As the world continues to grapple with this concept of the new normal, consumer behaviour continues to increasingly pivot toward the online world. As such, establishing a solid eCommerce presence is no longer an option but a necessity.
But with online commerce competition at an all-time high, you can’t just create a commerce platform online and expect customers to come flocking in. Here are eight essential steps you should perform before launching your eCommerce brand.
1. Do A Full Audit of Your Website
Double and triple check all aspects of your website before launching your eCommerce brand. Remember that you’ll only get one chance to make an excellent first impression with your customer base, so everything has to run like a well-oiled machine.
The last thing you want to do is to launch a website that has too many flaws. Some of the things to check for are:
- Spelling and grammar. Has your website content been thoroughly edited and checked? Are there any glaring grammatical or spelling errors on the banners, landing pages, product pages, and menus?
- Custom domain. Does your website have a custom domain name? It would look more professional on one, as most people will note the domain and associate it with your brand. You don’t want to have a store that has “Squarespace” or “Wix” or even “WordPress” attached to the URL.
- Contact details. Does your shop already have all its contact details prepared? This means having an email address, snail mail address, and phone number. These details must be on your contact page so customers have every means to contact you. Ensure that your social media links or icons are in your headers and footers, as many customers communicate to eCommerce brands through social media platforms. It’s even better for the brand if the contact page already has its customer support form.
Don’t overburden your website
With all the available developments in tech and apps now for site owners, it’s incredibly tempting to add kinds of bells and whistles on your eCommerce brand’s website, including every new feature possible. But remember: too many of those apps could slow your website down as everything struggles to load.
Some might even conflict with one another and will keep your website from operating correctly. Furthermore, slow website loading could count as a strike against you and lower your search ranking. Customers don’t have the attention span to wait for your site to load.
Optimize your images
Some images may look amazing on camera screens, but they may be less than stellar when uploaded to the internet. Optimizing your images, especially product images, for the web ensures detail, clarity, accurate colouring, and, most of all, a smaller file size.
Smaller sizes without compromising quality will ensure that site loading remains fast.
2. Inventory Check
You don’t want to open your eCommerce brand’s website just for customers to find that products are out of stock. Make sure that the products on the site are available with ample stock, along with the correct tax rates.
Somewhere on your website, you should clarify any shipping fees or concerns, including issues on weight and dimensions.
3. Is Your Audience Ready?
If you launch your eCommerce brand but haven’t built up an audience for it, no one would care or even go to the site. This is why pre-launch marketing is essential. Utilize digital marketing strategies on social media platforms or other websites to drum up interest in your brand.
What do you have to offer? What problems can you solve for your consumers? Draw their interest early, drop news of opening-day promos and other perks early.
This way, you’ll have traffic ready and rearing to go when the virtual ribbon-cutting does happen. This leads to the next step.
4. Announce on Social Media
Social media is your “site away from your site.” Your eCommerce brand’s identity on social media is profoundly vital to your digital marketing efforts. Therefore, if you’re going to make any launch announcements, promos, and initial interactions with your target audience, and more, you’ll have to do it on social media.
The possibilities of social media announcements are boundless. For some micro-entrepreneurs with a burgeoning eCommerce brand, they could do all their business on social media.
Social media allows you and your brand to expand its reach to a massive audience. People interact and socialize on these platforms as well, so word about your products can travel here much faster than any other digital marketing channel.
Furthermore, it’s a great place to collaborate with influencers who would broadcast news of your brand and the launch to even greater audiences.
5. Have A Monitoring System in Place
Without a proper monitoring system, you won’t know if your eCommerce brand is making any traction or getting out to your audience. You won’t know if people respond positively to the launch without analytics, let alone to your subsequent marketing strategies.
It is vital that you use one of the many analytics tools available. With these you can monitor your site traffic, click-through rates, page views, visitor durations, and more. Analytics allow you to keep a close eye on where your customers are coming from, what they’re doing on your site, and what products or services interest them the most.
There are also excellent tools that allow you to monitor social media analytics. They can track your engagement, follower count, click-through rate, and more.
6. Backup Everything
Your eCommerce brand must be prepared for every contingency possible. How will you cope if some of your webpages go down? What if you lose data during a transfer? What if there’s an app issue? Backups for everything that could happen online is essential for any company.
This way, you won’t have a lot of time or data loss and can quickly recover if anything goes wrong. You never know when an outage or a server problem could take place. Lost data means lost money and lost time—a regular backup protects you from all of that.
7. The Customer Remains King
When you’re just starting with your eCommerce brand, you must keep customer concerns front and centre. In every digital marketing strategy, in any discussions with your customer base, always keep in mind that it’s not about your brand right now. It’s about what customers are looking for.
What are their pain points? How will you make them respond to your product? What can your product do that addresses a problem that they have? Your target audience is your most important focus at this point as you try to grow a loyal customer base. An excellent method is to interview or get a review from a customer who has already tried and enjoyed your eCommerce brand’s product and post up their testimony for other customers to see.
8. One Brand Across Many Platforms
Finally, you need to make sure that your brand is consistent. Whether it’s on your website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other platforms, your branding should be uniform. Remember: these colours, images, tone, and ideas will be your eCommerce brand’s overall identity.
When customers see these things, they will associate them with your brand. It doesn’t just create identity, but it builds recall in the customers’ minds and ultimately breeds trust and loyalty in the brand. With that in mind, you can create commercial goals and interests based around it, creating a cohesive company identity in the process.
Yes, building an eCommerce brand is advantageous, convenient, and cost-effective. But it’s not that much different from building a regular company. Knowing how to start and making the jump is always a challenge, and often it’s the most challenging phase of a company’s birth.
But as long as you follow your gameplan, prepare for any contingency, keep your customers’ interests in mind, and build a real, relatable identity with your company, then it should all be fine. In that case, it should be smooth sailing soon.
Do you have experience opening your online store or eCommerce brand? How did the earliest stages go for you? Let us know your brand birth story in the comments below.