Online purchasing is a bigger industry than ever, and businesses all over the world are utilising the power of ecommerce to boost sales, enhance the customer experience and maximise their resources. By ditching the archaic bricks-and-mortar paradigm for selling products, more people than ever are moving stock online. Ecommerce sales in North America alone are worth over £400 billion dollars and rising, and more people than ever are rising to the opportunity.
Despite the huge potential for profit, and the relatively low start-up costs, venturing in to the ecommerce jungle is by no means easy – here’s a quick guide on how to get started in ecommerce, and what to avoid when selling online.
Make the hard work count
When starting out it’s crucial that you maintain a realistic idea of the amount of work involved – setting up an ecommerce store means there’s no rent to pay or storefront to set up, but you’ve still got stock to manage, a website to maintain, and –potentially- colleagues to organise.
You’re not selling wares in a marketplace, so it’s imperative that you pursue an effective and aggressive marketing policy. Website traffic is king in the online marketplace, and fortunately there are a number of things you can do to maximise your visitor count. You’ll want to start by implementing some basic metrics and analytics tracking – there are many bespoke services available out there, but there are worse places to start than Google Analytics.
Your website is your store-front, so once you’ve made it attractive you need to get some real estate – online that means optimising your website copy and technical details for search engines. Google constantly trawls the internet for content relevant to consumers’ needs. This means well-written, informative content and a user-friendly UI.
Get on social media
Social media monoliths like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are an incredibly effective vehicle for promoting word-of-mouth traffic, and it’s your job as a retailer to ensure that potential customers can find you, wherever they are.
Before you venture out in to the world with your own website, try selling via established platforms such as eBay and Alibaba, this is a great way to gauge the public’s interest in your products, and gain some experience with the ins-and-outs of online sales, without the hassle of setting up your own business. Once you’ve tried it out, you can set up your own fully-functional site like SmokeCartel, and start selling!
What are you waiting for?
Once you’re ready to start, it’s imperative that you choose the right ecommerce platform for you. If you choose right, everything will run smoothly – get the wrong one and you’ll have difficulty getting off the ground. Multiple platforms exist and in varying stages of development. You’re looking for one which is well-optimised, offers effective user support, and balances well between customer-face and back-of-house operations.
You’ll likely either be hosting your own content and installing ecommerce software, or using a hosting solution like Etsy or the increasingly-popular Shopify. The more popular and reputable a service, the more likely it is to work for you. This may sound simple, but it’s easy to get lost online!