Everyone who plans to launch an eCommerce website shouldn’t rush into making important decisions. The point is, the online business world is full of the pitfalls, which you should be aware of in advance. Otherwise, you will make mistakes, which will lead to bankruptcy.
If you want to ensure that your eCommerce business will bring a desired level of profit, you should foresee the upcoming challenges. Check out the following 10 things, which you should consider before setting up an eCommerce website.
1. Competitive Analysis
ECommerce web developers should never start a project if they don’t know how competitors’ websites look like. It’s really important to analyze what kind of products rivals sell, what prices they set, and what shipping and payment methods they offer.
Moreover, every website owner should review competitors’ content marketing strategy. When you know what other companies do, you can come up with ideas on how to make your site look and work better than others.
2. Low-Competition Niche
The first step you should take is to conduct a market research and find a free niche. If you are a newbie on commerce platforms, it’s too risky for you to immediately jump into a big market.
For example, if you want to operate an online business in the fitness industry, you shouldn’t start selling everything from weightlifting gloves to treadmills. It’s better to focus on a few basic products, such as fitness accessories for women, including exercise balls and resistance bands. You can be sure that it will be much easier for you to promote your eCommerce website in a low-competition specific niche.
3. Target Audience
You should analyze who your potential customers are and what preferences they have, which can be found through a social media network. First of all, you should pay attention to the demographics: age, gender, ethnicity, education, and level of income. After that you should analyze shopping behavior:
- How does your target audience start searching for desired products online? Do they visit Amazon, eBay, and other popular eCommerce websites first?
- Do they read customer reviews? On which platforms?
- How many hours/days does it take them to make a buying decision?
This step is also where a great social media marketing strategy can make or break an eCommerce business. When you have a strong presence on social media, you will find your target audience and their preferences, much sooner.
4. Pricing Strategy
The internet has changed the approach to pricing. Today, customers shouldn’t go from one shop to another in order to compare the prices of similar products. They just need to click a few links to understand what a real value of the item is.
For this reason, eCommerce web developers should be very careful choosing their pricing strategy. If a company offers ordinary goods and services (not exclusive or luxury), it should set the lowest price possible or offer such benefits as free shipping.
5. Logistics, and Shipping
eCommerce is not limited to designing a website and then selling products. You should also incorporate a shipping rates counter into your eCommerce website. Your customers should clearly understand how much they will pay for shipping before they make a payment. If you are going to ship your products abroad, you should provide details about the delivery time and cost by regions/countries.
6. Payment Methods
What kind of payment methods will you offer for your clients? What options will be the most convenient for you, as for an eCommerce website owner? You should find a solution that will satisfy the needs of both your clients and your company.
In fact, the more payment methods are available at your website, the more customers will complete checkout. Today, it’s not enough to accept only Visa and MasterCard. You should add various digital payment options as well, like PayPal, KiwiWallet, WebMoney, and for some advanced online stores, it’s a good idea to accept Bitcoin.
Keep in mind that if you are not going to receive payments from credit and debit cards issued abroad, you should mention this fact at the checkout page. Otherwise, you will have problems with your overseas clients.
7. Contact Information
When launching a website, you should decide what contact information you will provide to your customers. Today it’s not enough to have only one corporate email and one phone number. You should also provide links to the social media network profiles of your eCommerce website.
If your company is pretty big, you can also add contact information of the major departments such as customer support, financial department, and HR department. It will greatly improve the communication process.
8. Social Media
Today, every company should grow its online presence to attract the attention of the target audience. If you want to make your eCommerce website successful, you must be active on social media. You should choose 2-3 platforms, which your target audience use the most, and create your corporate profiles. Whichever platforms you decide to use, you must have an optimal marketing strategy; social media marketing allows your business to reach a much wider, even worldwide, demographic that must be utilized.
In fact, you can start using social media even before your website will start working. You can create online buzz for your launch. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter can be great channels to increase traffic.
9. Return Policy
Sometimes, users don’t want to shop online, because they are reluctant to spend money on a product that they haven’t seen in person. For this reason, most of the reputable eCommerce websites have an optimal return and exchange policy.
It’s more likely that a user will make a purchase if a company promises to give their money back if something were to go wrong. So, you should design your own return policy to make sure that potential customers will trust your site.
10. Product Description
If you want to ensure that buyer will easily find your product online, you should add keywords to both its title and description. Keep in mind that different customers name the same products differently, so you should use a few keywords.
For example, a user who wants to buy the resistance bands, can also search for “booty bands” or “exercise bands”. Utilize Google Keyword Planner to define the low-competition, high-volume keywords to achieve the best results.
Obviously, it’s impossible to foresee all the challenges you can face launching an eCommerce website. However, if you conduct a research of your prospective niche, you will be more prepared. You should analyze every aspect of your online business and don’t go making any rash decisions.