Online shopping has been on the rise for quite some time now and with no sign of ever slowing down. E-retail sales currently account for 14.1% of all retail sales worldwide, which leaves many brick-and-mortar store owners worried about the future of their stores and thinking they will go out of business.
However, the popularity of eCommerce doesn’t mean you have to accept your fate and close up your shop for good. In fact, it’s very easy to start selling products online and enjoy all the benefits of joining the eCommerce world. Just make sure to follow the tips listed below.
Choose an eCommerce platform
Naturally, you need a website to sell your products on. If you already have one, all you need is eCommerce software that will help you transform your existing website into an eCommerce store. If not, you have to build it from scratch.
Even if you don’t know anything about web design or coding, you don’t have to hire anyone to build your website for you. You can choose an eCommerce platform that will help you create a website without too much effort.
These platforms are great because they allow anyone to create a professional-looking website, and that’s exactly what you need if you want to find success.
Some things you should take into consideration when choosing your eCommerce platform include:
- How easy it is to use and install.
- How flexible it is and if you can use it to achieve the design you want.
- The customer and technical support they offer and whether they have 24/7 availability.
- The total cost as well as if it comes with any additional charges.
- The number of products you can upload.
- Its scalability and whether it will be able to keep up when your website starts to grow.
Get a domain name
Your domain name is the URL that appears in the search bar when someone visits your store, and it’s much more important than some people realize. The domain name you choose needs to be short (between 6 and 14 characters), easy to spell, and preferably end in .com.
One of the biggest decisions you will have to make regarding your domain name is whether you want to focus on branding or discoverability.
- If you’re already a well-established store and your customers are already familiar with your brand and what you offer, branding is probably the best choice. A brandable domain name can simply be the domain of your store with no other descriptive meaning.
- If you want to attract new customers who might not have heard about your store before, you need to work on discoverability. These types of domain names have keywords in them. If you insert a keyword related to your niche in your domain name, potential customers will be able to find you more easily.
Once you come up with a good domain name, all that’s left is to register it. Even though this can sometimes cost a lot, you can always register a cheap domain name that’s great and embodies your store perfectly.
Optimize your store for search engines
Search engine optimization is essential for every website that wants to get noticed by Google and get a lot of visitors. The point of SEO is to fill your website with content that Google and other search engines consider as high-quality and relevant so you can get a high-ranking position.
There are a few things you can do to ensure your website is optimized for search engines:
- Optimize for mobile users. Search engines favor websites that function on mobile devices and rank them much higher than the ones that don’t. Additionally, by 2021 9% of all eCommerce sales will be performed via mobile, so that’s another reason why you need to prioritize mobile optimization.
- Write good product descriptions. One of the best ways to attract your visitor’s attention is to write excellent product descriptions that contain a lot of keywords. The headlines of your descriptions should be well-written and you should also summarize important information in bullet points.
- Include a blog on your website. Every SEO expert knows the expression “Content is king”. For your website to have great SEO, you need to constantly update it with valuable and fresh content that will attract people, and one of the best ways to do this is to write meaningful blog posts.
However, it’s important to note that SEO takes a lot of time and effort and unless you’re well-versed in the topic, you’re going to have a hard time reaching a high-ranking position on Google. That is why you should consider getting some help from eCommerce SEO services and rely on experts to optimize your website.
Find ways to boost conversion rates
When you finally get your website off the ground and start selling your products online, an ongoing priority will be to boost conversion rates.
There are many different tactics you can use to achieve this goal:
- Survey your customers. Some of your website visitors will need additional information about your products before they convert into customers. To find out what kind of information is important to customers, you can send out surveys and then include their answers in your product descriptions and FAQ sections.
- Use Google Analytics. Whenever your website traffic dips, you need to find what caused this issue. You can use Google Analytics to discover your drop-off points and see what you can do to solve the problem. You should check out this guide to Google Analytics if you’ve never used this program before to get you started.
- Minimize website loading time. A slow-loading website can significantly impact your business, as people will leave your website if it takes more than a few seconds to load. Optimize your website for speed to reduce your bounce rates and increase conversions.
- Optimize your checkout process. Make sure you make it as easy as possible for customers to complete their purchase. Your checkout process needs to be simple, have as few forms as possible, and be without any distractions. You should also include as many payment options as possible.
Know your target audience
Every online store has a target audience, which are people who are most likely to purchase something from your website. You need to know who these people are and define your audience so it’s easier for you down the line to find them and sell them your products.
As you already run a brick-and-mortar store, defining your target audience should be easy, as you have one advantage over other eCommerce businesses – regular customers. Tell the people who regularly shop at your store that you will open an online store as well and ask them to fill out a questionnaire.
Find out what their online shopping habits are, what kind of products they look for in eCommerce stores, and what makes online shopping an enjoyable experience for them. Once you get a better idea of how your existing customers view online shopping, you can start creating buyer personas.
To create buyer personas, you need to answer the following questions:
- What defines your ideal customer?
- Is your product necessary or important to your customers?
- What are the pain-points your current customers have that your product can resolve?
- Where are your current customers located geographically?
- How do your current customers behave and how do you expect your ideal customers to behave?
Once you have the answers to all of these questions, it will be much easier to create marketing campaigns that will draw in customers, both old and new, to your website.
The rise of eCommerce websites doesn’t necessarily have to mean that all brick-and-mortar stores are doomed to fail. Smart store owners are taking the opportunity to switch to online selling, and since they already have some existing customers, they also have a great competitive advantage.
Don’t be afraid to take the leap. Instead, start selling your products online as soon as possible. Even though it will take some time and effort before you adjust to this new type of selling, it will all be worth it in the end.