How To Introduce Your Online Shop The Right Way
You have done the prep-work and you are ready to launch your new online shop. You only get one shot at the launch. This will set the tone for your business and grab the attention of your future customers.
Photo credit: Mike Petrucci
E-commerce is here to stay and many entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the age of technology to begin their online businesses. Many conceive the notion of an online business, but few succeed. This is not always because the products are not worthy, but because the product was not brought to market properly.
Before you launch
If you are looking to have an ongoing business that will grow and be profitable, you cannot take shortcuts. It only takes a few negative experiences by an influencer or a blogger with a long reach to throw a wet blanket on your virtual fire. Slow running or unprofessional websites, lack of secured payment options, unusually long shipping dates, and the lack of human attention are launch-busting problems that will delay your plans. These are issues that should have been addressed well before you started your marketing plan.
Know Your Competitors
You may have a brand new product that is unlike anything on the market. But that doesn’t mean you do not have competition. For example, think about the person who invented the first food processor. There was not another product on the market. This food processor chopped vegetables, diced fruit, and even crushed ice for beverages. However, the food processor did have competition. It was the cook and their knives and skills.
A chef that is extremely proud of the attention he gave his creations, probably groused at the idea of placing his food inside a machine. He would have to be convinced that the product saved him time, gave him great and uniformed results, and would improve his ability to control the details of his art.
Your product has a competitor. You must be ready to explain why people who use that product will benefit by changing to your product.
Set-Up Your Website
It sounds odd to set-up your website before you are ready to launch, but there are several reasons why that is not true. E-commerce businesses growing at an unprecedented rate. According to Business Insider, we will see a growth rate of over 17% in the next few years. How does that affect your new online business? We will explain.
In the past, manufacturers were willing to produce small orders for customers who were just getting started. This allowed the new companies to secure the orders and sometimes payment for the products before they actually had the product. This is changing.
With the growth of e-commerce, it is getting difficult to find manufacturers who will accommodate your “as needed” inventory. Since the companies had no firm agreement with a manufacturer, they may find product backorders, or going to another manufacturer. However, that can affect the price.
Ignoring this issue could cause you to shut down as fast as you launched.
Setting up your website complete with order forms, product lines, and easy payment options give the manufacturer more faith in you. While he may produce for you in minimal quantities, you will be able to fill orders and that is what counts.
Even setting up a pre-launch website is better than not having one.
Photo credit: Bench Accounting
An influencer is a power source that is connected to the industry that your product is associated with. They have huge numbers of social media followers. They can make or break a new product. For example, let’s say your product is an easy to use food thermometer. A chef, barbeque master, or candy maker would use this type of product. They are influencers. You can contact them and arrange for them to test your product. They would then post their opinions on your product to the thousands of people who follow them. That may generate sales, but that is not all. The followers may share the posts and before long people across the nation are talking about your thermometer.
Start networking your influencers. Reach out to them and tell them about your product. Find out if they would be interested in a free sample. Use all the popular social media sites to advertise. Offer a sign-up field on your website so the customer will be notified when you actually launch.
In traditional companies, promo items are essential. The same is true for e-commerce. The difference is, people online want to find free trial or free sample offers, or find some coupons online. Be ready to give them something to bring them in.
You need a mobile app
Most shoppers shop from their phones. You need a mobile app that goes live when your site does. Omitting this will cost you. People love their phones. It is handy at all times and all their payment information is securely stored and convenient.
You are live - Measure your traffic
You are investing a lot of time, money, and energy in your site. You need to know if it is paying off. Install Google Analytics to track new hits, return visits, and overall traffic. Know where the traffic is coming from so you will know where to focus your marketing dollars.
If you are not getting return hits, check your content. You need at least 3-4 pages of original and informative content. Using generic text summarized from what you see on the web is not productive. Your text must continually change so people will return to keep up to date.
If you are getting low hits, check your SEO content. It does not matter how good your text is if people do not see it. With proper SEO content, Google will find you when someone is searching for you or like products.
Your website is a living and breathing entity in your business. It must be fed with new content and pruned when information is out of date. It must follow the rules of the internet and it must engage your customers. If you follow this advice, your website and your e-commerce venture will be successful.