So, you’ve made the decision to get your business online. Your product or service is ready and you know it will work on the Web. You’ve tested your target audience and know there is demand. All the signs say you’ve got a great concept, now all you need is the right eCommerce site to get the ball rolling. Before you build your site, here are five important tips:
1. Start with A Plan
Sounds pretty simple, right? But one of the most common misconceptions about launching an eCommerce site is that anyone can sell online with ease. Creating a detailed business plan will allow you to outline everything you need to build your business from the ground up.
There are great sources online to help you develop your business plan, and the U.S. Small Business Administration is a great place to start. The SBA offers tons of information on everything from defining your niche to identifying low-cost marketing ideas to help drive traffic. Your plan should include all aspects of your business, from marketing through order fulfillment, complete with budgets and projections.
2. Establish Working Systems from Day One
Focus on building a structured system by defining each aspect of your business, including marketing, finance, tech, fulfillment, etc. Standardize and automate as much of your business as possible to enable scalability as sales grow. To make systems sensible, you need the right tools to handle daily tasks. Programs like Google Apps for Work, a simple project management app like Trello, and a social media aggregator like Buffer can help to organize and systematize your business.
3. Find the Right Web Host
With all of the issues surrounding website security today, make sure your eCommerce host offers enhanced security measures such as SSL certificates and dedicated IP addresses. Installing an SSL certificate on your site allows your virtual server to offer secure sessions that ensure users can safely purchase your product by providing credit card information securely through your site. Working in tandem with SSL certificates, a dedicated IP address is a unique address dedicated to your host account that adds an additional layer of security.
4. Create A Strong Marketing Strategy
Online marketing is different than traditional methods. First and foremost, understanding your market and creating entertainment and link-worthy content that tells a story your readers (and future customers) can relate to is key. In addition, collaborating and forming strategic partnerships with online influencers, building a social media presence, and creating PPC campaigns are other popular ways of marketing your online business.
5. Focus on Your Target Audience
All too often, startup eCommerce sites work to be all things for all people. Stick to what you’re good at! If you’re selling clothes, study your target demographic and build your site around their needs. For example, if you sell clothes for plus-size women, don’t design a site geared toward farming. Focus on your main product offerings, the needs of your customers, and how you can attract your niche.
The most important part about building an eCommerce site is providing a safe place for your customers to make purchases. When you have the right business plan, marketing strategy, working systems and dedicated web hosting service geared toward your target markets, your eCommerce site is bound to thrive.
Sofia Brooks is a subject matter expert in online marketing, and is currently helping IX Web Hosting with their marketing initiatives. In her free time, she loves to blog and travel.”