orders yourself? Will you use a dropshipping model? Will you have the budget to hire a team and warehouse space? These are all key questions to ask and assess as part of your market research and planning activity.
The digital world is evolving all the time and successful ecommerce business owners spend time upskilling and developing their knowledge in the field. From social media marketing through to PPC campaign set-up and SEO content marketing, it is essential to keep learning about this field to stay competitive.
Some business owners will be happy learning enough to deliver these functions themselves – at least in the beginning – and others will outsource certain specialist marketing tasks in order to focus on other strategic business tasks, such as customer service and business development.
Once you focus on these key areas, you will have a far better idea as to how to take your ecommerce business forward and to develop a successful, sustainable and profitable business and brand. Keep learning, keep trying new things, focus on your customers and have fun in the process!