When it comes to e-commerce websites, most would-be entrepreneurs fall into two camps: those who think building a profitable online store will be easier than it actually is, and those who mistakenly feel as if it’s impossible.
Neither of these is accurate. To make money and e-commerce does take time, effort, and creativity. But, it’s certainly not impossible. In fact, dozens of our clients do it every day.
To help separate the facts from the fiction, and to get you thinking about the possibilities in a realistic way, we want to share with you 10 things that make an online store profitable…
#1 The Right Niche
It’s hard to make money competing with big-box retailers (like Amazon) head-on. But, if you choose the right niche – one with a sizable market that you understand – you can carve out a place for yourself and bring customers around to your side.
#2 A Competitive Business Model
Most successful e-commerce sites are built on one or more distinct advantages. That is, they can offer customers lower prices, premium products, a better selection, or faster service. If you don’t know why someone would choose you instead of the competition, your business model needs work.
#3 A Good Search Marketing Plan
You can’t sell products to customers until you have customers, and you can of customers until you have website visitors. That’s where search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising come into play. You should be good at both, or have a team on your side that is.
#4 Verifiable Trust Indicators
It’s hard to get people to give you a credit card number over the Internet. It’s even harder if you are an unknown business they haven’t heard of in the past. That’s why verifiable trust indicators (like Better Business Bureau seals, money-back guarantees, etc.) can help you gain new sales.
#5 A Growing Email List
When you have an email list full of interested buyers, you can contact them instantly and inexpensively. That gives you the option of staying at the front of their minds, and spreading the word about deals or specials. For many e-commerce sites, email is the foremost sales platform.
#6 A Sterling Online Reputation
Lots of potential customers will look you up before they ever place an initial order. You need to ensure they’re going to find good reviews and positive testimonials. A flawless online reputation will help you win a lot of sales that would otherwise get away.
#7 An Effective Social Strategy
Assuming you have found the right niche market, customers can tell each other about your great e-commerce site through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The better your presence is, the faster word will spread through your community of buyers.
#8 Robust Online Security
It’s tough enough for big retailers to survive online security breaches. For smaller companies, one incident is enough to put you out of business. Make sure you have bank-level encryption on your site, because that’s the best way to protect yourself and your customers.
#9 Easy Web Navigation
You don’t just need for your online store to be easy to find online, you need strong internal search mechanisms that make it a breeze for customers to find what they’re looking for quickly. Otherwise, they could take their attention (and business) to one of your competitors.
#10 Premium Hosting and Backup
Web traffic won’t arrive at your online store uniformly, and technical glitches or user error can necessitate the need for instant recovery. With premium hosting and backup services, you can be ready for high-volume times, especially during the busy holiday shopping season.
Do you have an idea for an online store? If so, now is the perfect time to talk with a member of our team and see how we can help you bring your inspiration to life!