7 Expert Tips for Starting Your E-Commerce Business

under Experts, Gurus, & Other Mythical Creatures.

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Not everyone with a great product to sell is a tech guru. Many startup business owners are daunted by their competition online or feel like they can never measure up to online giants like Amazon or eBay.

If you find yourself floundering while making your startup plan, there are plenty of voices in the eCommerce community to help you. Here's what 7 experts wanted to share about their best marketing tips for new eCommerce business owners.

 

Understand your business and business objectives before you start your eCommerce store. Understand your marketing channels, who is buying your products, who should be buying your products, the cost and profit margins of each product, the highest amount you can discount to maintain a certain level of profits, etc. Thinking through these details will not only help support your business objectives, but will help inform how you build and market your eCommerce store.

Abbie B. Elliott, Abbie B. Elliott Communications

 

It is so crucial to operate your business in "real-time". What I mean by this is to show your customers that you're incredibly engaged with them and their needs by personalizing your content, offers, and promotions keeping them relevant to the season/user/trends. If a product isn't selling, slap a discount on it and move it on out quickly so you can replace it with a more attractive option.

Have you yourself ever been on an eCommerce site and you're ready to pull the trigger but just need one simple question answered? You start to become unnerved because you can't find a customer service number or you just don't have the time to chat with someone. After a couple minutes, you abandon the site altogether for another eCommerce choice that is more user-friendly and informative. The solution -- Add a live chat option so you never miss those "low-hanging fruit" opportunities. Don't underestimate the power of being proactive in real-time.

Cory, Blue Aspen Marketing

 

Normally, I'm a big fan of building a fast minimum viable product (MVP), but product photography is one aspect of ecommerce marketing that you want to take the time to get right.

With the continued growth of Amazon, Google Shopping and general mobile commerce, high-quality images are crucial to consumers. In fact, one survey noted that 75% of online shoppers say that product photos are very influential and nearly a quarter of online returns are due to a perceived "misrepresentation" of the item compared with the photo.

That does not mean you have to spend thousands of dollars for professional photography; a high-end camera with a portable photo studio can give you great results. Independent contractors (for example, through Fiverr) might also offer a low-cost alternative. And even companies like Amazon and Shutterstock are developing programs to develop quality product images for their customers.

Greg Bullock, Theraspecs

 

Ecommerce companies are often left at the mercy of Google and social media companies, and if they decide to change their policies you could end up much worse off. In contrast, you actually own your email list, so no amount of policy changes will be able to stop you from being able to interact directly with your audience via email. So, my biggest piece of advice would be to continually look to grow your email list with quality leads.

Another benefit of having an email list of relevant leads is that it encourages repeat purchases. Competing on price has come to be expected, so being able to directly contact customers to encourage repeat purchases is more important than ever.

Finally, qualified email leads allow for abandoned cart emails to be sent out. Not only does this reduce the amount of lost revenue due to incomplete purchases, but it also enables you to take advantage of further upselling opportunities.

Emil Kristensen, Sleeknote

 

When starting an eCommerce store, one of the major factors to take into consideration is the wording or content that is used on the product pages.  

If the store is selling the same product as ten other retailers, likely they will all use the same manufactures descriptions. Here is the problem, same products, similar descriptions and usually the same price. Who does a consumer choose?

When marketing the site you have to bring something special to the table. Identify what makes you unique over your competitors and gives a customer that extra value. These answers should be the cornerstone of how you market to your potential audience.

Damien Buxton, Midas Creative

 

When you're first starting out, customer retention is critical to building brand loyalty. I'd suggest using a combination of notifications, discount and transactional email to do this.

For instance, when a customer has started the check out process. Whether they've chosen a plan (for SaaS) or added products to the cart (for more traditional e-retailers), there are a few things you can do to speed up the conversion process without hurting their user experience. You could:

Use notification on the site to let them that there's a limit on how long items will stay in your checkout cart - which creates a sense of urgency and rush them back to the cart.

For those who do not finish the checkout process, send them a transactional email basing on this behavior, i.e., 12 hours after they have started but not completed the checkout process to remind them kindly. Furthermore, send a coupon their way, i.e., 10% discount code 'THANKYOU' as a token of gratitude and being a first time customer and incentive to complete the purchase.

Hung Nguyen Small PDF

 

Define who your direct and indirect competitors are. Direct competitors are online stores selling the same products as you, the indirect are the ones who rank for the same kind of topics as your store, they are howtos, guides, etc.

You are just starting out, so Amazon and eBay are *not* your competitors, forget them.

Subscribe for a keyword research tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs for a month or two, and analyse their most successful pages. What you are interested in finding are the pages you want to compete with in terms of products  - such as category and product pages - and content or guides.

Search for the keyword you just found also on Google, make sure you can compete for these terms. If the results for the keyword includes just product pages and you don't sell that product, go to the next.

Write your new original content. It will be your long-term asset!

Francesco Baldini, Betakrea