Starting any sort of business is incredibly difficult. There are countless steps, hours of research, too many meetings to remember, and about 1000 other things that occupy your time.
Choosing a market is often one of the biggest obstacles for any business owner, but it’s always wise to go for the one that’s on the up. When it comes to businesses that are on the up, ecommerce is currently halfway to the moon.
You might already know that ecommerce is growing, but reading some of the stats may make your eyes pop out of your head:
- By 2021, 20% of all retail purchases are going to be made online.
- The market size is set to double within the next five years.
- By 2021, the market size is supposed to be around $5 trillion.
- Ecommerce business owners have an average lifespan of 107 years.
While the last one is made up, statistics are still pretty mind-boggling. So, jumping into an ecommerce business is a surefire way to find success, right?
The market is set to become more and more saturated over the next few years, so how do you ensure that you’re going to stand out among the rest? What are some of the foundational building blocks you can set in place to set you up for success?
Below, we’re going to outline six necessary tips to help you get started on your ecommerce success journey.
Ecommerce covers a wide range of possibilities and you need to think about which field you’d like to enter. Some ecommerce businesses are purely based on services. Others are all about products. You could get into drop shipping, acting as a middle man between the consumer and inventory. Or, you could be selling purely digital products.
Whatever it is, you need to think about which area your business is going to focus on. Whatever you decide to do is going to change how you do business. It’s going to affect your budget, your research, and future projections.
Once you have the perfect plan, start setting everything into action.
Go All Out on Niche Research
With ecommerce growing at such a rapid rate, you’re bound to have plenty of other competitors in your targeted niche. You’re not going to be the only business on the block, set up and ready for customers.
When looking at niches, it’s important to find those having a healthy amount of competition. While you could have stumbled on the next great market for consumers, chances are if there’s no competition there, that means there’s no chance for growth.
Be as specific as you can here. Not just because you want to target your audience, but because you can focus on shoulder niches. These are niches that are similar to yours and could provide future partner businesses.
Cover the Red Tape
Once you have your market and target audience figured out, you need to go through all the fun red tape! That includes registering your business, buying a domain name, creating a logo, getting all appropriate licenses, researching tax laws, finding vendors, and more.
If you’re planning on expanding your business to multiple countries, then you would need to hire those who are familiar with the local laws there. As you can see, the ecommerce market is becoming more and more global.
The last thing you want to happen is any law or regulation coming back and haunting you because you ignored it. It’s definitely the most boring part of setting up a business, but needs to be taken care of early and thoroughly.
Focus on the User Experience
When you’re creating your online store, the most important thing you should be focusing on is the customer experience. You’ve done your research on the customers you’re going to be targeting and how you fit into a certain niche. So, it’d be a waste not to use that data for building your online store.
That has to be everything from streamlining the buying process to website aesthetics. If a user finds the look of a website displeasing, chances are they’re going to bolt and won’t return anytime soon.
You want everything on your website to be as smooth as possible. Take the time to test it out, not only in-house but with potential customers in a survey or small focus group. Listen to their feedback and see if there’s anything you should change.
Develop an Effective Marketing Plan
Now that you have your website, it’s time to start driving up traffic. Of course, this is much easier said than done but there are plenty of ways you can get the ball rolling on people clicking through your online store.
Make use of your data by researching keywords in your niche, using customer demographic information, and research the competition. Find out what they’re doing in order to attract customers to their stores.
When it comes to putting that work on paper, you could use cross-promotions, connect with influencers in your market, run discounts, offer referral programs, and more. While you’re trying to drive up traffic, you’re more into the business of actually selling products. Be sure and make your marketing plan about the products and not how many visitors you can attract on your website.
The worst thing you can do is believe that sticking to the same plan is going to work for the entirety of your ecommerce business. People’s buying habits will change, your niche market will evolve, and marketing tactics will come and go.
In order to be successful, you need to be flexible with your strategies. Just as you did research before starting your business, you need to continue doing research and collecting data over the long run. That way, you can modify how you interact with customers, which promotions to use, and certain products or services to promote. It’s easy to get comfortable, but it’s vital for you and your business to stay on top of everything and keep evolving over time.