Ecommerce

If you are reading this, chances are you are looking to start an ecommerce business. Maybe you already have a product in mind, and you want to open an online store so that you can sell it to the world. Or, maybe you don’t have a product yet, but you see the potential of the ecommerce market (eMarketer estimates that online sales will exceed $ 27 billion in 2020), and you’re looking to get a piece of the action.

Whatever the case, we have good news: there has never been a better time to start an ecommerce business. Thanks to e-commerce platforms like Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, and the like, starting an online business is easier and more profitable than ever.

Ecommerce and Internet solutions have leveled the playing field and lowered the barrier to entry for creative and enterprising individuals to start and grow an ecommerce business with ease (i.e. no coding or a lot of financial investment.

The challenge, however, lies in how overwhelmed you can experience when you’re starting out. Today’s entrepreneurs have so many options, and there is a ton of information out there, that it can be crippling in finding the best route to your online store.

If you are in the same boat, read on. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through all the important steps you need to take to get your ecommerce business out there.

Let us begin.

1- Determine what you want to sell and how you will get your products

Inventory is the lifeblood of any ecommerce business, so you want to make sure you do this right. In this section, we will discuss how to decide which products to sell and how to get your merchandise.

Go to your interests and abilities

For some people, finding a product is very easy. Artists, artisans, and designers typically belong to this group, as they often venture into e-commerce to sell their own creations.

It might make sense for you to go a similar path. Think about your hobbies, interests, or things that you are good at. And then see if you can use your knowledge and experience to create products that customers would love.

A good example of an ecommerce entrepreneur who did this is Steve Gadlin, who started IWanttoDrawaCatForYou.com. Steve was a website development manager by day, but he also pursued other things, including comedy, on the side.

He used his creativity and sense of humor to start IWanttoDrawaCatForYou, a website that allowed people to order Steve’s personalized cat drawings. It apparently started out as an experiment, but then grew into a full-blown ecommerce business.

Steve even secured an investment from Mark Cuban after appearing on the hit show Shark Tank, and according to CNBC, the ecommerce business made $ 200,000 after ending up on the show. Steve has since shut down the e-commerce business to pursue other endeavors, but IWanttoDrawaCatForYou.com remains an interesting success story of what could happen if you used your creativity to create something people love.

Origin products from other creators or manufacturers

Not very interested in making your products? Your other option is to get them from other creators or manufacturers. When you go this route, you can choose to stock merchandise and keep the products as inventory, or you can go the dropshipping route by organizing the items to be shipped directly from the manufacturer.

But before working in a business with a manufacturer, you must first ask yourself: what exactly should you sell? And more importantly, will people buy it?

En otras palabras, es necesario hacer una investigación de mercado exhaustiva para averiguar qué productos son ideales para vender en línea y si hay una demanda para ellos.

There are a few useful ways to do this:

Explore the most popular online ads

One way to measure demand is to see what people are buying or looking for. An easy way to do this is to check the popular listings on eBay and Amazon.

On eBay, you can go to ebay.com/trending, a page that shows the most popular items most recently on the site.

ebay.com/trending

There are also third-party tools like WatchCount.com, which allow you to “find out which eBay items have attracted the most interest.”

WatchCount.com,

On Amazon, you can navigate to the site’s Best Sellers page to see the best-selling products. Articles are organized by department, so zeroing in categories is a breeze.

Amazon Best Sellers

Search of suppliers

Once you have determined which products to sell, you will need to figure out how you are going to source your merchandise. Whether you are selling raw or creating merchandise (and therefore need to find suppliers to provide raw materials), here are some of the ways to find the right suppliers:

Search through online directories – Thanks to the Internet, the perfect provider could be just a few (ok, more likely several) clicks away. There are plenty of supplier directories online that you can use to find and examine potential suppliers. Some of the most popular include:

Check out trade group websites – A good way to narrow down your search for suppliers is to check out the trade organization website. Most of them have supplier directories that can help you focus on potential suppliers.

For example, the Personal Care Products Council, a trade association for those in the cosmetic and personal care products industry, has a handy search tool for personal care providers.

Just Google [your product or industry] “trade association” and you should be able to find relevant results.

Attend trade shows – If you have the time and budget, go and attend trade shows in your industry. This will allow you to meet and greet potential suppliers, as well as touch and feel their products.

Again, a quick Google search should help you find the right events to attend.

Ask for references – Do you know someone else in your industry? Ask them about the providers they have worked with. It always helps to speak with someone with first-hand experience working with a vendor rather than doing your research entirely online.

Pick up the phone or email your industry contacts and tell them that you are looking for suppliers. And if you’re on LinkedIn, post an update or post a discussion on relevant groups. You are bound to meet someone who can point you in the right direction.

Veterinarian and communication with providers

Taking the steps above will help you create a list of companies to source your products or materials from. From there, you need to evaluate potential vendors and determine who you will be working with.

This is how you do it:

Communicate with them – Pay a visit, jump on a call, or email potential vendors and get to know them better.

Doing so will not only help you gather more information and get your questions answered, but it will allow you to assess each provider’s communication skills. This is key, especially if you are dealing with suppliers abroad. The last thing you want is to miscommunicate or end up with the wrong products or orders.

What exactly do you need to catch up with potential vendors? Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What are your payment terms? (Could be cash on delivery, net 30 days, net 90 days, etc.)
  • What are your minimum order requirements?
  • What would the total costs be? (In addition to the cost of the products, you should take into account the shipping costs, handling costs, etc.)
  • Can you provide a certificate of liability insurance? (You need insurance in case of recalls, product malfunctions, etc.)
  • What happens if the orders don’t arrive? (You should know their policies around late or undelivered orders)

Read reviews – While speaking directly with vendors is the best way to evaluate them, it would also help to read vendor reviews. Directories like ThomasNet and Alibaba often have review sections, so take a look at their supplier profiles and see what other merchants are saying.

Step 2: Fix Your Ecommerce Technology and Solutions

Made to decide on products and suppliers? Big. The next thing you need to do is deal with the “tech” side of things.

Fortunately, this part doesn’t have to be too difficult. Various platforms and easy-to-use solutions can allow you to start your store with limited technical knowledge.

But where do you start and what solutions should you look for? That is what we will discuss in this chapter. Read on to learn how you can iron your ecommerce tech stack.

Domain registration and hosting

At this point, you may already have a store name in mind. Maybe you have your brand and domain name ironed out. If so, you can proceed to register your domain. However, if you’re still on the fence or have no idea what domain name to use, take a look at the following pointers:

Choose a name that communicates your offerings: Ideally, your domain name should tell people what you are about. For example, a name like “TwirlyGirlShop.com” immediately gives people an idea of ​​what the store sells (ie girls’ clothing).

Similarly, an online store like “MyVaporStore.com” clearly tells people that it is an e-cigarette retailer.

Aim for that level of clarity for your domain name. While there is always room to be smart and unique, make sure you are still able to get the main message of your ecommerce business across.

Now, there are some exceptions to this. Several retailers have successfully built thriving e-commerce businesses on domains that don’t spell what it’s all about. Honest.com for baby goods stores and Wayfair.com for online furniture sales are examples of this.

 

ecommerce business

Keep in mind, however, that these companies have invested significantly in branding and marketing in order to achieve this. So if you’re planning on using a domain that doesn’t immediately convey what your products are, be prepared to increase your branding and marketing efforts. (See the chapter on marketing below.)

Keep it short – Another tip is to keep your domain name short and sweet. Doing so increases memorizability, makes entry easier, and reduces typos that can lead to the wrong website. It’s also better to choose a name with simple spelling and pronunciation – you’d be doing yourself and your client a favor.

Use domain naming tools: If you are having difficulty finding the correct domain name, there are a number of online tools that can help you create one. Take a look below:

  • NameStation
  • DomainTyper
  • LeanDomainSearch

 

Register your domain

Once you have chosen a domain name, you must register it through a reputable domain registrar. Some of the best include:

  • Bluehost
  • Hostgator
  • Godaddy

You will have to pay domain registration fees, which will vary depending on the domain name you choose. Domain registrars also run promotions from time to time, so you may want to go shopping and take a look at various registrars to see where you can get the most value.

Choose your e-commerce platform

Next is your e-commerce solution. This is the point where you will decide which platform to feed your store. Now, there are two main categories when it comes to ecommerce solutions: hosted and self-hosted.

Self-hosted – Self-hosted eCommerce solutions are open source platforms that require you to host, deploy, and maintain your store. Unless you have a technical understanding of web hosting and e-commerce, you will need to hire a developer to help you set up and run your e-commerce store.

The most significant advantage of using a self-hosted e-commerce platform is flexibility. Open source solutions give you more power over the look, feel, and behavior of your store. You are not limited to presumed features or integrations, and you will be able to implement advanced features and customizations.

When it comes to cons, self-hosted platforms are often more complicated to set up and run. Any feature or design must be coded. And while open source software may be free, you will have to factor in costs, such as server fees, as well as any expenses related to developing and maintaining your store.

Some of the most popular open source e-commerce platforms include:

  • Magento
  • WooCommerce
  • Opencart

Hosted – Hosted ecommerce platforms take care of your hosting and server maintenance for you. These solutions are easier to use and are the preferred options for non-technical people who want to build websites themselves.

Many hosted platforms offer easy drag-and-drop capabilities, which can be a boon for non-tech entrepreneurs who want to go the DIY route with their website. Templates are available, and popular platforms often come with built-in inventory management, marketing, sales, and reporting features.

What are the downsides of going with a hosted solution? Some merchants may find these platforms limited because any feature updates or releases will depend on the solution provider. Your online store may not be as flexible as those built using an open source platform as the look, feel, and capabilities of your site will be dictated by your specific theme.

When it comes to integrations, many fully hosted platforms have preferred plugin providers, so your options when it comes to third-party solutions may be limited.

Some of the most popular open source e-commerce platforms include:

How to choose the right e-commerce platform

Your e-commerce platform is the most important technology component of your store. Not to sound dramatic, but your ecommerce solution can make or break your business. So take the time to find, vet, and choose your platform.

Below are the main factors to consider when looking for the right one:

Hosting – Are you going the self-hosted route or signing up with a fully hosted platform? If you’re just starting out and don’t have the coding skills, you might want to consider going with a fully hosted provider. Setting up your site will be much easier, and you will likely be able to get up and running faster.

On the other hand, if you value flexibility and want to implement highly custom designs or features, then an open source platform might be a better option. Just be sure to budget time and money for hosting and development.

Features – Think about the capabilities you want your site to have. What features are important to you? For example, are you planning to sell on Facebook? Do you need a platform with integrated SEO optimization?

Create a spreadsheet and list the features and capabilities you are looking for in an e-commerce solution. Label the items as “must haves” and “nice to have” and then review the features of the platforms you are considering to see if they check the correct boxes.

Using a spreadsheet format to do this will help you compare e-commerce side by side so you can make an informed decision.

Plugins– Are you planning to use any other software for your ecommerce business? For example, do you have a preferred accounting software? Do you intend to use a particular CRM program or shipping and fulfillment platform? If so, you may want to check if the platforms you are considering can be seamlessly integrated with your preferred programs.

Check the plugins / integrations page of each solution provider to find the third-party apps they work with. If you see the apps you want, then great. If not, you will have to create your own integration, settle for a different app that connects to the platform, or choose a different ecommerce platform entirely.

Pricing – Pricing for ecommerce solutions depends on a number of things, including the type of platform (i.e. self-hosted vs. fully hosted), the size of your business, and the features you need, among other things.

Open source e-commerce solutions are mostly free, but you will have to eliminate development and maintenance costs. Meanwhile, most fully-hosted platforms often charge a monthly subscription, which will depend on things like number of products, number of users, volume of sales, required features, and much more.

Action steps to help evaluate different solutions

Doing research online will surely help you to learn more about the various solutions that exist. But the web is not enough. To really know a solution, you will need:

Take it for a spin – If possible, take a free trial or demo of the ecommerce platforms you are considering. Most of them (fully hosted, in particular) offer trials so you can play with them yourself.

If you do, you can see first-hand how the product works. It will allow you to get an idea of ​​the interface and see if it is something you feel comfortable with

Use the trial version to explore the platforms. Upload some products. Take a look at the available themes and then build a website. Once you’re at the top, browse your site and rate the shopping experience.

Ask the solution provider for references. Another option is to visit online forums or LinkedIn groups, and then start a discussion about the vendors you are considering. You are bound to meet old and existing customers who can share information.

Contact Sales and Support – Contact the solution provider’s team or send them a couple of emails. Tell them about your ecommerce business. Talk about your needs, your products and processes, then ask how the platform can meet your requirements.

This also gives you the opportunity to measure the communication and responsiveness of the company. Does the provider pick up the phone or answer emails quickly? Do employees respond adequately to questions?

There is a good chance that you will interact with your ecommerce solution provider a lot, so you want to make sure they are there for you.

Take a look at your customers – See if you can get in touch with similar merchants who are using (or have used) the ecommerce platforms you are considering.

Step 3 - Sort the pay side of things

For obvious reasons, payments are an incredibly important part of e-commerce. This is why you want to make sure that you not only choose the correct payment gateway, but that it works well with your e-commerce platform.

For the uninitiated, a payment gateway is a commercial service that authorizes and processes credit card payments for online and offline retailers. Simply put, payment gateways allow you to accept credit cards on your website.

There are several payment gateways on the market, and some of the main ones are:

  • Stripe
  • Authorize.net
  • PayPal
  • 2checkout
  • Payline
  • Worldpay

The main factors to consider when deciding on a payment gateway are:

Fee

Each provider has its own rates and ways to determine those rates. Some providers may have fixed costs per transaction, while others have variable percentages or fees. The correct choice will depend on your prices and sales volume.

Setup, chargeback, and other transaction fees may also apply. In some cases, a payment gateway may charge a monthly gateway fee and other service costs.

Your location and the location of your clients can also be a factor, as some gateways do not support specific countries. Additionally, certain gateways charge additional fees if you accept payments from outside the United States.

Payment types

Another great consideration? The types of payments you want to accept. Virtually all payment gateways support credit card payments, but if you are planning to accept non-traditional forms of payment, such as cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, you may need to do your research to make sure a gateway supports that type of payment.

E-commerce integration

Integrated payments will make your life much easier. When your payment gateway is integrated with your e-commerce platform, your customers will not have to leave your website to enter their payment information and complete the purchase, making their payment experience much more seamless.

Step 4 - Market your eCommerce business

So you’ve found an e-commerce platform, set up your payment gateway, and build your website – Congratulations! Now, it’s time to spread the word and drive traffic to your online store. Here are some of the ways you can do it:

Seo

The best way to get people to find your store on the web? Make sure it shows up in search engines. You need to invest in SEO to allow your site to rank in Google search results.

Below are some key steps to take when implementing SEO.

Start with research – Research is the cornerstone of any SEO strategy. You want to make sure that you are optimizing your search terms to attract the best traffic. There are two parts to the SEO research phase: keyword research and competitor research.

Let’s start with the first one.

Keyword research involves determining the best keywords to target. This is critical, as ranking for the wrong keywords can attract the wrong kind of traffic.

How can you find the best keywords to rank for?

A useful tool to use is Google’s Keyword Planner, a free tool that gives you keyword ideas along with information on search volume. Just type in keywords that are relevant to your business, then the Keyword Planner will generate a list of keyword ideas, along with information on search volume and competition for each keyword.

For example, if you are planning to sell organic baby food, you can go to Google’s Keyword Planner and enter keywords relevant to that topic (eg “organic baby food, all natural baby food”, etc.)

The ideal keywords to target are those with high search volume but little competition. These are the keywords that will be easiest to rank for, so you may want to start there.

The other part of SEO research is looking at your competitor’s SEO strategy. You will want to learn about the keywords they are targeting, as well as the websites that are linking to your online stores, as information about these things will allow you to refine your approach to SEO.

Use a tool like SEMRush to find your competitors’ best ranking keywords. You can use that information to decide whether or not to target those same keywords.

Here’s a tip: If a competitor’s website has a much higher domain authority than yours, then you may find it difficult to rank for the same keywords. If this is the case, it is better to target other search terms.

Another useful aspect of competitor research is determining which website is linking back to them. You can do this by using a tool like Moz’s Open Site Explorer that allows you to research backlinks for a particular URL. By doing so, you will be able to identify link building and content marketing opportunities.

https://moz.com/link-explorer

For example, if you sell furniture, you might find that a lot of home improvement blogs are linked to your competitors. Armed with that information, you could consider reaching out to those same blogs and see if they could link to your site as well.

Optimize your website– You have discovered the best keywords to rank for, now is the time to apply those perspectives to your website. Take your keyword list and strategically incorporate it into your page titles and descriptions (includes meta titles and descriptions), headings, web copy, and URLs.

A good rule of thumb is here to create unique content. When crafting product descriptions, for example, avoid simply using what your manufacturer has shipped to you. Instead, you are given an attractive copy that adequately describes each item.

It is important to note that optimizing your site for search is not just about incorporating keywords. Things like site speed, ease of use, and mobile usability factor into rankings too, so don’t forget to keep things under control.

Make sure your website loads quickly and make sure it’s easy to use on all devices. Test your site on mobile so you can see if it offers a smooth browsing experience. If not, work on optimizing your site for the small screen. Remember, more and more shoppers are using their phones and tablets to browse the web. If your site provides a sad experience, then your mobile search rankings could suffer.

Build links – Having relevant, high-quality websites linking to your online store will have a positive impact on your rankings, so get going to get those high-quality links. As we mentioned earlier, you can start with the sites that link to your competitors. Do a little outreach and see if they can include a link to your online store.

Other ways to get backlinks include:

  • Obtaining product reviews from relevant blogs and industry sites
  • Obtaining links from websites in your industry (for example, listed in a supplier directory on a trade organization site)
  • Write guest posts
  • Get media coverage
  • Creating content that other sites would love to link to (more on this in the content marketing section)

Content marketing

Having a content marketing strategy can benefit you in many ways. Creating relevant and educational content enables you to engage your audience and peers, and also positions you as a trusted authority in your space.

Then there is the SEO benefit. SEO juice is a by-product of content marketing. Producing high-quality content that is related to targeted keywords and contains the right links can increase your SEO rankings. Plus, creating great shareable content encourages others to link to your site, further increasing your SEO.

Get started with content marketing by figuring out the burning questions and pains of your target audience. Next, you need to create content that addresses those questions and concerns. The low hanging fruit here is creating an FAQ page that addresses common queries from your customers.

And if you want to take things to the next level, consider creating in-depth guides and rich resources.

For example, if you sell sneakers and athletic shoes, you can create something along the lines of “The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Running Shoe.” Sell ​​kitchen utensils? Why not post recipes or create resources around kitchen upkeep and maintenance?

One e-tailer that does content marketing well is Blue Bottle Coffee. Their website has a “Learn” section that is packed with resources like FAQs, brewing guides, courses, and articles. They even have a “Coffe Match” quiz that generates product recommendations based on your coffee habits and preferences.

https://bluebottlecoffee.com

Social networks

No matter what type of online store you have, there is a good chance that your customers are on social media. The question is, what social networks are they using? As an online marketer, that’s the first thing to ask when crafting a social media strategy.

Do a little research on your customers’ social media habits and then find out where to focus your efforts. Below is a little more information on the most popular social networks out there and how retailers are using it to connect with their audience:

Facebook – Facebook is a very versatile network that allows you to reach and engage audiences in a number of ways.

There is your Facebook Business page that allows you to display company information, reviews, photos, advertisements and much more.

Facebook allows you to add a call to action to your page so that you can use it to drive traffic to your site. Tory Burch, for example, has a “Buy Now” CTA on her page.

You can also use Facebook to have real conversations with your customers. An increasing number of merchants are using Facebook Messenger and chatbots to attract users through instant messaging.

Sephora, for example, has a chatbot that can book inquiries and even service customer service requests.

You can also use Facebook to have real conversations with your customers. An increasing number of merchants are using Facebook Messenger and chatbots to attract users through instant messaging. Sephora, for example, has a chatbot that can book inquiries and even service customer service requests.

In addition, Facebook has a solid advertising platform with specific targeting capabilities that allow you to reach and acquire new customers. The platform has several advertising products, including:

  • Carousel (allows up to 10 images or videos to be displayed in a single ad)
  • Facebook Pixel (allows to measure the activity and conversions of the ads)
  • Custom audiences (to reach your customers and contacts on Facebook)
  • Similar audiences (to find people similar to your clients and contacts)
  • Website conversion (for people to take action on your website)
  • Canvas (allows to use full screen to display messaging)
  • Collection (allows you to display products and get buyers to buy)

If you have the budget for it, explore these ad products and see if you can use them in your ad strategy.

 

Instagram – A highly visual social network, Instagram is an excellent platform for displaying photos and videos related to your business and products. You can use Instagram to showcase your products, tell (visual) stories, and communicate with customers.

Melbourne-based Kip & Co, which sells bedding and household items for children and adults, says the social media is a critical part of its marketing strategy.

“As an online business, Instagram is part of our marketing strategy, our sales strategy and our customer service,” the founders told Instagram. “It’s how we promote new products, sales and specials, reach new audiences, meet and collaborate with other artists, and have a dialogue with clients. We especially love Instagram insights as they are so helpful in informing what to post and what to post. products and prints resonate with our customers. “

Another great way to take advantage of Instagram is to post Stories. If you’re a dedicated e-commerce retailer, you don’t have the advantage of interacting with customers face-to-face, so you’ll want to take advantage of tools that allow you to connect with your audience beyond the photos or words on a page.

Instagram Stories can help you do that. Stories give you the ability to give your audience a behind-the-scenes look at your business and processes, which in turn strengthens your connection with your target customers.

One retailer that does it well is Demeter Cerámica, a Brazil-based ceramic company. Its founder, Ana Franco Demeter, advises companies to take advantage of Stories and use them to show “their creative process to the public.”

According to Ana, 80% of her sales come through her Instagram account, and she is able to get those results through good photos and compelling stories.

Pinterest – When used correctly, Pinterest can be a great driver of site traffic. In fact, according to Shopify, Pinterest is the # 2 overall source of all social media traffic to Shopify stores.

So how can you use this network to your advantage? Well, the first step is to pin beautiful images of your products. This will allow you to display your merchandise on your Pinterest account, and will give your followers the opportunity to re-pin your images.

You may want to consider adding the “Pin It” button to your website to give your visitors a chance to pin your products.

Also, you should use Pinterest to inspire ideas (which could turn into sales). For example, if you sell clothes, then Pin pictures that would give people outfit ideas. Sell ​​furniture? Post beautiful space pins that could spark home redesign initiatives.

That’s what Lowe’s does on his Pinterest account. The home goods retailer has Pinterest boards like “Bathroom Inspiration” or “A Kitchen for Dinner” that are filled with gorgeous images that people can use in their own home building efforts.

Twitter – Twitter may not be as sexy or visual as the aforementioned social networks, but when used well, it can still offer tremendous value.

Twitter lets you quickly enter into conversations with clients and industry peers. Many e-tailers are using it to address customer concerns online (or at least point them in the right direction.)

De Severa brands have also started using Twitter to get quick responses from their audience.

Take a look at this example from Amazon, who used Twitter Polls to find out what their audience wants them to cover at CES]

 

Email marketing

Social media marketing is helpful and can certainly help you put yourself in front of the right people. There’s just one problem: you don’t “own” your audience on social media. The visibility of your content on social media is controlled by the algorithms and policies of each site or application.

Therefore, if a social network decides to adjust the way it delivers or displays its content, its visibility could suffer.

That is why it is always a good idea to have an audience of your property. That’s where email marketing comes in. When you have an email list, you have full control over how and when your messages are delivered, making email marketing a powerful mode of communication and promotion.

If you haven’t already, sign up for an email marketing solution (eg MailChimp, Constant Contact, Aweber, Campaign Monitor, etc.) and use it to create email marketing campaigns. For best results, choose an email solution that integrates with your e-commerce platform.

Start collecting email addresses by setting up a signup box on your website inviting people to sign up for your mailing. You may want to incentivize them by offering an advantage if they sign up.

Kate Spade, for example, offers a discount code to reward people who sign up for her emails.

Once you have those email addresses, start communicating with your subscribers. Send them product updates, let them know when you are running promotions, or simply use email to send content that benefits them.

These are some examples:

Energy Muse sends messages to alert customers about sales and promotions.

Dollar Shave Club uses email marketing to make sure your customers are aware of your free app.

Enfagrow delivers educational content directly to your inbox.

 

Step 5 - Measure business performance

Your store is set up, and your marketing efforts are driving traffic and sales. It’s time to examine e-commerce data to measure results and performance.

How you go about this step can vary depending on your store settings and ecommerce platform, but normally, you should be able to get the measurements you need by examining your platform’s reports and using Google Analytics.

Here are some of the main metrics to examine:

Site traffic

How many visitors do you receive per day, week or month? How do customers find your site (eg search, social media, third party sites)? Where are they found?

Looking at your site traffic will help you answer the questions above so you can make smarter business decisions.

For example, knowing how people are discovering your site could tell you which channels are worth investing in. Let’s say that most of your visitors are finding you on Instagram. That vision tells you that it might be worth doubling down on that social network.

Or, knowing where your customers are could help you implement more localized campaigns or website features. For example, you could start displaying prices in a particular currency if you know that the majority of your visitors are from a specific country.

Conversion rate

Your conversion rate tells you if people are buying your merchandise.

A low conversion rate could indicate a number of problems. It could mean that you are attracting the wrong audience. Perhaps there is a disconnect between your marketing and your product offerings. The usability of the site could also be an issue. Maybe your website is too slow, or not easy to use, and that is causing people to bounce.

Whatever the case, if you have a low conversion rate, dig into the problem and try to identify the reason so that you can address it.

Cost per acquisition

Your CPA tells you how much you are spending to acquire paying customers. The formula for CPA is the total cost of the campaign divided by conversions.

Your CPA measures the effectiveness of your marketing and advertising efforts. It tells you whether a campaign or channel is worth investing in and helps you allocate your budget accordingly.

Average order value

Your Average Order Value (AOV) can provide insight into customer behavior and spending. For example, a low average order value could indicate that you are selling more of your cheap items, and you should increase your marketing and sales for your high-value products. It could also indicate that people are not purchasing multiple items, in which case it may be time to step up your cross-selling efforts.

In conclusion

There you have it. The critical steps every merchant must take to create an e-commerce business.

Starting an online store takes work, but if you successfully implement these steps, the rewards of doing so (i.e. profitability and being able to run a thriving Internet business) are tremendous.

Hopefully this guide brings you closer to achieving it. If you need help starting or growing your ecommerce business, don’t hesitate to get in touch.