Ecommerce success is like success in every other type of business - building an effective Web-based business requires discipline, determination, diligence and careful planning.
Here are ten steps you should take before you create a website for your Web-based business - or should re-visit if you have already established an online store:
- Look at your company name and determine how it can best be used in your online store's url (web address). While the exact name may not be available as a url - xyz.com - a variation of it - xyzshoes.com - probably is. Your online address is a key element in your marketing and branding efforts.
- Sign up for an ecommerce Web hosting package that will grow with your online store, incorporates features you will need to operate an online business (ability to provide secure transactions, up-time reliability, shopping cart functions, etc.) and provides Web marketing tools.
- Set up a merchant account so that your on-line store can securely process credit card and other transactions. Be sure your merchant account is able to accept the top three (at least) credit cards, process Paypal®, and accept bank drafts as well as other payment methods.
- Build your online store or work with a professional Web designer in order to design an ecommerce website that is easy to navigate for your customers.
- Take advantage of online store and ecommerce elements that differentiate and brand your business and enhance your Web marketing campaigns, such as dedicated emailboxes for each product line and targeted mailing lists for specific customer groups. Standing out in the crowd can play a big role in your online success.
- Track the success and effectiveness of your Web marketing efforts by establishing specific codes that differentiate each promotion. This way you can measure which promotions have been the most effective.
- Put Web marketing tools to work for your online store: review all text in your ecommerce website to make sure you are using words that will place your online store in search engine results; search engine optimization of all marketing and sales copy on your site, along with submitting your business website to the leading search engines will help insure that when people are searching for online products they will find your online store.
- After you create a website, pick a specific date for the "Grand Opening" (or "Grand Re-Opening" if you're redesigning you online store) and promote that through email marketing campaigns.
- Plan ahead for ongoing and regularly scheduled webpage and business website re-designs, introductions of new design elements such as surveys, response forms, blogs, and promote the new fresh Web page design elements in your Web marketing campaigns and materials.
- Watch what works in your online store- and watch what doesn't! By keeping an eye on Web analytics you will know from the moment your online store opens which elements are most effective with customers, and which Web pages may need to be tweaked or re-designed to encourage visits. And when you do the tweaking and redesigning, promote it throughout your site and via email to your customers.
By paying attention to these top ten tips to opening an online store, and continuing to pay attention to them after your online store is opened, you will be well on your way to establishing a thriving Web-based business and laying the foundation for online store success.
Watch this video to learn more about Online Marketing!