Okay, so you had a huge ecommerce idea, one you knew was an absolute winner. You got yourself a domain name, built a site, took it live—and nothing happened. Demoralized, you abandoned it. Six months later, you saw an ad for the exact same thing on TV. Suddenly, someone else was out there crushing it. So why did it work for them and not for you? The simple answer is they were ready and you weren’t. Read a bit further to better understand what we mean.
How can you tell when you’re ready to launch your ecommerce store?
There’s a lot more to it than coming up with a product and building a website. As is true for any business proposition, there are a number of preliminary steps you must make to realize success. If you already have a product in mind, the first thing you should do is conduct some research to evaluate its potential. You should also get a feel for the competition, and study the market so you can approach it in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
If, after doing your research, you’re still convinced you have a winner, it’s time to develop a business plan around it. This will serve as your guide for the rest of the process. In it, you’ll describe your company, chronicle the findings of your market research, lay out your plan of operation, define your organizational structure and identify your management team. You’ll also describe your product and/or services, outline your marketing plan and delineate your financial projections. If you need to borrow cash to get started, it’s also where you’ll define your funding needs and convey your repayment plans. Even if you’re using your own money, this is still a very useful exercise.
Start with a business plan
With your business plan in hand, you can properly set up your organization. You’ll need to come up with a name and develop a logo so you have a professional look. This is also the time to learn everything possible about search engine optimization and how to build an ecommerce website. Once you’re confident you have those factors well in hand, you can proceed to build out your store.
During the build, start planning your social network strategies. In addition to claiming your name on the various sites, you’ll want to identify the specific networks most likely to drive traffic to your store. Instagram and Pinterest are ideal for highly visual products, while You Tube is great if video is integral to your marketing. Once your line of attack is identified, start developing your followings. You can start by tantalizing the market with the news your site is under development and coming soon. This builds anticipation and gives you a ready audience when you launch.
Don’t forget email
Rumors of the demise of email as an effective marketing channel are greatly exaggerated. Select a provider, develop messaging strategies and produce templates so your campaigns have a consistent look. Develop messages for the key aspects of your operations such as abandoned carts, welcoming new customers, acknowledging sales and the like.
This is also when you want to develop your key performance indicators. Among the most notable are your monthly sales volume, the size of your average order, your profit margin, and the number of browsers who will actually convert into buyers.
Nail the shipping
If your product is a hard good, work up your shipping strategy and cut deals with carriers best suited to your product. You’ll also need to get a handle on shipping materials, transit times and costs. Will you be offering free shipping on all orders, certain orders or? This will be a good time to decide this.
You’re getting close now, so you’ll need to come up with a flashy way to launch, draw attention to your site and get some good publicity. If you’ve been refining your email list and developing your social media followings; you’ll be standing in good stead here. Cultivating relationships with the most trusted bloggers and publications in your field is another key component of success in this regard.
Once you’ve taken all of these steps, you’ll no longer wonder how to know when you should launch your ecommerce store – as you will be ready!