A high percentage of brick-and-mortar establishments also have their own online version in order to make shopping easier and attract new internet customers. On other occasions, companies choose to reduce their presence just to the internet, forgetting about the experience of traditional purchases or services.
Either you choose the partial or total online presence option, the simple fact of being on the Internet does not guarantee success. We know that the growth of e-commerce is an undeniable factor and the reduction of costs of its implementation is a temptation for all entrepreneurs, but several factors must be taken into account.
1. Firstly, you can’t think this is an easy task, and you have to keep in mind that certain online marketing skills are essential. In the real world, the simple location of a physical store can make it work, but in the virtual world the majority of businesses fail to survive because they don’t generate traffic or lack to monitor their metrics properly.
2. It is also false that an online shop can practically be launched without a budget. In addition to the expenses involved in creating the store, there is a monthly cost for the promotion of the products, so that they reach the general public. So if you want to create a new e-store you need to make an initial investment and, most importantly, allocate a monthly budget to promote your business.
3. Also, if you don’t carry out a market research and study your competition, you’re headed for an almost guaranteed failure. If you like a particular product and want to sell it, before you have to see what are your competitors doing with it and what are your options.
4. Another common error when opening a virtual store is the tendency to not develop properly the sale process or to facilitate the navigation through the website. In other words: a business that aims to make the maximum possible sales has to optimize these processes before being carried away by creating carousels of idyllic images. To optimize sales and the browsing experience of users there are some useful tools that analyze online behaviors and look into what visitors do when visiting a web, based for example in heat maps.
5. Another usual mistake is not understanding that an online store doesn’t have a normal storefront and that the home page carries out this function. Turning the home into an aesthetically pleasing page instead of focusing on generating sales is a big mistake. In a traditional business the most desired products are strategically placed in the shop window not to be admired, but to sell them. The same thing happens in the virtual world.
6. Traditional stores are always reinventing themselves, changing… and the same must happen with their online versions. Once they are launched, redesigns must be done based on the feedback of sales, conversions and interactions with the web.
7. Many entrepreneurs also tend to settle for selling to regular customers, but the key of e-commerce is to capture new customers. To do this you can’t forget something as basic as advertising. Many people believe that an online business sells itself, but nothing further from reality. Some aspects in which you can invest your marketing budget are: Google Adwords, the most popular social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest), SEO, a blog, etc.
8. Simplicity is another key feature. Internet users have less patience than buyers at a retail shop in the street, and making it difficult to pay will cause a large percentage of them to leave. To avoid this, analyze your sales process and if it is too complicated consider changing it. To this must you must add the fact that an e-store has to communicate safety, showing clients in a clear and free way details about certain aspects, such as the company’s data, its products and services.
9. A client will not repeat the experience if the process of shipping the products fails. That is, if the purchased product does not arrive on the scheduled date, if the delivery company is not professional or if the buyer has to pick up the package somewhere in the outskirts of the city. On the other hand, customer satisfaction is ensured if the order is received without delay or complications, even if this entails an additional cost.
10. Finally, note that the competition in this kind of business is fierce and that even the largest and most successful companies can end up disappearing engulfed by other ones even bigger. Samsung, for example, has recently been forced to close its videos, books and music online store due to the pressures of the all-powerful Google. The official reason is that making hardware and also trying to sell software online requires excessive resources. However, it seems that Google’s pressures and the strong competition of its services are the real reasons behind Samsung’s decision.
Therefore, as mentioned above, one of the essential requirements when opening an e-store is to make a good market research and learn everything about your competition.