E-commerce: How to Get Started
Typically, the way to write something like this is to give it a title like “8 Ways to Improve Your E-commerce Business” or “13 Easy Steps to Boost Your Sales,” but having delved through many of these sorts of things I can tell you that way too many of the steps that are listed are things like, “Give the customer a way to buy your product!” I’m not going to insult your intelligence by giving you a useless listicle with a bunch of stuff you already know. Instead, I’m going to give you real information, and while I don’t intend to delve too deeply into anything because nobody wants to read a blog that has turned into an academic dissection of modern shopping trends, I will give you the seeds necessary to either search for further elaboration on my points, or enough information for any beginner to get started with a leg up on other people just starting. With that said, let’s get to it.
Choose the Right Platform
This is the most obvious of the points I will touch on, but it’s also something that so many people miss. You need to be selling your products in the correct places to the correct audience. This includes the way you’ve set up your website if you are taking a direct approach. For example: if you’re creating handmade art pieces and selling both the piece itself and prints of the piece you aren’t going to have much luck on the Amazon Marketplace. For that you’d want to be selling on Etsy, or Society6, or TeePublic, or even on your own website while building your own following. In that case your art isn’t the product so much as you, as an artist, are the product. You are selling yourself in that case and you need the following in order to move your pieces and your prints. If you’re trying to sell collectibles, that’s a whole different thing, eBay is the big name, but depending on what exactly you’re trying to sell there are a lot of niche places to sell collectibles and you would be best served to find the hardcore audience for what you’re selling. And if you’re just selling various products like spatulas or dish rags the Amazon Seller Marketplace is a great option.
No matter which platform you are selling on they are giving you all of the data you could possibly need to make sure your product is doing what it should be doing. This data is absolutely crucial for you to grow your business. If the data is telling you that your product is underperforming compared to other similar products it allows you to dissect the data and figure out what the issue is. The sheer amount of data that you may have thrown at you is certainly intimidating, but within the data is what you need to make even a well performing product perform at its absolute best. Don’t be afraid of the data.
This entry is more relevant to those creating their own online spaces, rather than those selling on other platforms like Etsy or Amazon Marketplace, but it’s still crucial. If there are annoying hurdles between the customer and the product they are more likely to abandon it. These hurdles can be things like annoying pop-ups trying to upsell another product that isn’t related at all to what the customer is there for. They can be things like unexpected price increases. They can be things like too many different pages asking for the shipping or billing information (keep that all on one page if at all possible). They can even be things like slow shipping times that aren’t explained (customers are willing to forgive if they know the why). As more and more gets between the customer and the product they are more likely to abandon the cart and not go through with the sale.
There are certainly more things you can tweak to have better outcomes, but these are, in my opinion, the places people get caught up the most. After addressing these issues you can start diving into things like making sure your copy is engaging without making your customer cringe so hard they pull a muscle (we will absolutely explore this in a later entry, possibly next week if something else doesn’t come up), but those things don’t actually matter if you don’t have the customers. You need to be converting first sales before you can start worrying about getting returning customers. The steps I have outlined above will allow you to take great strides in doing so. In order to create a lasting business you have to take the first steps.