Running an online store is one of those things you can successfully do from your home. You need some business acumen, determination, a computer, suppliers, and you’re set to go. Of course, it’s not as simple as that. It takes some good sales know-how to be able to run an online store. Knowing a thing or two about web design can also come in handy. And marketing, well, you can’t have a good online store without knowing how to market it.
By the end of 2017, retail e-commerce sales in the U.S. will reach close to $410 billion. That’s a lot of money, and it’s being made by a lot of people. And because of the perceived convenience of starting an online store, it’s not unusual to come across online stores that make beginner’s mistakes. People routinely rush into online retail without thinking about all its important aspects. As a result, their digital stores have to close the digital doors because they can’t compete. So here are some things you should avoid if you don’t want to see your online store in ruin.
Not Knowing About Advanced Design and Functionality Options
One of the obvious benefits of taking it slow when opening an online store is that it gives you time to research things properly. With good research, you can find that some website builders are better than others. You can find that some features have advanced versions. You can learn to leverage those advanced versions for better performance.
When creating an online store, there are two important things you should be doing. One of them is to make sure you don’t do anything that will disadvantage your website. For example, using a builder that doesn’t support responsive design is a major mistake that will cost you mobile shoppers. The other is using every single thing to keep your store ahead of the competition. Choosing not to use custom site search can cost you valuable opportunities to cross-sell. If you do these things wrong, your store will not be very good. It pays to know about design and functionality.
Not Thinking About Marketing (Seriously Enough)
The “if you build it, they will come” logic will usually fail you. Some things might attract attention simply by being placed in the right spot. Other things will draw crowds because they are solutions to widespread problems. Some commodities rely on a cult-like following. But the majority of things need some buzz. Even the big brands invest millions in marketing to ensure their sales go without a hitch.
Your small, home-based online store is one of the things that needs buzz. There’s a wealth of marketing tips you can use for your business. Marketing is important because it helps you figure out where your business is, where you need it to be, and how to get there. Not to mention that marketing is vital to your understanding of your customers. You can’t run a store without knowing them. Creating a Facebook page will not suffice. If that’s all there is to your marketing strategy, things won’t look good for your store.
Not Optimizing Your Store for Conversions
Online stores are a source of constant work. You have to add and remove products. You have to think about shipping and stock. And then there’s the thing with optimization.
When your store goes online, you’ll start gathering data about it. After a certain number of sales, you will have enough data for analysis. When you analyze data, you’re looking for insights that will help you improve your store. After testing and implementing the improvement, you perform the whole thing again. Gather data, analyze it for insights, test and implement changes.
This process is called conversion optimization. You’re using data to make your website perform better. The key performance indicator is how many people you’ve changed from visitors into customers. And you shouldn’t start thinking about conversion after the store goes live. Among the many things you can do to improve your conversion rates, there are some that can be performed before your store is online. You can, for example, check the placement and copy of your calls-to-action. You can check form lengths. See how many steps there are in the checkout process. The more you do before the launch, the better the launch you’ll have.
Owning an online store can be a great way to earn some money from home. However, online retail is not a hobby. It’s a serious business. If you want to do it well, you will be able to learn interesting new things while earning money. The first few steps you make in the online retail world can be crucial. So make sure you’re keeping your eyes on the ground.