Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 10/11/13 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.
Entrepreneurs like you are constantly looking for the next business idea that will make millions.
The problem is, you tend to forget that wealth and success are not about how much money you make NOW. It's about the ability to profitably scale and experience sustainable ROI.
Building and developing an ecommerce website is a revenue stream that every entrepreneur should investigate.
No matter what your product or service is, there’s money to be made in an ecommerce business.
Like any venture that makes you money, there are vital steps necessary to develop and sustain your site and they all take time. You’re going to need some help to navigate through the online world. Just remember: You are as capable as anyone.
Here’s What you need to know about building an ecommerce business website that doesn’t just help you survive, but thrive.
It’s a no-brainer, but, before you can set up an ecommerce website, you obviously have to know what you want to sell. Don't try to sell everything.
Pick something that:
The second item on the list is optional because you need to be careful when selling “trends.”
Businesses who base their model off of trends tend to eventually crash and burn.
The bottom line is that you need to make sure your product is unique, interesting, and sustainable.
Here are four ways to make sure that you’re making a good choice about what to sell on your ecommerce website.
"A failure to plan is planning to fail.”
This quote is just as true for an ecommerce business as it is for a traditional business. Sitting down and creating a business plan will be your foundation for being successful in this venture.
There are several key elements you need to include here:
Don't be fooled into joining the large population of entrepreneurs who believe business plans are only for acquiring investments and working capital.
Business plans not only set a foundation for strategy, they also judge whether or not you are capable of doing what it takes to be successful in your venture. If you lack skills, knowledge, or expertise, then determine the cost of acquiring executives or business associates who can compensate in your weaker areas.
You know what you’re selling; now you’re going to have to build a beautiful/attractive ecommerce website to sell your products or services on.
When it comes to building your website, you have a lot of options. Everything is available from pre-built ecommerce sites, to self-made sites using WordPress, etc. (Because design is such an important part of your ecommerce website’s success, you should also consider letting an inbound marketing agency work their magic and create a first-class site for you.)
It’s crucial that your website looks professional, is easy to use and practices great search engine optimization (SEO).
Let's break this down a bit.
Your website is the first impression that a potential customer is going to have of you and your business.
This is the first step in building trust and customer loyalty. If you set your site up to be an online sales funnel, there’s no doubt you’ll be well on your way to ecommerce success.
It should be extremely easy to find and navigate through all of the products on your site. Creating mega-menus, effective sidebars, and a great shopping cart platform are all keys to user-friendliness.
This is important if you want Google to accurately index the content on your site. The use of appropriate keywords meta tags, descriptions, alternative texts, etc., can help your organic traffic explode.
And lots of traffic should translate into lots of sales.
One of the best ways to create a consistent ecommerce business is to build an email list.
Doing this helps you easily convert traffic into email subscribers and even more importantly, paid customers, by offering them a free offer in exchange for their emails. This lead magnet could be anything from an ebook download to a checklist or anything else that will provide value to your audience.
There are several great email platforms that you can choose from to carry out your mass mailings:
Pro Tip: Set up an auto-responder so that when someone signs up for your site, they continually get product offers, free content, and subtle sales pitches. The downside is the upfront time it takes to set everything up, but the benefit of making sales greatly outweighs the time spent.
As your list grows, you should take detailed notes on your email marketing efforts. Things like opens, click-throughs, ROI per email, etc., will allow you to hone in on what’s working and what isn't.
Continually prune your tactics with email marketing so you have a well-oiled money-making machine.
Finally, but most importantly, manage your time wisely. This is true for any business, but particularly for an ecommerce business.
The great thing is that all you need is a computer and the motivation to build your business. The problem is that we are constantly bombarded with distractions like emails, social media, phone calls and more. One of the keys to success is to learn how to manage your time so that your business doesn’t suffer.
There is no reason that you can’t develop a successful ecommerce website. Once you’ve determined that you can actually create a new business then you simply have to go out and do the work that will make it happen.
Put these five principles to work for you and watch your ecommerce business experience healthy growth and greater revenue.