4 Things To Consider When Building Your First Online Store
Starting your own business has never been easier. The growth of the e-commerce sector continues to rise with no signs of flattening out just yet.
Even though the barriers to entry are lower, arguably, the competition has never been higher. With everybody that owns a computer having access to the tools needed to create an online store, the volume of people trying to get in on the action multiples by the day.
In this context, you need to think smart to stand out in the crowd. The following four considerations will help you plan and execute your first successful business. And the best news? You won’t need to break the bank doing it.
Pick Your Niche Carefully
The key to nailing online selling as a newcomer is picking your niche carefully. If potential customers recognize you as a specialist, you will increase your chances of success significantly. To conquer your own corner of the internet, you have a couple of options for finding niche products.
Discover Products People Love
Using hashtags on sites such as Pinterest and Instagram is a great way of finding products people love. Say your thinking about selling interior design products for the home. You can search for hashtags such as #homedecor or #designideas to discover what products people are posting about. Posts featuring products with the most engagement (likes, comments, and shares) are typically the ones with the most potential to earn.
Jump On Crazes Before They Happen
Some products burn red hot before fizzling out. They gain popularity quickly, last one or two years, then die never to be seen again — but they can be extremely profitable. Just imagine jumping on the fidget spinner craze a few months before they were everywhere. You can look for what’s hot right now by checking out online marketplaces like Oberlo, Rakuten, and Alibaba. Scan the top-selling product pages of these sites and if you see something that has a high rating and a large number of orders, there’s potential to make money.
Validate your ideas with Google Trends
Once you have a list of viable products, use Google Trends to validate how well they’re trending, This tool will give you the opportunity to check the countries in which your potential products enjoy the most searches and, therefore, where they are the most popular. If you see a huge recent spike in a Google Trends graph, you could be looking at the next niche product to go big.
One of the biggest reasons that e-commerce businesses fail is because they don’t successfully communicate the value that it has to offer. Here, quality branding can make a huge difference; telling potential customers what to expect from your products, who you are, all while differentiating you from the competition.
One of the most crucial first steps to branding your online store appropriately is choosing a suitable domain name. A domain name is what customers first see in your address bar and in Google searches. To make sure it’s on-brand, here’s what you need to consider:
When selling going to explore cross border commerce or sell to international customers, opting for a .com domain will feel the most credible and trustworthy.
Unique But Not Too Clever
It’s okay to play with words, but you don’t want to be too obscure. Unusual spellings, misspellings, random characters, and hyphens can make things needlessly complex. The last thing you want to do is prevent people from finding you.
Don’t Forget Keywords
Leveraging a popular search term in your niche is a great way to combine SEO and branding. And as a bonus, it might help you rank higher, increase click-through and generate more traffic.
Remember To Renew
After you’ve registered your domain name, set yourself a reminder to renew. This typically needs to happen every one or two years. If you start building traction in your niche, the last thing you want is for someone else to swoop in and steal it.
Store Functionality Affects Customer Experience
With so much choice online, customers will not use your store unless you make their experience super simple. This means making sure the e-commerce platform you use to build your store has all the features and integrations needed to make it a success — from payment gateways to chatbot functionality, you want a tech foundation that can seamlessly scale with you and deliver for your customers.
Most e-commerce platforms will have all the tools and integrations you need to launch a business from scratch. If you’ve used WordPress before or have a blog you want to monetize, a WooCommerce plugin might be the best bet. However, if you’re totally fresh to the idea of building your own site, Shopify offers a similar solution.
Either way, when choosing between different platforms, you will need to make sure it can handle the following logistical considerations:
- Payment gateways that people trust such as PayPal.
- Apps that help with shipping.
- Plugins for taxes, cross-border payments, and accounting.
- Chatbots to support customer service.
- Email and social tools for marketing to customers.
Don’t cut corners and skimp on this phase: you need this solid foundation to be able to grow and scale.
SEO-Friendliness From Day One
Did you know that over nine of every 10 online experiences start with a search engine? The foundation of good e-commerce SEO is making sure potential customers can find you when they search for products in your chosen niche.
When building your first online store, there are a handful of important SEO factors to consider, including:
- Adding a blog to your website.
- Making sure customers can leave a review.
- Meta tags.
- Mobile responsiveness.
- Site speed.
More important than all five in relation to SEO-friendliness is keyword optimization. Deciding on the right keywords for your products might take some time and more than a fair share trial and error. However, once again, a wide range of free tools that will help you discover the most profitable words and in your niche, what phrases competitors rank for, and gaps in the search environment that you can fill with high-quality content.
Starting your own online business might be the easiest it has ever been, but with the increased number of stores opening, making your stand out is the challenge. Following the four areas of advice outlined above and you will lay solid foundations for success. Good luck!