Everything You Need to Know Before Launching Your E-Commerce Store

According to IBM’s U.S Retail Index, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the growth of e-commerce stores by a fivefold increase. People are no longer willing to leave the house to attend physical brick-and-mortar shops, especially with the potential risks brought upon by the health crisis. It’s no surprise that this unprecedented pandemic has caused a shift in attitudes, after all, practically everything is now available online.

The e-commerce sector is expected to reach a value of US $6.07 trillion by 2024. The health crisis is only one of the reasons for this increase. The younger generations are highly tech-savvy and express a preference for online shopping. The proliferation of smartphones and an increase in the use of online wallets have also contributed to this boom in e-commerce.

These figures demonstrate that there is indeed a demand for online shopping, however, it also means that there is a lot of competition. Apart from the big players, like Amazon or Alibaba, there are thousands of independent retailers who are also hungry for a piece of the pie. Nevertheless, this is no reason to be discouraged from launching your own e-commerce store, on the contrary, you should be eager to get stuck in.

Thanks to the internet, launching a business is now easier than ever. You may have identified a sizeable gap in the market, or perhaps you just have a flair for entrepreneurship; whatever the reason, now is your chance to build the business of your dreams. There are several ways that you can stand out from your competitors and run a successful e-commerce site. Here is everything that you should know before launching your online store.

Write Up a Business Plan

If you want to be successful at managing your business, you must have a plan to guide you in your decision-making. Organization and clear goals will help you achieve your plan of action. This part may seem like the most tedious, but it is also one of the most essential aspects of any business. Without a plan, you won’t be able to estimate profits or budget your resources. Make sure to include aspects like your business model, target audiences, messaging guidelines, funding, budgets, and financial projections.

Research Your Competitors

If you want to stand out from the crowd, you must first identify who is in that crowd. A simple Google search can offer you hundreds of similar businesses. If your business is more localized, make sure to include your area in the Google search. Take a look at their user experience and website, are they providing anything that you have not thought about? Whatever you do, don’t try to copy their work. You want to stand out from your competitors, not blend in. Pricing, promotions, and website copy are a good place to start when researching other companies in your field.

Create a Brand

Branding is a marketing practice that all online stores should take seriously. This is a way to make your e-commerce store memorable and allows your customers to distinguish your product and services. Branding encompasses everything from your logo, to your packaging and social media posts. These elements should be attention-grabbing and relate to the tone of your business.  

Keep Your Customers Happy

It’s no surprise that without a happy customer base, your e-commerce store will ultimately have a harder time gaining notoriety. Your customers are a vital part of the business as they generate sales, increase your reputation, and can even help you market your business. The key pillars of customer success include an optimal user experience, an efficient delivery service, and great customer support. They should be able to navigate your e-commerce store with ease and receive their purchase with minimal disruptions. An easy way to ensure that your business has a reliable courier service is by using a third party such as visible supply chain. This will take a large chunk of the responsibility off of your plate and allow you to focus on other aspects of the business.  

Digital Marketing is a Must

No matter how large or small your e-commerce store is, digital marketing is an essential tool that you can use to promote your business. Digital marketing encompasses an array of online marketing methods that help your company increase their visibility online and reach new customers. This includes several channels such as email marketing, social media marketing, paid search advertising, and search engine optimization. These terms may seem intimidating at first, however, there are countless resources and free courses that can help you get to grips with the basics. If your budget is large enough you could also choose to outsource this work, however, many small businesses choose to do this themselves. Social media ads are a great way to reach potential new customers and increase customer engagement. 

Keep Up to Date with Trends

Keeping up with the latest industry trends will help you stay relevant in your field. With the advent of technology, news and social media trends are constantly changing. This is a chance for you to get creative with your brand. For example, the new social media platform TikTok has been a super successful platform for brand promotion, especially when trying to reach the younger market. Many fashion brands saw TikTok as an opportunity to promote their products and interact with the Gen-Z audience. If you manage to hop onto a trend before it becomes mainstream, you can use this to promote your e-commerce store.

Don’t Give Up

Whatever business you choose to create, the most important thing to remember is that building a brand will take time. It is highly unlikely that you will become a successful e-commerce store overnight, as launching a store commands a lot of effort and attention. If you are truly passionate about the service you are providing, this will be translated into your work. Make sure to not give up and to put 110% effort into everything you do. What are you waiting for? Your e-commerce store awaits!

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.