So you have finally decided this is the year you are going to start selling online – here is how you can get started with eCommerce in 2020. You could be selling your home-made jam recipe, clothing, jewellery or even that eBook that you finally finished. eCommerce is limitless, if you can package it, you can sell it and you can sell it to the whole world.
Interrogate what you want to sell
eCommerce is becoming more and more competitive, especially now so before you get started with your eCommerce store, consider the competition.
If you have thought of an amazing product to sell, you should anticipate that a couple of other people have thought of the same idea and they are going to be your competitors.
What are the things to look for?
- How unique is your product – Even though you make really amazing jam, how unique is it and why would people buy it from you, instead of buying it from the supermarket? Wha special ingredients are you bringing to the table?
- Is there a gap in the market? how hard or easy it it for normal people to procure what you are selling? If you decide to sell lipstick online, you might not make many sales because people would rather just buy it at the Clicks or Edgars and get it immediately. Also, if you sell easy to procure items – you will not be able to beat the big brands on price.
- Does your product have a “you need me now” appeal. Most online shopping is driven by impulse buying, someone browsing through their timeline happens to see this “miracle wrinkle cream” and decide they need to get it now.
If you have these three things, or at least two out of three, you are ready. You are ready to create a successful eCommerce business.
Check out our video on – Deciding what products to sell online below:
Choose an eCommerce Platform
There are a lot of eCommerce platforms to choose from, choose one and decide if you want to do it yourself or hire a developer. If this is the first time you are creating an eCommerce store, i would highly suggest Shopify. Shopify is the leading eCommerce managed platform. It is ideal for beginners, but can be a bit expensive for beginners. If you want to save money and are not afraid to do a little bit more work, you can go for WooCommerce.
If you are not sure and don’t want to worry about the details, you can hire the professionals.
Creating the eCommerce store is 20% of the work done, in an 80-20 universe. The real work begins after you store is up and running, you need to create:
- marketing campaigns,
- social media campaigns,
- paid advertising,
And much more to drive traffic to your website. Clients cannot buy from your store, unless if they know your store exists. How will they know your store exists unless if you do not tell them. No eCommerce store can be successful without an effective marketing plan.
You need to get your message out there and be loud about it.
You need a good shipping plan to get your products to your clients in a fast and reliable manner. Clients will pay for shipping if they are assured to get their products in good time and good condition.
In South Africa, we recommend Rush as one of the easiest Courier Providers. Rush has a list of Courier Companies they work with and will give you an instant quote on your shipping needs. They will come collect your package from wherever you are and deliver directly to your clients’s door.
They are also quite affordable, when they are not mysteriously adding extra charges to your bill. Rush is known for adding random extra charges based on the size of your package – so make sure you measure and weigh your package accurately every time, or you will get a nice surprise at your next bill.
Good Customer Care
Customer care can make or break your business, especially in the early days. A couple of bad reviews can stick to your profile for a long time, if you only have two review because you are starting out. So it is much more important to avoid bad reviews at all costs when you are starting out, by providing good customer service.
Some Pointers Below:
Be clear about your preparation times and delivery times – this is one of the leading causes of clients complains. So you need to manage the expectations of your clients well, write it out in bold letters and on every product page of your eCommerce store.
Be clear of your refunds policy, make a Refunds Policy for your website and link it to the products pages. Be specific about when customers qualify for refunds and how the process will unfold. Do not be afraid to process a couple of refunds for legitimate reasons. It is better to loose some money on one client than receive bad reviews and loose 10 potential clients.
It is all a numbers game
Do not ignore those analytics, make sure you get good analytics for your store and you watch and review them regularly. You need to understand the following metrics in order to gauge how successful your store is?
- How many visitors are you getting per day
- What are you busiest days of the week
- How long do clients spend on your store
- What percentage of people that visit your store actually buy something
- What is the average number of times someone visits you store before they buy something
- What are you bushiest pages
- What is your top seller
- What is your biggest source of traffic (social, search etc?)
- What source of traffic results in the most sales (MOST IMPORTANT – you might find Facebook as the biggest source of traffic, even up to 80% if you do Facebook well, but Google provides you with more sales – which happens a lot, in my experience). This tells you – spend your money on Google rather, but then again that Google traffic might be from re-targeting ads, where the client actually landed first from Facebook and got tagged, then they saw your store everywhere until they bought something, this time coming from Google. So you need to understand the numbers, so you can decide how to best spread your marketing budget.
The Stars Never Align
The truth ultimately is, there is no perfect time or tool-set for starting an eCommerce store, but you need to start somewhere. Most of your learning will be on the job, we are learning creatures – and you will learn as you go and adjust accordingly. Every great business started as an experiment, but the key is to start.
Check out our Shopify eCommerce Video