As we covered in Tuesday’s post, 5 Reasons You Should Start an Ecommerce Business Today, there’s never been a better time to start an ecommerce business.
By the end of 2018, it is estimated that ecommerce sales will exceed $2.5 trillion for the first time, and this number is only going to continue to grow.
So, if you’ve been thinking about starting an ecommerce business, but lack a proven roadmap for getting your store online and making sales… this 10-step guide should help.
Step 1: Choose a niche
The first step to starting a successful ecommerce store is to do some research and decide what niche you’re going to enter. It’s important not to rush this step as you will be spending a lot of time working on your new business.
Some of the top ecommerce niches include:
You don’t necessarily have to have a personal interest in the niche you choose, but it can help later on when it comes to creating content that drives traffic to your store.
Step 2: Name your store
Although I’d normally advise not to spend too much time on minor nuances like choosing a business name, it’s definitely worth considering the long-term impact that a brand name can have on SEO and the value of your ecommerce business.
If you want to build an asset that you can later sell on, it’s important to plan how you are going to position your brand as a whole, and how that brand will be perceived by potential investors.
A “catchy” brand name will not only increase the value of your ecommerce business in the eyes of a potential buyer, but will also make your business more memorable to your customers, leading to increased engagement and repeat custom.
Step 3: Find the right vendors
You’ll have a lot of competition selling products online, so it’s within your best interest to shop around until you find a vendor or wholesaler you want to do business with long-term.
If you’re dropshipping — paying a third party to stock and ship items directly to customers on your behalf — some of the key things to look for in a vendor include good English skills, good customer feedback, and ePacket shipping.
ePacket shipping is an agreement between the US Postal Service and Hongkong Post to boost ecommerce growth. It offers merchants in Hong Kong the opportunity to reach consumer markets in the U.S. quickly and cost-effectively.
Step 4: Get your ecommerce store online
Picking an ecommerce platform is one of the most important steps you’ll take on your journey to entrepreneurial stardom.
Shopify is the #1 platform for getting your ecommerce business online as quickly and easily as possible.
More importantly, Shopify is optimized for mobile users and offers fast loading times in addition to a dedicated app store, making it easier to scale and grow your business once you’re up-and-running.
The last thing you want to do is spend time listing your products and customizing your site only for it to load super slowly or later find out that the platform you’re using doesn’t meet your needs.
In ecommerce, time is money. And every additional second your site takes to load is costing you.
Step 5: List your products for sale
One of the biggest mistakes ecommerce business owners when it comes to listing their products is writing product descriptions that simply describe their products.
Why is this a mistake? Because if you want to make you money, your product descriptions need to actually sell your products.
The best product descriptions don’t just list features and specs… they highlight the benefit of each feature and tell your customer what’s in it for them.
Given that your customers cannot see the products listed on your site in the flesh, high quality images are also an absolute must. This is especially true if you plan to sell your products on marketplace sites like Amazon, where they are displayed alongside those of your competitors.
Step 6: Set up your Facebook Page
Did you know that 85% of ecommerce orders from social media come from Facebook? It’s true.
And with nearly two thirds of all social media visits to Shopify stores coming from Facebook, it’s easy to see why Facebook dominates as a source of traffic and sales.
Not only is Facebook the best source of high-converting traffic on the web, but it also serves as a platform on which to drive engagement by interacting with your customers personally and promoting relevant, valuable content.
Step 7: Build your email list
An email list is the most valuable asset in any online business owner’s arsenal. It will enable you to build better customer relationships, generate huge cash surges on demand, and cross-sell related products and services to your customers.
In fact, if you have an ecommerce business already (or you’re thinking of starting one), and you’re not using email marketing in your business… you are leaving a TON of money on the table. The good news is that getting started with email marketing couldn’t be simpler.
Mailchimp is a free and easy-to-use email marketing platform built for ecommerce businesses. You can use it to run promotional campaigns, create and schedule automated follow-up emails, send out an email newsletter, create opt-in forms for your website, and so much more.
Step 8: Drive traffic to your store
In order to make sales, it goes without saying that you need traffic. And one of the most effective ways to start driving traffic to your new ecommerce store is with content marketing.
Content marketing is a great way to build your audience and generate more traffic and sales for your business. In addition to improving your SEO and helping your site rank better in search engines, blog posts get shared on social media and allow you to tell stories that convert more prospects into customers.
A tip here is to write blog posts featuring influencers in your niche that have big audiences on Twitter and send it to them via a tweet. Because your post is about them, you’ll find they will usually be willing to retweet it to their audience, leading to an influx of free, targeted traffic for you!
When it comes to scaling up, having a blog filled with great posts will also enable you to drive paid traffic to your site much cheaper.
Step 9: Turn your customers into raving fans
There’s no doubt about it, social proof sells.
And if you really want your ecommerce business to be a success, you should be putting just as much effort into turning existing customers into repeat buyers and raving fans as you are into acquiring new customers.
According to research by Econsultancy, 61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchasing decision.
Not only that, but consumer reviews are around 12 times more trusted than product descriptions, according to a survey of US Internet users by online video review site EXPO.
Incentivizing your customers to leave a positive review on your site or Facebook Page by offering them a discount or free shopping on their next order is a great way to turn your customers into walking, talking advertisements for your ecommerce business.
And last, but most certainly NOT least, step 10…
Remember the guy I told you about on Tuesday?
Well, as it turns out… he made over $2.4 million in sales last year without ever personally seeing, touching, or shipping a single product.
Sounds crazy, I know…
In fact, I honestly didn’t believe him at first, but by the time he’d finished explaining how he did it, I was mesmerized!
And the best part is… you only pay for products AFTER they actually sell on your store. Pretty cool, huh?
I was so blown away by what he told me that I asked Adrian if he would be willing to do a free training workshop showing you how he is bringing in 7 figures a year on complete autopilot next week… and he agreed!
However, as we are using GoToWebinar to host the event, we are strictly limited to 100 students… and I don’t expect these to last long!
So, if you’re interested in learning how to quickly launch and grow a wildly profitable ecommerce business of your own… I suggest you grab one of these free training spots while they’re still up for grabs: