It is all too easy to get carried away when setting up a new ecommerce site. Launching any new business is such an exciting process that’s in no wonder we can tend to get a little wrapped up in the bigger picture.
Instead, however we should start by looking at all the important little details that we need to set in place to build a strong foundation for our emerging business. With that in mind we wanted to share our tried and tested tips for building a strong foundation for new ecommerce startups.
Stalk Your Competitors
You have already carved out your niche, have branded your product and know exactly how to sell its benefits to your demographic. You are confident in how you are going to market your product to make sure that it stands out and you have a strategic plan in place. However one key part of that process, that is not so widely documented when starting up an ecommerce site, is the need to research your competitors and their activity in the market.
One interesting area to research, when it comes to your competitors, is who is paying for online advertising. Paid for ads generally come from the companies that are doing well, so it’s worth noting the relevant ads on Google and monitoring what they’re doing effectively. We are not talking of imitating these successful competitors however, quite the opposite, of course. Monitoring their activities can trigger strategic thinking on your part regarding how you need to market yourself, in a way that is totally unique to what is already be promoted online.
Keeping abreast of your competitors marketing activity can give you a competitive edge, as there is nothing worse than spending weeks coming up with a marketing strategy to be unaware that one of your competitors has already done it, or is currently doing something similar.
Monitor Consumer Activity
Looking at the products that your target demographic is buying will provide you with invaluable insight into consumer trends and the popularity of certain products. These should then have a big influence on the decisions you are making about the range of products you are wanting to focus on. Sites like eBay can be a really great resource for watching market movements in your products sector. Looking at bid counts and how fast paced the selling process is happening, will allow you to feel out the popularity and therefore level of success of certain products, so you can understand what products you need to be focusing on and which products don’t have a strong market.
Reading reviews online about competitors products will also teach you many important things about the products you are wanting to supply. Reading through consumer reactions and experiences with similar products will give you enormous insight into how you can improve on current offerings and how you can avoid the same mistakes your competitors have made. You will be able to learn about your target demographics greatest needs, their biggest pain points and their main sources of customer contentment. Gathering all this research will allow you to build a powerful brand, an efficient customer service support system and a commercially viable business proposition.
One of the major elements of setting up an ecommerce site is setting up a strong, reliable and safe web hosting provider. You need to make sure that you have a secure site, with an inbuilt firewall that will prevent your website from being hacked. Research the different web hosting providers in the market and make sure you choose wisely. This is not an area of your business that you can scrimp on. Going for cheaper options may be tempting in the early stages of the business but you’ll be kicking yourself for not going for the slightly more costly options if your site ever gets hacked.
As your customers are going to be paying for goods on your website you also need to make sure that the translation process is also safe for your consumers so that they can feel confident buying products from your site. If customers don’t feel completely safe providing their payment details then your conversation rates are going to drop and you will suffer from shopping cart abandonment. Therefore making sure the payment part of your site is completely safe and protected is one of the most important things that you can do for your ecommerce startup.
Ecommerce Fulfillment Partner
Partnering up with a fulfillment service provider is another really important step in securing the logistical fluidity of your business. Even if you’re not at the stage where you are dealing with large quantities of orders, you should at least be evaluating an ecommerce fulfillment service for when orders really pick up.
You have the experience and know-how surrounding your products however that doesn’t necessarily mean you have any knowledge when it comes to export and packing and delivery logistics. Therefore looking into building a relationship with a fulfillment partner will mean that when the demand really begins to build, you have a company that already understands your business and is ready to move forwards as soon as possible.
Once you have looked into all the above areas you will be well on the way to building a powerful and sturdy foundation to your ecommerce startup. You will have a clear picture of what your competitors are doing and therefore how you can do it better. You will have a clear list of prospects and a strategy in place for targeting them.
You will have a secure system in place that offers a reliable and safe service that your customers can trust. You will have logistical partners in place for when things really take off and the big, bulky orders start coming in. That’s when things get really exciting and the strong foundation you have built really does its job in holding up your new startup to make sure everything runs smoothly and your company can grow and flourish in your chosen sector.