As the pandemic continues, many businesses have turned to online sales in an effort to not only survive and avoid disruption, but also keep employees and customers safe. Aspiring entrepreneurs who are considering changing their business plans to launch businesses online rather than in physical spaces should understand that it takes more than a digital storefront to create a thriving eCommerce business.
First of all, just because the medium is different doesn't mean your thinking has to be. You just have to translate it into digital. If you have a storefront, you know that location and knowledge are everything. Instead of an address, think about where people are looking and "set up shop" where they are looking for your service or product. Sometimes it might be on Yelp, Etsy, or some kind of online directory like Angie's List or Avvo (if you're a lawyer). Seek advice and do everything you can to optimize your business listing, just as you would spend time and sweat making your physical store more welcoming to customers. Remember, this is your space; It's worth the time and effort to make sure everything looks good when someone visits.
One of the most important, yet overlooked, components of an ecommerce business successful is a passionate and enthusiastic core niche audience that loves the unique or custom product you have to offer. Most small businesses that go online will compete with companies like Amazon, Walmart, and Target. Most sites cannot beat these giants in the search engines using brute force techniques, so the mission would be to ensure that you have a unique product, a strong and passionate core audience that wants to buy the product, and the ability to reach them. Once you establish these benchmarks, it's all down to the customer service and experience. So make sure you nail them too.
Today's e-commerce marketplace is mobile, personal, and engaging. Many of the tools for selling your product online are available if you take the time to learn how to maximize them. Your marketing initiatives can be seamlessly optimized for mobile via Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads or Google Ads.
If you're not in the tech space, don't rebuild products that already exist as services. Once you've done the basics, get traffic; Google and Facebook ads are generally a good first place to to start. Be sure to pay careful attention to the keywords you use, the copy you use, and the demographics you're targeting to make sure you get it right. Only after you get a good grasp of these basics should you worry about more complicated things like abandoned carts.
The number one component you need to get your business online is distribution. How will you reach your audience? Just putting up a website and waiting for people to come is not going to work. I would start by thinking about how you can reach your target audience, perhaps by looking at peripheral products, and then digging deep into how to win in this growth channel. Some distribution channels can work immediately (Mercado Libre, etc.), while others, such as SEO, can require months of preparation.
As we have entered a realm of social distancing, a cashless society and increased precautionary measures by governments, it has caused increased demand in the e-commerce business industry. Many say this is a new normal and traditional businesses may never reopen. Therefore, it is imperative to know certain strategies and methods at the early stage to seize the opportunity. It doesn't matter how much money you spend on landing pages, web design, customer experience, software, etc.; If you don't get leads on the cheap, you're bound to face significant challenges during the initial burst. So once you have chosen a niche and have created a website/store that sells a product/service around that niche, hire an expert who can get you leads without throwing money out the window.
There are many components needed to build an online business. But the important thing is to focus on your content creation efforts. In addition to create your e-commerce site, be sure to create a email list and send informative and timely emails. Your newsletters should contain offers, discounts or other useful information. As you nurture your email list, you'll create potential purchases in the future and may even drive purchases in the present as well. So focus on content marketing along with building your ecommerce site to make it more successful.
Whether you're a new business or an existing business looking to compete in today's digital landscape, getting e-commerce right is vital. The components of online success include a solid strategy, the right resources (meaning people with the right technical and marketing skills), and an unwavering focus on details during execution. From our CFO's perspective, it's misallocated capital that can kill the e-commerce transition. Do not invest your capital in mobile applications or additional features until your customers show interest in them. Don't overstock; make sure you keep up with demand and don't exceed it. Start small and iterate as you go.