Getting Started With an Ecommerce Business
Updated: May 5
By: Stefan Debois
Starting an eCommerce business is something many people consider, but a much smaller number actually take the plunge. If your idea is strong enough, you’ve tested it, and you’re ready to get up and running, then getting started doesn’t need to be a fraught experience. Key to your eCommerce success and growth is a good grasp of digital marketing, and again, this can seem daunting or overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be.
Ecommerce marketing simply uses the best channels and most effective digital methods for the benefit of your business. Digital marketing is a package of ways to help grow your business, further its reach, and raise awareness. As digital marketing becomes more and more technologically advanced, and marketing automation becomes the norm for the most basic tasks, you can focus on drawing in sales and growing your business.
Here we’re looking at what you need to do to promote your eCommerce business and harness all the data available to you to help you succeed.
1. Know Your Customer
Your customer’s digital experience is entirely down to you. You can deliver and shape the customer journey each person who visits your website experiences, but you need to know them first. Your target customer should be someone you know inside out, and you should do all you can to focus on their wants and needs.
You can discover all this information through engaging with your customer, using social media to talk directly to them, and find their chosen channels for communication and engagement. The more you know about the people you want to sell to, the better you can shape your content and digital presence to suit them.
2. Know Your Industry
You may already think you know the ins and outs of your business and its field, but more research and analysis can never hurt. In the digital age, everything moves quickly. Any new developments should always be followed and explored in depth.
Likewise, recent history should be fully understood so you can forecast the future. The better your grasp of the current status of your industry, the easier it is to predict where things may go next. Your strategic plan should make the most of your data and insights.
3. Know Your Competitors
The wide range of analytics tools out there makes analyzing and understanding your competitors easier than ever before. Pinpointing their strengths and weaknesses gives you something to build from or work towards.
You can examine their social media to see where the small (or large) knowledge gaps lie. It’s in these gaps that you can find your own space and carve out your position in the market where your competitors aren’t already succeeding.
4. Building Your Digital Presence
Nothing matters more than your digital presence as an eCommerce business. Your website isn’t the be-all and end-all, but it needs to look its best. It is your virtual shop window and a 24/7 portal for leads and sales for your business. You don’t need to invest thousands to make it appealing but you need to give it your time and attention to succeed.
Designing your website doesn’t necessarily mean bringing in an expensive agency. Design is unique to your business and to get started, you may be able to put something together yourself. Your website is a chance to show off what you’re all about and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to web design.
Keep it simple, get your point across and you can be sure your customers will be keen to find out more. All websites are always in beta so don’t expect perfection, just deliver everything you want in the best way you can, ensuring you update your content regularly.
Don’t Doubt Do It Yourself
There is a wide range of self-serve website tools that allow you to piece together your own design. Ready-made templates exist to let you build a compelling experience with ease. No business in 2018 can get by without a strong web presence. Difficulty creating and managing a proper website shouldn’t be a hurdle if you choose the right tools.
Choosing your Domain
If you’re starting from scratch, then you need to begin by selecting your domain. Without a domain you have nowhere for your website to be held and no way for people to access it. Choosing a domain takes seconds, and within a few minutes, you can have your piece of the internet registered in your name and ready to build.
5. Consider SEO
An essential part of your digital marketing strategy focuses on SEO. Keywords are key to tapping into business, especially if you’re hoping to attract local customers. SEO evolves as much as every other element of digital marketing, but most people looking to find your products or services will start with a search. In fact, 96% of online experiences begin with a search engine. You want your business to appear near the top of the listings, so it’s much more likely to be clicked.
The key to this is delivering quality, regular content and focusing on your chosen keywords. 50% of search queries are now four words or longer, so long-tail keywords should be your focus when building your SEO strategy. Your keyword mix should be designed to deliver the best possible results. This includes incorporating important local phrases, popular terms for your industry, and more niche long-tail keywords.
You can run an eCommerce business without embracing digital marketing, but it won’t go very far. For real success and to tap into the enormous potential customer base online you need to utilize the right digital tools and strategies to push your business forward.