Got a product that you think consumers would love? The easiest (and cheapest) way to get it in front of them is to create an eCommerce shop and start selling online.
The question is, where do you even get started with setting up your online store? The process can feel overwhelming at first, with a wide range of virtual tools and eCommerce platforms to choose from.
No matter which category your product fits into, there are certain important steps that all business owners should take before starting to sell online.
Read on for my 8 essential tips for starting an online store:
1. Know your product and your market
This is the most basic but arguably most essential tip for anyone keen to start an online store. For your eCommerce store to succeed, you need to ensure it sells a product that you’re passionate about, and that you have a deep understanding of.
Before you launch your online store, perform a competitor deep dive to get a better understanding of your product and market. Trust me, this can inform many aspects of how you build your store.
2. Find the right designer and developer
Although eCommerce website building platforms such as Shopify are designed to be simple and intuitive to use, a professional designer and/or developer can help you give your online store that wow factor. Not only can they build and customise your entire store, but a skilled eCommerce developer can also get your store up and running quicker. So you can start selling sooner!
3. Invest in professional product photography
Want to show off your products? Present them with stunning visuals. It’s the first thing a visitor will see when they arrive at your online shop, so try and set aside a budget for professional photography if possible.
Obvious statement alert: your imagery must show off your product in the most visually appealing way possible. Provide more than one image where you can, so potential customers can scroll through and view your product from different angles.
4. Write exciting product descriptions
Sell your products with compelling product descriptions. These should be detailed enough to give the customers any info that isn’t clear from the photos. For instance, size, materials and scents (if applicable).
Keep in mind that the more detailed your descriptions are, the less you’ll have to deal with customer queries. Visitors should be able to read these and get all the information they need to decide whether they want to purchase your product. Make sure your descriptions are clear and the tone of voice of all web copy is on-brand.
5. Set up your social media channels
I’d recommend creating a social media campaign before your online store is even ready. Use these to tease potential customers and count down to your store’s arrival.
The best social media channels for online stores include Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Twitter is handy for responding to any queries and engaging with customers directly.
With social media campaigns set up and followers in place before your online store goes live, you’re bound to get more traffic once you launch your store.
6. Build an email marketing list
This is crucial for online business growth. Email lists allow you to build an audience that you can continually market to. Collect email addresses by asking customers to sign up to your mailing list for product announcements, helpful content and exclusive offers.
Never done email marketing before? Klaviyo offers great templates and tools, making the process simple and straightforward for email marketing newbies.
7. Create a customer service strategy
What keeps customers coming back to an online store? Above all, it’s excellent customer service. Create a strategy for dealing with customer queries before you launch your online store.
Now, you don’t need to hire a full customer service team when you’re first starting out - you just need to make it easy for your customers to reach you. Your strategy could be as simple as creating a default email address that customers can reach you at, e.g. email@example.com. Or an online form where they can submit any queries. Reply to all customers promptly to provide the best experience.
8. Create a list of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Keep an eye on how your online store is performing by setting some clear KPIs when you launch. These could include things like the number of visitors, sales figures per week, repeat customers etc. Having a clear idea of the goals you want to achieve makes it much easier for you to measure your success.
Haven’t hit your goals in the first few weeks? Don’t worry! Keep adjusting and optimising your marketing strategy until you find what works.
Need general design and development help with a Shopify project? I have years of experience working on e-commerce projects for a wide range of clients across London, Hertfordshire, Essex and other areas.
Get in touch and I’d be happy to jump on a call or meet for a coffee to discuss your Shopify development needs.