According to Shopify, the king of online sales platforms, e-commerce refers to buying and selling goods online. Sounds simple, right? But there’s a whole lot more that goes into it than just buying and selling, credit card transactions and deliveries. If you're thinking of making the leap into an e-commerce side hustle, or even a full-time gig, there’s a lot to think about. Here are five steps to building a successful e-commerce business.
Take It Slow
You don’t want to rush into such a big undertaking. Take your time getting the lay of the land, learning the ropes, and planning things out. Do you know what web host you’ll want to use, or what sales platform to employ? Have you thought about your domain name? Or how about what product you’re going to sell?
Once you’ve picked an idea and started developing your brand identity, it’s okay to purchase a domain and throw up a “coming soon” page, but before you launch your site, make sure that you have SEO in place and a content marketing strategy lined out. There’s nothing worse than losing the momentum of your site launch if you don’t have everything in order and ready to go first.
Make Sure You’re Mobile Friendly
It’s so important in today’s world to think beyond desktop web browsers. Forrester’s 2018 Retail Best Practices report predicts that smartphone retail purchases in the United States will rise 18% over the next five years, and retail purchases in the United States made on smartphones has already passed $60 billion annually. That’s no small chunk that we’re dealing with, so you have plenty of room to grow when it comes to e-commerce. But that means you have to spend time thinking about mobile users.
Have you ever gone to a site on your phone and had it feel clunky and difficult to use with a touch screen? Or maybe the text was way too big to be efficient, or way too small to read without zooming in? Plan ahead so your site isn’t lackluster like that. This is your virtual storefront, and your customers want to see something clean, with a fresh coat of paint and a helpful layout.
Brush Up on E-basics
SEO, social media, user experience, all of these should be terms you know backward and forward. If it sounds like Greek to you, then it’s time for a crash course in online earning. If you just don’t have the time but you do have the resources, you could hire someone to help with the marketing and tech side, but you still want to have an idea of how it all works so you can strategize effectively.
Get the Best Business Support from the Start
This one is simple: have a business plan right from the start that takes into account where you want to go with the business so you know what goals you’re working toward.
Lay the Groundwork for the Future
You don’t want to wind up with half-baked schemes and unexecuted plans. From the beginning, think about looking for an accountant, a bookkeeper (or a course to learn how to manage your business’s finances), a business mentor and a safe place to put all that money you’ll be managing.
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