If you want to get in on that heavy cash flow of e-Commerce, then you’re probably wondering how to create and launch a successful online store. The whole market has shifted, and our lives have changed since shopping online has been made readily available. We now think differently, consume differently and sell and market differently. In the past, we may have really known and understood our market and our clientele. However, now our market has the opportunity to be at least 10 times greater and we’re able to reach a much wider audience. Did you know that American consumers spent over $600 billion dollars shopping online in 2019? And you know what’s more? By 2040, it’s predicted that 95% of purchases will take place online. That sure ain’t nothing!

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Photo Credit to CommonWikimedia

Though shopping and consuming have become much easier, selling, in some ways, has become much more complex and complicated. It requires a vast number of skills like designing, developing, and analytics which we never used before. It’s a whole new world actually, and a whole new world of opportunities. We’re even at the point where our brick-and-mortar shops are only adding weight that we can do without, and we could profit much more from the abandoned expense. 

That being said, in this article we’re going to have a look at all the reasons why you should launch an eCommerce shop for your business and what the best techniques and methods are for starting that online business. We’re also going to highlight exactly what you’ll need to start your eCommerce shop, how to plan your launch, and even how to create a pre-launch strategy. Finally, we’ll explore all the best strategies for launching and running your eCommerce shop in 2022-23. Let’s get learning! 

Why You Should Launch an E-Commerce Store

We’ve been through some wild and rough times the last few years, and things don’t seem to be getting any calmer. Despite that fact, millions of people are consuming and purchased billions worth of products each year since the pandemic. In 2022 retail sales online went up to over 16% and are only predicted to increase. That’s because eCommerce greatly influences our global economy. Ever since the pandemic, more and more people have been resorting to online shopping, and retail markets online are experiencing a great surge in sales. Let’s have a closer look at some undeniable reasons to launch an eCommerce shop for your growing business. 

3 Reasons to Launch an E-Commerce Store: 

  1. Affordable and Available Marketing 

When you’re running a brick-and-mortar shop or running a small business, it’s hard to really get your name out there beyond word of mouth. The most obvious way would be to pay for billboards around your neighborhood, state, or country. However, if you want to reach a far and wide audience, that’s going to cost you a hefty buck. Running your business online will make it easy to get your business out there, and the prices will be at a much more affordable rate. The two can hardly compete. 

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Photo Credit to Flickr

  1. Increase Your Income

As mentioned above, you’ll be able to market your business to consumers, not only across the country but across the entire globe. This opportunity can vastly increase sales in unimaginable ways. You can make sales at any time of day, 4 am in your timezone and 12pm in your client’s timezone. The online market and its predicted sales growth is absolutely something you want to be a part of. 

  1. The Simplicity and Speed of Setting Up Your eCommerce Store

Setting up your business in a town or city shop will cost a lot of money, will take up a lot of your time, and will require a lot of hand and hard work to accomplish. Setting up your online store can actually be done within hours. Really, hours! Depending on which platform you decide to launch your store, whether it be Shopify, WooCommerce, or Magento, you’ll be able to start making sales within days. The more simple themes give you the chance to start selling that very same day. Again, the two really just can’t compare.

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 Photo Credit to EcommerceProcessing

What is the Best Way to Start an eCommerce Store?

Very good question! 

There are a lot of pieces you’ll need to put into place before starting your eCommerce business. As you set up your shop you’ll want to know how to protect yourself legally, market and sell your products online, what you want and how to build your store. Lastly, you’ll need a clear idea of your budget and its margins and how to draw a lot of traction and traffic to your site. 

Here are our top recommendations for starting your eCommerce store:

  1. Do Your Research

Though it may look nice and easy from an outsider’s perspective, there’s a lot that can go into a fantastic website that generates a high number of sales. You’ll want to investigate different business models and decide which one appeals to you and you believe is right for you. For instance, some people go for drop shipping as a way to start off and earn a great deal of income before launching, let’s say, the business of their dreams. According to Market Data Forecast, the global dropshipping market was estimated at over $125 billion dollars back in 2020. Those are numbers that we find really hard to ignore. You can also focus on one product, then increase your sales and reduce your expenses that way, until you’re ready to expand if need be. The idea here is to know what you want and know what you can succeed with.

  1. Know Your Niche

Knowing your niche is as important as knowing your audience. You’ll need a real focus, in order to capture and catch your audience. Without your niche and a harmonized theme of products, you may end up throwing off your clients and losing them. The only ones who can really have a diverse and eclectic variety of products are markets like Amazon and eBay, but let’s not shoot too high just yet. We love being ambitious, but we also need to be practical and wise. 

You’ll want a niche that has some competition, but that doesn’t have competitors like Zappos or Fresh Direct. If millions of people already have their go-to online shops, you’ll have trouble elbowing your way in through the biggest names in town. Make sure you have a genre people will want to buy, where the competition isn’t fierce. If this sounds like you, then you’re in a really great position. 

  1. Make it Official

Settle the name of your business and register your company. This will protect your business legally and will get you set up on tax benefits as well. Then you’ll want a site that is as close to your business’s name as possible so your clients can easily find you. You’ll need to then get your business license and your Employer Identification Number (EIN) to open your bank account associated with your business. 

Even Though this may sound overwhelming, it’s a few necessary steps we all need to take to get our businesses out there. Once you’ve completed all the necessary steps above, and get your logo done, you’re ready to register your domain name, and then it’s time to choose your eCommerce software. That’s really where the fun begins! 

  1. Choosing Your Ecommerce Software 

When choosing the right eCommerce software, you’re really going to have to know your budget. This part can get really pricey if you go for all their apps, extensions, and attractive themes. 

The Most Important Factors to Consider When Choosing Your eCommerce Software include:
  • How easy or difficult they are to use
  • Loading Speed
  • SEO Performance
  • Themes
  • Flexibility and Scalability
  • Features
  • Compatibility with your business plan and needs
  • Payment Gateways
  • Multi-Channel Selling
  • Web developer skills/needs
  • Pricing 
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Photo Credit to TheConversation

How do I plan an eCommerce Launch?

Before you’re ready to start selling, you need to make sure all your best pieces are put into place. This isn’t to say you can’t change things later on, but you really want to start off on the right foot forward. 

Here’s How You Plan an E-Commerce Launch: 

  1. Design and Finalize Your Homepage

Once you’ve chosen your eCommerce software and have selected the theme of your dreams, you’ll need to make sure your homepage is pristine. If the homepage interface, navigation, set-up, font, and images aren’t appealing, you’ll probably lose a fair number of shoppers. Have a killer logo in a visible location on your homepage, make sure your site works on all browsers and devices and call to action to direct people to your sales and top-selling products. 

  1. Have All Your Pages Ready for Viewing

You don’t want traffic and potential clients arriving at an unfinished website. This won’t pass over well and will lead to a loss of sales. Before you’re ready to launch your new eCommerce shop, make sure all the pages are complete from the homepage to the About Us page. All those alluring tabs for your clients to click on should have something appealing and help boost your sales not hinder your sales. Unfinished websites are really not all that sexy and you want to appeal to your market without any small obstacles, like an unfinished website, standing in your way. 

Pages that should be ready for viewing include:

  • Homepage
  • About Us Page
  • FAQ Page
  • Contact Us Page
  • Terms of Services Page 
  • Privacy Policy Page
  • Shipping details Page
  • Return and Refund Policy Page 
  1. Create Blogs and Set Up Your Social Media

You’ll want to have a blog writer on your team that will help increase visibility and SEO performance. Your blog and social media will show your audience how you stand out from the crowd and why your products are more valuable than your competitors. You’ll want to have educating posts about your products, offer tutorials, and a place to showcase news and events. You’ll need a place for product reviews, social sharing for your blog posts and social media posts, and newsletters that will keep your website and traffic flowing. 

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Photo Credit to Sketchfab

  1. Your Shopping Cart

The experience your customers have with their check-out and shopping cart flow is crucial to the success of your eCommerce store. This should be a quick and seamless process for your customers, who are also made aware of similar products and sales as they proceed to check out. We’re about to hit you with a really scary fact. Did you know that an estimated $4 trillion dollars worth of goods were abandoned in shopper’s carts in 2021? That’s a frightening number. Now you’re beginning to understand just how important it is not to get in the way of your shoppers hitting that pay button. 

Here are some tips to prevent your shoppers from abandoning their carts:
  • Test the checkout button to make sure it works 
  • Don’t make them subscribe until after they’ve completed their purchase
  • Go for a range of 3-4 payment methods, not more, not less
  • Have checkout buttons on the top and bottom of the page, or allow it to float down as your client scrolls
  • Offer a few shipping methods
  • Show shoppers how much they saved while they’re checking out
  • Offer payment installments on high-priced items
  • Ask clients to continue shopping after they’ve made a purchase

How You Create a Pre-Launch Strategy

It will take time and effort to create a buzz around your business and the products you’re selling. This means you will really need to start marketing your products long before you’re ready to launch. Sounds counter-intuitive right? Well, it’s not. There are a few essential pre-launch marketing strategies you’ll need to adopt before you’re actually ready for the launch. 

Let’s have a look at the most important ones:
  • Build a landing page so that you can collect emails and data from interested customers, build hype and interest around your products and boost and improve your SEO. 
  • Build a COMING SOON page, so that your clientele knows your website is on its way, and it’ll be up and running for shopping in no time
  • You’ll want to have all your info, branding, and images in order so that other platforms and media can advertise your business and products. Have a file ready with information about your business and what makes it unique and desirable. Alongside your story, you should also have high-quality images available for them to use across their social media platforms. 
  • Start promoting yourself on your own social media pages for customers to see what sort of products you’ll be selling. Market your company and your niche. It’s time to start making some noise about your business, even before you’re ready to sell. Let’s just say, you want a line at your ‘front door’ as soon as you’re ready to launch. 

What are the strategies for launching an eCommerce shop?

After following all the steps above, and having checked off the essentials from your list, you’re just about ready to take that big leap into launching your eCommerce store. You’re always going to need to revamp your online store, whether it’s to add new products or to keep up with the quickly changing trends. Therefore, in a sense, your website is never complete, the same way a novelist feels their novel is never really ready for publishing. Here are some key features to successfully launch your eCommerce site:

  • Start generating ads across social media with consistent logos, designs, and messages to your audience. You’ll need to make a fantastic first impression by using key players like Instagram, Facebook ads, and Google Display Network ads. You’ll need to use the ads to segment and target your consumers. 
  • Once consumers gain a growing awareness of your brand and business you’re ready to work on SEO, email marketing, and PPC. These two steps will build your fan base before you’re ready to start selling. 
  • Once you have your shop ready to launch, you’re ready for Google retargeting ads, newsletters, cart abandonment emails, and Facebook DPAs. This is when you really start to experience a turnover and sales increasing substantially. 
  • You should incorporate and schedule a monthly promotion that will be put into place even before the launch. Promotions will be scheduled with banners, slider images, Google shopping promos, and so on. 
  • When using blogs to increase SEO, make sure to use primary and secondary keywords with backlinks. You should also work with affiliate sites to get your name out there, by re-posting and engaging with their posts. 
  • Pay Per Click will greatly increase traffic to your site and should certainly be used within the first months of launching your site. And finally, don’t underestimate the power of affiliate marketing. 81% of brands already rely on affiliate programs and so should you. 
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Photo Credit to Flickr

Takeaway

Initially, this may sound like a lot and may be quite overwhelming for those of us new to eCommerce. We recommend not rushing into anything, because quality is important. Rushing only leads to overlooking really important and vital steps in the process. Some steps may seem unnecessary, but as soon as you get your hands dirty and work your way around the eCommerce network, you’ll quickly discover how important each aspect is for growing a successful business online. 

Think you’re finally ready to launch your eCommerce store? Reach out to us and we can offer you guidance from professionals who are highly skilled in all things eCommerce related. 

Other related articles you might like to read:

Sources:

  1. Perry, (2021) https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/how-to-create-online-store/#the-statistics-of-selling-online 
  2. Statista, (2022) https://www.statista.com/statistics/379112/e-commerce-share-of-retail-sales-in-us/
  3. Market Data Forecast, (2022) https://www.marketdataforecast.com/market-reports/dropshipping-marke
  4. Chang, (2022) https://financesonline.com/statistics-shopping-cart-abandonment-statistics/#:~:text=As%20shopping%20cart%20abandonment%20statistics,experience%20helps%20in%20this%20regard.
  5.  Galov, (May 2022) https://webtribunal.net/blog/affiliate-marketing-stats/