Running an ecommerce website business seems like a cute idea for a lot of startups. But if you’re serious about starting an online business – or even if you already have one running – you have to figure out these 4 major things when planning to open an ecommerce website business.
Let’s pretend for a moment that you have the best idea there is, an excellent product to sell, more than enough energy needed to go through the grind of running an ecommerce business. Yes, you read it right! Running an ecommerce website is a day to day grind. It is not different from a regular offline store. So, you need that energy to go through it day after day.
Alright, so, you did all your homework on that end, and now you were able to come up with your initial business road map(I will write a separate post about making a business plan for your ecommerce business). You poured out your best mind into writing it till your cupboard has no coffee left, and came out impressed! You start looking at the road map you have developed and came out asking,
Where do you go from here?
After coming up with your initial plan it is now time to do some research about your business plan. Get deeper knowledge into running the business. You need also, maybe, check out on some people’s testimonials on how they did it. That is to save you heartaches later on. But the purpose of this is to give you an idea how to figure out 4 major things about running an online store. Let’s take a look at these 4 one by one.
#1. Figure out the right software for your online store business.
What is the right ecommerce software for my kind of business? There are a ton of ecommerce softwares out there. Some are really good, but there are others that are really bad. Two things you should try to be certain of about your choice is, does it work? You don’t want to become frustrated later with issues that the developers themselves cannot resolve. The other to be certain about the ecommerce software is, is it FREE?
Which FREE ecommerce software?
I usually give out two questions when choosing between two GNU softwares, after making sure that they work. That is, what is the server requirements? Does the software comes heavy on the server? Knowing this will determine where you will want your ecommerce website be hosted! Because you do have to consider the hosting side for your ecommerce business. Do you want to host it yourself, or have your store as a sub-store of a big store system. The other question is, is the system fast and efficient?
There are other things you would want to know about choosing which ecommerce software to use is support and cost of development. Big systems or systems with a lot of users does not necessarily mean, the best choice. Marketing has a lot to do with it. My suggestion is to find out the reasons not to use the software. By doing that, it kind of clears away all the marketing aside.
As ecommerce developers with a cumulative years experience of almost two decades, we have seen a lot of ecommerce softwares come and go. While meaningful customers become frustrated and broken. We don’t want that for you. My suggestion is to go for a light and fast system, and it must be maintainable and scalable yet efficient system like thirtybees ecommerce. Know more about what is thirtybees ecommerce software in this post.
#2. Figure out where your customers are.
I am going to say this straight, figuring out where you customers is different from actually getting them to come and visit your store. But by doing so, you have already given them the first step in their buying decision. But to have them actually come and buy is another topic worth writing. Which I could say, would be your biggest challenge once your online store is up! We call that SEO!
Figuring out where your customers are hanging out, and what are they looking for entails a lot of research and testing, and marketing. It will require your time and people skills. But believe me, once you are able to do this, you are giving your ecommerce business a future. SEO work is giving your business a future in the digital world market! Without it, you can basically kiss your ecommerce business dream goodbye!
Ways and techniques to find where your customers are.
First one is advertising. Yes, advertise. That is the first way to find where your customers are! Advertising does not have to cost you a ton of money, in fact, you can do it for free. You can advertise your business for free using social media, for example.
Secondly, you can join networks of similar niche and businesses in order to get referrals. Network referrals are powerful way of finding and growing your customer base.
Another way is to team up with other business people in your area and in the digital world. You might be surprised with the result if you take the initiative. Building strategic alliances can sometimes last for many years. Like for instance, a Web designer and an ad agency might send each other referrals for clients who need added services. Ways like this can really take your ecommerce business to a new level with regards to getting and growing your customers.
So, you have a few customers, what’s next?
#3. Next thing is to allow your customers to be your brand ambassadors.
If you have to spend a little bit of your hard-earned money into running your ecommerce website businees, this is it! Spend your money getting your customers to buy again and again! Why? Because, repeat customers spend 2x more than new customers!
Obviously getting new customer is important because you can’t have repeat orders if you don’t have new customers. But if you have a repeat customer, he comes back to your store again and again. The result of which is increased brand value and brand loyalty, which will ultimately lead to recommended sales. That is your target, recommended sales. Sales made from customer recommendations are as clear as crystal a sign of good customer relationship.
Smart businesses spend a great deal of money on how to get more sales from repeat customers. The reason for this is that, 27% of your customers who made purchase will likely buy from you again. The better stat is that if these same customers make a third and fourth purchase from your ecommerce store. It raises your conversion rate to 54% for repeat customers.
#4. And last but not the least. Remove any hiccup from the checkout process.
Your checkout process must be the smoothest and the easiest process in the whole of your ecommerce website.
A staggering average of 30% combined shopping cart being abandoned just with these two reasons alone: the ecommerce website wanted buyer to create account(34%), and too long/ complicated checkout process(26%).
You checkout process will make or break your sales conversion. It is the final stage of every customer journey that began when they search for a product. But without them completing the purchase is the ecommerce website developer’s fault as much as the website owner.
Get yourself an easy to use, one-page checkout process that your customers will love! By removing any hiccup and hindrances from the checkout process, you are assuring yourself of a high conversion rate for your online store.
Starting and running an ecommerce business website is not a walk in the park. Treat it as you would a brick-and-mortar business. Advertise, research, spend time and resource, and above all get a stable, light and fast, and cost-efficient ecommerce system.
P.S. If you have a second, sharing this article with your twitter and facebook followers would be a huge help.
I know, I’m shamelessly asking you to tweet my article, but it’s easy. Thank you 🙂