Important tips when starting an e-store
It is a good idea to become an entrepreneur online by setting up your own e-store. But are there any major pitfalls to avoid, and are there any tips that may be useful to you? It absolutely is!
In this article, we will give you 20 relevant tips for starting your own e-store, and we will also inform you about what not to do.
20 tips regarding how to start an online store
- Don’t be afraid to experiment.
- Reinvest the money in your own business.
- Work hard and continuously.
- Make connections with important influencers.
- Make sure the products have SEO-optimized texts.
- Make sure your e-store is stylish.
- Make sure your online store loads quickly.
- Benchmark your e-store against the competition.
- Ask friends and family to provide feedback.
- Create logical product categories.
- Register your company on social media sites.
- Set a monetary limit for free shipping.
- Market your e-store immediately after starting up.
- Avoid shopping cart abandonment.
- Build links to your e-shop.
- Let customers rate the products.
- Do not choose a niche that is too narrow.
- Offering the lowest prices is not always the way to go.
- Collect email addresses.
- Choose a good payment service for the checkout page.
Below we will talk more about these aforementioned tips that we just told you about.
1. Don’t hesitate to take chances!
If you don’t believe in yourself and take chances, you’ll probably end up doing the exact same thing that your competitors are doing. It is important to stand out from the crowd to succeed in e-commerce, and you can do that by ordering a unique and attractive website that we will build for you in for example Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce.
Note that it is important not to experiment too much, because e-store customers have certain expectations regarding the design and the performance that you must consider. But what does those expectations include? We will talk more about that a little further down.
2. Reinvest the profits in the company
The Amazon founder Jeff Bezos reinvests almost everything in his own company to gain market shares to be able to make more money down the line. It’s worth noting that you don’t have to pay income tax for money that you use to invest in your own company (in Sweden), but please note that tax regulations vary from country to country.
3. Work hard and do not give up
Set up firm goals and work towards achieving them. These goals can include how many new products you should upload to your e-store per week, or how many hours you should spend on the e-store on a weekly basis. If you do not set up clear goals and stick to them, the whole e-commerce project might end up being something you “never had time for” in the first place.
4. Connect with influencers
If you have plans to create a more niche e-shop that sells for example dietary supplements, it is a good idea to contact influencers that know a lot about the consumers in your niche.
It can be difficult to find popular influencers who are seen as authorities in their respective niches, but it is worth a try, because there is a good chance that a win-win situation will arise: With a sponsorship you’ll probably sell more products, while the influencer most likely won’t pout since he’s making more money.
5. SEO-optimized texts are important
It is a good idea to hire a copywriter who knows how to write texts that sell, rank well and that speaks to the target audience. SEO-texts in Swedish cost about 1 kr (0,12 USD) per word, and the price point is about the same in the rest of the western world.
6. The e-store must look good
A good-looking website increases the conversion rate, that’s a known fact. A good-looking and easy-to-navigate website is a must when it comes to getting visitors to buy products, so investing in a website that converts customers is a smart idea.
Even if the initial investment cost might be steep, you’ll make your money back in no time.
7. The e-shop must load quickly
An e-store that takes forever to load loses out on customers that simply choose to press the back button. In addition to that, Google penalizes websites that do not live up to their speed guidelines, which are called Core Web Vitals.
More specifically, Google, which is the world’s largest search engine with 93% of the global market share, shows your product pages further down the search results if your e-store is too slow. It is devastating to your company’s profitability, and for the user experience.
8. Compare your e-store with your competitors’ sites
Is there anything your competitors are doing right or maybe wrong? We always map out what you competitors are up to when you order a website from us.
9. Ask for feedback
Even if both you and we are happy with the result, it is not certain that everyone is. It is a good idea to ask a friend who has basically never shopped on the internet before what she thinks of the site. Your e-store may not be as easy to use as you/we first thought, and then we must do something about it together.
Please remember that we offer free revisions disregarding how big your order is.
10. The product categories must be logical
For example, if you are going to sell clothes via your e-shop, do not lump together men’s clothes in a category called “Men”, while you put all women’s clothes in a category called “Women”. Note that you will benefit from being as detailed as you can, just look at how Amazon.se does it:
They have implemented a detailed and logical menu system, where the customer can easily find what she is looking for. In addition, your products will be more visible in search engines with a menu system that is well thought out and contains all relevant subcategories.
11. Your e-store should be visible on social media sites
Not all customers use Google in order to find product suggestions. Many of the customers look for new products via social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Being visible on about 3 social media platforms is a good idea, i.e. a form of sweet spot.
One post a week is usually enough, and in addition to that you do not have to pay anything if you do not choose to advertise on the platform in question.
12. Offer free shipping to customers who place large orders
Globally, more than half of all e-shops offer free shipping, and the phenomenon of not paying for shipping is widespread in both Sweden and the US. As E-handel.se makes a point of, it is not profitable to offer free shipping on just about anything. Instead, they recommend that you set a free shipping limit of about 70 USD (500 SEK).
If you follow their suggestion that means that more customers will choose to buy more products, and that will make your income margins increase. The only time it’s worth giving the customer free shipping on everything is if you have extremely good margins on all products.
13. Market the e-store in a smart manner
As soon as the e-commerce platform is ready, it is important that you market both the e-store and the products you are about to sell. Set a fixed budget for marketing and contact several webmasters and ask them to give a shout out to you, your company, and the products you sell. It is important to be visible online, especially when your e-store just left the developing stage.
It is also a good idea to blog about topics that make your website rank in search engines like Google. “How to choose the best router” is an excellent article suggestion for a newly launched online store that sells electronic devices.
14. Do your best to avoid shopping cart abandonment
Many studies map out the phenomenon of shopping cart abandonment (SCA) as problematic. SCA means that the customer adds products to the checkout in your e-store, and after that refuses to complete the order.
Shopping cart abandonment costs a lot of money in the form of missed sales, but luckily there are methods to reduce the incidence of SCA. Sending emails with a discount code and/or a suggestion to fulfill the order is a good idea.
To reduce shopping cart abandonment, it is normal to send out at least 3 emails asking the customer to complete their order. Even if you offer a discount of 10% of the order value, you usually earn money if the customer chooses to complete his or her order.
15. It is important to build links
With many links pointing to your e-store, your page gets a higher authority in Google, which means that your products become more visible among the search engine results pages (SERPs).
In addition to that, links pointing to your page (which are published on well-visited domains) drive a lot of traffic to your web page. At best, traffic that leads to you selling more products.
16. Customers like product reviews
Send out an email and ask your customers to review their product purchases after a week or two. If a product on your site has many reviews, it means that it’s more likely that new customers will choose to buy products that they were hesitant to buy at first.
In addition to that, existing customers will likely feel both useful and needed when they publish a new review that other customers get to take part of.
17. Choose a broad niche
Starting an e-shop that only sells something that is hot right now is a bad idea. A few years ago, there were a lot of stores that only sold fidget spinners. Those stores have gone under a long time ago because the fidget spinner trend died out after only a couple of months.
Of course, you should sell popular products, but make sure to sell the product under a logically structured subcategory instead of letting your entire business concept rest on turning a profit on a niche product that basically no one uses after a short while.
18. Distinguish your store with other things than low prices
Selling your products at a lower price compared to the competition can be a good idea during the first months. But to achieve long-term profitability, you need to go for something other than just making a low price point as the only competitive advantage.
If you are forced to lower your prices in order not to be overtaken by your competitors, you most likely have done something wrong. Maybe you have a slow web page, or perhaps you may be marketing your products the wrong way?
19. Collect email addresses
Collecting email addresses to be able to create email lists and newsletters is a good idea. Mainly because that allows you to easily market new products to a loyal customer base. It’s also a good idea to send out a new email every week and include examples of some discounted products or product categories.
But remember not to send out too many emails, as over selling something can be perceived as annoying. It should also be easy to unsubscribe from the newsletter. Customers who receive emails they haven’t asked for hardly ever recommend your online store to their friends.
20. Your customers should be able to pay the way they like
A lot of customers prefer to pay for their purchases with PayPal or Visa/Mastercard. Klarna Checkout is a well-known payment service provider that basically all Swedes trust.
They are expensive, but it is most likely even more expensive to have an obscure payment platform that few people know about. Mainly because a lot of customers will most likely choose to cancel their purchases at the checkout side, if they can’t pay the way they prefer.
How to start a online store with no money
If you don’t have any money it’s a good idea to save up in order to be able to start an e-commerce store in the future. Planning your site, writing marketing material and writing blog posts is also free, so make sure to prepare the right way before starting up your e-store.