As more and more customers shift their attention to online shopping, the opportunities for B2B and B2C eCommerce entrepreneurs keep growing. There has never been a better time to jump on the eCommerce bandwagon, so if you haven’t already begun your venture, now is the time to get your foot in the door.
One of the most critical steps to building an eCommerce business is planning and preparation. With a clear vision and intelligent strategy, you’ll be miles ahead of other brands who, instead of putting in the time and effort, launch and execute on the fly, opening their businesses up for potential failure.
In the following post, we discuss 5 key strategies to ensure your new eCommerce store is a success in the short term and long term. Whether you’re starting a new eCommerce venture or already have a business up and running and want to reassess and refine your business, we’ve also created a great resource for you—a detailed guide that covers our recommended 13 steps to building, launching, and maintaining a profitable eCommerce store.
1. Define Your eCommerce Business Strategy
Any good venture begins with considerable planning. Before you begin procuring or producing products, building a website, or mapping out a launch, take the time to plan your eCommerce business from start to finish.
A great place to begin is by creating a business plan. Even if you don’t intend to pitch for funding, setting aside the time to plan your business is a fantastic exercise that’ll give you clarity and direction. Once you’ve planned your business strategy, begin working on your brand strategy. You’ll need to define your positioning, create a brand identity and develop a compelling brand message that will reverberate throughout your marketing.
Through both business and brand strategy development, you’ll need to do considerable research. This will give you clear insight into:
- The market you entering and which factors are at play that may impact your business
- Who your target market is, what they need and how you serve them
- Who your competitors are and what your competitive advantage is
By the end of these planning processes, you’ll have a clear picture of who you serve, why, and how your product or service fits in the market. To get started, we have developed an eCommerce Business Plan Template designs to create a solid foundation for your eCommerce business:
2. Setup Your Frontend and Backend Systems
One of the most important decisions in your business is to choose the right mix of software and tools for your business to run on. There are plenty of eCommerce solutions available, but not all are created equally.
Keep in mind that your eCommerce store needs to:
- Be scalable
- Place your customer’s buying needs at the forefront
- Have plenty of security and data protection measures in place
- Integrate with your marketing tools, warehouse management systems, and accounting software
If you already have an ERP in place, how you choose to build an online store that works alongside your ERP is crucial to your success. You can read more about that here.
3. Focus on Conversion
Your goals as an eCommerce business owner are to attract customers to your website, convert a sizable percentage of traffic leads to customers, facilitate orders, and keep those customers coming back for return purchases. Don’t let your website be the thing that turns them away.
From designing a great user experience to making sure your site runs blazingly fast, there are many factors to consider when creating your eCommerce store. If your website is unattractive, slow to load, or difficult to navigate through, for example, you’re probably making it difficult for your customers to find what they need. We dive deeper into the user experience and website performance in the whitepaper.
4. Put Your Customers First
To be successful in the digital world, you should always put your customer first in everything that you do. With so many other eCommerce retailers in the market, your business should be doing whatever it can to make its processes quicker, simpler, and more enjoyable at each contact point of your brand.
Website concerns aside, it’s imperative that your customers can find what they’re looking for quickly, make payment without issues and get helpful service if they get stuck; otherwise, they’ll likely turn to a competitor. This includes:
- Designing a website that is easy for them to use and make a purchase through
- Creating a buyer experience that they enjoy so much, that they keep coming back for more
- Providing attentive and exceptional customer support
- Personalizing the shopping experience to encourage repeat purchasing
5. Use Data to Refine Your eCommerce Business
Once you’re up and running online, the work (and fun) really begins. Now that you are taking orders and have a recurring customer base, you need to assess your current processes and find ways to improve them in order to maximize sales.
In the whitepaper, we share several methods for collecting traffic, sales, and stock data. Using accurate data and feedback will help you continually keep reengineering your online presence to keep making it a compelling option in the eyes of your customers. Make sure you’ve not only got the correct tools in place to capture this information but have an understanding of how to interpret the data once it’s collected.
13 Expert Tips to Create a Profitable eCommerce Store
Whether you’re still dreaming of your eCommerce start-up or have been in business for some time, you’ll always benefit from reassessing your brand’s strategy and refining your way forward. The tips above only just scratch the surface of what you need to do to create a wildly successful online store. To really get the full scope of advice, download our whitepaper and get 13 detailed action steps to follow!