It used to be expensive to own a store. Unless you had deep pockets or could get a sizeable bank loan, it would remain a pipe dream. It would also take some time to start the business. You had to wait months to renovate the property or about a year to have it built.
Now anyone can start a store for less than $500, and it only takes about a week to have an operating store. An eCommerce store can display images of merchandise, offer a secure way to accept payments, and use dropshipping to fulfil orders for physical products.
In essence, a virtual property does the same thing as a brick-and-mortar store. It finds wholesalers and customers, buying from one and selling to the other.
While building an e-commerce store may be quick, inexpensive, and functional, this does not guarantee business success. “Unlike the Field of Dreams,” daring effort alone may not be enough. If you build it, they still may not come.
Here are 3 essential keys to eCommerce success that will tilt the odds in your favour:
1. Grasp the Technical Details
Chances are you will build a store by renting space on an eCommerce platform.
While they may provide you with everything you need from an easy site-builder template to a payment processor – you won’t get far if you don’t read the technical documentation to understand how to set up all the features properly. If you randomly cobble things together, there may be flaws in the look-and-feel of the store and embarrassing glitches in how it works.
If you still don’t understand how to set things up, you can always ask customer support to clarify the technical details.
Many people who buy eCommerce software from a provider dislike following written instructions. They believe that everything should be intuitive and argue that if they hit enough buttons, they’ll be able to figure it all out.
These impatient entrepreneurs have the same attitude as people who buy ready-to-assemble furniture, toss away the instruction sheet, and work things out through trial and error. While they may finally succeed, the finished product will frustrate them. They don’t understand why the legs wobble and are mystified why a few nuts and bolts remain in the plastic assembly kit.
2. Figure out Online Marketing
Assuming you’ve now created a user-friendly site, one someone can access from multiple devices, including mobile ones, you still have another major obstacle to overcome: generating traffic to your website.
You may have created an eCommerce site whose graphics, product descriptions, and friendly navigation provide shoppers with superb user experience, but without customers, you won’t have a business.
Technical prowess and an eye for the aesthetic design alone will not guarantee success. Without savvy marketing strategies, your website will be a ghost town, a fascinating place no-one visits.
To be good at online marketing, you must audit your SEO and learn how to advertise using Facebook ads and Google PPC ads. You must also be able to build a responsive email list and build relationships through social media marketing.
3. Understand Business Finance
Business people are made, not born. Unless you gain an understanding of cash-flow, your business can still flounder.
After you’ve built a gorgeous store and attracted a constant stream of visitors, you need to learn the basics of business money management. For instance, you need to design a realistic budget, understand your income and expenses, and find an effective way to pay off any debts incurred starting the business.
Although there are many more things to learn to build a flourishing eCommerce business, it will only prosper after your first master website design, online marketing, and business finance.