Many people come to us purely with one mission which is “ I Would Like To Start An E-Commerce Business But I Do Not Know Where To Start”. I am talking about online business, not the online component of your “bricks and mortar” business . Contrary to the popular believe that E-Commerce business is aa easy as A-B-C, it will only be so should you have a strong foundation plan, but if you sit back and relax in the early stages, it will just be mere disappointment and stress in the later stages.
As much as we would be able to help you in the beginning steps to realise your business dreams, there are just many more items that you would really need to sort it out so that this business will be able to sustain in the long term. Why? Because this is your business and that you definitely know it much better than us in terms of your customer’s needs, marketing plans, product positioning, the websites management skills that you have and what skills you need to pick up and many more..
Assuming you already have the domain name for your business in mind and had chosen your web host, the items below contain everything you’ll need to know before you can get your online store rolling. Read it, assemble the items and prepare to work long hours.
1. Know What You Want & Need on Your Website
Don’t go up to your web designers and ask them to propose you what THEY THINK you will need on your website. Let’s get real, these designers job is to get your ideas and needs on your website, or rather advice you on what is possible and not. They will not know what your customer’s are looking for on your website because they would not have the time to do detail research just to understand your business. If they do, they would have just done that business themselves.
So what you need to do is t provide them idea on what you need in the site, then let them fix the jigsaw puzzle, bits and pieces and propose you website structure & navigation that is built with your customers in mind.
2. Right Content & Graphic Wins
A website with proper professionally written write-up wrote by you arranged with relevant effective graphic of your products, in fact if you could even think of unique selling motto to be included in the advertisement banners in your website will definitely make you stand out from your competitors. Never go up to your web designers and get them to source for product pictures for you, or even ask them to copy your competitor’s product pictures and make it yours!
Why? Professionalism in your company image counts! You would not want customers to see your website and say “Isn’t that the same exact thing or slogan sold by the XYZ Company?”
3. Treat the Web Designer as Professionals
The web designer and you have your own roles to play to make this business a success. They pave the foundation of the website according to your specifications based on your critically detail analyse market research. Oh wait, one more thing, just because your sister’s friend is a graphic designer or even your cousin had once developed a website with a pirated version of FrontPage, that does not qualify them as web designer. Always bare in mind, you get what you pay for.
But wait, then you think “I already have Web design software — can’t I just use that, and then simply add a secure method for accepting payments?” Of course you can, but it’s a limited solution because an e-commerce store has so many special requirements, like inventory management, product display, auto-invoice, order tracking, and many more. So, by merely building a Web site and calling it an “online-store” won’t get you very far.
4. Accept the fact that YOU will need to maintain the website & updates of product yourself
Never ever expect or pay your web designers to update all the products and content of your website. You can pay them to help monitor, update and maintain your website features (which are their expertise), BUT not pay them to update your products, replying customers email or manage your orders.
As such, always lookout for web designers who can provide you content management system backend that is easy enough for you to use to mange your product updates and your orders. Nothing is too technical for you to learn. After all this is your business, and therefore you should be in control!
5. Just because you have a Website, It Does Not Mean Customers Come Naturally
When you are new in the market, your website is just a platform for people or rather customers to get to know you. Therefore, whether your e-store succeed or not once it goes live very much dependent on how you create your web presence. When I talk about web presence, it isn’t referring to 100% keyword search only. It’s a combination of web reviews, word-of-mouth email marketing, advertisement on relevant websites to generate traffic to your website. Once all these are achieve, only you can maximise the effectiveness of the website features that your web designer has done for you !
The above of course is not “ALL” you need to know before deciding to start your e-commerce business, but the above is some important tips that will get you on the right track and let you have some thoughts over it before plunging yourself into your e-commerce business.