Opening your first eCommerce store can be an intimidating and challenging process, especially if you don’t have any prior experience operating a business or managing a website. There are so many individual steps that need to be taken just to incorporate your business and get it online, and then there’s the concern that you could be wasting your time on an endeavor that won’t be lucrative. With so much difficulty and uncertainty in the way, many novice eCommerce entrepreneurs wind up seeing slow progress and less-than-ideal results during their first year of business. Fortunately, you can greatly improve your chances of optimizing your first eCommerce store’s profitability, efficiency, and industry presence by heeding the following seven tips:
1. Launch Multiple PPC Advertising Campaigns
Many first-time eCommerce entrepreneurs make the mistake of opting for one advertising network or avoiding paid campaigns altogether initially. The most popular providers of online advertising services are Google, Facebook, Amazon, YouTube, and Instagram. All of these sites have programs that let brands put their ads in front of visitors and viewers for a set amount per click, hence the name of the pay structure. Ideally, you should try to have active campaigns running on at least three of the aforementioned PPC networks. However, some networks are a bit newer or more difficult to use than others, so separate researching processes are required. For example, you may want to check out this guide if you’re considering an Amazon PPC campaign.
2. Use a Content Management System (CMS)
Trying to build your first eCommerce store in HTML or any other coding language used for web design simply doesn’t make sense when there are so many user-friendly content management systems (CMS) to choose from. Building a well-designed website to serve as your brand’s online headquarters will project the kind of professionalism that is needed to become established as a leader in your industry or niche. The most popular content management systems are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. However, in recent years, eCommerce-oriented CMS, like Shopify and WooCommerce have begun to take up a significant share of the market. These interfaces make it possible to design and manage your website using pre-made templates and extensions and without any web design experience.
3. Take an SEO Course
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential field of study for any online entrepreneur because it teaches you how to make your site’s pages rank higher within search results for specific keywords. Developing this skill set will help you increase the amount of organic and highly targeted traffic your product pages receive. SEO can be practiced not only within the content posted on your website but also within product descriptions and company profiles posted on third-party eCommerce markets like eBay and Amazon.
4. Create Shops on Multiple eCommerce Platforms
Sticking to one platform at a time might seem like the wisest approach, but there are many tools that will simplify the process of managing your inventory and orders on each platform in a centralized and simplified manner. Thus, there’s no reason to limit your brand’s visibility and sales by only catering to one market when there are so many that you can set up shops on. Posting many product listings across a diverse collection of eCommerce platforms will serve to increase your overall brand awareness and competitiveness.
5. Always Have Your Own Website as Well
Some entrepreneurs make the mistake of only catering to pre-existing platforms like Amazon. Having your own website is a great plan for achieving optimal redundancy because you’ll never be fully dependent on the sales that are coming from third-party platforms. Additionally, you’ll have the freedom to use any payment processor or merchant account service provider, whereas many platforms require the use of certain payment options. Having your own website also creates the possibility of having additional income streams in the form of advertising revenue, on-site catalog exploration, newsletter subscriptions, and other kinds of monetization and marketing that aren’t available on third-party platforms.
6. Use Web Analysis Tools
Web analysis tools like Google Analytics help you learn more about your target audience. Likewise, most popular PPC platforms provide an abundance of analytical tools that can be used to refine your target audience. For example, Facebooks Ads offers one of the most comprehensive systems for learning more about your market demographics for the purpose of re-targeting the best leads. By becoming familiar with a broad range of analysis tools, you can improve your ability to make better business decisions going forward based on a well-informed look at the successes and failures of the past.
7. Look for Ways to Automate and Streamline Processes
If you follow through on all of the other tips on this list, you’re going to wind up with a tremendous amount of work done on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce that workload through the use of the right tools and resources. Look into SEO and eCommerce plugins, add-ons, and extensions for your chosen CMS. In addition to using a suite of powerful software and online interfaces, you may also want to outsource tasks to virtual assistants to keep yourself from staying occupied with menial and tedious tasks. Ultimately, the more you can simplify and minimize your duties as an entrepreneur, the more time and effort you’ll be able to put into scaling up the business or launching entirely new companies in other industries.
Why Not Start Another One?
Now that you have a solid understanding of what it will take to bring your first eCommerce store to the next level, why not try your hand at a second endeavor? In fact, having multiple online businesses is the one distinction that actually gives you the title of being an entrepreneur. If you’ve only ever owned and operated a single company, then you’re just a “business owner.” Graduating into the ranks of diversified entrepreneurship will increase your income by creating numerous revenue streams, which in turn will serve to boost your investment and expansion capabilities exponentially.