It’s a new year! Time for new beginnings, new opportunities and new goals. If you’re an entrepreneur, starting your very first eCommerce store is probably at the top of your to-do list for 2016. To help get you started, this blog will give you a few pointers to help you out.
Keep Your Options Open
Before you choose an eCommerce platform, it’s always a good idea to shop around first. Just as you would test drive a new car, try out some different free platform trials. You want to compare the different features on each platform so you know what best fits your needs for you store. Once you find one accommodating, you can begin to build your business.
Set Up and Test Your Store
When you select your software and begin to set up your store, make sure you test it out. You want to make sure that your pages are running smoothly and the user experience is set up for new customers. Here are a few items to review:
Your Landing Page: Make sure you verify that your store’s landing page is working as intended. This is the first page your visitors see so, you want your customers to easily navigate through your store. Make sure to check this page out a few times a week to confirm that your customers are getting the desired experience.
Cart Functionality: Be sure to test products so when customers are ordering to purchase an item, they add the product to their cart, and continue to checkout… it’s all running smoothly. Practice adding items to your store’s cart and confirm that the product price and options (if you have them) are adding correctly.The last thing you want to see happen is after launching your store, yu discover customers are unable to add and purchase the items they desire.
Payment Capture: It is very important to confirm your checkout page and gateway are working as planned. The best way to go about this is simply place a test order on your storefront. Add a product to the cart, enter your billing and shipping information, select a shipping option and choose a payment method. This may require you to use a real credit card to verify that the transaction goes through your gateway and bank account with no issues. After placing the order, check with your Gateway and bank that the money has been successfully processed.
Promote, Promote, Promote!
Marketing is one of the most important keys to a successful online business. Social medias offer one of the best ways to promote a store for free. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are staples for all online businesses, and allow you to target your followers through organic or paid posts.
Search Engine Optimization is another highly effective, but more challenging marketing tool. When people talk about showing up on Google and Big searches, they are discussing effective SEO. The ins and outs of SEO can be difficult to navigate, so make sure to do plenty of research before diving into this marketing tool on your own or consider hiring a team of professionals to tackle this area for you.
Finally, Pay-Per-Click marketing and shopping feeds offer cost-effective and fast ways to drive traffic and revenue to your online business. These can be especially effective for new businesses wanting an initial boost of site traffic and sales.
Embrace Your Mistakes
As you begin this new journey of opening your new business, its important to remember that you will make mistakes. It’s a normal occurrence, we are only human, after all. Just remember, it’s essential to helping you learn and succeed. Understanding your mistakes will teach you how to avoid similar ones in the future and yield better results. You may not immediately see a large growth in product sales, but as long as you continue to learn, you will see improvements to yourself and your business!
Always Be Learning
You may enter the eCommerce world without knowing anything about the industry, running a business, pricing products and so on. But, because you are passionate and willing to learn, you will definitely pick up essential skills along your journey.
Some of these skills will come from the every day operations, such adding products, taking photos, or writing for your site. Others, like running analytics on your site, learning HTML and CSS coding and creating social campaigns may take a bit of additional training. Regardless of your approach, don’t panic if you don’t know about a new area. Take a deep breath and start learning! Your business will reward you.
Congratulations! You’re ready to start your eCommerce journey. Learning how to run an online store may require an hour or two of extra work each day. But by working hard and keeping up with eCommerce and online marketing trends, you can expect great results. As always, we are here to help you every step of the way – don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for any questions about Volusion!