The eCommerce sector is booming and with volume increases of 15.2 percent year over year for the third quarter of 2015, it seems like the opportunities are endless.
This is a great time to start an eCommerce business, provided you do it right. If you’ve been thinking about an online business, consider these steps as you develop your unique storefront:
Research your market. First and foremost, you have to know that there’s a market for whatever it is you’re going to sell. Read up on your area of expertise, evaluate the major competitors and cruise related forums to see if people are demanding more and better services. Another great way to gauge interest is to start a blog on the topic and place related ads on it.
Choose your platform carefully. You can run an eCommerce shop off of any one of an endless list of platforms, but none of them are made for everyone. If you don’t know a lot of about setting up an eCommerce business, you’ll want to choose a platform with plenty of support or partner with a 3rd party logistics (3PL) firm that has shopping cart integration available and will guide you through the virtual construction of your shop. Advanced users may be interested in self-hosting their platform for maximum flexibility.
Consider a niche site. Increasingly, both Internet and media are being divided heavily into niches. You can use this to your advantage when setting up shop — after all, having just a few very specific types of products can be easier to manage than thousands of non-specific products. Choose your niche carefully, since they can be very competitive. Focusing your efforts on underserved niches will allow you to become the number-one source for your product with much less expense and effort.
Spend some effort on SEO. Although SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is less important for a standalone blog, it’s vital for eCommerce — how else are your shoppers going to find you? These days, Google is focused on making sure that every site that ranks is built with the highest quality and best user experience in mind. Make sure that your product descriptions are accurate and composed using good grammar — the same goes for page copy. You can also give a big boost to your shop by showcasing products on your blog with links to your store, by featuring expert bloggers on your shop’s home page and integrating it all into your social media plans.
Be ready to crunch the numbers. No matter how much you plan or how well you think you’re doing, you’ll never really know if visitors are becoming customers unless you’re collecting and analyzing your site’s data. Most integrated eCommerce packages will be capable of reporting, though many need your direction to know what data to collect. Look at your data, look at it often, and make changes that will improve your bottom line.
There’s no time like now to get started with your eCommerce dreams. Just make sure you’ve done your homework and walked through these steps before you open shop, otherwise you may find you’ve invested a lot of money in a site that will never return it.