For the last few years and for many years to come, e-commerce is expected to continue its exponential growth. As an e-commerce entrepreneur or somebody who is thinking about taking the plunge, this gives you plenty of opportunity for huge success if you get your foot in the door now.
While the e-commerce industry is set for unprecedented growth over the next few years, you will only see results if you approach it in the proper way—you cannot simply just throw up a Shopify or PrestaShop store and expect to see great results.
5 Critical Tips for Success in the E-Commerce Industry
If you approach the e-commerce industry in the right way, you stand a much better chance for success in the long-term.
These are five tips we think are most important.
1. Don’t rush ahead with your launch
Yes, we get it—you are excited and are eager to launch and begin bringing in the cash. This is not something you can rush towards though, it takes time.
One of the biggest mistakes that wannabe entrepreneurs make is forcing the launch of their website. You only get one shot at launching your site and you need to make it count. While it is fine to purchase a domain page and set up a sort-of landing page that teases towards who you are, what you do, and when you will launch, you don’t want to unleash the big reveal until all the groundwork is done.
2. Test everything out
Prior to, during, and after your big launch, you need to invest substantial time in testing your website, store, customer support channels, and all other elements that are important to your business. Do your research, perform analytics, and make sure that everything is working as expected.
Doing this eliminates the chances that a potential customer will come across a problem and be discouraged, a problem that you could have found and solved yourself.
Today, social media is at the core of any business. It doesn’t matter what a business does, what industry it is in, or who its target market is, social media is absolutely crucial to long-term success. For e-commerce businesses, the stakes with social media are so much higher.
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media platforms give you an intimate look into the lives of your target audience and customers, a look that is constant 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. While it is tempting to outsource your social media efforts to a social media manager, you should also be involved with it—especially during the early days—so you can learn more about the people who matter to your business.
4. Focus on SEO
As e-commerce grows as an industry, more and more businesses enter the market, a market that is already quite crowded. Due to this, it is more important than ever to stay on top of your SEO (search engine optimization) so that your business stays ahead of the competition and is found easily by potential customers with a search intent that aligns with your product.
SEO is a huge and, admittedly, quite complicated thing so we recommend doing further research on this topic if you don’t yet know anything about it.
5. Focus on your target audience
One of the major reasons that e-commerce businesses fail is because they don’t focus enough on their target audience, the people that they want to purchase their product(s).
Your website should be designed in a way that is as user-friendly as possible. Have simple navigation, provide high-quality images and detailed descriptions (after all, your customer is purchasing your product online—the drawback here is they can’t look, touch, and feel it before committing to a purchase), and offer incentives such as free shipping.
While you want to make a profit, it is far more important, particularly during your launch phase, to put the customer before profit and provide a positive experience. Doing this earns you a good reputation and the positive word-of-mouth from satisfied customers is far more beneficial in the long-term over prioritizing profits.