One of the most profitable startup ventures today is starting an online business. Revenue from e-commerce business is highest it has ever been. Now is the perfect time to get yourself in this business and start building an e-commerce site, be it hosted or self-hosted.
But jumping in blindly will be the biggest mistake anyone can make. A lot of things play a vital role in the success of any organization, some of them needs to be addressed beforehand.
There are 3 essential things that must be done if someone is thinking of building an e-commerce site for online business.
These things, although seem easy enough, if not don’t thoroughly, will make your business a failure to launch.
1. Analyze your target customers buying behavior
Just like physical world businesses, a lot of your success in the online market depends on how well you understand your target base.
It isn’t an easy task.
There is a staggering number of variables that affect how the market moves, but usually, there is a pattern in it. What you need in order to understand your target audience is a lot of research.
The first order of business in analyzing the target customer is a no-brainer; identify who the people are that you should target.
This is a crucial aspect. Many businesses, be it online or otherwise, fail simply because they target the wrong people as their customer.
From there, the main work begins. You start by collecting intelligence.
For example, what type of website the millennial population of the targeted area frequently visit, or what type of website designs catch their attention more?
Social Media like Facebook are great for targeting consumers
This is the part that requires to most work. No matter how long or bothersome it might feel, this task is necessary to make informed decisions.
Next, you need to create a buyer persona that will allow you to tap into the mind of that perfect customer, understand their motivation and need.
This is especially important if you are looking to get into B2B e-commerce business. 50% of B2B buyers highly value personalization.
Think of it as like role-playing. Here, the buyer persona is the ideal customer for your business. You determine what they like, what type of people they are and go on from there.
This is the logical part of the process. You need to create a comprehensive buyer persona in order to get a clear and concise idea about how you can succeed.
That is why the first thing to do before building an e-commerce site is to analyze the target customers buying behavior and create a solid foundation for your business.
2. Snoop on your competitor’s websites
When you are in a battle, a little bit of reconnaissance goes a long way. It provides valuable information about your enemy.
You get an idea of the battlefield, know what you are up against and plan accordingly. And make no mistake, the world of business is a ruthless battlefield.
Similarly, you can never go wrong with checking out your rivals operations. The intel you’ll receive from snooping on your competitors can be highly valuable.
The e-commerce business market is highly competitive. A lot of online ventures are vying for the same population, providing similar products/services. And a small advantage over others can shoot a business further than others.
This is true more so for those who are thinking of building an e-commerce site and break through an established marketplace.
Snooping around other similar websites can be instrumental. This simple task will tell you what the market standard is at the moment, what tactics people are following to attract buyers.
It might even give you an inspiration for building the site.
Go through every nook and cranny of competitors’ website, don’t leave anything out. Make sure to carefully analyze what they are doing and how they are doing it.
However, don’t just limit yourself to highly successful e-commerce sites; also check out those that are rising currently.
Try to aim for assimilating the best aspects of your competition’s site. Understanding how your opponent used various features in their e-commerce site, and integrating it into your own concept is a tremendous feat for any entrepreneur.
This is one of the primordial tasks when building an e-commerce site that doesn’t cost you anything and doesn’t need much effort.
However, the payoff from this simple task is immense. By the way, don’t feel bad about snooping around. Every successful online business owner knows the value of it and does it themselves.
3. Research available e-commerce platforms
E-commerce platform is the foundation for your online store. It is on this platform that you build up your online store.
Think of e-commerce platforms like pieces of land for your physical store. You host your products, payment gateways and everything else you’ll need on this platform.
That is why it’s so crucial for anyone who’s thinking of building an e-commerce site to go read up thoroughly and research which platform will be the best fit for the organization.
You might even seek some demo from other people to get a sense of which one is the right one for you.
There are numerous e-commerce platforms on the market today. Each platform has their own unique features that set them apart from each other in some way.
You can also go for a custom e-commerce site. Another e-commerce platform that is very popular is Magento.
Each one has their own pros and cons that you may find suitable for your need. For example, WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress.
So if you are familiar with WordPress, operating an online store using WooCommerce platform will be a breeze.
However, even WordPress might not be a cup of tea for everyone.
Or, if you are looking for an e-commerce platform that will have everything neatly ready and require only very little action on your part, then platforms like Shopify or Squarespace is the right one for you.
The future of your online store depends on choosing the right e-commerce platform. Choosing the wrong platform just won’t slow down the growth of your online venture, but also create nearly irreversible problems when scaling up.
It can be a confusing and a little daunting when it comes to choosing the right e-commerce platform. That is why it is so crucial to research about all the available options in the market today.
Some are free and some costs a lot.
By being aware of what is out there, you are able to make an informed decision and be on the right path to success.
Knowing is winning half the battle. And being fully prepared is the other half. Undoubtedly, whenever someone is thinking of building an e-commerce site, they must be fully prepared.
These are the three pillars that you must be familiar with before venturing further.
These three simple tasks have the ability to ensure that you are fully equipped to stave off any ill-informed decision that you might’ve made. They will provide you with a strong and sturdy support.
If done thoroughly and properly before building an e-commerce site, you can rest easy knowing that you have put the right foot on the path to success.
What do you think is the most important thing to do before opening an e-commerce site? What can we do to be more prepared and ensure a thriving online business?
Let us know in the comments