As a person who is interested in starting a new business, you have to be aware of your customers’ desires. You have to know what they need and why they need it. You have to know how much they’re willing to pay for it. And you have to know how many hurdles they’re willing to jump to get it.
The need and the price will change from one product to another. What will not change is the fact that people don’t want to jump over too many hurdles before buying. That’s probably one of the reasons why almost eight out of ten Americans shop online. It’s also the reasons why people are increasingly offering their products online. If you’re in the process of putting your own store online, pause for a second. You need to determine whether you have the right foundations for a successful online store. There are so many applications that allow you to make your own online store, such as Shopify (this review of Shopify may help you to decide whether to go down this route), you have to consider that your online store is going to take off, or go the way of so many others. Check whether you’ve done these things before the launch.
Do SEO and SEM Research
Do you want your online store to sit in some corner of the Internet, patiently waiting for customers to stumble upon it? You probably don’t. With an online store, as with anything online, search engines have a massive influence. If you play nice with them, understand their rules and adapt to them, your store will not gather dust.
Search engine optimization and search engine marketing are two different activities. Both help you catch customers who search for the things you sell. You need to do keyword research for both. With SEO, you then implement the keywords on your website in a way that gives your website a better placement in search results. This helps you get organic traffic. With SEM, you use paid ads that appear in search results. Both methods work. If this is the first time you’re hearing about them, hire someone to help you. If it’s not, make sure that everything is set up before your website launches.
Remember when we talked about people not wanting to jump over hurdles? Well, creating an online store doesn’t remove all of the hurdles. In fact, online stores can be filled with them. The good stores try to minimize their number, and so should you.
When people land on your homepage or any other page on your website, you don’t want them to stay there. You want them to look around, see what you have to offer, check your wares. And you need to make it easy for them to do so. The navigation on your website needs to be useful, quick, and obvious. People will not spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get where they need to be.
Choose a Good Gateway
If everything goes well, a visit by a potential customer will end with a purchase. That’s why you’re doing all of this. People who shop online expect to be able to pay online, which is something they can’t do without a payment gateway.
You probably knew this before. But you should also know that no two gateways are the same. In fact, you should compare different payment gateways before deciding which one you should use. Check their security, costs, and payment methods they support.
Make Sure Products Have Images and Descriptions
Many online stores treat their product images and descriptions as undeserving of their attention. In fact, it’s not uncommon to copy images and descriptions from the manufacturer’s website.
You might get away with using the manufacturer’s images, but descriptions — you need your own. And they better not be generic, because that will hurt your store. Descriptions are a great opportunity to sell the product. Write some convincing copy, and make sure you use the right keywords for it. Don’t forget to make sure that the descriptions match the product images.
Plan the Launch
If you launch your store and no one is there to see it, did you actually launch your store? Of course not. The whole point of a launch is to make noise, to catch attention, to have people crashing the server because it can’t handle so many requests. The last one shouldn’t happen, but you get the picture — the whole point of a launch is for your store to get some customers quickly.
It is possible to build a store and launch it one day. And some might argue that it’s not a bad way to do things. However, careful planning and doing things slowly has its benefits. For one, it allows you to be meticulous when it comes to things like keywords, product descriptions, and navigation. And it gives you time to create a buildup to the launch. You can use social media, email marketing, create a placeholder website, distribute flyers. Whatever type of marketing you’re able to do. Just make sure you have a buildup if there’s going to be a launch.
Once your store is online and it starts generating sales, that’s when the real work begins. You’ll learn a lot in the first couple of months of having an online store. You’ll need to monitor a lot of things and calculate a lot of KPIs. You’ll also need to do constant testing and improvements to make the store better. But to do all of that, you will need to launch the store properly. So make sure you do it right.