An e-commerce platform is for the online store as walls, shelves, lights and colors are for a brick-and-mortar store. More than that, beyond displaying products, the platform is also responsible to consolidate inventory, cash flow and other crucial informations.
So, after searching high and low, you are all set to convert your product idea into reality. You have found merchandise, talked with the suppliers, ordered samples and discovered that you are ready to sell your products online.
But, what now? Do you know how to set up a successful online store? Nevertheless, you’ve still got a lot of things to accomplish since you’re in the pre-launch phase. It’s a crucial time for every retailer or startup as it will set the tone for your ecommerce business going forward.
Several entrepreneurs today come up with their beautifully-designed estores, but most of them fail due to lack of planning and marketing skills. Unfortunately, a majority of websites are launched without targeting any audience and picking the right platform.
So, before you dive into the ecommerce marketplace, you need to be prepared with in-depth market research and proper plan. In this post, you will find some of the most powerful tips on how to create an online store. Are you ready?
How to Set Up an Online Store
The more time you spend developing a complex online store, the less time you’ll have to work on other significant things such as creating engaging content, promoting your business, and interacting with your customers. So, always choose an easy-to-use platform when launching. Later, you can change or upgrade if you want to (make sure you don’t mess up the website migration, though. But, what ecommerce platform to choose?
Choose an Easy-to-Use Ecommerce Platform
The easiest way to create an online store is to pick a user-friendly ecommerce platform. Some of the widely-preferred platforms are listed below:
If you’re a non-technical person and want more control over your ecommerce website, you should choose an easy-to-use option. Most users today prefer WooCommerce since it allows retailers to quickly get a website up and running. WooCommerce is basically a plugin that can convert any WordPress website or blog into a fully-functional online store. You can implement different payment methods, add unlimited products and sell them in a easy way.
Choose an Impressive Web Design
90% of online shoppers consider visual appearance as the most significant factor while making a purchase. It doesn’t matter if you have amazing products in your niche and excellent customer services on top of that – if your website’s design is poor, your online presence will be doomed soon. In order to come up with an engaging online store, you can either hire a web designer or pick a ready-made theme and customize it according to your needs.
Many platforms offer a large number of free or premium themes designed especially for ecommerce. Remember, your design elements should always entertain customers; you need to choose high-quality full-width images and avoid distraction by adding minimal text.
How to Promote Your Online Store Before Launching
Have you prepared a strong social network? Are you connected with your target audience? Is your product appealing enough to capture users’ attention?
Preparing for the big launch of your ecommerce website can be a bit overwhelming. For many retailers, there’s a nearly single-minded focus when launching an estore which is completely dedicated to finding and displaying the right products.
However, several significant things must be considered in the early planning stages of your online store:
Prepare Your Online Marketing Plan
Using internet as your marketing ally allows you to connect with a large number of potential customers using creative approaches. A well-planned online marketing action can help you build a successful eCommerce website. With the right usage of it, you can connect with the target audience interested in your brand or products.
But, how will you prepare a strong social network? Let’s find out:
Branding through Social Platforms
When it comes to branding and pre-launch promotion, you really need to cover your base on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram which have become the largest social networks. Even if you don’t want to use them heavily, you must claim your name on these platforms to manage your brand and promote the launching.
Remember, buying hundreds of followers is not a prolific decision. When you buy followers, you aren’t connecting with the audience who are willing to engage with you or interesting in your posts. You are just growing the numbers.
Instead, you should boost your network by inviting friends and family members. Or, you can share some engaging content to connect with the interested audience using hashtags. Besides, try other social platforms such as Pinterest, Google+, Snapchat, Tumblr, etc.
Once you have created different social accounts, it’s time to prepare a strong communication channel. Email marketing is known as one of the most productive marketing channels, providing a consistently high return on investment. There are multiple options available in the market for managing your email campaigns, but, you’ll need to choose the most suitable one that best fits your preferences. Some of the most widely-preferred email marketing platforms are:
As we mentioned, email marketing is the most effective marketing tool, make sure to carefully choose templates, draft a welcome mail, manage your campaigns.
Launch Your Landing Page
Landing pages can either work as a temporary home page until you launch a full-functional e-store or as a lead-capturing tool. It will also display your brand and engage your pre-launch audience. Today, you can find a wide range of free online tools that will help you build an attractive landing page with simple drag-and-drop builder:
Moreover, a landing page will give you an opportunity to create an email list of visitors that are interested in what you are going to sell and to learn more about your brand. In order to get a huge email data, simply make a “create an account” or “sign up” option on your landing page. Besides, you can integrate Google Analytics, MailChimp, and social media platforms without having to use any coding skills.
Other Essential Things to Consider
Do Your Keyword Research
Before you launch your newly-designed online store, it’s essential to do some keyword research since it is a crucial part of SEO (search engine optimization). The reason for picking the right keywords is to allow search engines know what your online store is all about and what products you have. Furthermore, SEO improves your visibility and rankings that help potential customers find your website while looking for the products you sell. You should try Google Keyword Planner Tool which allows you to explore the right keywords and their searches per month. Besides, if you choose WooCommerce, you will get several WordPress SEO plugins that will help you optimize your online store at best.
Offer Excellent Customer Services
Your customers need to know they will get excellent support after making a purchase if required. Consulting before the shopping and ensuring troubleshooting after the shopping can turn the buyers into loyal and returning customers. The most reliable and helpful kind of support is a live-chat feature which must work 24/7. This feature can boost your conversion and help you win the trust of customers. If you can’t afford resources to provide round-the-clock support, you should still offer some kind of service to help website visitors during working hours.
Pick Multiple Payment Methods
Before you pick any eCommerce platform, you must know what payment gateways work well with it. Payment gateways you choose will determine how you collect money from the customers. For instance, WooCommerce supports several payment gateways and international remittance, making it the most versatile option. You can also implement local payment methods with your WooCommerce store such as EBANX.
BigCommerce is another most popular platform which comes with digital wallet options such as PayPal One-Touch and Apple Pay. Furthermore, it supports over 60 different payment gateways and you can choose Shopify which will allow you to add more than 70 payment methods. Don’t forget to check features and price of different options. This little research and efforts will let you see the full picture and make the decision easier.
Remember, building a successful eCommerce store demands hard work, productive marketing strategies, and proper planning. By following all these tips mentioned in this guide, you can become more aware of what customers prefer before making their buying decision and set the right tone for your e-store from the beginning.
Willing to know more about how to optimize your business and get high performance rates? See our success case story with Lola Store!