If you aspire to be a successful entrepreneur in today’s digital landscape, having an online presence is essential. Whether you’re planning to set up a dropshipping business or intend to develop, produce and sell products, having the proper knowledge about setting up your business for success is imperative.
As an entrepreneur and executive with a background in manufacturing consumer goods, distributing products globally through mass retailers (like Walmart, Dollar Tree, etc), and building ecommerce businesses, I have 20 years of experience creating, launching and growing brands as well as advising entrepreneurs through my coaching business, Inspiring Brands Academy.
To help get your ecommerce business off the ground and running, here are seven proven strategies for launching a successful ecommerce business.
Step 1: Start with a clear business plan
If you plan to launch an ecommerce business, your roadmap for success must be laid out in a business plan. Here’s an overview of the fundamentals that must be contemplated.
Executive summary — The executive summary should explain your company’s purpose and vision, mission statement, target market audience, products or services offered and desired goals. Additionally, the overview should include information about key members of the team as well as financial estimates and any funding requirements.
Market analysis — The market analysis should describe your target customer, including demographics, actions, purchasing preferences, etc. Additionally, research competing businesses, uncovering their strengths while noting any disadvantages.
Product and service description — This section should provide an in-depth overview of all features, advantages and benefits to customers. Additionally, include details about the process used to develop products and any associated intellectual property.
Marketing and sales strategy — This part of your plan should detail how you will market and sell your product or service. Include pricing strategies to maximize profits, cost-effective distribution methods and promotional techniques such as advertising campaigns or loyalty programs.
Related: 3 Digital Marketing Strategies That Will Save You 20 Hours Every Week
Operations plan — Your business plan should include a fifth section dedicated to your operations strategy. This section should explain how you will manufacture products, organize logistics and manage customer service. Furthermore, details about who is on your team and any collaboration with vendors or partners should also be included.
The great aspect of an ecommerce business is that you can use website plugins or apps to easily integrate with your facilities, such as third-party warehouses that ship orders on your company’s behalf and logistics programs. For example, one of my businesses, a photography print company, uses Etsy to sell products. Since I utilize a print-on-demand facility, when a customer places an order, it gets sent directly to my printing facility, producing and fulfilling the shipment.
Bottom line: I don’t have to do anything other than market the business. This is a major benefit of using technology and systems to integrate so that it makes the scalability of your operation faster and easier.
Financial projections — The final section of your business plan should be the financial projections. This should provide a detailed forecast of your revenue and expenses, including your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. You should also include information about your funding needs and any potential sources of financing.
Related: 5 Ways To Fund Your Startup As A Solopreneur
Step 2: Choose the right platform
Having drawn up a comprehensive business plan, the next logical step is to select an appropriate ecommerce platform to run your online business. It is important to evaluate all your options when selecting an ecommerce platform. Though Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento (now known as Adobe Commerce) are popular choices, each has unique advantages and drawbacks. Evaluate your company’s needs and wishes, and compare various platforms to decide which ecommerce platform is ideal for your online business.
Related: 10 Tools to Help Your eCommerce Business Get off the Ground
Step 3: Invest in a strong brand
Crafting a powerful brand is pivotal for any ecommerce business if you want to stand out from your rivals and acquire steadfast customers. Here are tips to get you started.
- Define your brand identity — Developing a solid brand for your ecommerce business begins with articulating your unique identity. Your company’s image will be expressed to the public through its name, logo, color palette, tone of voice and other visuals/words.
- Conduct market research — Market studies help you acquire invaluable insights into your target customers — including their desires, preferences, and difficulties. This helps you craft an impactful brand that resonates with consumers and distinguishes itself from other competitors.
- Create your logo — Your logo is the centerpiece of your brand identity. You can hire a freelance graphic designer on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork to create a professional logo for your business or use online tools like Canva to design your logo.
- Choose your color scheme — When constructing your ecommerce brand, selecting a color scheme is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Your chosen colors should encompass and echo your company’s values and attract potential customers.
- Develop your tone of voice — Your tone of voice is the key to connecting with your target customers. When crafting it, make sure that you reflect your brand’s mission, values, and intended audience.
- Design your website — Your website is the nucleus of your ecommerce business, which should accurately present your brand’s image and deliver a seamless experience for potential customers.
Step 4: Focus on search engine optimization (SEO)
If your goal is to attract more leads and customers, you need search engine optimization (SEO). Optimizing your website for higher rankings on SERPs allows potential visitors to quickly find what they’re looking for when searching with keywords related to your business. To achieve this success, focus on developing compelling content that people want to read and share. Keyword optimizes the pages of your website and earns high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites.
Step 5: Use social media to your advantage
Leverage the power of social media (like TikTok, Instagram, etc.) to promote your ecommerce business and reach potential customers. Establishing a strong presence on platforms where your target audience is active will help you develop brand recognition, generate leads, and drive website traffic.
Related: Why Social Media Platforms Are Adopting Ecommerce as a Saving Grace
Step 6: Leverage influencer marketing
Another great way to grow your company is to use influencer marketing. All you need is to uncover influential figures in your niche that fit with what you are trying to promote and reach out with a clever partnership offer.
I’ve worked with hundreds of leading brands and retailers on sponsored campaigns, helping them drive brand awareness and boost product sales. Given my experience as an influencer, I’ve not only assisted brands around the world, but I’ve also learned how to tap into this knowledge to benefit my own companies and small businesses through influencer marketing strategies that result in viral content (1M+ views) and driving massive brand awareness for national product launches.
To make the most out of influencer marketing, consider these key steps:
- Uncover your industry’s key influencers and bloggers whose readership aligns with your target demographic. You can explore them on social media networks or employ an influencer platform (like AspireIQ or TapInfluence).
- Contact the influencers with a proposal explaining what you want them to complete for you, including prompt deliverables, deadlines and payment.
- Gauge the efficacy of your influencer initiatives. ROI goes above and beyond sales conversions, extending into audience-building, brand awareness, engagement and other metrics and factors.
Step 7: Focus on customer service
When launching an ecommerce business, providing superior customer service is paramount. Promptly reply to inquiries and criticisms professionally, offer precise product information and give customers easy return options. If you provide them with a great customer experience, they’re more apt to rave (rather than rant) about your company.
Ultimately, launching a profitable ecommerce business necessitates thoughtful preparation and well-executed strategies. Utilizing these seven proven strategies for launching a successful ecommerce business will help you launch and grow your business more easily and quickly.