We’ve previously talked about the steps you should take to start an e-commerce business. But, once you’re past the incubation phase and you’re building up something special, what do you concentrate on next? You’ve built the foundation, and now it’s time to construct the supports before you invite your guests in.
You can’t have sales without customers, and you can’t have customers without having a compelling personality and creating awareness of your business. Here’s 7 tactics you’ll want to take to form a successful e-commerce business.
Launch only when you’re ready
Don’t jump the gun, as they say. You need to do all your research, planning and organizing before debuting online. First impressions count, and if you launch with an unfinished or unoptimized site, people won’t stick around and likely won’t come back
Lay the groundwork. Set up a coming soon page. Ask for email addresses. Introduce yourself online, in all the places your potential customers visit and hang out. And make sure to test everything, starting with site speed and going all the way through to the buying process. One button in the wrong place, or a checkout that takes too long, and you’ll lose ground.
Focus on your customers
Think like your customers. They want a site that’s easy on the eyes, informative, and simple to navigate. So, use eye-catching photography on your banners, have lots of pictures on your product pages (shots of the product on its own and in use), and make your copy full of little tidbits of information and personality without being a sea of words (bullet points and humour, for the win).
Your menus should be easy to spot and summarized well—no one likes digging through sub-category after sub-category. And keep your checkout process streamlined as much as you can. The fewer the screens and the less time they spend checking out, the better. Consider dropping the need to register an account or provide a phone number.
Most of all, make your site mobile-friendly. This is where your e-commerce business will make most of its money down the road. Make it simple, sleek and easy to find what they want. Your customers will thank you (with their repeat business).
Dedicate time and effort into your SEO
This is one of the biggest ways your customers will find you, so it’s worth putting in the work. Study all you can on SEO, get an analytics account, research keywords, and find yourself a copywriter. You’ll need to know what customers are searching for, what catches their eye when they’re deep in those search results, and what information will make them stay.
Keywords and calls to action are important, but so is rich, informative and compelling copywriting. Smart SEO without great writing is robotic, and great writing without smart SEO won’t attract attention. Essentially, one without the other will not sell.
Make social media key to your marketing
Social media platforms have really stepped up their marketing integration efforts. It’s now easier than ever to advertise your products, and getting customers into (and through) the checkout process has become faster than ever. But don’t forget to be a personality and provide value.
People don’t want to follow companies. They want to follow brands. They want to see themselves enjoying a lifestyle, and if you can’t provide that vision and value, they won’t follow. Be warm, be funny, be relevant. Be human.
Don’t overlook email campaigns and sign-up offers
If your customers have bought from you, or signed up for your email list, they want to hear from you. Don’t subject them to radio silence. Let them know about new products and how to order or pre-order them. Tell them about sales and promotions, ways to save more by buying more, or gifts they can grab for themselves while on your site.
You’ll need to entertain while you inform, and that means nice pictures and warm copy. Set the stage, bring them into the scene, and present them with a “Buy Now” button. Exclusive products and bonuses like ebooks, checklists and discount codes are great sign-up incentives that’ll make them feel appreciated and confident in their decision to buy from you.
Never stop learning and evolving
Study your analytics, customer inquiries and sales histories. These will tell you where you’re striking gold with customers, where you can shore up your marketing efforts, and where certain things just aren’t working (and may never work). And don’t stop there.
Learn all you can about new marketing channels, new sales opportunities on your existing platforms, and even topics that aren’t necessarily related to sales (or even your chosen product category). Anything that makes your e-commerce business smarter, more insightful, and more valuable to your customers is never wasted.
Keep an eye on your packaging supplies
You can’t ship out all those customer orders if you don’t have the packaging to ship them in. Develop a packaging strategy that minimizes what you spend on materials and avoids dimensional weight shipping overcharges. Then develop a schedule that keeps those packaging supplies at a safe and reliable level, so you’re never left scrambling to cover a spike in sales.
And if you’ve got the room in your budget (or you’re ready to really put your competition in its place), invest in custom packaging supplies. Customers will learn to recognize your e-commerce business branding before it even lands on their doorstep, and your shipments will never be lost in a sea of kraft corrugated boxes ever again.
Now that your foundation’s set, the walls are up and the lights are on, it’s time to unlock your doors and greet your customers. We’re confident that with your marketing plans, your packaging strategy and that warm and winning personality, you’re going to be presiding over a successful e-commerce business in no time. We’re The Packaging Company and we’re your e-commerce partner.