Few industries have performed as well as e-commerce in the past decade or so. As technology continues to advance, e-commerce only grows its presence, creating a bigger customer base yearly. It’s no wonder that entrepreneurs see this as a great avenue to pursue and get a slice of the pie for themselves. And while there is certainly lots of profit to be made in e-commerce, it doesn’t mean the road to starting your first online store is quick and easy.
Here are some tips that can help you start your first online store and get you off on the right foot.
What Will You Sell?
The first consideration is easily the most important – what will you sell online? The e-commerce industry is vast and you can find just about everything available online nowadays. That means competition is stiff. Chances are that big bright idea you have may already be done by many companies not just one.
Consider what you feel passionate about, what you have experience and knowledge with, what is trending, what shows growth potential, and what doesn’t seem over-saturated.
Apparel Consistently Proves Popular in e-Commerce
In terms of what sells best online, apparel is incredibly popular. Statistics show that in 2023 alone, the e-commerce apparel industry is expected to hit more than US$820 billion in value. And this isn’t a one-off; it is an industry that has been enjoying a continuous climb in terms of value. It is projected that by 2027 that number could skyrocket to US$1.2 trillion.
Adding apparel to your store can include any sort of fashion item such as clothing, footwear, hats, gloves, and so forth.
For e-commerce stores that want to add apparel while increasing brand awareness, you may want to look into offering custom clothing complete with your logo. There are printing companies that can create apparel with your designs on it using direct-to-garment (DTG) printing techniques. Look for a DTG printing store that makes the process smooth and simple, allowing you to choose the product, send them your customized design, and then add it to your storefront.
Customized apparel can also be a great way to stand out from the competition because even though apparel is popular, customers have a lot to choose from. It can be a volatile industry to try and break into. Offering a niche or unique product can certainly help you to grow your business, especially when just starting.
Who Is Your Target Market?
As you firm up what you will be selling online, this is a great time to be thinking about your target market or customer. Who is going to want your product(s)? Who is it geared towards? Doing a deep dive into the demographics is essential, as knowing your customer helps you to sell products more effectively.
Besides understanding who your target customer is, you’ll also need to get an understanding of that particular marketplace. Researching the competition can help you better position your e-commerce store and ensure it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of options.
How Will You Advertise Your Online Store
You’ve now determined what you’re selling and who your target market is, so the question is how do you plan on reaching them? What’s your marketing and advertising plan? Traditional marketing still has its place, but digital marketing tends to offer the best return on investment. You’ll be able to reach a huge potential customer base for a fraction of the price of traditional marketing.
One thing you’ll want to embrace in your digital marketing plan is social media. Social media can make or break your efforts, it’s that important. You’ll need to be active on all the top platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Social media gives you a chance to showcase new products, make announcements, engage with followers, and link back to your storefront.
Customer Service Needs to Be a Priority
Standing out and being unique can be a tall task nowadays, but consider how customer service can help you in this regard. Offering exceptional levels of customer service can be enough to grow a loyal customer base filled with repeat customers. It can also help in that happy customers will spread the word – taking advantage of word of mouth.
Customer service begins the moment they land on your storefront right up until the product arrives at their doorstep.
Ensure a Smooth and Fast Shopping Experience
If you’ve ever tried shopping online through a storefront that is sluggish, difficult to navigate, and filled with issues – then you know how off-putting this can be. Chances are the customer won’t follow through on the purchase, and they likely won’t be back to give the store a second chance.
The online shopping experience needs to be simple enough that even novices feel confident. Provide customers with fast and easy ways to navigate the site such as drop-down menus and a search tool. Don’t overload the pages to make them confusing and speed should always be top-notch.
When you first open the storefront things may be running flawlessly but it’s up to you to continually check and run tests that it stays that way. Fixes and tweaks may be necessary, and they should be addressed immediately.
The Check-Out Experience Offers Another Opportunity
The check-out experience also offers another opportunity to impress shoppers. It needs to be straightforward, fast, and, most importantly, secure. Customers need to know that any information they are keying in will be kept safe and private.
Did you know the number of payment options you offer customers also plays a role in customer satisfaction? Make sure you cover all the big ones so that customers are in control and can choose their preferred method.
Providing various shipping options can be another great feature. You can offer standard and expedited shipping, again giving control to customers.
Start Your e-Commerce Store in the Most Promising Way
Using all of these tips can help you to start your e-commerce store in the most promising way, making the way forward that much smoother and hopefully that much more profitable.