Building an online store: the key milestones
The widespread use of the internet has changed how customers shop. More and more people prefer to buy products online from the comfort of their homes. As a result, eCommerce has become one of the most profitable business ventures out there. If you want to build an online store, here’s how to get started.
Decide on your niche
Your eCommerce niche represents the narrow category into which your products or services fall. It helps you be more specific about what you want to sell and who you’ll be selling to. Although narrowing down your niche will eliminate a few customers, you’ll be able to create demand among consumers who want your products, therefore acquiring a larger market share. If you need help deciding on a niche, try doing the following:
• Conduct a SWOT analysis: SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. A SWOT analysis will help you identify your product’s main advantages, what you need to improve on, developments in the market, and hazards that can negatively affect your business.
• Find industry gaps: With targeted research, you can uncover unfilled customer demands in different product categories. Use social media and Google trends to analyse the recommendation requests and complaints voiced by your target audience.
• Research your competition: The presence of competition is a sign that your niche is profitable. That said, you need to figure out if there’s an opportunity to differentiate your product from the crowd and create a unique offer.
Pick a domain name
After settling on a niche and the products or services you want to sell, the next step is to come up with a domain name for your eCommerce store. Your domain name defines your brand, and it is the first impression people make of your business. Therefore, you must choose a name that works well for your company. So, how do you pick the perfect domain name?
• Use the right extension: “.com” remains the best domain name extension; it is easy to remember and the most familiar. If that’s taken, not to worry, you can use other extensions such as .org or .net.
• Be on brand: Your domain name should reflect your brand. Including your brand name in your domain can help you stand out and increase recognition, making it easier for customers to find you.
• Keep it short: Shorter names are easier to remember and type. Also, avoid using symbols, numbers, and complicated words and names.
• Use keywords: Incorporating relevant keywords in your domain can improve SEO. Including keywords of what you do or where you’re located in your domain name can help attract local customers.
Create your website
When building an online store, you can either create your own website or use an eCommerce platform such as Milkbox. Both of these options have pros and cons, so it is up to you to decide which one best meets your needs. To help you make a well-informed decision, check out this comparison between Shopify versus a custom-built eCommerce website.
Market your online store
As your website is being developed, think about different ways to market your online store. Develop a pre-launch promotion strategy and make sure to prioritise digital marketing channels such as:
• Social media: Building a social media presence before your website launches is a great way to get people interested in your business. Share teasers and snippets of behind-the-scenes to build anticipation. To increase engagement and raise more awareness, offer special discounts to all your followers.
• Influencer marketing: Partnering up with social media influencers can help increase awareness about your new online business. It also helps to increase visibility when your website goes live, therefore increasing direct leads and sales.
• SEO: Optimise your website for SEO when designing it by speeding up the pages and making it mobile-friendly. When your website is complete, start creating and publishing high-quality content to attract more traffic.