According to the Pew Research Center, 80 percent of Americans are online shoppers. At the same time, according to these eCommerce statistics, there are anywhere between 12 and 24 million eCommerce sites. What this means is that even though there is a large demand for places to shop online, there are also a lot of options.
If you want to launch an online store, you need to find a way to get it to stand out from the crowd. Otherwise, your online store won’t get the traffic it needs for success. To get started, here are 5 tips you can use when launching your store, that when implemented, will help it rise to the top.
Choose the Right Hosting Provider
For starters, you’ll want your online store on the best possible hosting provider. The hosting provider is the service that will store all the files needed to run your store and allow other internet users to access your website. If you choose a sub-standard hosting provider, you could face the following issues:
- Slow website speeds
- Website becomes unavailable
- Limits to your website’s size
- Loss of data
Before you start your website, you should first explore the hosting provider options that are available. Here is a list of some of the best hosting providers for online stores to get you started. If you already have an online store that you’re looking to improve, consider switching to one of the providers on this list.
Also Read: Best WooCommerce Hosting
Have Great Shopping Cart Software
Another key element of any online store is the checkout process. Customers need to be able to add items to a digital shopping cart, then checkout easily. Amazon would not be as successful as it is if you experienced problems with your cart every time you used the site.
Too many online store operators leave the shopping cart software decision until the end. They simply choose the first software that they find, assuming they are all the same. But your shopping cart software has a big impact on your bounce and cart abandonment rates, so you won’t want to rush through this choice.
In many cases, the hosting provider you choose will have shopping cart software products that it recommends. You are free to go with one of these, or you can search around for one of your own. Your goal is to find shopping cart software that requires as few steps as possible for your customers, is easy to integrate into your website, works reliably, and fits into your budget.
Get Your Team Organized
It’s hard to run a large online store on your own. More than likely, you’ll need people on your team to handle things like marketing, customer service, product management and more. As your team grows, you’ll need a system in place to keep everyone organized and on the same page.
You can start doing this by having a few tools set up. You’ll first want something that allows your team members to quickly talk to one another so that they don’t always have to rely on email. Slack is a good choice for this, but there are many others. Another thing you’ll want is project management software. Look for one where you can share files, update the status of projects, and collaborate in real-time.
Finally, you should consider building a knowledge base for your online store. This is a system where you will store all the essential information needed to run your store. The idea is to have a centralized place for this so that each team member can find the information they are looking for easily. To get started, here are some of the best knowledge management systems.
Build an Email List from the Start
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to market your online store. With email marketing you can reach interested customers in a place they check every day, showing them your latest products, discounts, or special offers. However, to reach these people, you need to first obtain their email address.
Email marketing is only as effective as the list on which it is built. This is why it’s important that you start building up your email list as early as you can. There should be a place on every page where visitors can sign up to receive special discounts and offers or to read your newsletter if you have one. You should also add past customers to your email list, as you may be able to turn them into repeat customers.
Once you have your email list, it’s important that you consistently reach out to customers. You may want to use a separate email marketing service like MailChimp to handle this, or you can even use mail merge for Gmail if you’d like. If customers go too long without hearing from you, they are likely to forget about you and move onto another store.
Building up a solid email list takes time, so start as soon as you can for the best results.
Also Read: Ways To Build Your Email List In WordPress
Provide Customer Service Options
Customer service plays a big role in an online store. If customers feel like they won’t be able to talk to someone if they have an issue, or if you can’t adequately answer their questions, they will choose to shop somewhere else. To provide excellent customer service, you need to offer different avenues.
For example, you could have a simple contact form on your website where customers can send you an email, a chatbot that answers simple customer inquiries, and you could direct customers to reach out to you with issues on social media if they’d like. Everyone prefers to get assistance in different ways, so by providing options, you make it more likely that each customer will be happy with their service experience.
Start Your Online Store Off Right
No matter what niche your online store is in, you’re going to face some competition when you first launch. To catch up to your competitors, and eventually surpass them, you’ll need to start off strong. Don’t rush through the launch process – take your time with picking a hosting provider and shopping cart software, get your team organized, and put systems in place that will help you over the long-term. If you can do this, you should find before long that your online store steadily grows and finds the success you are looking for.