Latest posts by Mary Mbuti (see all)
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This article shares the final and the most exciting steps to launching your own online store. At this point you have already evaluated your product idea and found the right product to sell online. You have searched and found the right supplier and reviewed the samples. Finally you have placed an order for your initial inventory and you are just waiting for it to come in. The next question you ask yourself is “What now?”
The reality is that you’ve still got a lot of work to do, you are still in your pre-launch phase. It is the most critical time for your online store as will set the tone for your business going forward.
Launching your business without being prepared can be a recipe for disaster. These 9 simple steps we have put together will ensure that you launch your online business and guarantee its success.
- Prepare your social networks.
In building an online business, social media forms the lifeboard that brings consistent flow of traffic and customers. It forms an audience of people who are interested in your product and your brand. As an entrepreneur, there are a few thing that you need to know before you prepare your social media channels:
- Claim your name
Your first order of business should be to open social media accounts with the largest social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. You are likely to cover a large customer base. The worse mistake you will make is to have different user names for each network. Decide on a consistent name to use before you open your social media networks.
- Choose your social networks wisely
Determine the network which will work best for your products. If you have a visual array of products or a brand that celebrates a certain lifestyle, visual and photo-centric networks like Pinterest and instagram would be the most ideal for your business.
- Get your email marketing ready
Email has proven to be the most important communication channel. Since email marketing is the most effective form of marketing, get things ready by setting up your templates, crafting a welcoming email and preparing your email marketing campaigns.
- Launch a landing page
This will be your brand’s temporary home until you launch your full website. Your landing page will showcase your brand and tease your pre-launch audience as to what is to come.
- Install Google Analytics
It is important to set up analytics right from day one. Analytics will give you valuable insights into who visits your website. In a physical store, you are able to see who comes into your shop and talk with them. However in an online store you are blind without google analytics.
- Do a keyword research.
Keywords are important aspects of search engine optimization (SEO). The underlying value of choosing the right keywords is to help google and other search engines understand what your e-commerce is about and the products you sell. This increases you visibility by increasing the chance search engines will list your site in the search results when potential customers are looking for the product you sell.
- Build the store
At this stage you have already finalized most of the essentials. It is time to finally begin working on your actual store. It is the biggest task so make sure you give yourself enough time. The things you need to put into consideration are:
- Choosing the right store theme.
- The overall store design.
- Product photography.
- Product descriptions.
- Determine your shipping strategy
This is an integral part of your e-commerce business. Consider the following:
- Packaging option and materials.
- Which shipping carriers to use.
- Shipping costs.
- Finalize your launch promotion strategy.
Finally you are ready to launch your e-commerce business. Ask yourself how you plan to launch your business. Will you launch by offering a 20% discount for all the products, offer free delivery? What communication channels will you use to tell your audience about the launch? You may consider reaching out to relevant publications to have your new store featured for launch.
Now that you have followed the 10-step launch plan, it is time to launch your store to an excited and expecting audience. If you do everything right you should have a healthy following on social media and people ready to line up and purchase from your new store.
Building a business requires hard work and commitment. It is a long road but with the help of these simple steps, you will be able to set the right tone for your business from the start.