How To Guide: 5 Top Tips to Create a Successful E-Commerce Business

E-commerce has become a key part of our businesses and even more so in recent months. Some of you will have used e-commerce for a long time, others might be using it for the first time.

Be sure that there is at least some of your business that can be bought online to provide resilience in your business.

There are some key questions that you need to ask yourself to ensure that you are making the most of online selling and gaining the business you dream of.

Use this How To Guide to sharpen your existing practices, launch a better platform or help you plan to take more of your business online in the future.

  1. What are you selling? Experiences over stuff…
    • It’s important to make sure you have a good understanding of your audience – what their challenges are, what they need or crave and what delights them. Once you know this, are you selling the right things? Do your products and services solve the challenge? Is your online platform a perfect solution for your audience? Use social media insights, analytics, customer feedback, Google Trends and more to analyse your audience.
    • Then as you’re planning or assessing your e-commerce platform – are you selling the right stuff in the right way? Think about images, videos & how you are describing what you sell. REMEMBER: you’re selling EXPERIENCES & the FEELING that a customer will have once they’ve bought from you, NOT just a gift or workshop.
  2. Integrated vs outsourced e-commerce platform?
    • Think about the customer journey to your products or service – do you want your customers to stay on your own website to secure brand loyalty or do you want to enjoy the marketing of a well known brands like Etsy or Eventbrite? There are many more ways to easily and cheaply add e-commerce into your own site. Wix, WooCommerce (WordPress), Shopify, Simplesite and more all offer easy and cost effective options to develop your own online presence. Look at e-commerce options that can be embedded int your own site to help keep your audience in one place e.g. Ticket Taylor. REMEMBER: e-commerce does not need to be expensive of difficult to set up.
  3. Managing the money
    • Managing the money to ensure that you’re not going to lose your profits to commissions and management fees is vital. Planning ahead can help. When choosing platforms and payment gateways, it’s worth looking at those platforms that integrate with what you use. For example WooCommerce integrated with both Stripe and Square Up.┬áSpend time comparing platforms and payment gateways to ensure that you’re minimising what you have to pay.
  4. Keep it simple
    • When planning your e-commerce, think about what your own time and skills to manage the site. If you’re savvy, then you may be able to upload images, manage stock and add offers easily. However, if you’re short on digital confidence or time, you may need to choose a platform that you find easy or outsource to someone who can help you manage. Perhaps it’s worth simplifying your product or service offer by reducing the number of products or services and focussing just on your most popular or profitable.
  5. Marketing
    • Create a strategy to encourage audiences to buy. You will want to avoid ‘selling’ all the time but focus more on conversation and community around what you offer so that buying becomes inevitable. Here are the tools to remember:
      • Social Media – use video & written reviews, slideshows demonstrating your products, real life stories of purchasing, show how you make products, polls to identify customer needs and engage conversation around your product.
      • Email Marketing – stats show us that users are more than 20% more likely to buy after being prompted by an offer or incentive in an email. Build sign up into your marketing strategy and start to sell directly to those who are already engaged with your brand.
      • Paid advertising – consider budgeting for some paid advertising using powerful tools like Facebook or Google. Be sure to be absolutely sure about your who your target market is and what the searches are. Try a little budget to start with while you build confidence and feedback.
      • Referral offers – create a simple system to encourage happy customers to share your platform with friends or colleagues. You could offer an one of discount code to new customer who are referred or offer something exclusive to those who sign up toy our email list.