Many ecommerce store owners believe that after setting up an online store, customers will start placing orders and revenue will pour in. The reality is starkly different. Launching an ecommerce store is just half the battle. To taste success, one must continuously plan, workout, strategize, to win over the customers.
The expectations of store owners are high when they tend to start their business, however, with the passage of time, when expectations turn into reality, they tend to see the big picture and understand that they must work on extensive marketing initiatives that don’t always go as planned.
In this article, you will learn what to do once you have launched your ecommerce store. You will also learn about some important factors that you must take care of, and factors you must avoid in the long run.
What to Do After Launching Your Ecommerce Store
Based on the experience of many ecommerce store owners, it’s relatively easy for someone to make a list of best practices to follow. Notably, quite a few of them are not strictly ecommerce-related – many seem to have little to do with the online store itself – but all contribute to the overall experience – ultimately leading to increased sales.
Focus on Marketing
Even though a significant budget may have been invested in launching the ecommerce store. There’s a full arsenal of online and offline tools that one can use to boost awareness, engagement, and sales on the online store and push more clients down the funnel.
Here’s an indicative (but by no means an exhaustive list) which should be followed as resources and budget allow:
Newsletters and drip campaigns
It’s important to start building a mailing list of interested users as soon as possible. An online store owner can initiate by itself (collect the user’s email addresses with the help of pop-ups, forms, wishlist elements, etc.). Then, depending on the point of capturing the email (on-site entry, at product catalog browsing, at post-purchase, etc) different email messages can be sent to the visitors to engage them towards a purchase (or re-purchase).
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
It’s necessary – to the extent that there is available budget – to promote the business on at least the key ad networks. As such, Google and Facebook ad campaigns should be put together at least for the key products of the online store and/or for the promotional campaigns with any seasonal or other offers which happen to be active at any given point.
- Google Ads (heavy, advanced)
- Facebook Ads (heavy, advanced) – note that simply boosting the posts can have a positive impact (while also skipping the more advanced ad features Facebook offers)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
A lot of work can be put in place in terms of optimizing elements of the site itself. The texts themselves can be adapted to become as close as possible to the intentions of the visitors. However, image names, additional unseen texts and the loading times can also positively affect the search engine results for the ecommerce stores.
To provide authoritative content around a community, Guest posting is a very good idea. These post exchanges can help attract new audiences (those of the third parties) to the blog and consequently the ecommerce store too.
Sharing blogs on different social platforms and other relevant sites will provide your ecommerce business with the much-needed exposure to help you boost your chances of attracting more visitors.
In summary here are some marketing initiatives online store owners can take
- Newsletters and drip campaigns
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Blog/Guest posting
Analytics Is the Key
How does one know which points in the newly-minted website are problematic to identify and apply solutions?
As you may have guessed, the answer is to have in place a solid analytics solution. Google Analytics is the prime choice here, as it’s free, powerful and versatile enough to apply to most platforms and projects.
This class has received a lot of hostility due to privacy intrusion concerns (and rightly so) but most of these concerns are addressable by appropriately anonymizing private information. And when these concerns have been addressed, website analytics is an indispensable solution for the modern ecommerce manager to work on further stages of website optimization.
Check out some key information an online store owner can determine by properly setting up an analytics solution
- The target audience segmented by location, gender, interest, and technical aspects (such as browser and device used)
- The sites the traffic to the online store originates from and which points generate the most awareness for the site
- The extent to which visitors are engaged with key details such as time spent on site, bounce rate and number of pages viewed – along with indications on how to best optimize these metrics
- The conversion rates, i.e. how well certain pages achieve their intended goals such as the cart fulfilment or sign up page
- Combining all the above information to identify the best performing funnel of customer activation from being a visitor to converting to a paid (and hopefully a repeat customer)
Analyzing the data is an important factor when it comes to providing actionable and quantifiable metrics for all the stages which need to be measured to understand the customer:
Provide Excellent Customer support
Regardless of how large or small an ecommerce store is, in its early days, the traffic volume will be low. That initial period is key to generate the first impressions, word-of-mouth effects and follow up traffic. People will likely explore, ask questions, add and remove products from the cart, and of course make purchases. Based on that experience, the visitors and customers are likely to come again, spread the word and generally take the ecommerce store to the next stage.
To get to that next stage, they will have questions which will need quick and correct answering:
- How much is the total cost of an item or service?
- Is there any shipping fee?
- How much does shipping change based on the client location?
- How are returns handled and what do they cost?
- Do sizes work as expected (if applicable)?
- Or do special measurements need to take place to ensure a good fit?
- The customers may come up with many industry-specific questions
These questions need to be answered correctly, following a standardized approach to ensure these hard-earned visitors don’t bounce. To get that right, store owners must invest in getting a team of customer support that can serve the customer 24/7.
Solutions for these challenges are quite mature these days and can receive requests across different channels including email, live chat and even social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc).
In addition to ensuring customers are satisfied and spread the word, such solutions are also useful to collect valuable feedback right when you need it, i.e. when you have just launched and need first-hand feedback to understand how your campaign is doing.
Top customer support is an absolute necessity these days. It’s easy comparatively to set up an ecommerce store so delivering customer support without fail can make a difference.
Keep Your Inventory In Check
Inventory management is one of the important factors for any ecommerce business. In other words, what happens when an order has been placed? How is it ensured to properly arrive at the buyer’s hands? What happens if a return is necessary? That’s where a top inventory management solution becomes an integral part of an ecommerce store.
The stock management software allows the merchant to check out the current availability of the products in real-time and beyond that.
- Firstly, it can connect the ecommerce site with any physical sites the merchant may also operate.
- Secondly, proper inventory management solutions can also track backorders and delivery dates. This means that even if a product isn’t currently available, visitors can either place an order for when it becomes ready to be shipped or simply know when that product will be in stock so they can revisit the merchant’s site to make a purchase then.
- Thirdly, stock monitoring software helps to manage the refund orders in a proper manner.
- Finally, with an inventory management system, the pricing of the products can be set not arbitrarily or on the terms of competitive prices.
It’s not possible to ignore the backend (or logistics) of the ecommerce operation shouldn’t be neglected. Here are few solid stock monitoring and costing allows for:
- Reconciliation of physical with online sales
- Track backorders and delivery dates
- Handle returns and refunds (reverse supply chain)
- Price products competitively
What You Should Not Do After Launching an Ecommerce Store
Now it’s time to look for the points that you shouldn’t do while launching an ecommerce store. Perhaps it’s not unexpected that there are many things that can go wrong compared to what needs to go right. Here’s again an indicative and not exhaustive list.
Don’t Sit Back and Relax
In the same way that a physical store is a huge commitment that requires a whole team to be run, and host of resources; an online store requires constant support and energy behind it. The owner must always be looking for ways to improve operations, increase margins, keep customers happy and constantly find ways to enhance all aspects of the business. The business can’t succeed, if complacency sets in.
Don’t Ignore Testing
Whatever new initiatives are launched – either a new page or a new product line or a new promotion – it is necessary to test the expected behavior of the customers. Apart from that, you never know what reaches the eyes of the customer to exceed their expectations. In that respect, it’s necessary to go through testing iterations and dry runs (e.g. of marketing campaigns) to ensure that no (or at least as few as possible) mistakes or technical bugs are introduced.
Don’t Give Up Too Soon
Any merchant launching an ecommerce solution should be well aware that – in the same sense as a physical store – the business will not be built in a day. Initially, sales will be slow and the results possibly disheartening. If there is persistence, attention to detail and flexible pivots to follow what the customers indicate they need, the fruit of these efforts will show. Even if at times the result will not be obvious down the line, it is specifically at these points that the whole team should soldier on.
Don’t Stick to a Single Product If it Doesn’t bring Results
Of course, trying the same thing again and again and not seeing a result is pointless to continue forever. As mentioned above, flexibility is necessary, therefore, the owners must try to vary the product line. It all depends on the online merchants what products he wants to sell in his stores.
Of course, there are solutions and applications to help with those insights, but above all, there should be the acumen of the merchant – and the will to switch (even radically) the direction the online store is headed in.
Launching an ecommerce store is the first step of an exciting adventure. There is no limitation of initiatives a merchant can follow to optimize and boost its operations and the list of tools to utilize is endless.
The reality is that it isn’t possible to apply all measures in one go, with maximum depth and detail, vendors must know the capabilities and methodologies to work with, as the need arises, it’d be ideal if they could pull the right tool and process and apply it as required.
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Abdur Rahman is the Magento whizz at Cloudways. He is growth ambitious, and aims to learn & share information about Ecommerce & Magento Development through practice and experimentation. He loves to travel and explore new ideas whenever he finds time. Get in touch with him at [email protected]
Keep reading the article at The Official Cloudways Blog. The article was originally written by Abdur Rahman on 2020-02-25 10:38:00.
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