The barrier to entry for eCommerce is very low, which is why so many people are considering starting an eCommerce business right now. It’s entirely possible to be successful with eCommerce even if it’s your first time around, but just because it’s easy to create a website, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to make it.
There are many more people who fail with eCommerce than people who succeed, and those who succeed are usually better prepared. They may have also made many mistakes before finding something that works. Thankfully, you can learn from their mistakes so that you don’t have to commit them yourself. Let’s take a look at how to be successful in eCommerce in 2022.
Start with a Strong Website
The first thing you have to do is consider saving up some money so you can have a professional site created. One of the biggest mistakes people make is just opening a site on Shopify and hoping it works. You might be very disappointed if you use this approach, especially if you don’t know much about eCommerce.
You might have a great product and tons of traffic, for instance, but get little to no sales. This is one of the most disturbing things for new eCommerce store owners, and the worst thing is that they often don’t know why it’s happening.
When you hire a professional team, they will at least make sure that your site is optimized for conversions. They can also help you do some A/B testing to see which version of your site performs better. This will take a lot of the guesswork out of the whole deal.
If you’re looking for a great team, a top-rated web design agency like ALT Agency will be able to help you. They are one of the best WordPress web design agencies in the country and will create a site that will be easy to manage and modify that you’ll be able to install on your servers and have complete control over.
Avoid Return Prone Niches
One of the things people overlook the most when picking products to sell is returns. A lot of people will start selling things like clothes, for instance, not realizing how much of a headache coordinating returns can be. Clothing is a very personal thing and people will not hesitate to return clothing items they don’t like, so be careful before picking a niche that is too personal.
Don’t Be Stuck on One Business Model
We also suggest that you broaden your horizons and don’t assume that there’s only one way to make money through eCommerce.
Some people think, for instance, that dropshipping is the easiest and best way to get started. But people who push dropshipping tend to oversell the benefits of this model while minimizing the drawbacks. We’ve just mentioned returns but being at the mercy of a supplier who might not even be in the country may become a major issue as well.
Your whole business’s reputation will fall on them and you could get in serious trouble if you have a large order and they fail to deliver. Not only will you have to kiss the money you send them goodbye if they disappear but you will also have to reimburse clients. This alone could force you to shut down and put you in serious legal/financial trouble.
If the main reasons why you wanted to try dropshipping are because of the low starting costs and not having to buy inventory, then you could look into affiliate marketing. Or you could sell services and act as a middle person. This method is referred to as arbitrage and has many of the benefits of dropshipping minus the drawbacks.
You also shouldn’t be intimidated by the idea of selling your own items. There are plenty of manufacturing on-demand and white label services that will help you create a product, brand it, and sell it. You could pick a manufacturer with a solid track record close to where you are and remove much of the guesswork of working with obscure overseas suppliers. Not to mention that you could make much larger margins.
Learn SEO and Online Marketing Inside and Out
You also need to get familiar with all the online marketing methods there are and don’t assume that posting a few links and images on Instagram will do. Some of the most important techniques to learn include email marketing, PPC, and SEO.
PPC will allow you to bid on specific high intent keywords on search engines, have your ads appear anytime someone searches for them, and only pay when people click. This could get you traffic almost instantly, but you need to be open with your choice of platforms as clicks can be too expensive on Google for you to earn a margin.
SEO, on the other hand, could allow you to get tons of free organic traffic by improving your visibility on search engines. This is something all eCommerce site owners should try to master not only to increase search engine traffic but also to avoid mistakes that could penalize them.
Focus on Giving
One principle many eCommerce entrepreneurs fail to grasp at the beginning is the importance of giving value. They will often focus way too much on trying to sell their product through ads on social media or by posting product images with little context on places like Instagram.
The reality is that you will have to work much harder to attract people, and one of the best ways to attract people is to educate them. Instead of actively selling to them at every turn, try to understand their needs and position your content as a solution. You can then guide them through a series of relevant pieces while showcasing your products naturally.
There are many other ways that you can offer value. If you have an email list, try to mix promotional messages with content that might resonate with your clients. And, if you’re going to promote a product, try to provide discounts to sweeten the deal.
Speaking of coupons, there aren’t many techniques that are as powerful for eCommerce sites as giving away coupon codes. Virtually all major online brands do it, and coupon codes allow you to spread your brand by getting visibility on coupon sites. Some people will also be compelled to share those codes with people they know.
Automation will help you streamline your operation and make your business more manageable. Things like invoicing and tax filing can be done completely automatically and will not only make things easier for you but also reduce the chances that you make errors. If you learn how to use a CMS system, then you could automate things like follow-ups and have specific emails sent to customers when they perform certain actions.
One thing you could do, for instance, is have your CMS detect when a client came to your website but didn’t make a purchase. Triggers could be set to send special deals depending on previous products they bought or product pages they visited.
Be willing and ready to outsource if you want to be competitive with eCommerce. You could do things like writing content for your website, answering calls, and managing your social media on your own, but what’s the point when you could hire freelancers, services, and virtual assistants to do as good of a job if not better? This will free a lot of your time and allow you to focus on researching products and actively marketing your business.
Think About Scaling
Some people have grandiose goals for their eCommerce businesses but don’t think about scalability. This often happens with people who sell services. They assume that all they need is to find more clients, but only realize later that the workload becomes unmanageable after a point. Scalability is important when looking at platforms too, as some are just not suited for very large operations.
Another mistake people make is not having an exit strategy. You might be excited about running your business now but be completely sick of it six months from now. What are you going to do at that point?
Someone with an exit strategy plan focuses not only on day-to-day operations but also on making their site more valuable. So, learn about the process of valuing and selling a site and think about value at all times, just in case you want to or need to do a quick sale.
Don’t Overlook Offline Marketing
Just because a business operates online doesn’t mean that it has to be solely advertised online as well. There are plenty of offline methods that you can use to spread a brand. Food delivery services understand this and many of them go where people shop for food to hand over discount cards. Sponsorships are another great opportunity to build a brand outside of the web. So, look at marketing tactics such as pop-up shops, catalogues and direct mail, trade shows, and guerrilla marketing tactics.
Ecommerce is an easy industry to get into, but not an easy one to succeed in, so know what you need to prepare for before you get started. Also, know that this is nowhere near passive income, so be ready to constantly work on making your site better.