When it comes to starting a business, the online world offers a wealth of opportunities for those looking to build a brand. While there’s no shortage of e-commerce businesses, making yours stand out can be a real challenge.
In 2018, the opportunity to succeed is ripe, with brands coming to life and embracing their USP’s daily. However, this means it’s harder than ever to succeed. So, whether you’re an e-commerce whizz or are looking to launch your very first online venture, now’s the time to act. Here’s how to get the most from your e-commerce startup:
Determine your niche
Before you invest money into building the perfect site or creating the perfect branding, make sure to determine the foundation of your business. What makes your brand different from other companies? Why are you selling your products? Once you have identified your competitive edge, find a way to incorporate this into your marketing efforts. It will help to show your customers what you’re all about, as well as uplifting your brand loyalty and helping people to become aware of your business.
Come up with a great brand name and secure a domain
It would be hard to miss how important branding is in helping to establish your e-commerce startup. Without realising it, we use brand names in our everyday conversations. Essentially, your brand name can make or break your business. Try to come up with a name that is memorable and hasn’t been used before, while appealing to your target market. Creating a snappy brand name will help your customers to remember you and will help to establish yourselves as an industry player.
In an ideal world, your business name will be available as your domain name, but what happens if it’s already taken? Don’t panic! As long as your URL is easy to pronounce and spell, and relates to your business, then that should be fine. For example, if your business was called Emily’s Treats, and that domain name isn’t available, why not try TreatsByEmily.co.uk or EmilyBakes.co.uk. Similarly, take note of available social media handles too – you’ll want to make sure your website URL and social profile usernames match as it will make it easier for your customers to find you.
Build a great website
For e-commerce businesses, a website acts as a virtual shop front to entice your customers to purchase from you. However, it isn’t quite that simple. It’s easy to forget that many people prefer to see products with their own eyes before they commit to a purchase. With virtual sales, your website design is critical. Where a great design can help to encourage sales, a poorly thought-out site can sink your business.
However, while design helps to bridge the gap between virtual and in-person sales, website performance is equally as important. Creating a site that is not only mobile responsive but also has simple basket and checkout procedure and is safe and secure. Today, it’s relatively simple to create a site – with so many e-commerce platforms available, you’re sure to find the perfect one for you. Most platforms will offer free-trials to draw you in, so take full advantage of any discounts or opening offers. However, before you decide on a platform, and pay those hefty fees, make sure it ticks all your boxes – there’s nothing worse than realising halfway through that you can’t complete a crucial task.
Streamline your shipping process
If you are an online retailer, one of the main challenges comes from making sure your products get to your customers on time, and without damage. When it comes to shipping your products, choosing the right packaging sizes can make a difference to your bottom line.
Using the correct shipping boxes for your products has substantial financial and waste benefits for you, according to BCS, the UK’s leading supplier of box making machinery. Not only will a smaller shipping container use less material, meaning a lower cost per unit, but it also reduces the cost of fillings and the risk of damage.
Similarly, if you sell a lot of products of varying sizes, why not consider purchasing your own box making machine?
The most commonly used shipping boxes are the corrugated boxes, also known as an ordinary cardboard box. These are durable and lightweight and, with a box making machine, are a convenient way to ensure you always have the size you need.
Invest in some solid marketing
Building an e-commerce business requires more than simply choosing a name and selling online. Even the best business ideas can fall flat if you aren’t driving enough traffic to your site. With e-commerce businesses, the overall goal is to sell products, and so much of your marketing should focus on the products themselves, rather than simply the brand as a whole. Here are some great ways to drive sales:
- Utilise social media: Creating a strong social media presence means getting your products in front of a huge audience. Run giveaways or competitions to entice customers to sign up to your mailing list or to follow your social profiles. This gives you a list of warm leads and helps to simplify the sales process.
- Email marketing: With these leads, creating some excellent email campaigns, with great content and offers, helps to keep your customers interested in your brand.
- Optimise every page: With so many analytical tools out there, it’s now easier than ever for businesses to see where on your site your customers are landing and clicking, and where you’re losing them.
- Affiliate marketing: Boosting your brand is simple if you know where to look. Contacting bloggers and relevant websites for product reviews or sponsored posts helps to increase your business’ reach. Similarly, partnering with retailers who operate within your niche could lead to further opportunities, you just need to ask.
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About the Author
This article was contributed by BCS, the UK’s leading manufacturer of box making machines, printing machines and box glueing machines. They have been at the forefront of the market for decades, and their machines now operate in over 25 countries worldwide. In 2016, they were awarded the Queen’s award for enterprise for international trade.