The Coronavirus pandemic has put ecommerce at the forefront of retail. With the rapid expansion of the epidemic, even the staunchest store customers needed to shift to online purchases.
According to research studies, consumers spent $861.12 billion on online purchases in 2020, up 44% from $598.02 billion in 2029. Moreover, in 2020, online spending was 21.3% of total retail sales, compared to 15.8% in 2019.
These statistics only prove that the future of ecommerce in the post-COVID era is bright.
However, with the rising competition, launching an online retail website is not easy.
To stand out, you need to build a highly user-friendly website and promote it strategically.
Here are a few tips to help you.
#1 Purchase an Authentic Domain Name
Similar to your business name, a domain name is essential for your branding. Apart from pointing prospective customers to your online store, a domain name also increases brand recall. That is why you need to choose it wisely.
For starters, make your domain name unique. Exact-match domain names, such as buybikesonline.com, do not cut it anymore. While they may rank higher in search results, they do not resonate with your target audience. Instead, consider aligning your business and domain name. That way, you will increase brand awareness.
Also, keep your ecommerce store easy to memorize. Pick a simple domain name. Avoid compound words, hyphens, numbers, misspelled words, and hard-to-pronounce phrases. Also, keep it short. Domain names under 12 characters are easier to remember and type. You can use similar social media handles for your website, which also need to be short.
#2 Choose a Website Builder
Ecommerce platforms simplify store setup and management. They offer drag-and-drop store-building options, allowing you to create a scalable and fully optimized website with little website development experience.
Now, ecommerce website builders come in different shapes and sizes. They vary based on their native features, extensions, and integrations. To choose the right ecommerce platform for your website, you need to determine your company’s needs and requirements. Make a list of essential features and functionalities. Based on them, analyze and compare different SaaS solutions for your ecommerce website.
While choosing the cheapest website builder may be tempting, it is not always a good idea. The disadvantage is that you may have to migrate your online retail store later, which requires lots of work, time, and money.
Choose the platform that supports your website in the long run. Consider its:
- Scalability: Ask yourself whether it can grow along with your ecommerce company.
- Native features: Does the platform provide core ecommerce features natively?
- Security: Cybersecurity attacks affect your budget, operations, and reputation. Therefore, avoid ecommerce builders that do not offer encryption, lack SSL certificates, and do not provide transparent data storage information.
- Mobile optimization: Mobile shopping is growing at an astounding pace. Therefore, make sure your ecommerce website is mobile-friendly. That helps you increase user experiences, as well as increase organic rankings on Google.
#3 Add Products to your Ecommerce Website
When adding products to your website, make sure they are easy to find and navigate. That is why you need to set up clear product category pages, produce informative product descriptions, and upload high-quality visuals.
Writing product descriptions
Remember that online shoppers rely on product descriptions when making purchases. That is why they need to be highly informative. Hire a professional copywriter to help you or produce product descriptions on your own using the following formula:
- Explain the purpose of the product.
- List product characteristics, such as its size, material, color, etc.
- Explain who needs the product and when.
- Help a customer envision where and how they will use it.
When creating product descriptions, avoid complicated industry jargon, cliches, or generic references. Keep your descriptions authentic, informative, and helpful. Above all, shorten sentences and make them easier to follow.
Adding professional images
Since customers cannot touch or feel your products, providing them with reliable product images is essential. They build trust with customers and inspire them to purchase faster.
Consider hiring a professional photographer to take photos of your products from multiple viewpoints. You can also use VR technologies to create 360-degree photos for high-value items, such as furniture or jewelry.
Set Up Product Categories
Product categories help you showcase your catalog and make your products easier to discover. Keep your categories logical, informative, and SEO-friendly. In addition to your most essential product categories, consider adding bonus categories to boost product visibility.
To boost user experiences and product discoverability, add filtering options, such as the pricing range, material, color, or brand, to allow customers to find the desired brands and products faster.
#4 Build a Detailed Shipping Policy
According to statistics, 56% of customers will not purchase from a brand after a negative delivery experience.
For starters, create a shipping policy. It should clearly explain the costs, terms, and limitations of product delivery. For example, do you offer shipping at a flat or variable rate?
Next, which carriers will you ship with? Remember that pricing and timings often vary from one carrier to another.
#5 Promote your Ecommerce Store Like A Pro
Now that you have a thriving ecommerce website, it is time to spread the word about it. The goal is to drive organic traffic, boost brand reach and awareness, and increase sales. Here are a few simple ways to promote your new ecommerce website.
Take Advantage of Offline Marketing
Many users still rely on traditional marketing resources, such as newspapers, magazines, TV commercials, and direct mail. The goal is to grab the attention of this customer group and point them to your online store.
For example, statistics say that 54% of customers still want to get printed catalogs in their mail, while 49% prefer email newsletters. Directly mailed catalogs increase user engagement and build trust. According to research studies, they can achieve a 4.4% response rate. For example, you can add QR codes to your direct mail to promote special offers, discounts, or new collections. That is an effective way to expand your reach and drive qualified traffic to your website.
If you have a brick-and-mortar store, consider using a digital display screen to promote your online store. You can use indoor displays, LED displays, video walls, matrix screens, and outdoor displays to promote your ecommerce store in multiple ways. For example, you can promote your website address, display QR codes, show online customers’ testimonials, market time-sensitive deals, etc.
Build Relationships with Influencers
Influencer marketing is critical at the early stage of your online store. It helps you increase brand recall and maximize your reach. Influencers have a large fan base that trusts them. Influencer marketing makes your brand appear more trustworthy and credible in front of your target audience. Most importantly, you will boost conversions. Namely, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations.
You can work with influencers in multiple ways, such as creating giveaways, producing quality content, sharing informative unboxing videos, etc. It is essential to identify influential people in the same industry who target the same customer groups.
Invest in Content Marketing
No matter if you are laughing at a GIF you saw on Instagram, reading a blog article, or watching a video guide on YouTube, those are all effective types of content. Nowadays, the internet is all about content marketing.
Content marketing engages your target audiences and inspires them to share your posts and comment on them. That way, they increase the reach of your content and attract new people to your ecommerce website. Above all, helpful and data-driven content builds trust with your target audience.
Grow Brand Presence on Social Networks
Start building your presence on social networks before you launch your website. The goal is to generate buzz around your brand and grab people’s attention on time. For example, share quick product previews, teasers, and behind-the-scenes previews to build up anticipation.
These channels are also perfect for announcing your planned launch day. Spread the word about special discounts and promotions both on your social accounts and related communities.
Organic marketing tactics take more time. They are an investment in the long run. However, to promote your new ecommerce site faster, you need to combine organic marketing with paid search.
One of the best things about paid search and social advertising is that they are highly targeted. You determine who sees your ads based on a wide range of criteria, such as customers’ location, age, gender, product preferences, etc.
As soon as your PPC campaigns are approved, your ads will start appearing for your targeted keywords.
#6 Launching an Ecommerce Website
Once your website is all set, it is time for the launch stage. Before you roll out your website, analyze its performance, design, and navigation. Assess website elements like:
- Checkout pages
- Payment processing
- Image optimization
- Product descriptions and categories
- Website navigation
- Website responsiveness
- Promo codes
- Sign-up forms
Over to You
From website development to the launch phase, starting an online retail business requires a strategic approach. Most importantly, build a detailed marketing strategy to heighten anticipation of your ecommerce website before the launch.
Any thoughts on building and promoting an ecommerce website? We are listening!