With so many software and website-creating tools, building an online store has become easier than ever. In the past, success in commerce was defined by using simple steps, such as choosing a profitable location, advertising your product louder than your competitor, and reducing your operating costs. Today, with the entire world being your consumer, it is no longer that simple. There are many factors to consider when creating a successful e-commerce business that generates traffic. So let us dive deeper to understand how to build an online store and what common mistakes to avoid while starting it.
How to Make an Online Store
With the shift to convenience and online work after the pandemic, there has been a growing opportunity in the digital retail space for individuals and businesses for starting an online store to generate passive income. Let us walk you through the basic steps to make an online store:
- Identify and select your niche – the first step is to know what product you want to sell by doing keyword research.
- Sourcing your inventory – choose whether to purchase the product from suppliers and store it before selling, or use a drop-shipping method.
- Choosing the right website and online store builder that meets all your requirements.
- Use SEO techniques to optimize your online store for search engines.
- Generate website traffic to your online store.
- Promote your store by running online advertisements if you have the budget.
Common Mistakes When Building Your Online Store
The experience of building an online store on your own comes with its fair share of problems. Business owners and individuals inevitably make mistakes that do not let their websites or online store run successfully. Here are the top 5 mistakes to avoid when you build your own online store:
Ignoring the Competition
The success of your website does not always depend on how good you are at your work. Sometimes your competitors can be the reason for your online store’s detrimental growth. The best way to defeat your rival is by understanding their business tactics. One of the ways to understand your rival is to do a competitor analysis before you start your online business. You need to know what kinds of products your competitors are selling, which keywords they are using on their web page, what are their pricing and marketing strategies, how they adapt to the changing market trends, which is their highest-selling product, and what is the source of their traffic generation. Once you have identified these answers from established rivals and new stores that are growing at a rapid rate, modify and incorporate them into your online store.
This research step should be done before you launch your online store to save money, time and adapt to the market niche. Your online store’s business strategies, products, pricing, and marketing should be decided on the basis of your competitor's actions. Your store should be as good or even better than others in your niche to be successful.
Choosing a Lousy Website Template
An online store is firstly a visual enterprise. Most people rely on their impressions when it comes to making a purchase. First impressions of an online store are based on the visual experience of the users. You want your potential customers to get a good idea of what you have to offer when starting an online business. Your store’s website template or design will determine if your web page visitors will turn into potential customers or not. Most online website builders offer a wide array of designs to choose from. When you are building your online store, it is important to choose a website template that has the following qualities:
- User Friendly
- Responsive in design
- Mobile friendly
- Appealing in nature
- Visually attractive
One of the key aspects to keep in mind is to choose a color theme that complements your company’s brand. Also, take your time and choose the website template that suits your product requirements and business needs.
Forgetting About Good Customer Service
Even though your business is purely online, customer service is more important to an online store than it is for brick-and-mortar shops, as a large part of customers still fears shopping online due to scams. Visitors to your website need to be given a good customer service experience at each stage of selling to them. We all know that many customers have queries before, during, and after buying a product and prefer to contact a company in order to know more about it, modify or alter their order, and inquire about an offer.
The response to a customer’s contact should not take more than 5 minutes for any organization as shopping online is impulsive, so every delay is detrimental to the selling company. One of the best ways to solve this issue and provide good customer service is to have an inbuilt live chat feature on your online store. This enables direct contact with the customers and gives the company an opportunity to build a lasting relationship with the customer. Ensuring that your customer service experience is positive and friendly will result in repeat customers.
Making a Complicated Checkout Process
One of the most crucial reasons for visitors not to convert into potential customers is the complicated checkout process. It is important to have a quick and smooth shopping path that is optimized for customers' convenience. We know the checkout page contains vital information for the customer and needs to be included. But if the process is too long and frustrating, then there is a high chance of the client backing out of the purchase. One way to ascertain if your checkout process is complicated is to monitor your web page's bounce rate.
During the building of your online store make sure that your website is neat and easy to navigate, especially the checkout web page. You can optimize it by following the three-clicks rule. It means that a visitor should be able to complete the purchase process within three clicks. This number is symbolic in nature, and it mainly pertains to making the customer’s purchase process quick and effective. Also offering your clients multiple payment getaways reduces the number of abandoned carts. Always design your web page that is customer-first in its approach for maximum effectiveness.
Avoiding Website Maintenance
Once your online store is up and running, that is when your real work starts. Most online businesses fail due to a lack of proper maintenance and upkeep of the website. There are many things that need to be monitored after you have started your e-commerce business. Some of these factors are:
- Website analytics
- Website Traffic
- On- and Off-page SEO techniques
- Technical Errors
- Web Page Responsiveness
All of this data helps you understand how successful your online store is. If you avoid analyzing these parameters then your brand image, in the long run, gets affected negatively. This in turn affects sales, which is the core of any online business. Following SEO techniques and changing them from time to time helps drive constant website traffic to your online store. And finally, if the customer experience is free of errors, and the website is smoothly functioning, you will have a steady flow of repeat and brand-loyal customers, which is very important for your enterprise's growth.
Do not think of these factors as a box you need to tick off, as they are a stage in the development of your online store. Everyone’s journey in online commerce is somewhat different, but what remains constant is the setup process. We hope that with this article we helped you avoid some simple mistakes during the website-building process, and your online business will grow.
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