Launching your first online store is a little nerve-wracking, we’re not going to lie. Nevertheless, when you do it pragmatically and pay attention to the details, it’s possible to do it well.
Get the Basics of E-commerce Right
Understanding what’s needed with e-commerce including the ways to sell, what technology platforms to rely upon, and the type of fulfillment model to use makes a world of difference.
Before getting started with e-commerce, if you don’t know where to begin, read the linked article for a big picture overview. It will steer you correctly, so you’ll know what direction to go in.
Then follow these 6 tips below for launching your first ever online store.
1. Track Everything, All the Time
One of the advantages of online shopping is that many things are trackable. In the offline world, it’s much harder.
Use a tool like Google Analytics to track visitor data. Examine where visitors arrived from, what they searched for (when this information is provided), and what the conversion rates were. If they landed on a sales page or an actual landing page, did they look around but not complete a purchase?
Learn what you can from every interaction with the site. Make changes to remove points of friction or bottlenecks.
2. Study Usability to Ensure the Site is Optimized for Sales
Hotjar is useful to confirm whether the site is configured to produce sales.
This online tool allows you to see video recordings of actual visits. Watch how visitors interacted with the website, what they hovered over or clicked on, etc.
Also, view a heat map that confirms areas of a page that were ignored versus ones looked at for a long duration. This can provide ideas about features to remove and others to trial that might improve sales.
3. Add an Email Newsletter Opt-in
Anonymous users are all very well but being able to reach out to them later is better.
Contacting previous visitors because you’ve collected their email addresses allows you to send weekly newsletters. These can provide useful information and include special offers to encourage their return to the site.
Also, for expensive products or ones that require more research before purchasing, multiple customer touchpoints will be necessary. By asking for the opt-in, it becomes possible to provide helpful product information in an email newsletter to establish a relationship leading up to a future purchase.
4. Create an Abandoned Shopping Cart Plan
Customers are lost at the shopping cart stage where they enter some information but fail to complete the transaction. When the email address is collected early on, it’s possible to follow up with them.
An abandoned shopping cart plan has an email template ready to use, and an offer code to discount their first purchase. Then any customers who abandon their cart can be emailed to follow-up. It works surprisingly well in picking up extra sales, most of which would otherwise never have happened.
5. Backup Automatically Before Launch
Automatic backups of the site are essential to avoid losing data due to a hard drive crash, a site hack, or a corrupted database.
In WordPress, backup plugins like UpdraftPlus and BlogVault provide a way back to recover later. Maintaining a cloned development site is another way to recover faster. Some hosting providers such as Cloudways provide this to their hosting customers.
6. Offer Discount Coupons
Without a substantial marketing budget and no ranking from search engine optimization in the early months to generate organic traffic, other plans must be made.
Be prepared to offer discount coupons to encourage visitors to come and make a purchase. These should be supplied to coupon sites that receive an affiliate commission in exchange for promoting the coupon codes. It can help to drive early traffic outside of paying for PPC ads.
Be prepared for a bumpy ride initially with any new e-commerce site. However, the ride smooths itself out with time, so don’t worry.