Ecommerce is one of the best ways to make money on the internet. Millions of people all around the world shop online these days so if you can tap into this market, you are surely onto a winner. So, sounds simple doesn’t it? Well, the thing is, it is simple but it really isn’t easy to make a successful website as there are hundreds and thousands of ecommerce websites out there that you will be competing with. So, how do you make sure that your website stands out from the crowd and that you actually make money? Well, that’s a difficult question isn’t it.
Although there is no exact formula to doing this, we have come up with a few tips that you should follow if you want to ensure that your ecommerce website has absolutely any chance of being successful at all.
#1 – Don’t Skimp On Design
Establishing trust is one of the most important things for any website to consider but perhaps even more so in the ecommerce industry. Think about it, if people are going to buy from your website, they want to know that you’re genuine and trustworthy. I’ve come across a lot of sites where I’ve almost made a purchase before but then talked myself out of it because the design of the site didn’t really look up to scratch.
Sure, there are a lot of costs when you’re starting any website, especially an ecommerce website but you really need to make sure that you get a good designer in if you stand any hope of being successful. A good design will be clean and offer a great user experience. It’s not all about creating the best looking ecommerce site ever, it’s about actually allowing the visitor to find what they want to find and purchase it with ease, without getting lost in a confusing site.
There are a lot of templates out there that can be customised or even used out of the box, but if you’re really serious about your ecommerce website, it is likely best that you have a bespoke design commissioned by a serious designer.
#2 – Know Your Market
Whatever business you’re trying to start, this is one of the most important lessons. Strangely, a lot of people don’t ever think about this and thus, they get theirselves and their business into a lot of trouble. An ecommerce website is just like any other business so you need to make sure that you follow all of the normal business rules. Figure out who you’re selling to and how you’re going to market your website to that particular demographic. Know the products that you should be selling and know what people want.
This is certainly not an easy task and it can be the downfall of a lot of online businesses. If there is no market for your products, then you are simply going to fail, no matter how much time and effort you put into the rest of your ecommerce business strategy.
#3 – Market Your Site
A lot of people building websites these days never really market themselves and this is a huge problem. Think about it, there are hundreds and thousands of websites out there, ecommerce websites too so if you don’t market yourself effectively, how are people ever going to find you? Many years ago, the philosophy of ‘build it and they will come’ worked well for a lot of websites, which is why Amazon and similar sites are still around but right now, there is too much competition for this philosophy to work.
Marketing your website can be relatively expensive depending on how you choose to market it but if you’re creative enough, you might be able to find ways to market your website without breaking the bank. Video and SEO are both great ways to get the message out there about your site, as are daily deals websites too.
#4 – Use Social Media
This is a point that can’t be stressed enough. Almost every website , whether regular or ecommerce, will use social media to market their site and keep their customers updated these days. EBay and many other websites have their own social media channels which are used to keep everyone informed about offers, product updates and more.
Using social media channels is also a free, or relatively cheap way to market your website too. Facebook and Twitter are used by millions of people around the world so it doesn’t matter what kind of ecommerce website you have, you can be sure that you will find your target market on one of these sites. If you have an ecommerce website that is aimed at business customers, there are also sites like LinkedIn too. Don’t forget about some of the lesser known sites like Pinterest either.
#5 – Make Sure It Works
There’s nothing worse when it comes to ecommerce than a poor visitor experience. You need to ensure that your site works. THis means basing your site around a shopping cart system that isn’t going to let you down and that is stable. There are a lot of shopping cart systems out there which are extremely good, even the open source ones. Of course, there is always the option to have a custom built system but that’s going to be pretty expensive.
You need to make sure the shopping cart works well and that you have good payment options for your visitors. If people land on your site and don’t have a clue where to check out or can’t pay using their debit cards, they are likely going to leave.
Of course, it really isn’t as simple as these 5 tips but these are a starting point for anyone thinking of building their own ecommerce site. I also recommend checking out any competitors and figuring out a USP. If you don’t differentiate yourself from your competitors, there is likely no future for your business.