Over the last few years we have had customers who have signed up for an online store but just found it all too hard. Some of these just dropped out after a few months or at the end of the contact while others kept at it but struggled. So what is it that makes some people successful online and some not so successful.
Many web site developers or designers that you talk with will tell you that success is all about the look and feel of the site. You will hear that you need to have great Search Engine Optimisation and Marketing (SEO and SEM). Some people believe that they have to have a unique product or service. While others believe it is just luck.
Well while some of the above is true the real secrets to success are to have a plan and not try to accomplish too much.
A plan for your eCommerce business is very important. Every business needs a plan that helps to keep the business on track and to measure results. Developing a plan helps you understand the intricacies of you business. Sharing the plan with others that you trust can help ensure that you are not off with the fairies. I talked about business plans in an earlier post it is very important and will help you succeed but unfortunately it won't stop you from failing.
So what do I mean by not trying to accomplish too much?
The story that I hear sometimes goes like this. The business owner has a great business idea that could build to a good revenue generator. Typically they have a primary job (or at least another job), they might also be responsible for running the home and looking after the kids. So already they are putting in a 60+ hour week. Now they want a web store and they have 100's maybe 1,000's of products to sell.
They look around and evaluate a number of eCommerce providers and they do their homework. They might try a few out and they ask a lot of friends for advice. Finally they make a decision and make the plunge and sign up for an eCommerce web store.
6 months later the store is only half finished. They are not happy with the look and feel. They have been spending money and not making money. There is not enough time to get everything done and it all starts to get too hard.
So whats wrong?
First they are trying to do too much.
Most of the eCommerce solution come with some pretty good looking designs that can work right out of the box. You can make the design unique without spending lots of time and money. You can ask for help when you get stuck. At eCorner you get 5 to 10 free calls a months to ask for help.
Start with products that you know will sell and only start with a few products maybe 10 or 20. Whatever you find easy to maintain. It is better to have a few products on the store well presented and with good images and descriptions than hundreds or thousands badly presented.
If you know what will sell then start there. Bring buyers to your store and not just visitors. The success of an online shop is not how many visitors you get it is how many buy then come back and buy again. Once people buy from you and trust you they will come back and buy again.
If you have a catalogue with 100's or 1,000's of products then publish it on your website so that it can be downloaded. You can do that in ePages with Articles in the Category Manager. That way people can see what else you have and can send a message and ask.
When someone buys from you give them exceptional service. Make sure that you ship the products as soon as possible and make sure you give them a call or send an email to follow up. Personalisation makes people much more comfortable.
You need to promote your store but start local and grow global. Get a flyer printed on a good quality colour printer or go to any of the fast print outlets. Get a few hundred flyers and take a walk around you local neighbourhood and stick them in the letter boxes. The flyer should have some information about you, pictures of some products and the URL of your website. Offer a discount based on a coupon number on the flyer. This can be created in ePages in the Marketing Manager using the Coupon creation capability. My recommendation is a time based single coupon number, give it 30 or 60 days and a discount.
So what am I saying; START SIMPLE AND THEN GROW COMFORTABLY.
SEO and SEM, Google Adwords, pay per click, all that stuff is important but it is easier to get right with 20 products than with 2,000.
So if you what to be successful online you have to start somewhere but maybe think a little smaller if you have other demands in your day. Please call us and ask for help when you need it we won't say no and a successful customer is much better than one who hasn't started.