The Internet has brought an incredible evolution in the past few years. More and more shoppers are going online to purchase goods everyday. Even the experts have predicted that e-commerce will surpass over $2 trillion in sales the next few years.
And when you shop online, check out, then have your favorite shoes, gadgets, and a nice watch delivered at your doorstep, you might think that the process isn’t that complicated. But the fact is, it may get complicated depending on the process you follow to build the e-commerce store.
Here, I’m sharing 12 actionable steps that I learned by analyzing top e-commerce sites like Amazon, eBay, and Flipkart. These steps will not only ensure for a professional route to get your site running successfully, but it will also set your marketing up for the future success.
Here are 12 Steps to Building a Successful E-commerce in just 12 months:
1. Find a Successful Niche
When you’re yet to figure out a niche for your e-commerce site, it’s important that you pick something you’re really passionate about.
First, take a piece of paper and write down all things that you like to buy and use in your hobbies and/or daily activities. For example, if you’re into winter sports, then you could build an e-commerce store to sell snowboards, goggles, gloves, jackets, and many other snowboarding related things.
Next find out what most people are complaining about on social media platforms. For instance, you could review posts in Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ communities. Doing so will help you understand the most common problem people face in your niche. Thus, you’ll have a better idea of what to offer them.
2. Do Market Research
Once you find your potential product, next step would be to locate whether there is a big market for the long run or not.
If not, then you surely don’t want to start an online store only to realize later that there aren’t much people interested in the product you’re selling. For this, you can use Keyword Planner Tool to find a high volume of search phrases for your product on Google which usually means big market. For instance, if you want to sell custom t-shirts, this is what the Keyword Planner have for you.
You can further research by targeting a specific country to find the audience for your product.
Another option is Google Trends. This tool can give you data about the average search volume of a product has changed over time. And by studying these data, you can know whether your prospective market is shrinking, steady, or growing.
3. Validate Your Idea
It’s great if you already found a product and its market. But are you sure that people will pay you money for your product after you build your e-commerce store?
Instead of telling people about how great your product is, try to find a way to open their wallet. If people (the desired audience) is not willing to do that for you, then there is something wrong. Now it could or could not be among these following reasons.
- You set your product price may be too high.
- There might be a better version of your product.
- You might be targeting the wrong audience.
- There isn’t any demand for your product.
To figure out the reason, ask yourself:
What’s preventing people from buying my product?
4. Know Your Competition
What is the competition for the product you’re trying to sell through your e-commerce site?
If there is no competition, then you need to rethink before you choose this niche. It may not be profitable enough or it may be too difficult to deliver.
On the other hand, if there is a competition, then it means someone is making money. Now you have to get information about that somebody. The business plan, the targeted customers, the products, how the product is helping, and whatever other things you can find. You need to know all these things before entering the competition.
5. Choose An Ideal E-commerce Platform
To avoid hassle and save time & money, it’s better if you choose a popular e-commerce platform. I personally recommend Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Magento, and WordPress.
Also, most of the developers are familiar with these platforms, so it’ll be easy for you to hire dedicated developer to integrate plugins, payment gateways, etc. in your e-commerce site. these e-commerce platforms are fully functional, user-friendly, and consist all the necessary ingredients to create an enjoyable user-experience for your customers.
6. Build Responsive Design
Your e-commerce store is not only supposed to meet just your requirements, but it should also fulfill your customers’ expectations. This means your e-commerce store should be Customer-centric.
7. Set Up Social Media Channels
Each e-commerce store needs to execute some kind of marketing in order to generate leads and increase the sales. And there are numbers of ways you can market your products such as Pay-per-click marketing, Search engine optimization, Tv & Newspaper ads, etc. But social media platforms are the king.
Also, the best part about social media marketing is its free! You can sign up for different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest create your brand pages and target your potential customers.
As a matter of fact, all big brands like Amazon, Flipkart, Ebay give a lot of attention to social media marketing. So needless to say more that social media marketing is one of the important aspects of running a successful e-commerce store.
8. Price Your Product
Now this might be the hardest thing to learn and execute in e-commerce business. Because, if your prices are too low, then obviously you won’t make any profits. And if prices are too high, your audience will try to find your alternative.
So how to price your products properly?
To save you the hassle, here’s something that can be helpful.
Calculate Your Product Costs:
You might think that you should take no profits at the start or sell your products less than what it costs you, but don’t do it.
Suppose you’re selling jeans in your e-commerce store and you have the following costs: $10 the product, $3 to acquire the customers, $1 for delivering, $1 for other expenses. This means you should never sell these jeans less than $15 and should be more if you want to profit from it.
Also Ask: How much your customer is willing to pay you? There might come certain situations where your customer might be willing to pay more depending on what you’re selling. So you could profit more from it because for obviously your customers want it that much.
9. Optimize Product Listing
When it comes to offering rich user-experience to your visitors, it’s essential to structure and present your products correctly for both search engines as well as human beings to convert them into buyers.
The images, first of all, should be of high quality throughout the store. And it’s better if you upload multiple images of a single product from different angles. This means a great deal to the shoppers when it comes to making a decision.
Another aspect is the description of the product. This is where you’ll have to play the word game. Include keywords related to your products in the page title, meta description as well as in product description.
10. Use Pop Ups In Your Online Store
You might have an image of popups in your mind as annoying boxes appear while reading content on a website. You think they really suck and wonder why most people use it. But the fact is, they work really well.
With pop-up, you can provide a strong call-to-action by announcing sales or free coupon codes by collecting their email addresses. And they’re proved to be worked. In one test, popup drove 1375% email subscribers than those who didn’t use.
A study also revealed that a website was receiving only 10-15 email subscribers per day despite having 50,000 visitors daily, while the popup increased the subscription amount by 150 per day.
With that being said, you can easily get a second or maybe a third chance to bring back the potential customers through their email addresses. The reason is, you get the permission to message them through email. And email is the most personal online environment where you have the distraction-free attention of your email subscribers or you can call them your potential customers.
11. Remove Frictions From Checkout Process
If your goal is to increase your sales, you need to ensure that none of your visitors get frustrated and leave your site with abandoned carts. This friction is one of the biggest challenges e-commerce Entrepreneurs are facing, especially when the world is moving into mobile age. However, the following actions can be taken to make sure the friction is minimal in your e-commerce store.
- Remove the need of account creation in the beginning.
- Reduce the number of step-screens a customer have to go through.
- Make sure to set the cheapest shipping option as default, unless there’s faster option with same price.
- Provide multiple ways to your customers to pay for purchasing product.
12. A/B Test Your Site
When it comes to improving online conversions, sales and achieving growth, A/B testing is the favourite method choice known to the growth hackers. And you can use this to test anything such as emails, web copy, landing pages, etc to experiment on your e-commerce site.
It simply helps you to understand how you can get your visitors to click on your shiny call-to-action button. You can test several elements like Layout, design, copywriting, headline, images to understand what works best to convert visitors into buyers.
Time to Take Action: Building a successful e-commerce store from scratch is not an easy task. But if you follow these steps strictly, prepare a structured plan and be ready of all pitfalls, then you can absolutely build a Successful e-commerce site in 12 months with these steps!
Which step do you think is the most important? Tell us below or tweet us!