Starting a business is exciting, and for many, it can be the answer to lots of different issues that might arise when working for someone else.
It is also a challenge and something that those who are seeking something to be proud of and energized by might want to do.
Others might be hoping to pursue a lifelong dream of working for themselves. Whatever your reasons for starting a business, you might be keen to get going only to realize you don’t know where to start or what to do.
Assuming you want to sell online, there are some important steps to consider. Read on to discover just what to do to get started when you are opening your first eCommerce store.
Choose Or Create An Amazing Product
In order to have a successful online store, you are going to need to have a product (or a service) that people want to buy. Due to plenty of competition, that product or service must also be different – ideally unique – and you need to know as much about it as possible.
This is where your eCommerce store is going to start. Before you can think of a name or buy a website, before you can start marketing or even carry out any market research, you need to determine just what it is you are going to sell, and how it will be different to what other people are doing.
Deciding on your product is a tricky step, and it is one that can take a significant amount of time. The best (and most popular) products fill a gap in the market, such as the first washing machine, the first computer, the first cell phone, and more.
However, in a world so saturated with products and a world where consumers every wants and needs are catered for, new products not only need to fill a gap in a busy market, but they need to stand out. There are a number of stand-out products that come to mind when thinking about what your target audience may want. One such example is “The Gift of Nothing.” This viral product is simple and effective. It’s marketed as the ideal gift for someone who always says “nothing” when asked for what they would like as a gift.
Your product or service needs to replicate how successful such a product is, which is available on a vast array of eCommerce stores, including Amazon. It isn’t an easy feat, but it is achievable, as many new products prove daily.
Conduct Market Research
Once you have come up with a concept and a winning product, market research needs to be your next step. This needs to be completed in stages. First, you need to consider your industry and your market.
What is popular right now? What products are loved, and which are left on the shelf behind the others? Additionally, what is forecast to be the next big thing? Are there any products coming onto the market in the near future that could affect your own?
Take the time to compare your competition and to find out what they do well – and what their weaknesses are. Do people love their brand voice? Do people find their packaging appealing?
While it’s obvious to focus on competitors who are doing well, also consider those companies who would be your competitor but aren’t achieving as much. You can learn a lot about what they do right and wrong, and how you can avoid doing the same.
There are also legal ramifications you need to research. Is your desired business name available, or is it already registered? Is the product you are designed going to infringe on a current patented product? If so, you need to rethink it quickly.
When determining your target audience, think about your perfect customer. Not only do you need to think about their age range, but you also need to consider their social and economic standing, their family status, and more.
Why? If you price your product too high for your target audience, you won’t gain those all-important sales.
Likewise, if you market your product at young, single people, but the product is more suited to the family market, you won’t be as successful as you hoped.
One way to get an insight into your target audience’s mind is to undertake a customer survey.
By asking a wide range of people what they think about your idea, you will not only find out whether it’s something people would buy, but you’ll also get a much better idea of who will buy it.
Once you know this, your marketing is going to be much easier. If no one wants to buy what you’re selling, you’ll have to start thinking all over again, no matter how much you liked the idea.
Build Your Website and Offer Sales
Once you know what you’re going to sell and you’ve worked out your price points, you will need a website to sell it from.
This involves finding hosting and coming up with a domain name. If you need an online store, you are going to need a dedicated eCommerce platform to get the most out of your ideas and to ensure your customer can buy from you easily and efficiently.
You need even to ensure that a platform will be able to handle huge volumes of traffic when you offer flash sales. Why consider flash sales, though, when just starting out? Sales will tempt people to your store and could result in loyal customers. However, just make sure you go about doing a sale the right way! You can learn more about holding a flash sale here.
Your website needs to be fresh and modern looking, and it also needs to be uncluttered and easy to navigate. Having a simple homepage and then having an ‘about us’ page, a contact page, and a blog area is ideal; you will be able to include all the information you need to, including different elements of SEO, and still ensure your website is something people will want to visit.
A fantastic, innovative product and a sleek website are great, but without a good marketing campaign, it is unlikely enough people are going to see your site or buy from you. There are lots of different marketing techniques you can use, including:
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Affiliate marketing
It will be a good idea to take whatever time you need to create the ideal marketing plan and budget for your business; launching before this is ready could damage your online business rather than help it.
Below, we look at the top four vital digital marketing techniques you need to use, especially when you first launch your product.
Social media marketing uses key social media platforms to not only promote your products but engage with your audience. However, the platform you choose should relate to your target audience. Promoting your products on Facebook when your target audience is primarily using Instagram can be likened to shouting into the dark.
Content is a crucial aspect of every digital marketing campaign. Without content, you cannot build a trustworthy, authoritative site. While it may appear that content is more suited to news sites, optimizing a blog on your eCommerce site is a great way to showcase your knowledge and your products, without appearing overly promotional.
However, blogging doesn’t only mean posting articles on your own website, although this is critical to do.
Link building is the act of creating relevant content for different publishing sites, which then link back to your landing page. The key is creating unique, original articles that sites want to publish, and articles that don’t overly promote your product.
SEO is one part of your eCommerce store that you cannot avoid.
This key digital marketing technique will enable new customers to find you online, which is crucial for all online businesses. There are two types of SEO you need to focus on. First is on-page SEO.
This type optimizes your website for Google’s bots, enabling them to crawl your site, index it, and begin to rank it in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).
You can implement on-page SEO by using keywords in all product descriptions and content appearing on your eCommerce site, as well as optimizing the HTML source code of the page.
Secondly is off-page SEO. Off-page SEO denotes activity you take on other websites, such as link building (as discussed above).
Emails are not an outdated technique, as many believe. Email marketing enables you to correspond with your target audience directly and works very well when you offer something exclusive.
This could be a discount on a product or sale items. What’s important with email marketing is you need to personalize every correspondence. People don’t like to feel like they are just one in a long list; they want to feel special, and personalizing your emails to each person is a key way to do so.
Finding the best product to market and sell is the key to success in any online business. If you want to be in a long run in this business. You must follow a step by step process. Ignoring a small thing can cause you to huge losses.
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