Setting up eCommerce websites is a challenging task for anyone, particularly if you are a small business with limited resources. If don’t have previous experience with setting up an eCommerce store or website before, there are many things that can go wrong without you expecting it. To help, here are six pitfalls many small business owners encounter when they start an eCommerce store so you can avoid them.
Know Your Purpose
Before you start thinking about an eCommerce store, you need to understand what your goals are and how you will plan to correct strategic failures.
You need to know your audience, their demographics, and what they are interested in before you can think about what products to sell that solve their problems. You also need to learn who your competitors are and how they are successful or what they could be doing better. From there, you can start to situate your website’s purpose.
Understand the Work Involved
Much like managing a physical bricks and mortar store, taking care of your eCommerce store requires a lot of work. Not only is setting the store up a huge undertaking, but you need to understand the resources that will be required to maintain it, provide immediate customer service, and fix any problems that may occur for your customers.
Once you realize the work involved to maintain the store, it can be tempting to outsource all of the work to someone else. However, it is a good idea to educate yourself and any key team members involved in all of the store’s processes on how your stores shipping, inventory and content management systems work.
Choose the Perfect Platform
The platform you place your eCommerce store on is as important as finding the perfect location for a physical store. If you choose software that doesn’t fit your needs, not only will you be frustrated with the site, but more importantly, your customers will be frustrated as well.
The platform needs to function easily with your products, your fulfillment processes, your brand, your management team, and your customers. You can either choose a hosted site, such as Shopify.com or Etsy.com which offers limited control, or create a custom e-commerce websites using software such as Cs-Cart.
Design Your Store Right
The experience your customer goes through needs to be streamlined for the best conversion rate. From the home page to checkout, the experience needs to have as few steps as possible to avoid cart abandonment. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer and make the experience easy for you.
Another design aspect to consider is your product images other visual elements. This is the only view of your store the customer is going to get. Make your photos high quality, uniform in style, inviting, and large. Include product descriptions next to each photo that are extremely informative and answer every question the customer might have about the product.
Plan and Implement a Marketing Strategy
Building an eCommerce store is a lot of work. You want to have a marketing strategy planned so you can start earning ROI from your eCommerce efforts. Social media marketing is an easy and affordable way to spread the word, as well as leveraging your existing customer base with email marketing and discounts for referrals. You can also use third party re-sellers on different platforms, such as eBay, to increase market penetration.
Track Your Efforts
Most importantly, you need to track the efforts you are making with your eCommerce store. At the most basic level, integrate your store with a Google Analytics account. You can get a great deal of insight about your success from on-page Analytics. Additionally, you should understand the difference between organic SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and paid PPC (Pay-Per Click), as well as implement strategies, reporting and budgets for both.
Regardless of what you are selling on your eCommerce store, take the time to research the implementation and maintenance process methodically so you can build and deliver the store effectively to maximise your ROI.
This article was contributed by Magicdust, an Australian digital agency providing professional eCommerce websites. For a great checklist to make sure you are covering the basics of ecommerce check out this article.