E-commerce has steadily risen in popularity among aspiring entrepreneurs who want a simple business model with less overhead than a traditional retail store. Selling online is a great way for inexperienced entrepreneurs to make money, test their business acumen and interface with customers online.
However, like any business, creating an e-commerce site isn’t as easy as paying for a domain and letting the website sit. You have to ensure a positive customer experience with great products and excellent service.
Below, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council give their best advice for building a successful e-commerce site for those with no or limited business experience.
Young Entrepreneur Council members share tips for building a successful e-commerce site.
Photos courtesy of the individual members.
1. Start With A Blog
If you want to start a successful e-commerce website, the first thing you should do is create a blog. You need more than a simple product page if you want to keep visitors engaged with your brand. Research your target audience and write content that resonates with their specific goals and pain points. As you connect with readers, you’ll start to see more visitors become customers. A blog can also help you work on your linking structure and SEO strategy, which will play a role in future sales. This is one e-commerce essential you can’t afford to miss, regardless of your industry. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
2. Build In Marketing Costs
Build in marketing costs to your product pricing that will allow you to give away products, utilize influencers, reward multiple purchases or repeat business with huge discounts, offer free shipping, etc. People love feeling like they are getting a deal or good value. Leave yourself enough margin to aggressively get yourself out there. Run contests and giveaways, and reach out to people who should have your product in their hands and send it to them. – Scott Levy, Fuel Online
3. Seek Help From Others
Ask a lot of questions. Surround yourself with advisors. Be extremely honest and transparent about your own limitations. If possible, find a co-founder who has a tech background. Accept that you will make a lot of mistakes and look at failures as an opportunity to learn and grow. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Sometimes it’s better to outsource to a third party, like a digital agency, who will help you get to a minimum viable product. Work with as many experts as possible. Focus on building and shipping a product before building in-house capabilities. Embrace the building-in-public mentality. And always make sure you test all your assumptions with real users because what’s more important than building the thing right is building the right thing. – Anik Decoste, MTTR
4. Focus On Building Trust
Build trust from the very beginning! There are many horror stories of people who get ripped off by buying from strange online stores. People who visit your e-commerce store have such fears at the top of their minds as they contemplate buying from you. You can create trust by communicating important information on your website. Share trust badges from third parties on your homepage. Add testimonials, reviews, ratings or the number of downloads your product has. Offer people money-back guarantees or free trials. Trust needs to be built in if you want your e-commerce platform to succeed. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
5. Keep It Simple
Keep it incredibly simple. Talented product designers want to overcommunicate the benefits and features of their inventions. They want to fill pages with artwork, renders, graphics and videos. Detailed descriptions can be nice, but they may distract readers from the whole purpose of the site, which is to place an order. Instead, if you’re just starting off, build a lightweight website that focuses heavily on the product landing page, which makes it really easy for customers to check out and submit their orders. You can still invest in communicating more about the value of your product in post-purchase emails and other communication with the customer. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep Mattress
6. Offer Several Easy-To-Use Payment Methods
Offer several payment methods that are easy to access and understand. You must always take into account the age and needs of your customers and create your website focused on your audience. It is extremely common that the payment method is difficult to find and is also difficult to use due to restrictions. Many times, for this reason, even if your potential clients are interested in your services or products, they don’t buy anything because they just can’t. For example, a simple but very good trick that has worked for me is to have the products appear only a few clicks away. It is necessary to think about the comfort of your customers and try to make the purchase easier. – Kevin Ryan Tao, NeuEve
7. Choose A Web Suite With E-Commerce Tools
Choose a web suite that is already built out with e-commerce tools. Shopify makes it really easy to manage e-commerce elements that would take a lot of plug-ins on WordPress. Choose a template and take the time to get training in Shopify. Even if you plan to have someone else in marketing manage it, be sure to have the training so you know the features and the road map so you can see benefits and new ways to use the platform. Then, focus your attention on frequently updating your site with keyword-based content, and use psychological principles in the design and lead capture. You can learn to manage a site at any age. These platforms and all-in-one management systems make it very easy to run a site; the trick is being savvy in your maintenance and psychology. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic
8. Put Yourself In Your Customers’ Shoes
Keep your customer top, bottom and middle of mind as you design your website experience. Don’t rely on developers to think like your customers; make sure that you personally put yourself in your customers’ shoes and go through the full site experience many times. Look for points of friction, find small frustrations and eliminate clicks whenever you can. Enlist people outside your company without any knowledge of your product to validate the experience and ensure it’s simple to understand. Lastly, don’t neglect your content. Offer rich and detailed explainer texts, product descriptions and FAQs to help you convert potential buyers into customers. – Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com
9. Study Other Sites
Spend lots of time studying other sites and making notes on what works and what doesn’t. Look for sites with a proven track record or top sellers on sites such as Amazon and Etsy. Start your own business gradually and scale up on products that do well. Don’t overextend yourself, as it’s normal to have many failures, especially when you’re starting out. Don’t overinvest in stock, ads or marketing. Another point is to do thorough research before signing up with drop shippers or other partners who will have a huge impact on your results. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
10. Communicate How You Provide For Your Customers
Keep it simple and focus on communicating why and how you provide a transformation for your prospects and customers. Many people with limited business experience fail to focus on differentiating their message, and this confuses prospects. Prospects want to have their problems solved. Business owners who communicate clearly, simply and consistently are better marketers, and the best marketers are those who land the most attention and clients. – Libby Rothschild, Dietitian Boss
Source by www.forbes.com