It takes more than just setting up an online store to call it a success. While eCommerce does have a great deal of potential to make money, it takes effort to ensure that it will. From web hosting to marketing, there are many facets to the digital jewel of an online store.
The most important thing owners of eCommerce need to realize is the vast sea of competition on the Internet. Because eCommerce is such a popular method of making money online, a new store will be against others that may have strong foundations. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to succeed, though.
Although the competition will most likely be great, not all of those online stores put in the same amount of effort to succeed. In reality, even the smallest of online retail outlets can compete against larger corporations on the Internet.
The Right Kind of Web Hosting
The foundation of the website is where it all begins. Functions, features and even server hardware play a part in customer experience as well as search engine optimization. As a result, there needs to be careful planning regarding expansion and growth.
A lot of first-time eCommerce owners rely on shared hosting platforms. These are usually much cheaper than alternatives, but come with a price. The resources of the server itself are shared among many websites. In turn, this has potential to reduce speed because of the number of visitors coming in to those sites.
Using a web host that offers a Content Delivery Network, or CDN, is a great way to offset some of this speed reduction. In some instances, website performance increased by 10 times simply by utilizing a CDN to reach visitors in other areas of the world.
Know the eCommerce Platform Inside and Out
When setting up an online store, there are many platforms to choose from. Things like WooCommerce on WordPress, Magento or PrestaShop can all help store owners get started right away. One thing that influences store owners to experience failure is not knowing the software well enough.
An owner doesn’t need to become an expert programmer to take advantage of eCommerce. However, knowing the system inside and out is beneficial to operating the online store. This includes everything from every field for placing a product to the functionality of coupons and discount codes.
Understanding the functionality of the software will provide insight into best practices and procedures. In fact, a lot of the settings may even lead to greater response from SEO practices. Never underestimate the value of META data when placing an item online for sale, which may platforms allow users to control.
Adding the Social Element
Social media is one of the top reasons why many people access the Internet. In fact, nearly 80 percent of the population in the United States has a social profile of some kind. It’s only natural to engage users on these platforms.
Here are some of the most common methods every eCommerce site owner should use:
- Sharing links on every item being sold.
- Advertising campaigns for attracting customers, such as Facebook ads.
- Engaging potential customers on social media accounts.
- Using plugins and widgets to sell goods directly from social profiles.
There are many ways to use social media to grow a business. It not only has the potential to reach thousands of potential shoppers simultaneously, but it also increases the brand’s online reputation. This, in turn, helps influence SEO as well as increasing sales.
Keep Products Fresh and Current
One thing that any retail store owner will tell you is that sales are relevant to trends. Whether it’s technology or clothing styles, trends will influence the sales performance of any shop. This is why many stores will list ultra-high discounts on items that are either too old or no longer trending.
Unless the purpose of the online store centers around retro-products, inventory will need to be cycled regularly. For example, not many online stores selling phone cases will have products for units that were popular in 2005.
Keeping an eye on the industry as well as Google Analytics of products in the store will help determine when items are losing their interest. This is when those products should be set on sale.
Monitor the Competition
Watching how the competition reacts to market changes can be helpful. There’s nothing wrong with taking a look at how others are selling the same goods and then coming up with a plan to improve. A store owner doesn’t want to copy the competition, but see what he or she can do to make the online shop better.
In the world of eCommerce, it’s all about what can be done better than the competition. This includes a variety of things such as:
- Gauging prices of products or services.
- Offering customer services the other stores do not provide.
- Using com to compare site speed.
A large portion of customers are willing to pay more for an item if it’s from a company with superior customer support. This is perhaps one of the most important things to take away from the competition: what kind of support do they offer? This can be everything from the speed of the site to online live chat features.
Creating a Budget for Marketing
In order to seriously compete against other online stores, there needs to be some kind of a marketing budget and strategy. Many owners will start small and let the sales of the products grow the budget naturally. Others will dump an incredible amount of money into marketing on day one.
In reality, marketing is a difficult thing to gauge in most instances. Strategies that work well for one company may fail for another. This is why many experts believe in testing the waters of different marketing platforms and then embellishing the ones that work the best.
In any event, marketing is vastly important to the success of an online store. No one is going to buy a product if they don’t even know the online store exists.
Building Success from the Ground Up..
It all starts with the right kind of web hosting to drive the success of eCommerce. From there, constant vigilance over the site’s performance will strengthen its ability to do well on the Internet. While it may be easy to operate an Internet-based store from the comfort of a home office, it doesn’t mean less effort goes into making it a success in retail sales.