Making the choice to launch your very own eCommerce business is easy. If you’re not experienced in such endeavors, however, the process of actually doing it might not be so easy at all — it can, in fact, prove to be quite confusing. There will be a number of key decisions which you’ll need to make in starting and operating your online store, and if you’re not equipped with the experience and knowledge required to make properly informed and wise decisions a few missteps can lead to much wasted time, effort, money, and may even result in the outright collapse of your business.
Luckily for you, people have been starting their own online stores for quite some time now — some of these ventures have been highly successful and some have proven to be dismal failures. You can learn from both before gambling with your own time and cash. Over the last many years of so many different people launching and operating so many different and varied types of online stores, certain methods and strategies that work to maximize the chances of an online store’s success have become apparent — as well as certain mistakes an online store owner might commit that could spell disaster for their business. If you apprise yourself, and become familiar with, these key strategies, you’ll arm yourself with the knowledge you need to make the right decisions when launching your online store.
The very first thing you should probably do is to invest in, and follow, a proven online store blue-print. If you have little or no experience in setting up and running an on-line store yourself, then such a resource will provide you with the training you need in order to maximize the chances of your new online store’s profitability. This sort of education will teach you all of those discovered methods and strategies mentioned above which have been observed as being effective throughout the last many years of so many online stores coming online.
Secondly, you’ll need to decide on a shopping cart system for your new online store. The key in this area is to focus on something that has both proven to be reliable and is known to be easy to use. That last part is important! Unless you’re tech-savvy, you do not want to embroil yourself in the hassles of working with complicated shopping cart software — you’ll waste valuable time and will be likely to experience considerable frustration when operating your shopping cart. So, find something easy. In operating a successful online store your time and efforts are best spent marketing your store and interacting with customers — those sorts of efforts are what translates into revenue. Futzing with your shopping cart software for hours on end does not. Your shopping cart solution is just an essential for your business that needs to be in place in order for your online store to be operational. Whether it takes you twenty minutes to set up, or 20 days, or whether it requires 10 minutes of daily maintenance, or 2 hours, if it’s working, it’s working. Better to spend your time engaged in activities designed to drive customers to your site, or ensuring that your existing customers will return. Many online stores fail because the operators are spending far too much time devoted to technical aspects of their operations and not enough devoted to marketing and customer procurement, control and relations.
Fortunately there are a number of proven, simple software solutions on the market that fit the bill. If you’re familiar with setting up and operating a WordPress site (And, if you’re not it’s very simple to become familiar — WordPress is an exceptionally user friendly platform) you can even transform a WordPress site into a powerful online store via the use of a simple WordPress plugin. Or, you can even turn your own Facebook page into your own online store! But, if you wish to go the more traditional route of using a traditional style of self-hosted shopping cart, there are a number of options available to you. Programs like OpenCart are simple to use and very effective. If you want more control and don’t mind a software solution that is a little more complex, then Magento might be the right shopping cart system for you.
If, however, you’d like to focus more on simplicity but still want the control that a more traditional eCommerce shopping cart solution can offer, then you might want to consider going with a third-party, fully hosted shopping cart system. These services will take care of all of the technical aspects of operating and hosting your shopping cart, sales, order and payment processing. You just log into a certain web-site control panel where you can follow on-screen instructions to set-up details of your online store and fill it with your merchandise — everything else is taken care of for you. Services like Shopify and Magento GO have proven reliable and efficient in this area.
Once everything is up and running, you’ll need to focus on marketing. This is the true backbone of your business — this is what translates into revenue. Many, many newcomers to the world of eCommerce greatly underestimate just how crucial marketing their online store business actually is. Let me tell you, it’s absolutely crucial! With practically every eCommerce business that fails, the cause of the failure can be directly linked to a failure in the business’s marketing strategy. You really need to wake up every day and approach the day with the mindset that if you do not do all you can do today to adequately and effectively market your online store, you’ll be out of business tomorrow.
When I speak of marketing, I’m not talking about just purchasing some banner views from services like Google Adsense. That type of PPC advertising is a good thing to have in your arsenal, but relying too much on it can kill your store. It should act only as a part of a much more varied and comprehensive marketing plan. You need to engage in SEO marketing efforts and other organic and creative ways of marketing your business — ways that provide a much higher return on investment than PPC advertising does. And, there is quite literally a million things you can do in this area. The ‘blue-print’ mentioned earlier will familiarize, and walk you through, many of them — and, trust me, there’s a myriad of strategies and methods that I can almost guarantee have never even occurred to you.
For a more in-depth look at setting up and online store, I recommend that you also spend some time reading our articles listed in the ‘Related Posts’ area below. And, as always, if you have any questions, please leave a comment in the comment box provided below. I’ll try my best to address any queries I can, or perhaps another reader may be able to answer your questions.