While some would tell you that it’s never been easier to make a success of yourself in the ecommerce game, others argue it’s never been more challenging. In truth however, the reality lies somewhere in the middle as if you make all of the right moves and avoid the most common rookie errors, the rewards of ecommerce can be enormous. Put a foot wrong in the early stages and you’re guaranteed to struggle, but with so many thousands of online business ventures having come and gone over the years, there’s nothing short of an encyclopedia of experiences to read into and take advice from in order to steer your own efforts in a successful direction.
So, with this in mind, what follows is a quick introduction to five of the most golden rules of all from successful ecommerce gurus on how to give your online business the strongest start possible:
1 – Narrow Down Your Niche…Then Narrow It Some More
Chances are you’ll have a head full of ideas with regard to all the lovely products you’re going to sell and make a ton of money from. But here’s the thing – the more products you try to sell covering a variety of niches or purposes, the more competition you face. This is why it’s often more effective to focus on a very specific type of product or product range and do your best to become the best at what you do. If, for example, you’re considering selling smartphone cases, think about narrowing the field down to specific phone brands or models – sometimes a broad approach can be your worst enemy.
2 – Crawl Before Flying
The only thing worse than seeing your idea fail is seeing an idea fail that you pumped ever last penny to your name into. What’s great about online commerce is the way in which you have every opportunity to start as small as you like to simply test the waters before going the whole hog. If you’ve got an idea, test it out on a smaller scale to see if there really is any demand. And if there is, you can then scale up at the speed you believe makes sense. There’s really no point in diving in at the deep end with a million and one risks, only to then find yourself having to scale down or worse.
3 – Beware Foreign Imports
Now more than ever, it’s considered the norm by so many businesses to buy their stocks in bulk from the Far East for the lowest possible price irrespective of quality and general customer service. This may work in your favour temporarily, but the vast majority of experts advise against favouring low-cost Asian manufacturing above other options. The reason being that it’s only a matter of time until you run into quality control issues, language barriers or general supply issues. Buying large-scale or on an on-going basis from a brand you’ve never heard of and that doesn’t speak your language tends to be a recipe for disaster.
4 – Remember: SEO Still Matters
The power and impact of SEO as a general web marketing tool may be wavering, but in the ecommerce world it is still the bread and butter of millions of sites. The reason being that when the overwhelming majority of consumers head online to find a product, the first thing they do is hit up a search engine and enter what it is they’re looking for. As such, if you’re not ranking high enough for the products you’re selling, you’re never going to get the kind of following you need to succeed. SEO is still extremely important for ecommerce websites though does represent a tricky balancing act to pull off, with essential elements including:
- Linkable Content – Are you giving your visitors and peers good reason to link back to you?
- Guest Posting – Are you posting entries on other sites and blogs to boost your profile and backlink strength?
- Keyword Mining – Have you looked beyond the most obvious keywords to find out what your audience is really looking for?
- Blogging – Have you started a regular blog to keep your site topped up with fresh and relevant content day in and day out?
Simple yet hugely effective tips any ecommerce site owner should be able to follow.
5 – Choose the Right Platform
Last but not least, put very careful consideration into exactly which platform you plan to build and operate your site with as while it’s natural to just immediately fall into the arms of Magento, it’s far from the only tool for the job. From Shopify to Volusion to OSCommerce and more – each and every example has its pros and cons so be sure to compare and contrast what’s on offer to you.