So, you want to start an e-commerce business. Regardless of what you’re selling, the potential to be successful online continues to grow – with recent reports estimating that there will be 2.05 billion global buyers online within this year. As with starting anything, it can be overwhelming at first, but especially so with e-commerce businesses. Many first time e-commerce founders struggle with whether to keep their products native to their site or add them to Amazon, and it takes an upfront investment of time and money to build out the advertisements, sites, and funnels needed to have a truly robust user experience.
Aside from the laundry list of tasks you must complete to start an e-commerce business (legalities, domain name, building a website, marketing the product), there are a few tips that aren’t talked about as often, but really make the difference between a successful e-commerce launch and one that will flop.
Here are a few things to consider.
Three Lesser Known Tips for Starting an ECommerce Business in 2020 | Stephanie Burns
1. Don’t Settle When It Comes To Your Funnel’s Conversion Rates
Never underestimate the importance of your product’s sales funnel, which is arguably more important than a website (and can entirely replace a website in some cases). Peter Pru is the founder of eCommerce Empire Builders, which helps other e-commerce business owners master sales. He shared that he refused to compromise or settle when building his sales funnel. “I went through at least fifty funnels before I finally found one that was creating results at the rate I wanted,” he shared. “You can’t be afraid to experiment.”
It may seem too expensive and time consuming to ‘split test’ (compare how two different funnels perform side by side), so first get feedback from mentors and other reputable e-commerce connections on your original copy, then add in elements such as an ‘exit pop.’ An exit pop is a notification that offers an appealing discount for your product if they buy now. If it works, you can assume that the funnel got them halfway there. If that still doesn’t incentivize purchases at a normal conversion rate, you know you have more work to do on your funnel to get them to a place where buying your product at a discount sounds appealing.
2. Don’t Rush The Launch
When you first come up with an idea for a business, there’s plenty of excitement and momentum. Perhaps you want to be the first to market, or perhaps you just can’t wait to start making money on this idea. Whatever it is, try not to rush the launch. The best businesses had a diligent starting up process, including steps like market research before any type of website or funnel was even created.
“Would you purchase a house that was built with steps skipped and corners cut out? Of course, you would not. That’s what a project life cycle is,” writes Cristina Holt. Allow your project the full life cycle to verify the demand, check every detail, and make sure everything is running smoothly. Remember, this is your business. If even one tab on your website doesn’t work or one word is spelled wrong in your funnel, a potential customer can be immediately dissuaded. They can tell when it’s rushed, and you instantly lose credibility.
3. Document Your Journey On Social Media Or Your Blog
Remember that part of building a brand is building a personal brand. For this reason, Cole Dockery is an e-commerce founder who quickly generated seven figures at just 22 years old, and he recommends documenting every step of your journey. “Most people are afraid to start because they hate being seen at the bottom, but the truth is that everything around us is built from the ground up,” he noted.
Think about it: who are some people you follow on social media who HAVE documented the highs and lows of building a business? This creates a humanizing aspect. It’s hard not to root for someone who is out there going after a vision. And the more that friends and followers are rooting for you, the more likely it is that they’ll purchase your product or recommend it to someone else if they’re not a fit for it. “What ends up happening is that you position yourself as a power player in your industry, and before long, you will have people begging to pay you for coaching, advice, or services.
“Remember your first language is someone else’s second language, and people are willing to pay you for that,” Dockery encouraged.
Building an e-commerce business is great, but building it for the long game and with intentionality is even better. Take your time on the launch, perfect that funnel, and share your work with the world.