Like with any other business, managing your own eCommerce startup is no small feat. And to be successful you need to ensure that you are able to “pull” in customers from the endless abyss that is the Internet.
Whether you are waking up and working in your pajamas from home or getting to an office somewhere, being part of the eCommerce world means you've got competition and lots of it. Meaning there is a lot you need to take into consideration when handling anything to do with your business.
The key questions to always keep in mind are:
- How do you get customers to not just visit your site but to buy from you?
- And how do you get them to not just buy from you but to keep coming back?
These and more answered below. So behold! The seven steps to eCommerce success according to Internetretailer.com.
1. Build and Manage a Solid Catalog of Products
Understand what differentiates you — your products' uniqueness, competitive pricing, free shipping or perhaps even how your products are bundled. You need to know your differentiators so that your site and products can stand out from the hundreds or thousands of similar sites offering similar items.
What to avoid: Selling what you don't have in stock and forgetting to sync the price and quantity of your products across channels.
2. Know Your Channels and When To Push or Pull
Once you understand your target audience, figure our which channels will work best to “pull” in customers. If you are working on your own site, figure out how to bring in customers. If you are making use of marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, prepare to pay for extra marketing.
What to avoid: Complacency. If you are not actively getting more customers to buy from you, why are you in business?
3. Put Together A Budget For Marketing
You need to realize that there is a lot more to a marketing budget than just the marketing costs. Things like tracking competition, bumping up your website traffic, communicating with the people who are interested in the product, and making them your customers should all be included in the marketing budget.
What to avoid: Denial, a.k.a. “if you build it they will come” syndrome. You should instead assume no-one knows about you and translate that into your budget lines.
4. Get Yourself Some Streamlined Workflows
Once business starts going great, your days are bound to become logistical nightmares. This doesn't need to happen if you have streamlined workflows. Do your best to integrate and automate sales information into your accounting, inventory, and shipping systems.
What to avoid: Getting acquainted with busywork. Getting stuck doing things like data entry or so could suck away any enthusiasm you have for your business. And that's a place you don't want to get to.
5. Build a Foolproof Fulfillment System
A foolproof fulfillment system is one that is well-managed, accurate and fast. This is certainly the backbone of any eCommerce business. Particularly one that enjoys great customer reviews. Once you ensure yours is ironclad, then you can expect happy and repeat customers.
What to avoid: Leaving anything to chance when it comes to your fulfillment system. Pull out all the stops when it comes to ensuring products arrive on time and in mint condition.
6. Get The Shipping Right
Most eCommerce retailers don't realize that shipping is one area of the business that can be tweaked to increase profit margins. It is also an area of the business that can get you stuck in minutia. But once you get it right, it can increase your profits and ease your stress.
What to avoid: Settling for one carrier. Try out different ones to see who will give you the best results and profits.
7. Be Accountable
Just because you are running the show doesn't mean you shouldn't hold yourself accountable. Get your financials and tax compliance as squeaky clean as possible and sleep easy. And make sure everything is accurate and updated.
What to avoid: Lacking a sense of urgency. When business is slow, get the financials and taxes in order. Make it a habit so that when business is booming, things don't become overwhelming and you find yourself getting behind in the essentials.
Read more on InternetRetailer.com.