Doctors of today are sandwiched between the rising cost of acquiring their degree and the falling remuneration as medicine gets more corporatised with each passing year. We’re witnessing increased burnout and decreased satisfaction.
According to Medscape’s 2019 National Physicians, Burnout and Depression Report more than 40% of physicians and 50% of female physicians are burned out.
Furthermore, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open, there was an increase in physician burnout from 2014 to 2017.
These are sobering statistics, that paint an increasingly alarming picture. That’s why now, like never before, doctors need side hustle options.
Doctors like to ignore the money issue. We don’t discuss it in medical school even though it is a large part of the reason we are studying medicine. Faculty don’t teach us about it. They may not even know much themselves.
Our parents may have avoided that taboo subject too. Unfortunately, those who don’t understand money are not likely to manage it well.Doctors who are bad with money are bad with other things. Important things. That leads to frustration, burnout, exhaustion, marital stress, and even suicide.
Build many streams of income. Become financially independent, preferably in your 40s. It opens an array of options such as early retirement, part-time work, and mission trips.
I’m here to tell you that regardless of your specialty or practice location, you too can start a side hustle that will grow your wealth ladder. Here are some reasons every physician should side hustle.
1. Get P.A.I.D.
Passive income is great. You put your money or time in some case, both to work. and it comes back to you in the form of dividends, interest, capital gains or rent. There’s nothing better than easy money. Unfortunately, passive income streams often need capital to get started.
Luckily, your medical degree is a passport to getting P.A.I.D.
– Passive Aggressive Income Design. Your active hustles generate the cash you use to fund your passive hustles. You make active income, maximize self-employed deductions to minimize taxes, and funnel the remainder into passive ventures. You’d be surprised how quickly this can amplify your retirement savings.
2. Hobbies can turn into side hustles.
Many of our hobbies are actually full-time occupations for some people. I know several computer programmers who dabble in photography in their free time. Some of them actually are transitioning to full-time photographers, starting with small-time events through Craigslist and then eventually larger venues through word of mouth.
One of the plastic surgeons in my area dabbles in woodworking and produces craftsman-style furniture. Could he dive into this full-time? Absolutely, but I’m sure that he wouldn’t be happy if his livelihood depended on it. However, it is conceivable that he could turn this skill into a side-hustle. Will he do that? Probably not, because he is busy enough correcting ptosis or making people beautiful.
Then there are doctors who really kick themselves into overdrive and basically find ways to make a name for themselves outside of clinical medicine. Some of the more popular routes include becoming a CEO of a hospital, joining an advisory board of a company, and or even becoming a writer.
3. Burnout is prevalent in the field.
Burnout is prevalent in medicine. Recent studies from the Mayo Clinic and @Medscape have burnout rates for physicians in the 50% range. One study reported that Emergency Room physicians, Internists, and Urologists have a burnout rate of 55%! Another study reported that Critical Care physicians had the highest burnout rate. It’s also not just the stress of medicine or long hours that contribute to the burnout; survey respondents report that the increasing amount of bureaucracy and computerization of the healthcare system that are the top offenders. Essentially, many of the tasks that cause burnout are things that we don’t like doing.
4. Expand a Professional Network
A side hustle can also open up avenues to network in new ways. Through a side hustle, physicians can meet people who may become clients, service providers, or professional partners. Side hustle customers can also become a source of referrals, introducing friends and family when they are looking for a new care provider. And, a side hustle can be a point of differentiation at traditional networking events, making physicians memorable when the room is full of doctors or healthcare professionals.
5. Hedge Against the Unknown
The business of medicine is full of uncertainty. There are many things outside of a healthcare practitioner’s control–regulatory changes, supply chain issues, insurance carriers that dictate timing and amount of reimbursement, and even public health matters that impact hours of operation or the scheduling of procedures.
A side hustle–particularly one outside of medicine–can provide another way to keep income flow steady when a primary job is in flux.
6. Escape Hatch
Some people wake up one morning and realize they could make enough money from their side jobs to quit their main job all together. If your dream is to walk (or run) away from clinical medicine, this might be your escape hatch.
Everyone has their own reasons for side hustling. Whether it’s to pay off debt, boost savings, add some variety to your life, reduce clinical hours or leave medicine entirely, there is a reason that’s right for you. The hardest step is deciding to start. Today is the day! Time to stop procrastinating and start hustling! You’ll be glad you did.
Some side hustle doctors can consider starting today.
So if you’re a doctor, and you want to take back control of your life – take heart! You can start shaping a new, less frantic life by looking at some fantastic side hustle options.
1. Become a Conference Speaker
You might be wondering about the need for this, but consider the following projection: “The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently posted that between 2016-2026 the meeting and event industry would grow an average of 11%”
Clearly here lies a viable opportunity to pursue as a side hustle. Currently, there is much interest in the link between diet, lifestyle and auto-immune diseases.
NBC News reports that in 2018, “keto diet” was the most-searched word on Google. This is backed up by Google’s “Year in Search” report. This is just one example of an area you could focus on and specialize in.
Promote yourself through your LinkedIn profile and your own personal network, and pitch yourself to events and conferences you identify as good fits for your message. While on-site, make a point to network with attendees and position yourself for future speaking invitations.
2. Practice Telemedicine from Home
Thanks to the widespread availability of inexpensive web cameras and video chat programs like Skype, more doctors than ever are providing care remotely. Patients get cheap medical advice from qualified professionals and doctors avoid spending a lot on administrative overhead. Top telemedicine contractors include iSelectMD, NowClinic, Ringadoc and American Well. The American Telemedicine Association is a terrific resource for physicians interested in providing telemedicine consultations.
3. Start a Medical Equipment Business
According to the most recent statistics, the medical device industry is worth roughly $155 billion in the United States. You can easily snag a piece of that pie by working as a sales representative for major suppliers. If you want to go all the way, you could become a middleman and bid on supply contracts for smaller hospitals in your immediate area
4. Podcasting and Blogging
The beauty of today’s digital media world is you don’t have to wait for someone to hire you to start writing or speaking. With a few Google searches, you can learn how to start a blog or launch a podcast to talk directly to patients, fellow physicians, or general health consumers. Some physicians enjoy blogging or podcasting for the opportunity to debunk common health myths or provide expert perspective on current medical headlines. Successful podcasts and blogs take work, but they can attract advertising income if they reach a large enough audience.
5. Freelance Writing
Your years of practice have made you a subject matter expert, and freelance writing gives you the opportunity to translate that knowledge into paid content. Start by researching online health sites or medical publications and pitch story ideas, or look for non-editorial jobs such as writing scientific manuscripts, medical marketing communications, CME content, or test prep materials. Many health websites also employ independent medical reviewers. Conversely, you can make yourself available as a medical source to journalists through sites like Help a Reporter Out (HARO), though these interviews are typically unpaid.
6. Teach Online
Teaching online is a side-hustle that definitely deserves consideration is producing an online course to educate others.
Consider this statistic. “Market research from Global Industry Analysts projected ‘e-learning’ would reach $107 billion in 2015 and it did. Now, Research and Markets forecasts show trip the revenue of 2015 – e-learning will grow to $325 billion by 2025”.
This reveals that e-learning is a substantial area that offers great potential to generate a side hustle. An example of an avenue through which to do this is Udemy. With Udemy you are able to record courses, choose your own price and make money for each one of your courses that is purchased.
7. Kindle Publishing
“Self-published books now represent 31% of e-book sales on Amazon’s Kindle Store”. Clearly, self-publishing is going from strength to strength and using a well-known and trusted platform like Amazon only adds to this.
Kindle publishing allows you to publish your work on Amazon kindle. Choosing a niche can be based on your expertise combined with ideas you can glean from tools like Google Trends.
Some common mistakes doctors make when it come to side hustle and money
Invest in wide money scheme
Everyone likes to get in on a good deal. We can’t wait to tell others about our successes.
Over the course of your career, hundreds of people will offer you deals. The offers may come from neighbors, in-laws, former schoolmates, peers, work colleagues, etc. The deals may involve new medical devices, pharmaceutical compounds, or real estate.
Each will claim to offer a lucrative once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You will be seduced by promises of dizzyingly high returns with minimal risk. In reality, most of these ventures end in tears and sometimes lawsuits.
Money truisms include: “Money doesn’t grow on trees,” and “There’s no free lunch.” If something seems too good to be true it most likely is too good to be true.
Only a tiny percentage of business ideas survive and evolve to investing success.Stick with what you understand.For most of us, that means a passive strategy focused on diversification and low fees. All other opportunities should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Doctors are masters of procrastination. This may be partly due to their medical training. In medicine, it is best to wait for the body to heal itself instead of jumping to surgery or drugs. Unlike in medicine, when it comes to finance and side hustling, time is the enemy. Every day that goes by without action is lost forever, along with its growth crucial to our nest eggs.
Rely blindly on advisors
Doctors often find it easier to identify an advisor they trust and let the advisor make all decisions. Many physicians have no interest in money matters. They prefer to spend their time on medicine and family.
The problem is that “When the cat’s away, the mice will play.” You are the cat and you are electing to not oversee your advisors’ (the mice) activities.They may act in ways you wouldn’t condone.
The resulting misunderstandings undermine trust and foster anxiety. In extreme cases ignoring advisors’ activities can result in crimes of opportunity or fraud.
Breaking all the outlook of limitations that may hinders or cause you to justify, and accept that your side hustle can be one of the rewarding decision you can make today. Though, it’s not easy but still far may doctors are making it and there is chance to 100 that you can.
Want to master entrepreneurship? Keep reading for my secrets on how I “did it all” (effortlessly) and built my company with ZERO funding. Just kidding. I hope you know me better than that. Let’s get serious:
There isn’t a post from an expert that can solve all the challenges of running a business. There is no webinar with the answers, no book, no mentor or coach that can do it for you.
(I really wanted to write that there is no “Entrepreneurship for Dummies” book but there actually is. Could be a start?) That’s just not how entrepreneurship works. Nothing in the world can really prepare you for the wild ride that is starting a side hustle, being a solopreneur, hiring employees, trying to scale up, scale down, start or exit a company. And mastering anything takes a LOT of time.
Did your favorite chef learn their culinary craft during their first line cook job? Does every Olympic athlete just come out of the womb as a superhuman? Did every influencer on the internet get rich quick? (They might make it look like they did but…) Absolutely not. Entrepreneurship is no different.
So go easy on yourself. It’s the small things that matter. The small habits, the daily actions, the way you speak to yourself, how you pick yourself up from a loss, your ability to persevere, to not give up in the face of challenge, to solve problems, to make decisions, to act when you don’t feel like it… These actions lead to big wins. And in my opinion, there is no other way to get there. If you made it this far, I want you to know that YOU are capable of seriously kick-ass things. (I tell myself this every day, especially when I feel like I am not capable at all.) What is one action you can take this week that will move you in the right direction? One decision you can make? One small habit to change?
I’ve seen freelancers full of talents, and still getting it hard to earn a living off there creative skills. Why? They think only there professional skills can get the job done. No,
If you’re going to be a successful freelancer you need to be able to manage your own career like any other business. , so your business may look much like a big corporation: there’s no CEO, no shareholders and only one employee. But if you’re going to earn a good living then there are business skills you need to learn and get good at. The better and more efficient you become at managing your business, the more time you’re able to devote to development work, which means you get to spend more time doing what you love (you do love it, right?) and earn more money.
Freelancing Versus Employment – What’s the Difference?
Chances are that if you’re considering going freelance, there’s one main difference that’s encouraging you: the freedom of not having a boss. As a freelancer you can get up when you want to, work in your dressing gown, finish working when you’ve had enough, and only take on the work that really interests you.
Correct? Well, no.
As a freelancer you still have to earn a living. This means having the discipline to put in the hours you need to complete work, hit deadlines and keep your clients happy. It’s also very rare for freelancers, especially new ones, to be able to take on only the kind of work that they enjoy the most. In the early days you’ll be building your reputation and your client base, and you’ll need to take on just about all the work you can get.
Sound pretty miserable? It’s not – read on!
Freelancing has some big differences from being employed, and some similarities too. I’ve worked freelance for about a third of my career, including the past five years, and I can’t imagine ever going back to regular employment. But I have learned some hard lessons along the way, and had to develop some skills that I didn’t need when I was employed.
Pros and cons of freelancing
So let’s bust some myths and identify some pros and cons of freelancing:
As a freelancer, you won’t have to work nine to five (unless you’re working on site for a client), but you will have to work a similar number of hours to earn a living, very likely longer hours in the early days.
You won’t have a boss telling you what to do, but you will have clients—and they can be much, much more demanding.
That boss who made sure you hit your deadlines will be replaced by you—you’ll have to manage your own time and motivate yourself.
If you work from home you can work in your dressing gown if you want, but beware if you have a Skype chat scheduled with a client!
You’ll have to find work, and keep on finding work. Even if you get a contract with an agency that can keep you in regular, ongoing work, I’d always recommend having other clients just in case that agency doesn’t need you any more in the future. As you develop, you’ll want to develop your client base, which means marketing.
There will be times when you don’t have any work coming in and aren’t sure how you’re going to pay the bills this month. You’ll need to anticipate this and have contingency funds in place. The biggest killer for new businesses isn’t income, it’s cashflow.
If you want to hang onto your clients you’ll need to work on your relationship with them—something an account manager might have done when you were employed. You can’t spend your whole freelancing life in front of a computer screen, sorry!
Freelancing can be lonely: for the sake of your sanity, you’ll need to make the effort to get out and spend time with like-minded people.
You’ll have extra costs: equipment, training and conferences, insurance, software, tax and more. All these come out of the money you earn.
You’ll need a bank account, and you may even need to speak to your bank manager or the bank’s business manager from time to time.
You’ll need to constantly develop your skills and knowledge of the industry you work in and adapt as things change and move on. Any training you do will be in your own time and you’ll have to pay for it.
Freelancers business basics 1. Selling yourself
In order to land work as a freelancer, you’ll need to be able to close the sale. That doesn’t mean that you need to be an expert salesperson, but you do need to be able to show clients what you can do for them and why they should hire you.
Selling yourself isn’t about being aggressive or pushy, this is really another point that comes back to communication. You’ll need to be able to communicate exactly what you’re offering and how it will meet the needs of your clients.
In order to sell your services, be sure that you’re focusing on the benefits to clients and what’s in it for them.
But most freelancers are doing them the other way around, they are not getting it well at all. Let’s discuss some best practices selling yourself.
1. Be Visible Where Your Audience Is
Your audience is somewhere online and it’s a good idea for you to be there too. You don’t have to always be actively pitching but by being visible, you are becoming known and eventually trusted. This can lead to lots of work opportunities.
For example, if you are a writer who works with real estate agents, it’d be a good idea to be on real estate forums. You may also want to try to write for some of the brands they work with likeHomeLight or Zillow.
Your audience may not contact you directly as a result of this visibility but when you pitch them, they’ll recognize your name. This recognition will result in a bit (or a lot) more trust than other pitches have, which will make your sales process easier.
2. Be the Expert in a Niche
A great way to market yourself is by being an expert in a niche. This works especially well in niches that require specialized knowledge. For example, marketing in the cannabis industry in the United States. Because local and federal laws impact the ways marketing expert to have industry-specific knowledge that most marketers, no matter how good, will lack.
It may feel limiting to choose a niche or two to specialize in. Do it anyway as this “limitation” can make your marketing much easier as you’ll be speaking to a specific audience. You’ll know the right lingo to use and how to speak to their problems (you know, the ones you solve.) Your audience will feel seen and you will have an easier time because you won’t have to convince them you understand their specific problems and can help.
3. Ask for Referrals
Right after a client has given you a glowing review is a great time to ask for referrals. They may not know anyone offhand, but letting them know you loved working with them and would love working with anyone they recommend is smart. It allows you to share some love back and could lead to more work for you, now or in the future.
You should also ask your friends, family, colleagues, and former clients for referrals. If you don’t ask, they may assume you’re too busy for more work and won’t share your information. Some people offer finders fee to the people who refer them new business but you don’t have to do that. If you do decide to offer a finders fee, be sure to pay them out as fast as you say you will. Don’t make people wait for their money.
Remember: asking for referrals is not bugging anyone. It’s not begging for work. It’s letting the people who already love your work help the people they know have a chance at the amazing results you provide
4. Pitch Your Services
Oh, you didn’t really think I’d somehow forget that you need to be pitching on a consistent basis, did you?Consistently pitching is one of the most effective ways to grow your freelance business. If you’d like to be earning more money, you need to be pitching.
I see the impact of pitching immediately. My calendar fills up with calls with potential clients right away and my bank account starts to fill up shortly thereafter. If I stop pitching for some reason, I can see it in my calendar and bank account pretty quickly.
If you want a steady income, you need to be steadily pitching. If you’re not sure how to pitch in a way that gets responses and clients, you can check out The Essential Freelance Pitch Pack we put together just for you.
InIf all of these methods for marketing yourself sound great but you’re not sure how to fit them all together in a way that is actionable on a day-to-day basis, consider the Freelance Marketing Plan & Goal Setting Workbook.
You don’t have to use our workbooks and packs to successfully market yourself. You can absolutely just implement the methods in this article and see a huge increase in your freelance business income.
So which of these seven ways to market your freelance business are you going to implement this week?
Freelance business basics: relationship management
How you manage relationships links together with your marketing. The ideal for any freelancer is to be getting all of your new work from existing clients or via word of mouth: that way you don’t have to go out looking for work and can focus more time on what you’re paid for.
But clients will never recommend you to other people if they don’t like you or get on with you. Your code could be perfect but if you’re not someone people enjoy working with, those referrals will be much less common.
As well as client relationships, you’ll also have relationships with other freelancers, who instead of being like your boss will be akin to colleagues. Nurture these relationships: they’ll keep you from feeling isolated and will impact positively on your professional development.
1. Clear Communication On Both Sides
Having multiple clear lines of communication is vital for both sides of the working relationship. We’ll get on to specifics shortly, but needless to say, the manner in which you converse is just as vital as the tools you use.
The benefits of this goes two ways. On your end, you’re able to get clarity on your questions about the project, and the instructions you receive. For the client, they’ll be able to ascertain your intentions without misunderstandings. This could also build an increased sense of trust. Overall, being open to communicating with clients stands to net you further work and income.
Keeping your requests and responses straightforward is key here, as is concision with your answers. Speaking your client’s language should be a primary concern, so altering your tone and complexity based on their understanding of the project is a good idea.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions yourself – as many as you need to – and don’t feel as though you need all of the answers. A willingness to find a solution carries much more weight with clients.
2. Quality Resources the Client Finds Useful
It’s tempting to only think about the tools you’re using to deliver a project. After all, these types of technical details may not be something your client cares about. However, you should also think about introducing solutions that can make your client’s life easier.
We’re not talking about bringing something complex and developer-heavy to the table. Instead, you could help the client become more efficient with a few choice apps, sites, or other tools. This will show the client you care about their project long-term, and could also net you more work related to further training.
For example, they may appreciate a free way to optimize their images, or implement a better way of working within their team. In the latter’s case, apps such as Asanaand Front are great for collaboration, and may not be on the client’s radar.
Of course, this element will depend on your client’s needs and project. However, you should keep your eyes out for potentially suitable solutions that can enhance the client’s long-term work, and make them more efficient. Taking into account their technical expertise is also important.
3. A Way to View Projects Collectively
Finally, there’s always plenty of back and forth when working on a project – especially if the client is new, and the relationship is still burgeoning. As such, having a quick and painless way to ‘check in’on the current status of a project is important.
In short, the client should be able to get an update on how things stand at any point. Your concern should be to give them almost instant feedback, which lets you tweak and optimize the work you’ve done so far without delays.
This is one area you’ll want to be the most flexible when it comes to the client’s needs. After all, they’re paying for the project. This means taking a hit on your own requirements (usually a quiet working environment and an uninterrupted process!)
As for actual solutions, writers will value platforms with powerful sharing options such as Google Docs, while the aforementioned Asana is great for disparate teams needing both brief and ‘micro’ overviews. However, visual creatives such as web designers and photographers will likely want to introduce staging sites and proofing options respectively.
Freelancers business basics: contracts and charges.
Contracts protect your clients
It would be wrong to think that contracts should only be put in place to protect the freelancer. All of our business relationships are two-way affairs, and that’s exactly how contracts work.
I’ve heard many stories where a client hired the services of a freelancer and ended up high and dry because the project was left unfinished, or the end result was completely different from what they expected and ultimately served no purpose for them.
The whole situation is made even worse if the client also loses money in the process. It could mean they are unable to hire someone else to complete the project and it leaves a bad taste in their mouths about working with freelancers.
Contracts protect you
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been extremely lucky with all my clients, but not everyone is. Non-payment is the biggest issue faced by many freelancers and without a watertight contract there’s little recourse for them.
Late payments are also a problem, especially when you are living on a carefully-calculated budget and have bills to pay on specific dates. Your service providers expect you to pay them as per your contract and that’s why you should expect the same from your clients.
Some freelancers also find that when they eventually do get paid the amount isn’t what they were expecting. Their clients have seemingly made adjustments, and the lack of a binding contract has enabled them to do so.
Contracts boost your credibility
We all like to think of ourselves as consummate professionals. So why would you even consider entering into a new client relationship without a contract?
By starting every new project off on the right foot with a contract in place, you are automatically showing your client that you take your responsibilities seriously and that you mean business. It affords a sense of reassurance and sets a professional tone for your relationship going forward.
While a contract might not be able to prevent bad things from happening or relationships going sour, it will stand you in a stronger position should the worst happen.
As a final point, it’s always best practise to get any contracts that you are considering using checked over by a legal professional to ensure they cover every aspect you need them to. As contracts get edited to suit different purposes, they sometimes lose their enforceability, which is something that can’t be fixed after the event.
Have you ever had any problems with clients, which may have been okay if you’d have had a contract in place? I’d love to hear about your experiences…
Freelancers business basics 4: accounting
The problem is, without accurate books, you won’t have an accurate view of your financial standing. Accounting provides a snapshot of your company’s financial viability and records that are outdated or inaccurate provide a “snapshot” that is out of focus.
Yes, bookkeeping is inherently dull, but the results of bookkeeping—they’re thrilling. There’s a thrill at the end of the month when balanced books show an actual profit or at the end of year when you’ve stayed within your budget or at tax season when you add up all your write-offs and you’re actually getting cash back instead of owing. This kind of invaluable financial data can only come from accurate books.
You put your time into the things you value most. If you truly value your business, you will put your time into your books and you will see financial growth because of it.
Use a software
Many accounting products offer a free tier for freelancers, so take advantage of that! Don’t try to track all of your numbers in a spreadsheet. I mean, if you haven’t been recording any numbers then sure, start with a spreadsheet. But know that there are smarter, easier, and way prettier options out there.
Cloud-based applications are the norm today and they are incredibly secure and easy to organize. These software products can be accessed any time of day, from any platform and receive automatic updates.
You could also consider a desktop software, but when you compare platforms (like QuickBooks Online vs Desktop) it’s clear that most online options have the power of a desktop alternative, with the accessibility of the cloud. To me, it’s a no-brainer, especially for freelancers who are often on-the-go.
Start right away
The most grievous mistake business owners (even the most experienced business owners) make with accounting is procrastination. As soon as you start freelancing, start bookkeeping.
If you’re just learning the ins and outs of your business responsibilities, and you’re a few months behind on your books, that’s okay. You can start fixing your accounting mess right now, today! It will take hard work, but soon you’ll get in the habit of updating your books regularly, saving you time in the long-run.
Set aside a little time every week (or at least every month) to mind your books. A few minutes every Friday is a lot better than a few hours—or even days—come April.
Besides, the longer you wait to categorize transactions, the less likely it is that you’ll actually remember what those transactions were for. Then you’ll have to dig through old records and receipts, wasting even more precious time that could be invested in the business tasks you love.
Just grit your teeth and start fixing your books. Your business will thank you.
Interpret your report
I started by saying I wouldn’t bore you with the jargon, but there are a few basic accounting terms that will be useful for you to know.
The accounting equation, which I mentioned above (assets=liabilities+owner’s equity), is represented on your “Balance Sheet.” What matters most on this report is that the accounting equation is, well, balanced. The total of your assets needs to equal the total of your liabilities and equity combined. If these numbers are not identical, you will have inaccurate books and file a faulty tax return.
Profits and losses are accounting terms that business owners tend to be pretty familiar with. Your “Income Report” shows your total sales and expenses over a period of time, resulting in your gross profit. Your net income, or “bottom line,” is what you pay taxes on. It’s the heart and soul of your business.
It’s also important for freelancers to understand that profit does not necessarily equal cash on hand. Your “Cash Flow Statement” combines data from the Income Report and Balance Sheet in order to give you a summary of your cash position.
These three reports are of the greatest value to freelancers. And the beauty is, if you’ve kept accurate books, most accounting products will produce the reports for you. You don’t have to do any complicated math to view your financial standing. You just have to categorize transactions; let your software do the heavy lifting.
Freelancers business basics #5: marketing
I have to admit that marketing is the aspect of self employment that I dread the most. I’m not a natural salesperson and nor are many of the freelancers I know. But without it, you won’t get work.
Marketing for a freelancer isn’t about advertising campaigns or email lists. It’s much more subtle than that. Marketing activities include:
Leverage social media
Social media sites where potential clients hang out are a goldmine. I’ve found clients on Slack, in Facebook groups, and by participating in relevant Twitter chats. In addition to creating content to share on social media, find people you can help by searching for “looking for freelance X (with “X” being whatever it is you do: ie photographer, designer etc.).”
Attend networking events
Attending networking events and meeting potential clients or collaborators. Use meetup.comto identify groups in your area, go to conferences and hackdays. Use all of these as an opportunity to make contacts and talk about what you can do.
Join forums & communities related to your niche
If you want to be visible where your audience is, join communities related to your niche. Don’t promote your services right away, instead engage with the community and provide value. After a while you’ll become known as an expert and you can start marketing your services.
Reach out to your friends, family, and former coworkers. Let them know that you’re a freelancer and ask if they (or anyone they know) could use your services. You can contact them directly, on social media, or even using email.
Ideally, you’ll use a mix of tactics to make sure potential clients know that you’re available to help them with your freelance services.
we all know every side hustle demands a bit financial commitment. And lack of money and time has been the number one and two reason many has forfeited there desire for freedom by having there own side hustle.
expenses such as taxes, cost of goods, and anything you need to operate your new business. You also want to include what type of services you are offering and how much you are going to charge.
Starting a side hustle may take a little bit of investment funds up front, though there are many ways you can keep your side hustle startup cost low.
but let’s major now on scrimpings, you can save I mean hundreds of dollars monthly from just keep track of your spending.
and this can save a lot of side cash to help finance the group of your side hustle like, paying for important software and delegating some tasks.
so, now is the best time to begin taking care of your finance. It’s not only that you have take a broad step toward creating a bright future. But you can still be cast in a hole even if your hustle has begin blessing you with some financial turnover.
Smart apps to help track your spending.
The problem is that the decision can be challenging to know where to start making changes that will save you money. The answer will be to get help from apps that are designed to help you make better decisions about your professional and personal finances .
Acorns rounds up your purchases on the credit and debit cards you link to the app. The difference is automatically transferred to an Acorns account. This account is part of Acorns’ investing platform. Your money savings are then invested in exchange-traded funds. You get the option to invest in conservative or aggressive funds based on what you feel comfortable doing.
College students get to use Acorns for free for up to four years. Everyone else has to pay a monthly fee if your account is under $5,000 or a percentage fee on anything above that amount in your account.
The company partners with brands like Airbnb and Blue Apron, which means those companies give back a percentage of your purchase and place that in your Acorns savings account.
2. You Need a Budget
You Need a Budget is an app that helps you create an easy-to-use budget interface that teaches you more about the value of money.
As a result, you’ll learn to prioritize certain expenses, find ways to save more money for retirement and emergencies, handle unexpected costs, and live within your means rather than using credit.
The company offers the app and software that works on your Windows or Mac computer. It works for all mobile devices for iOS and Android as well as Apple Watch and Amazon‘s Alexa.
Digit does the thinking and acting on saving money for you. It may even do a better job plus it takes the effort off your shoulders. This app looks at your current income and expenditures. It then calculates what you can save and puts that amount aside in an FDIC-insured Digit account.
Typically, the app goes through and does this analysis between two and three times a week. It gives you the ability to earn a one percent savings bonus that is paid every three months. What you get is based on the average daily balance in your Digit account during that same three-month period. There is a monthly fee that kicks in to use Digit after the 100-day free trial period runs out.
Viggle is a way to actually make money while you spend time on the sofa in front of the television. This clever app lets you check in to a show that you are watching and then earn points for watching it.
You can also get additional points for playing games and testing your television IQ. In return, those points that you earn can be used at places like Starbucks and Barnes &; Noble. That means you won’t be spending $5 a pop on a coffee or magazine, so essentially watching television and using this app will entertain you while you save money.
Mint helps you stay on top of your bills so you aren’t late and end up costing yourself more money than you need to spend on late fees and penalties. This money-saving app also helps you develop a budget to ensure you maximize what you can do with your money and allocate money for savings, an emergency fund, and retirement while covering all your other obligations.
You’ll also be able to get a free credit score to monitor how your savings and good money habits are giving you an opportunity to get a better loan rate should you want to buy a home or vehicle down the line.
Trim is a money-saving app that works like your very own personal financial assistant. You can link all your accounts securely so the app can analyze each transaction and suggest areas to cut back like subscriptions or all those trips to the coffee shop.
Then, the machine-enabled app goes to work on finding you more affordable service providers like cable, car insurance, and the internet. It will even cancel subscriptions for you. You’ll be able to get text updates on how your accounts are doing and immediately see any automated changes that have been made. This is a great option for most self-employed people looking for a personalized financial assistant.
Migrating from Shopify to woocommerce is one of the most common migration in e-commerce today. As more and more people understand. It’s actually quite a common problem — one that tends to appear when you’re ready to assume greater control over the finer details you were previously happy to overlook.
Shopify is one of the fastest-growing eCommerce platforms. It has an easy and clean user interface that can be operated by both technical and non-technical people. Shopify is a SAAS based platform, which makes it easy to manage and maintain by the Shopify team compared to a distributed open-source platform.
It has a wide range of themes to satisfy the needs of retailers of all sizes. Live chat and email support is inbuilt to help customers solve their queries.
Building an eCommerce store through Shopify is straightforward and comfortable. But as Shopify store size increases, its maintenance becomes tough and painful for store owners! Not only this but let me list down more reasons that compel store owners to migrate Shopify to WooCommerce.
Shopify is a SaaS-based platform that gives very less flexibility to customize your store.
To add more features you need to buy apps that add up to the overall cost of your online store.
Only a few themes are available for free, and you can’t customize them!
If you purchase plugins or themes from third-party, then Shopify is not responsible for your website security.
You need to pay both transactional and additional fees for each transaction that happens on your site.
Shopify can freeze your account if you fail to fulfill their terms and policies.
As the business grows it demands flexibility and expandability. You need customization to fulfill your audience’s expectations. You might need to add more engines to your machine to give it more power.
So, if you are facing a similar situation and want to migrate your online business from Shopify to WooCommerce, without losing any data then you are at the right place.
To understand the answer to that question, let’s take a closer look at what WooCommerce is, how it works, and what it offers to its users.
WooCommerce is an open-source software tool, which lets you have full control over your website and gives you the power to customize freely. This flexibility allows you to bring your vision to life without limitations. Anyone can access, copy, modify, and change source code as they wish. Create the exact store you want with deep customization options. In contrast, Shopify’s closed source tool ensures standardization through Shopify’s centralized control, but does not allow the same flexibility with creativity and personalization.
The base versions of WordPress and WooCommerce are both free to download and use. You will be in charge of your domain name, hosting your site, and enhancing your ecommerce website with features through the use of extensions. This allows you to get additional features while controlling cos
WooCommerce was created by two developers, Mike Jolley and James Koster.
They worked on a fork (a replication) of an existing e-commerce plugin called Jigoshop, and the result was the first release of WooCommerce in 2011.
WooCommerce and WooThemes were both purchased in 2015 by Automattic, the same company behind WordPress itself.
Automattic is now the active developer for WooCommerce, which is used by over 300,000 online retailers, including some fairly large and high-traffic sites.
Users like WooCommerce for several reasons, chief among them the fact that it is relatively easy to install and configure, which is always a bonus for busy new digital retailers
Here are a couple of reasons why you should head for WooCommerce instead of Shopify:
Control your assets better
WooCommerce is an open-source platform. That means you are free to do whatever you want with it.
While Shopify offers much help to set up your store, there basically isn’t much you can do about making your own stuff. The platform provides all the materials and the variation isn’t quite a large number. There goes your custom-built site!
But in WooCommerce, you can pull any resources you want to use. There is no limitation. So, it’s a decent reason why you should migrate from Shopify to WooCommerce.
Flexibility, Customization & Pricing
When it comes to flexibility and customization, there’s literary nothing that can beat WordPress.
WooCommerce is open-source so you can edit, modify, copy things or even change raw codes/settings as you prefer. In a word, WooCommerce lets you use their codes as if it’s your own while Shopify chooses to manage their own.
Additionally, the wide range of customization WooCommerce provides, makes it more versatile than Shopify. You can enjoy endless customization, use themes, add-ons as much as you like.
The WordPress developers team states that the plugin repository has over 50K options to help individuals design their marketing strategy. So, migrating from Shopify to WooCommerce will result in your benefit in the end.
As for the pricing, you can get a hint from this small comparison from below; WooCommerce displays Real-time shipping rateswith a little package of $79 a year. It includes all the popular carriers like USPS. Unlocking the same feature in Shopify will cost you a big chunk of $299 a month! Freaking high!
So, there you have it. While both systems are for setting up your eCommerce store, comparing the prices will really make a lot of sense.
Cost of features
WooCommerce and WordPress both are free for everybody. You just need to spend on a domain name, hosting, and a little to a large amount for additional features like plugins, themes, etc. Without saying much, you can save all the necessary money on unnecessary features you might not even use ever.
For WooCommerce, the pricing is not so high. For Shopify, yes indeed it’s high. It’s another reason why you should migrate from Shopify to WooCommerce. For example:
Depending on the monthly plan, you have to pay $29 to $299 if you are using Shopify. Within the same budget of a month, you can run a full-fledged website on WooCommerce for a year!
Websites are bound to use add-ons to make it more user-friendly and appealing as possible. Shopify users get it hard because the most basic add-ons like Waitlists costs $15 per month! On the other hand, WooCommerce has it for $49 a year. That’s definitely a steal.
A payment gateway is a necessary option for an eCommerce store must-have. While you are using external payment gateways, a permanent transaction fee from 0.5% to 2% gets paid to Shopify. This amount is pretty small at first glance, but soon they pile up in big numbers. WooCommenrce doesn’t take any transaction fees. No fees, no problems!
Total SEO optimization
SEO is important. Your website rank depends on how much work you have put behind the site structure and SEO. WooCommerce gives you SEAMLESS control over your site’s SEO. Means, you get to choose and use every tiny bit of the SEO system as you like. There! It’s worth to choose WooCommerce for this specific feature.
Unlimited product listing facility
If it’s a shop, it’s about products, right? Imagine having an online T-shirt shop. If you look for the size, color, standard format, the variation can go from 24 to 160 easily. And this number is for 1 product! Sweet!
But ops! Your Shopify e-Store can barely house up to 100 variation.
On the other hand, WooCommerce will let you put piles of tabs and tabs until you are satisfied. Cool! So, it is another reason to migrate from Shopify to WooCommerce.
Now, you might know this, the WordPress community (as well as WooCommerce) is one of the largest group of people. Millions of people are connected with it, developing a share-&-care relationship. The goal is to improve together. So, signing up for WooCommerce will connect you with all those happy faces instantly. Isn’t it great?
Developers are easy to find
Shopify supports both add-ons and custom development through its Liquid template language, but the possibilities are limited.
Because Shopify has such a focus on convenience (and features being handled internally), there aren’t so many developers out there working on it. If you decided that you wanted a new feature installed on your Shopify store (and you couldn’t find an existing add-on to handle it), then you might have a tough time finding a developer.
WooCommerce, though, has a thriving community complete with an abundance of developers. Beyond the basic functions, so much of WooCommerce had to be developed by the community, and it certainly doesn’t help that WordPress (the underlying platform) is free, extendable, and the most widely-used CMS in the world — itself supported by countless great developers. It won’t take you long at all to find a decent and affordable WooCommerce developer.
Preparing to migrate from Shopify to WooCommerce
WordPress and WooCommerce are both free, but that isn’t all that is involved in keeping your ecommerce site running. Since these are open-source, you will have to purchase the other things you need separately:
Domain name ($10 – $20 on average a year; depending on domain)
Domain hosting ($5 – $25 monthly; but can go much higher for more unique services)
Design themes ($40+ per theme; free templates sometimes available, but often require attribution)
Plugins / extensions (subscription based fees; some free plugins with limited services available)
Developer fees ($20 – $150 per hour depending on the quality of the developer and difficulty of the task)
When making choices for each of these, consider the big picture, what you can afford, and the real needs of your business. Scale as needed to add features, but don’t waste money on features that won’t help you advance your business early on. An open-source tool gives you control over your budget and the features you need, but a full-service tool will often include these, at a higher cost.
Install WooCommerce to WordPress
If you’ve already installed WooCommerce to your WordPress dashboard, you can skip ahead.
Before we cover the steps for migrating, let’s make sure you have WooCommerce installed properly. It’s simple and quick to do.
From your WordPress admin dashboard, navigate to “Plugins” along the left column and click “Add New.”
Click in the Search bar along the top right. Type “WooCommerce” and initiate a search.
Find the extension in the plugins marketplace, and click “Install Now” to download and install the WooCommerce plugin.
The plugin may take some time to install. Once installed, click “Activate” to turn the plugin on.
TheNext, follow the configuration process you are presented with to complete setup. When done, you’ll be ready to migrate your Shopify data to your new WooCommerce store.
Choose a hosting plan
While WordPress and WooCommerce are free, you will need to pay for website hosting separately. There are a few main things to consider when trying to select a provider:
How many websites and pages will you be running from one server?
What level of security does the host provide and how much liability do they assume?
How much customer support is available when you will need it and what is the quality of service?
How much uptime does the server average?
Is the service scalable to match your traffic; can it handle any influxes?
Hosting costs can range drastically, from as low as $3.99 a month to over $5,000; it all depends on how much data is on your site, how much traffic you get, and how much flexibility you need at peak times. As a smaller business, you will be able to use a cheaper service, scaling up as your traffic grows. Most hosting services will also offer a free trial period so you can decide if you are satisfied with the service.
WooCommerce and WordPress recommend Bluehost, SiteGround, and Pressable for beginners, as these hosting services are easy to use and will meet basic performance needs. If you are looking to run a larger ecommerce store, you may want to work with a team with expertise in WooCommerce.
Steps To Take Before You Start Store Migration
WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce platform. One-third of internet users prefer to use the functionalities of WooCommerce rather than any other website builder. Furthermore, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that means you also need to download, upload, and install WordPress along with WooCommerce – if you want to leverage the functionalities and join the community of expert developers.
So, before you start your store migration process, prepare a baseline by installing WordPress and WooCommerce. [Here, you’ll also get to know how you can install WooCommerce themes to give your store the look you want!]
1. How To Install WordPress?
WordPress can be installed either manually or using the one-click functionality provided by your hosting provider. [Many web hosting companies provide a one-click option to reduce and simplify the WordPress installation process.]
Beginners find manual WordPress installation a little tough and technical, and thus, in this blog post, I’ll let you know how you can install a self-hosted WordPress using Bluehost on your system!
Don’t know the difference betweenhosted WordPress and self-hosted WordPress? If so, then you first need to know the difference between them because they’re two entirely different websites created to serve different users and business objectives!
Maximum times beginners get confused as it belongs to the same founder and includes the name (WordPress). You can decide whether you want to know the comparisons right now and later on after completing this post on – how to migrate Shopify to WooCommerce!
Bluehost is popular and designed to fulfill the requirements of small-size businesses. If your business is new and going to receive moderate amounts of traffic, then you can select the services of Bluehost. Its basic plan starts from $2.75/month. You can go through Bluehost pricing plans and select the one that can fulfill your requirements.
I’m listing down the steps through which you can install WordPress using Bluehost. In case you decide to leverage the hosting services of any other company, you can mention your hosting provider name in our comment section so that we can help you install WordPress using your preferred channel!
WordPress Installation Using Bluehost
1. Purchase a Bluehost plan that can help you meet your business-specific needs.
2. Login to your Bluehost Account.
3. Click on My Site Tab from the left sidebar.
4. Now click on the Log Into WordPress button to enter your WordPress website.
5. Click on the Create Site button present at the rightmost corner under My Site section.
6. Enter your site name and tagline. Click Next to continue the process.
7. Now, add your Domain Name & URL (this section also provides a list of WordPress plugins you can skip their download for now). Click Next.
8. A notification appears stating- WordPress Installed Successfully!
Your self-hosted WordPress website is ready! Now, you can proceed ahead and install the WooCommerce plugin. [WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, and that’s why it’s also known as the WooCommerce plugin. Don’t get confused!]
2. How To Install WooCommerce?
After installing the self-hosted eCommerce solution. Let’s now see how you can install WooCommerce.
1. Download WooCommerce plugin from wordpress.org. You can install WooCommerce for free.
2. Login into your WordPress Dashboard. From the left sidebar, click on Plugins > Add New.
3. Upload the WooCommerce plugin using the Upload Plugin button present at the top. Or type WooCommerce in the search bar to initial your WooCommerce plugin search within your WordPress Dashboard.
4. A list of plugins appears. Choose the WooCommerce Plugin that is developed by Automatic. After finding the right plugin, click on the Install Now button.
5. After installing WooCommerce, you can click on the Activate button to activate the functionalities of WooCommerce in your WordPress website and to turn it into a WooCommerce website. For more, details click on the More Details button present below the Activate button.
6. After clicking on the activate button, you’ll be redirected to the WooCommerce setup wizard. Complete all the steps of the WooCommerce setup wizard to make your store more flexible and personalized.
Click to know the steps involved in the WooCommerce setup wizard and how you can complete them. You can also refer to the documentation created on the WooCommerce setup wizard.
Don’t skip the steps of the WooCommerce setup wizard. It can bring personalization in your WooCommerce store and also help in getting better business results.
If you have Configured WooCommerce on your system, then don’t forget to explore the ways through which you can automate your eCommerce store.
3. How To Install WooCommerce Themes?
Now, if you want to redesign your website using your selected WooCommerce theme, then you need to follow the mentioned steps.
Go to your WordPress Dashboard.
From the left sidebar go to Appearance > Themes Page.
On the top of the page, there is a button named Add New you need to click on the same button. [By clicking on the Add New button you’ll be redirected to the Add Theme Page.]
Click on the Upload button that is present on the top.
An upload box appears, browse your downloaded theme and click on the install button.
A notification appears when your theme is successfully installed!
Click on the Live Preview button to preview the look and feel of your installed theme.
Now click on the Activate button to make your theme LIVE.
How To Migrate From Shopify To WooCommerce?
As your business size increases, it becomes expensive to use and manage Shopify stores. In other words, with time your investment increases, and return reduces. It compels store representatives to switch from Shopify to WooCommerce.
Well, the decision of eCommerce store migration from Shopify to WooCommerce isn’t that easy! It consumes more time because, as a store owner no one wants to harm their store data. The level you have reached through your continuous zeal and passion, you don’t want to put that on risk at any cost.
But in reality, you can transfer all your data accurately without any security issues. Without losing your existing customers, orders, and sales, you can successfully migrate your Shopify store to WooCommerce using any of the methods described below.
1. Manually Migrate Store Data To WooCommerce
Manual migration might seem like a time consuming and boring process. But if you don’t want to spend money on migration tools, then this method is best for you!
It is relatively simple and easy to execute. Use the steps mentioned below to migrate your store data from Shopify to WooCommerce for free.
Export and download your CSV file for customers, orders, and products. You’ll need to import these CSV files to WooCommerce later.
Login into your Shopify Account. Go to Products > All Products section. Click on the Export button present on the top of the page. A pop-up window will appear with content – Export products to CSV files. In the window, you need to select All Products under Export section and CSV for Excel, Numbers, or other spreadsheet programs under the Export As section. To continue the process, you need to click on the Export Products button. [It will prepare your CSV file for products].Prepare CSV files for orders and customers as well. After downloading your CSV file, you need to modify its structure accordingly to match the predefined structure of the WooCommerce CSV file.
Go to your WordPress Admin Panel. From the left sidebar, click on WooCommerce > Products.
On the top of the page, there is a button named Import click on it to leverage the functionalities of Product CSV Importer. [Product CSV Importer is a built-in option provided by WooCommerce to make the migration process smooth and seamless for all users.]
Click on the Choose File button and browse your CSV file that you want to import at the current moment. Now click on the Continue button.
On the next page, you can see the Column Mapping Screen. Here WooCommerce automatically tries to map the column name of your Shopify CSV file to WooCommerce product fields. [Note- WooCommerce tries to map all the fields automatically, but you still need to map some of these fields by yourself using the drop-down menus present at the right of each row.]
Click on the Run Importer button. You’ll need to wait until the migration process completes.In this way, you can easily export Shopify products to WooCommerce for free.
2. Choose A Migration Tool
If you don’t want to use the Product CSV Importer provided by WooCommerce and think you can damage your store data, then you can also use an extension for the same.
Using an extension you can automate your migration process and keep yourself away from manual processes. But you’ll need to pay if you want automation in your migration process; the more data you migrate to WooCommerce the more you have to pay!
There are several Shopify to WooCommerce migration plugins, you can easily get a huge variety to select from. Later in this blog post, I’ll let you know about these Shopify to WooCommerce migration plugins and the tool that WooCommerce recommends its users to leverage! Stay calm and keep reading!
3. Hire A Developer Or Agency
If you don’t wish to manually import your store entities to WooCommerce or an extension for the same, then you can take your problems to a developer’s table.
There is no issue if you don’t feel safe while migrating your store data all by yourself; you can contact a developer whenever you want! A WooCommerce developer can help you migrate Shopify to WooCommerce without harming your store data. You can concentrate on other essential things of your business as your developer will be managing all the migration process for you!
In the WooCommerce community, you can easily find an expert developer to handle your Shopify migration. Here at MakeWebBetter, we provide WooCommerce migration facilities from all eCommerce platforms. You only need to connect with our members to launch your store using WooCommerce.
This guide contains everything you need to know about cart abandonment, from what it is, to why it happens, to how you can devise a strategy to combat it.
Understanding how to drive these consumers back to your website is fundamental to increasing revenue and winning loyal customers.
On average, 69.89% of shoppers will add something to the shopping cart but end up leaving without buying anything, leading to shopping cart abandonment.
The average conversion rate for eCommerce websites is a dismal 2.86%. Chances are — you’re grappling with this problem as well.
So, in this article, we will cover the A->Z of shopping cart abandonment – what is it? Why does it happen? And unconventional ways to reduce cart abandonment for your online store.
What is Shopping Cart Abandonment?
Shopping cart abandonment is when a potential customer on your ecommerce site is in the middle of checking out (or has at least added it to their cart) and decides to no longer purchase. This is usually measured in the percentage of carts abandoned over a period of time. It can be impacted by bad UI, checkout flow, confusing pricing, brand trustworthiness, etc.
Customers just browsing. 81% of customers are just browsing ecommerce sites because they are conducting online research as to the best available deals. 55% look for products on both Amazon and Pinterest, 79% look for free return shipping, and 71% evaluate shipping fees and policies
Why do customers abandon their shopping carts?
1: High and Unexpected Extra Charges
Shoppers find an item that they like, they consider the price and then decide to make a purchase. However, once they get to the checkout page, they see something unexpected in the payment summary.
There are several extra charges—like shipping costs and taxes—added to the original price. Which causes the total cost of the item to rise unexpectedly. This frustrates and angers many shoppers, causing them to abandon their shopping carts.
In the Barilliance study, the top reason for shopping cart abandonment was unexpected shipping costs.
The Baymard study found that 60% of people abandon their carts because the extra costs for shipping, taxes, or other fees were too high.
Another 23% of customers abandon shopping carts because they can’t see, or calculate the total cost of their orders upfront.
2: Looking for other alternatives – leaving to do some research
Not every reason for cart abandonment has something to do with you or your website and brand. Many visitors like to look around and find the best option that suits their budget and wants.
A simple and obvious way to avoid this – have a product comparison chart to provide the benefits of your products over other options.
Here is a simple example of the same:
3: When they have to create a new account
Over 20% of the visitors don’t complete their checkout because of the need to create a new account on your checkout page.
When they are forced to do extra steps , they get frustrated and drop off. But this doesn’t impact the visitors buying experience as much as others on this list.
The easiest way to solve this problem is to have a guest checkout process or an option to log in through google or facebook. Something like this:
4: They Do Not Trust Your Site
Users who land on your site for the first time, or who do not have an existing connection or relationship with your platform may take some time to trust you with their credit card.
Customers are afraid of filling transaction forms. They do not like the idea of providing personal details such as their phone numbers, email addresses, credit card details and addresses to people they do not trust.
Buyers know the risk of data theft is always there. You have to convince users to choose your business by showing the steps you’ve taken to protect their data and identity.
Highlight companies or names you’re affiliated with and mention the steps you’ve taken to safeguard your visitor’s interest. This includes using SSL certificates, getting verified by credit card companies like MasterCard and Visa, and using a reliable antivirus program.
Make sure to place logos clearly on your website. About 61 percent of consumers avoid buying for a site that does not display trust logos.
In addition to this, you can also offer a money back guarantee. It’s an easy way to win a new customer. Consumers are more likely to buy from a website or store that offers a guarantee that ensures their money is safe.
Clearly highlight your refund policy and make sure to tell users they’re covered if they do not receive what they expect. Since it’s common for online marketplaces to promote false products, a money back guarantee can be very helpful in convincing consumers to complete the checkout process.
5. Your Website Crashes
This is a no-brainer, most users will leave a website that crashes, especially if it happens during the checkout process.
Crashes can happen due to a number of reasons such as system issues.
In some cases, the website may crash during the payment process if it’s not able to form a connection with the payment provider. This might not always be in the hands of the store since you’ll have to trust the services of the provider you have selected.
On your part, be careful when selecting a partner. Choose reliable providers and makes sure to select a hosting company that offers a good uptime so that your site does not crash.
If you expect your site to be down due to maintenance or other such causes, flash a warning so that users are well aware of the risks.
6. Missing Information or Details
Consumers will leave a website that does not provide all the required details about a product or service. For example, the page below is bad as it tells nothing about the product.
Now look at this another Amazon example:
You will find everything you need on a single page.
Amazon allows sellers to upload everything from company manuals to reviews and descriptions. This is one of the major reasons why Amazon has been able to find such success.
Many users prefer to buy from Amazon because they know they will not have to do any research to find what they need and they’ll find everything on the web. Plus, they also have more trust on the platform due to its customer friendly policies.
Amazon allows buyers to check the FAQ section, go through reviews to know what real customers think, and check the description to know how a product works or what it offers.
Some sellers even add videos and detailed guides to ensure buyers have no confusion. You should also do the same if you wish to reduce the cart abandonment rate.
7. Surprises and Hidden Costs
Nothing annoys consumers like hidden costs. Imagine the horror of searching for a product under $10, selecting one, and seeing the cost skyrocket to $12 when you reach the final page.
Extra costs can be in the form of taxes, fees, and shipping. The situation can be tough for sellers but the truth is that consumers do not want to pay these ‘additional charges’, especially if they come as a surprise.
About 23 percent of buyers will abandon the process if they do not see the total cost up-front. Make sure to advertise costs on the product page. If you want to advertise the product for a lower price (minus extra charges) you can mention so on the page so that buyers know what they’re taking on.
Abandoned Cart Emails
If your customers still abandon their shopping carts at a high rate despite your best efforts onsite, there’s good news: you can still get them back with the help of abandoned cart emails.
Abandoned cart emails are helpful and effective. Here are some abandoned cart email statistics to take note of from Moosend:
Open rate: 45% of cart abandonment emails are opened on average.
Click through rate: 21% of the emails are clicked on.
Conversion rate: 10.7% of recipients completed their purchases. According to Barilliance, abandoned cart emails can lead to a 18.64% increase in conversion rates!
You can create your own abandoned cart emails with the help of your email marketing provider and/or ecommerce platform (for example, BigCommerce offers abandoned cart recovery features built-in).
Additionally, these solutions can help simplify the process:
1.Showcase trust and credibility in your emails.
We are all aware of the many scams on the internet and most of us will be able to tell a story we’ve heard about someone that lost money on a purchase that they never received.
Consumers, too, have become more careful and first-time visitors to your website especially will need a little more convincing before opening up their wallets.
This is where social proof can help you convert those first-time visitors or skeptical buyers.
The best way to do that is to use product ratings and reviews so that those prospects can see that other people (like themselves) have happily purchased from you before.
Instead of just using this social proof on your website, you can use it in your abandoned cart reminder emails too.
Here are two ways to do that:
Remind your customers that they left highly-rated products in their shopping cart. You can use the star rating (of the highest rated product in the cart) in your subject line (something like “There are ★★★★★ products in your cart!”) to give your open rates a nice boost.
Most abandoned cart emails that you encounter will contain a list of the products left behind in the cart. These emails include all of the basics you’d expect: the product name, image and price. By including the number of reviews along with the average rating, you can make your products more compelling. Seeing something like “Rating: 4.64/5 (67 Reviews)” will give you an instant dose of FOMO to complete that purchase ASAP.
The combination of a higher open rate and more compelling content has meant that some merchants have seen an increase in their recovery rate of up to 36%.
2. Shine the spotlight on a single product.
These days many online shoppers practice a digital version of window shopping where they will add multiple products to their cart for future consideration.
It’s safe to assume though that when someone adds 10 very similar products to their cart, they don’t have equal purchasing intent for all of those products.
Most abandoned cart emails would, however, remind the customer of all those products, which dilutes the effect that your email will have.
Instead of using the opportunity to re-market and re-sell your customer on a single product (preferably the one they are most likely to buy), you (and others) use that fleeting moment across 10 different products.
I would invite you to think about what a one-on-one conversation with that customer would look like and how you could apply some basic sales principles to increase your conversion rate.
Here are three ways in which you can turn your abandoned cart email into a better salesperson:
Use at least part of your abandoned cart email campaign to focus on selling only one product and then really shine that spotlight on that product. The easiest way to do this is to select your best-selling/highest-rated product in the cart, because it converted for many of your past customers.
Once you have that single product focus, highlight some of the primary benefits of that product specifically. Instead of using generic marketing copy that relates to your brand and the abandoned cart, you can communicate the unique selling propositions (USPs) of this product.
Along with using your marketing copy to elaborate on the reasons why the customer should complete their purchase, you can also add some objectivity by including recent reviews of the product. The combination of your and your customers’ own words will give your prospective customer the full spectrum of information to aid them in their purchasing decision.
When you do all of these things in a single email, it also quite a striking visual effect.
Here’s a comparison between a basic abandoned cart email (left) and the results of using the spotlight effect (right):
One of the most prevalent strategies to recover abandoned carts at the moment is to include a discount coupon, but because this is such a popular tactic, we have conditioned many of our customers to now expect this.
Discounts ultimately erode your profit margins and over time it loses its efficacy too.
The bigger risk here is that regular discounting devalues your product over time.
Discounts are especially counter-intuitive when it comes to your most loyal customers.
They are familiar with your brand and have indicated a willingness to purchase from you regularly before; so you probably don’t have to sacrifice your profit margin with another discount.
The better way to do this is to leverage your loyalty & rewards program(something like Smile.io).
This tactic has improved abandoned cart metrics for every merchant for whom we’ve implemented this, ranging from a 39% to 600% increase in recovered revenue per email sent.
Here’s how we do it:
First look at your global Average Order Value (AOV). For this example, let’s assume that is $100.
Then look at your reward tiers in your loyalty program. What you want to determine is how many loyalty points a member needs to get at least a 10% discount (based on your global AOV). Let’s say 200 points equals a $10 discount.
Create a segment in your email marketing software for all Rewards members that also has more than 200 points.
Send that segment a different abandoned cart email campaign, where you don’t include a new discount. Instead you highlight the fact that they have loyalty points which they could apply to this purchase to get at least 10% off.
Not only does this tactic convert incredibly well and give your recovery rate a massive boost, you are also not issuing a new discount.
Instead you are just nudging your loyal customers to use the points that they have already earned.
The other, more general, tactic that you can use for all your Rewards members is to remind them of their points balance and how many points they need to reach the next rewards tier.
This will work especially well if every rewards tier unlocks some exclusive or exponential rewards.
The best example I’ve seen (and have fallen for) are airlines’ frequent flyer programs.
The more I fly, the more reward miles I earn. But if I earn a certain amount of miles in a specific amount of time, then I can also be upgraded to the next level.
The next level then normally means I can earn even more miles along with other benefits.
Suffice to say, I have been known to book yet-another holiday primarily to be bumped to the next level.
Airline $100. Adii 0.
HOW MODERN CONSUMERS SHOP ACROSS CHANNELS
Consumers shop on their own time, in their preferred channels and compare across stores and prices. Here’s everything you need to know from demographic shopping habits to how folks in the cities versus rural areas differ.
Build your omnichannel strategy for your target customer right now.
4. Keep a longer-term connection.
The recent introduction of the GDPR has shone the spotlight on how crucial consent is for online marketing.
As email marketers, we’ve always mostly agreed that a smaller, highly engaged list will always trump a bigger, disengaged list in many ways.
Making sure that you are only sending emails to prospects or customers who have consented to receive them is a critical component to ensure high engagement.
After someone abandons a cart on your store, you have a legitimate interest to email them about that cart (which is what you’re doing with your abandoned cart emails).
But after a couple of emails about this, you can’t email that customer again without their consent.
That’s a potential relationship lost.
The context you should consider is that often times the timing is not right for the customer to make a purchase now.
Maybe they need to save up a little more or they’re buying a gift that they only need later.
In those cases, you want to retain the connection until that time in future when they are ready to make a purchase.
One way to do that is to add a final email to your abandoned cart email sequence, asking your prospect to instead sign up to your mailing list instead.
That way you can either trigger another automated, drip campaign for them or just send them regular newsletters about new products or promotions.
This keeps you top of mind with them and will nudge at least some of these prospects to make a purchase (which would be an indirect abandoned cart recovery).
5. Give your emails a boost with other tools.
If you could only do one thing about cart abandonment, it would be to implement a good abandoned cart email strategy.
Email is a cost-efficient, stable and scalable way for you to recover more of this revenue.
And if you use the emerging, creative tactics I have included above, you should have a really good recovery rate too.
There are other things that you can implement though to complement your email strategy.
The reason these tactics work is not as much because you’re doing “more”, but because you are using different mediums to find alternative ways of speaking with your customers.
This optimizes for your customer’s individual preference for how they like to hear from you, whether that is email or text messages or phone calls.
Here are a few mediums and tactics you can use to boost you abandoned cart email strategy:
Actually call your customers. This is not very scalable, but you can prioritise this by only phoning abandoned carts that have a certain cart value. What is great about this is that you can get great feedback and address unique objections with a specific customer.
Use a tool like Shoelace to create automated retargeting ads on Facebook to coincide with your email campaign.
As a platform, Facebook continues to grow and Facebook Messenger is a big part of that growth. There are tools like Recart that allows you to send abandoned cart messages via Messenger for those prospects that prefers this (over email).
Another medium that you could investigate is browser push notifications or text messages too.
If you implement any of these additional tactics, you will find that the biggest improvement to your recovery rate will come by being consistent in your messaging.
When you have messages going out to multiple channels, the consistency in your voice, tone and even the discount on offer is critical.
On the other hand, your biggest risk too is that you contradict yourself across the multiple channels.
To that extent, make your abandoned cart email sequence your North Star and build out the other tactics around that.
Some abandoned carts email apps.
Developed by the SkyVerge team, an official WooCommerce partner, Jilt was created to help ecommerce stores recover lost sales due to shopping cart abandonment.
Jilt ecommerce WordPress plugin
Jilt is a plugin that you install. It integrates with platforms such as WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, and Shopify. Once you’re using Jilt, it monitors incoming customers and tracks them. Once they abandon their shopping carts, it kickstarts an automated email campaign to try to make them come back.
One great thing about Jilt is that they show you how much extra income you can make by reaching customers you could’ve lost. On that note, you’re only charged for the customers that you actually reach through your campaigns. You can also have Jilt dynamically create unique discount codes for you.
Conversio is an email marketing company that specifically targets ecommerce stores.
Conversio WooCommerce plugin
They allow you to send any relevant ecommerce emails, such as receipts, abandoned cart emails, follow-up emails, product reviews, newsletters, and feedback emails. Conversio offers beautiful pre-designed email templates, powerful segmentation, and automated campaigns. Like Jilt, Conversio also charges according to a flexible pricing model.
If a blog isn’t a core part of your ecommerce marketing strategy, you’re losing out on traffic, leads, and sales. As selling online becomes more and more competitive, having great products is no longer enough. Every day, over 500 new online stores are launched on Shopify alone.
Unlike the people already shopping in your store, readers of your blog may not be quite ready to buy from you. And while the primary goals of content marketing are not to produce a sale immediately, it’s great when it actually happens and it’s certainly worth trying. Since it’s unclear whether they’re ready to purchase or not, it’s going to be up to you to guide them towards a purchase with relevant and valuable content.
Blogs are a great way to bring in new customers. They host engaging content in the form of articles, which work as organic lead generators, and promote interaction between your customers. A blog functions as the top of your content marketing funnel by drawing website visitors in and eventually leading them toward buying your products.
The pros of blogging
Aside from the above, which are the biggest reasons, a blog is a way for your store to segue into more of a content-driven enterprise instead of being exclusively product-driven. Depending on the kind of content you post, you could wind up as an authority in whatever niche you chose.
For example, say your eCommerce store sells glassware with custom designs etched onto it. Now, if you start a blog dedicated to the industry and process of etching glassware, and post a few helpful articles about how others can do the same kind of thing themselves at home… you’re suddenly providing a valuable service in addition to selling your products. People will recommend your blog to others looking to etch their glassware at home.
A blog lets you publicly declare your brand’s authority in your niche
And those who aren’t quite as good at crafts as they thought they were will think of your store first and foremost when they realize they should probably just order the etching they want. You’ll be at the front of their mind because you’re the one that gave them such helpful directions!
As for the people that are that crafty…well, they have to buy their etching cream and sticker paper from somewhere. And if you just so happen to have affiliate links to brands you personally endorse, well…it’s not as good as selling your own product, but it’s something.
See now how your blog acts as a funnel to selling your products?
The cons of blogging
There’s always gotta be something, doesn’t there?
It’s a lot of work to keep a blog. You have to post content regularly, whether that’s every day or once a month. And you have to put in some effort to gracefully weave your products into your blog posts. You want your posts to be educational so that your readers find real value in them, and don’t just view them as a long-form sales pitch for your store’s products.
How do I choose topics that help my e-commerce customers?
First, you need to know what your customers care about and search for online. Then you can brainstorm topics that, while they may not directly relate to your business, will be interesting and helpful to your target audience.
If you sell women’s shoes, you could write about how to keep your feet comfortable while traveling. If you offer web design services, consider posts about digital marketing, since the same clients will benefit from both subjects.
To develop a list of topics:
Pay attention to customer complaints and feedback.
Analyze each of your products and outline every possible problem each one solves.
Read what your competitors write.
Focus on covering one topic per post. It’s better to provide more details about one thing rather than a few details about many things. In an hour of focused brainstorming and research, you can come up with dozens of blog post topics.
How often should I post?
The more the better! If you can write a post every day, you should. But few businesses have the time or the money to post every single day, so here’s a more helpful strategy: Whatever you’re doing now, do it a little bit more often.
If you have no blog posts, or haven’t written one in months, commit to writing one per month. If you’re writing one post per month, commit to two. If you’re determined to get results as quickly as possible, a good minimum is four per month.
To keep blogging manageable, try writing posts in batches instead of spreading out the work. Don’t write one post per week. Instead, write four at the same time, while you’re in the writing zone, and then schedule them to publish over the course of a month. You can then spend the rest of your time on other tasks.
Three types of topics to write for, if you want to ranked in search engine.
If you want to use SEO to get more sales, you need to find article topics that:
Will attract customers
Are topics people are searching for
Aren’t too hard to rank on
Let’s dig in a bit on what each of these means.
Topics that will attract customers
Cup & Leaf ranks No. 1 on Google for the query “how to make milk tea,” which brings in around 3,000 visitors per month.
But, in the months that this article has been at that ranking, it’s brought in zero sales. This is a topic that people are searching for, and it’s one that wasn’t too hard to rank on, but it’s not one that’s attracting customers.
Here’s why: Most people searching “how to make milk tea” aren’t actually going to buy any tea, so while this article is still somewhat useful for overall site strength and getting views on our Facebook pixel, it’s not directly driving many sales.
On the flipside, Cup & Leaf also has a top spot on Google for “best black tea.”
This article drives significantly more traffic back to the store, and more sales, primarily because people searching for “the best black tea” are actually looking to buy some black tea.
It’s a topic that attracts customers, not just readers, which is extremely important if you want your content to lead to more sales.
Topics that people are searching for
The second requirement you need your topic ideas to meet is that they must be topics people are actually looking for. You could write a great customer-focused post, but if no one is looking for it, no one will find it—even if you get the top spot on Google.
This is where tools come in. You can use a keyword research tool like Ahrefsto see exactly how many people are searching for a topic so you have an idea of whether or not it’s worth going after.
In this case, “best black tea” gets around 1,900 searches per month, which is more than enough to be considered interesting. There are no hard rules but we usually say that for B2B, anything above 100 searches per month is worth considering; for B2C, depending on your customer lifetime value (LTV), you might look at keywords with at least 500 monthly searches.
Now for the last piece of the puzzle.
Topics that aren’t too competitive
The last question you need to answer is, “how easily can I actually get ranked for this keyword?”
Your best bet for assessing this is to look at your keyword tool again for a “keyword difficulty score.” In the “best black tea” example, you can see it’s 0, which means it’s about as easy as it gets:
We typically say that for a new site, stick to keywords with a difficulty under 15. Once you have more than 100 domains linking to your site, you might bump that number up to 30. Anything above 30 will take a little while to rank on, unless your site has incredibly high authority.
One thing to keep in mind with the difficulty score is that seeing a “popular” site ranking for the keyword you want to go after is not necessarily a no-go sign. Even big sites can be beaten, assuming you follow the instructions in the next section about how to write your article to be competitive.
Creating your list
Before you think about writing anything, take some time to come up with at least 50 of these keywords.
Write down the kinds of questions your customers might be asking in Google that could lead to them buying from you. Benji Hyam has a great list of topics to help you brainstorm these in his “Pain Point SEO” article.
Hyam points to five types of posts that work really well for this:
Comparison posts, where you look at your product or service versus another
Best product or service lists, where you feature your product in a list with some competitors
Alternatives to X, where you can rank against your competitors
Articles that talk about pricing, where you show how much you cost versus the competitors
Product or service use cases, where you show how your company has helped people
Once you’ve recorded at least 50 ideas in a spreadsheet or document, run those keywords through ahrefs or a similar tool to get their stats.
Then, see which ones have the best ratio of difficulty to volume—keeping in mind the rough guidelines I mentioned above—and you have your list of topics!
Now you’re ready to write the articles.
Which e-commerce blog post format should I use?
All your posts shouldn’t look the same; variety is more interesting and will keep readers reading. Here are some common format options:
List posts are made up of, well, lists. They’re easy to skim, make readers curious to find out more, and people love to share them. Examples include:
“Six solutions for organizing your garage”
“Ten ways to save money on your next car”
“15 tips for traveling internationally”
A how-to post provides practical answers in the form of a guide. These usually walk readers through the steps necessary to achieve a goal, often in numerical order.
This article is a how-to post that promises to teach you how to write content. But we could have formatted this as a list post titled, “Four Secrets to Writing Blog Posts for Online Stores.” The rest of the information would have been similar but, for the reader, it would feel different.
These ask a question in the headline and imply you’ll answer it:
“Are Too Many People Unsubscribing from Your Email List?” This implies a solution to reduce the number of unsubscribes.
“Are You Worried About Overpaying for Life Insurance?” This promises to show you how to save money on insurance.
Question posts directly relate to your target audience’s problems and highlight their specific needs.
This sort of post directly promises a benefit for the reader. The previous three types indirectly make that promise. But promise posts present it directly: “Learn the Secret Muscle-Building Techniques of Elite Bodybuilders.”
Generally these posts use a verb like “learn” to make the promise
Writing Content that Ranks
With your topic list in hand, you’re ready to start creating the content that will bring you more customers.
There’s a lot of advice out there on how to do this, but based on our experience publishing more than 50 articles per week—bringing in millions of visitors a month—we’ve refined this to a fairly simple process.
Get a good writer
Research the competition
Write something better
Obviously, there’s a bit to explain with each of these, so let’s dig into them some more.
Get a good writer
I know you think you’re the best writer to represent your brand, but you’re probably not.
The odds that you’re an amazing writer are low, and even if you are, you probably have more important things to be doing (like running your business) and could afford to hire a writer to help you.
Not only does hiring a good writer help make sure your content is well written, it also makes sure it gets written in the first place. Most blogs fail because you stop publishing, not because your title tags aren’t optimized; having a contractor whose job it is to keep publishing content will ensure that your content marketing work doesn’t fall by the wayside when other more urgent priorities pop up.
The last thing to keep in mind here is don’t look for cheap writers. A single article you pay $150-300 for will do more than 5 articles you paid $50 for.
How do I write a blog post?
Once you’ve determined the topic and format, creating a post is relatively straightforward, even if you don’t think of yourself as a writer. Remember, you’re writing about topics that you’re familiar with. You’re the expert. This is your business, and you understand how your products and services help people solve problems.
Just remember: Stick to one topic per article, and be helpful!
Here’s a quick six-step writing guide:
Even if you’re an expert, you should still search for additional information. Someone else might make a point or suggest an idea you haven’t thought of. Verify claims or confirm facts by linking to the sites where you found them. This isn’t just polite; it makes a difference for SEO.
2. Plan a quick outline
This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to produce — no one’s grading you on it!
Base your outline off of your post format. For a list post, your outline doesn’t need to be much more than a sentence per item. For other types of posts, jot down your main points and think about whether a reader would be able to follow your train of thought if all they had was the outline.
3. Write a draft — and include subheadings
Subheadings break up your text and summarize points so they’re easier to read. They also provide a place to insert keywords, which have more SEO value in headings than in paragraph text.
How long should your blog post be? There’s no “correct” length that applies to every post — it depends on your industry, audience, and topic. Cover the information thoroughly without going into every detail.
4. Write a headline
Your headline should include something enticing and be useful and actionable. The goal is to create a title that would be very hard not to click on.
It’s important to take a break before editing your post. Write the first draft, then walk away for a few hours. When you return to edit the post, you’ll see your writing more objectively and catch more mistakes.
As you go through the article, insert your keywords a few more times as appropriate. But keep your primary focus on clarity, readability, and common spelling errors.
Moving your blog readers towards purchase
1. Get Them To Subscribe
Offering to subscribe website visitors to your email list after they read one of your blog posts. Then send them specific content, like shopping guides, comprised of products that are available in your online store.
2. Retarget Them Across The Web
Remarketing to them via Google ads to purchase a product they read about on your blog. For example, if they clicked on your shopping guide to shoes, you could then ensure that images of these shoes pop up in Google ads as they’re surfing the web.
3. Retarget Them on Facebook & Instagram
Retargeting your readers on Facebook with ads. Insert compelling images from your ecommerce store and blog posts into the ads.
4. Place Smart Internal Links Within Your Content
Placing links to products within each blog and calls-to-action on the bottom of every blog post. If readers enjoy your blog content, they may want to see what else you have to offer.
E-commerce is a big market, with Amazon dominating about 50% of all e-commerce trade toward the end of 2019, it can seem overwhelming trying to break the market when opening a new store. However, don’t let this statistic put you off. If your product is good and you have faith in your customer service then use these tactics to get traction to your online store and overcome new e-commerce sales challenges.
There are over 12 million online stores already in existence and that number is set to grow even higher! The simplicity of setting up a new store is great for newcomers, but it also means increased competition for everyone else. Discovering how to get more traffic is something that every eCommerce business should be focused on. Here’s how to gained traction to your new e-commerce store in 2021.
Marketing tactics to get traction to your e-commerce store
Micro stores warrant micro influence. The best thing is? These are often trusted better than macro-influencers. A study by aspireIQ found that, on average, micro-influencers with 10-50K followers have just over 40% higher engagement rates than macro-influencers with 500K-1M followers.
It’s essential that you involve micro-Influencer marketing in your own marketing plan. Micro-influencers not only promise a high engagement rate and often better quality content but they’re perceived as more trustworthy, are more likely to change their link in bio for your campaign link and will be more responsive with their community management.
If you’re looking to gain traction for a new e-commerce store then micro-influencers who genuinely connect with your product can be a perfect fit.
With over 2 Billion monthly active users, Youtube is currently the second-largest social media platform out there. It can be navigated in over 80 different languages and covers 95% of the world’s mother tongue.
Where does your e-commerce business fit in? 90% of people say they have found a new brand or product via Youtube.
Use Youtube as your video content distribution channel, it’s a fantastic way for you to not only reach new audiences but help to convince potential customers as well. A study from Wyzowl found that nearly 70% of all consumers prefer watching product videos than reading about them.
Take this into account. Create review videos that answer FAQs, use interactive walkthroughs using Youtube’s video cards, comments, and 360 features. Lastly, gift the product to potential Youtubers that would be interested in reviewing it.
How to use YouTube to to gain traction and boost sales to your newe-commerce
When creating useful and valuable content you’ll be seen as a point of reference within your field. Imagine that someone wants to buy running shoes. Who do you think they are going to buy from? A shop they just learnt about or a shop from which they have learnt about running techniques or that taught them what the best accessories for mountain races are?That is called the reciprocity principle.We feel in debt when a shop helps us in a selfless way, so whenever we can, we return the favor.
We hope that you never have to do this, but if your brand gets affected by a case of negative publicity, YouTube offers the best scenario to explain yourself or to create a video clearing up the situation. That’s what the Domino´s Pizza presidente did (a client had found an insect inside a pizza), or even McDonald’s with this video when they explained how their chicken nuggets are made.
4. Streaming on YouTube
Another way of connecting with your audience that is becoming very popular nowadays is streaming (live videos). During these sessions, you can carry out tutorials of how to use your products or response to any questions that people in your community may have.
2. A Beautiful Site
User experience is crucial when it comes to success on your eCommerce site, which is all down to a simple layout, clear content and of course, great design. The world of design is moving quickly, so check out the latest design trends when creating your site to ensure you can catch the eye of potential customers.
Clarity is key. Make it easy for your users to navigate to different areas of the website, with a clear menu and simple language. Statistics tell us that 25% abandon shopping cartsbecause the website was too difficult to navigate, so don’t allow this to put off potential customers.
As well as ensuring a clear journey through your site, product information is just as important to hook in your customers. Item descriptions should be well thought out, accompanied by high quality photos or examples of the product.
If you want people to stay on your site, and keep coming back, remember that a good experience = customer retention.
Tip 1: Keep it simple
While it’s tempting to add lots of interactive features or graphics to a site, these can overwhelm your customers and drive them away.
For e-commerce website design, simple is always better. No one wants to click through 5 pages, deal with a million popups, or search for a nonexistent navigation menu. Design errors like these result in lost customers—and that equates to lost sales.
Approach your design as though you were the end user. Would you get frustrated navigating your site? Can you find everything you need in a click or 2? Are menus and buttons clearly and legibly marked? These are all ideas you should consider in your store’s design.
Other elements of simple design include:
Easily scannable content
Simple and legible fonts
Unified color schemes
Clearly identifiable navigation elements
Easily navigable product categories
Show the customer your product, clearly describe it, and let them know how they can make a purchase.
Tip 2: Use images and color to your advantage
Large, high-quality images are a great way to showcase your products on a website that features a simple design—let the pictures speak for themselves. They draw the customers’ attention and make them want to know more.
Images increase conversion—sometimes as much as 40%—so it’s critical to feature them front and center. Customers want to know what they’re getting and want to see it from as many angles as possible before they buy. Clean, professional shots of your product build trust.
Using color psychology in your e-commerce website design may also give customers a nudge. Everything from the color of your background to what shade you make a button can drive conversions.
Certain colors evoke certain emotions in people, whether they’re aware of it or not. In some cultures blue can increase feelings of trust. Red can signal energy, passion, and danger. Colors can also suggest something about traits of your brand.
Tone: Consider what you imagine as your brand’s tone—it could be anything from whimsical to serious to quirky.
Value: Colors like sleek blacks and shiny golds can be used to convey luxury.
Time period: Some colors convey a vintage or futuristic feel.
Using color and images in conjunction as part of your e-commerce website design can both inspire an emotion and motivate a person to take action. Just making a certain button red, for example, can increase click-through rates up to 34%.
Tip 3: Optimize your site for mobile, and make it fast
We all know more users are browsing the web on their smartphones than ever. Some people don’t even own computers or laptops anymore—their phones are their sole source of internet access. Younger customers, in the Gen Z age group especially, do more of their browsing on mobile.
If your site operates clunkily or doesn’t load at all on mobile, you’re going to lose sales. People will get fed up and click away to another site.
Your site should adjust to the size of the smartphone screen on loading, and the images should all load properly. Navigation links and buttons should work just as well and just as intuitively on mobile as they would on a laptop or desktop. You want to be sure you’re maintaining the same functionality and clean look as your desktop site—especially on your checkout page.
Your site should also be fast. A lagging page makes people pass judgment on your site, and possibly your brand, before they’ve even seen a single product. By the time your page hits 4 seconds of load time, you’ve already lost 25% of viewers.
To avoid slow loading times, lean on minimalist e-commerce website design and be mindful of the elements you’re using. Avoid overcrowding your e-commerce store page with a bunch of interactive graphics or random blocks of text. They will slow your load times. Use good images, but make sure they aren’t in the most data-intensive file formats. High-quality JPG images display just fine on the web, while massive PNG files will take longer to load.
Tip 4: Make checkout simple and seamless
It should be common sense, but it bears repeating: Do not make your customer struggle when they get to your checkout page. You spend lots of time and effort investing in a site that gets customers to the finish line. Make sure they cross it.
Give customers the option to check out as a guest. Make them fill out as few data fields as possible with only necessary information. Clearly label those data fields. Let them see a product preview in their cart with a description so they can review what they’re buying.
Also, don’t wait until the very end of the line to tell someone what shipping or other fees go along with their purchase. If they get all the way to “confirm purchase” and see a total that’s much higher than they anticipated, it comes across as dishonest and leads to cart abandonment.
Be up front about what shipping options are available and what they’ll cost. Outline your return and refund policies on your checkout page so that the customer knows exactly what to expect if they have to return a product. Knowing a policy is in place gives the user a little extra peace of mind and lends your site more credibility.
To get their product, the customer should know what information to give you, why they need to give it to you, and how you’re protecting it. Then, make the process easy for them.
4. Draw people back with email
As well as social media, email is a great way to connect with potential customers. 61% of consumers prefer to be contacted by brands via email and 60% of consumers say they’ve made a purchase as the result of an email marketing message they received.
One of the ways you can encourage people to hand over their email address is by adding website popups within pages of your website to sign up to your mailing list. To make this even more compelling, this could come with a special offer, such as a discount code for future purchases.
Marketing emails can be used to highlight new products, make your mailing lists aware of upcoming sales, or to send a monthly or weekly newsletter with a round-up of products that might be of interest. You can also highlight events, or content such as your blog.
An impressive 82% of marketers have reported an increase in open rates through email personalization, so pay close attention to the behavior of your customers and use this to segment and tailor emails to drive sales. A good example of this is ‘abandoned cart’ emails, or recommendations based on previous purchases.
2. The thank you email + post sales updates
One of the best thank you emails I ever received was from Ann Handley—the veteran author, speaker, and chief content officer of MarketingProfs—after I signed up for her email list. The subject line read “Thank you! And a question for you…” I found a warmly-written note, doused in humor, that made me feel close to her.
Send helpful resources
Once someone has joined your email list or bought a product, automate their email to be added to an onboarding series, and move them into a nurture campaign. Start to send a flow of intriguing, educational content that directly speaks to their pain points and offers helpful solutions. Content marketing will allow your brand to stay top-of-mind for customers—in a non-annoying, long-term way. It can also help you expand your reach significantly.
One auto parts store created an infographic, “How Much Do We Spend on Cars?” which went viral. By aggregating information that is genuinely interesting to all car owners, it reached far more potential customers than advertising. By including an “embed this graphic on your site” it boosted its own backlinks, thus improving its SEO rankings.
Abandoned cart reminders
According to the Baymard Institute, there is an average abandoned cart rate of 69.23 percent. That’s a whoppingly large number of potential sales that you could be losing to distraction, pausing or forgetfulness.
Digitally savvy companies need to loop back to re-engage with these customers through a series of automated reminders:
Set the first one to go out within 24 hours, while the buying impulse is fresh.
Don’t let it end there! Automate another email or two to follow up at gradual intervals if the purchase still isn’t made.
Personalize! Include photos of the item they nearly purchase, use their first name if you can, and draw from your CRM to add-in suggestions of other things they may like.
Use humor to your advantage—Shopify has some good examples here.
5. Write Guest Posts For Sites Within Your Niche
Another very important aspect of your SEO e-commerce marketing strategy that many shop owners forget about is that search engines favor websites that have a healthy backlink profile.
This means that the websites on the top of the search engine results pages likely have a lot of other websites linking to them.
The more links pointing to your website, the better.
As you gain more links to your website, your domain authority will increase. Your domain authority is basically a virtual scoring card that tells search engines like Google that other users on the internet recommend your website.
As you can imagine, the more ‘recommendations’ that you have through links, the higher your website will rank on the search engines. A robust link profile tells the search engines that your site is a trusted source of valuable information.
If you’d like a wider reach, then you can search for any blog within your niche that accepts guest writers. You can do this by using the site: operator for Google.
Using the site: operator helps you identify guest blog post opportunities. To use this function, simply type ‘intitle: write for us + your niche’.
For example, if your Shopify store sells products within the wellness industry, then you will want to write guests posts for websites within that niche market.
To use the function in this example, type ‘intitle: write for us + wellness’ to generate a list of guest post opportunitieswithin the wellness niche.
Reach out to as many blogs as you can manage and aim to publish a few guest blog posts each month. In your author bio, usually at the bottom of the blog post, include a link back to your Shopify store.
By doing this, you will slowly build your link profile and your organic traffic along with it.
Not knowing what you’re in for can lead to failure and no one wants that.
The first question potential entrepreneurs may ask themselves is, “Can I do this?” It’s a wise question to ask because not only is the process of starting a business challenging, it takes a lot of savvy and intensive work. Not knowing what you’re in for can lead to failure and no one wants that.
Then How Does Starting Your Own Business Compare?
From personal experience, I would say it’s easier than starting a traditional career.
It’s easier than going to uni or college, doing a degree, competing for jobs, learning on the job and moving through the corporate grind.
It doesn’t take as long and it’s less controlled by outside forces telling you at what point you’re allowed to advance.
It also comes with a whole lot less office politics.
Why Does It Feel Hard?
It feels hard because there is no official one established roadmap to follow and no one telling you when you are ready to move to the next level.
No one gives you permission and you have to choose which path to take.
That is the hard part.
The unknown and dealing with how you deal with the unknown.
Meaning, your mindset.
Starting a business is easy with knowledge
While starting a business in a struggling economy presents a whole set of challenges, it’s not impossible. If you have a vision, passion, and drive, starting a business might just be a wise decision. But you also need resources and to understand what you’re up against before you start. That shouldn’t be a deterrent, but rather, knowing and preparing yourself is much better than going in blind and failing. Failure can be costly but is also part of the process.
Here are a few things to consider before starting a business.
Starting a Business is all about overcoming Inertia
There are a lot of forces working against you starting a business. Sir Issac Newton’s first two laws of physics state that:
1. An object at rest tends to stay at rest.
2. An object in motion tends to stay in motion.
Your new business is “at rest” and needs a huge external force – i.e. your effort – to get it into motion. In practice, this includes things like changing your daily life patterns so that you have time to work on your business. Even if you operate in a vacuum, this is hard to do as none of us really like change too much! But also, your friends and family may not like this as it’s different and disturbs the existing rhythms that you’ve all been working and living around.
Getting momentum in a new business is the next step. Once you have made some progress, there are other forces that start pulling your business forward. It doesn’t necessarily get easier, but it also doesn’t feel like everything’s working against you either.
Steps overcoming inertia, starting a new business
1. Fear of failure
Lack of confidence is an entrepreneurship killer. It’s true that the failure rate for new businesses is relatively high, with half of new companies failing within five years. To buck those odds, you’ll need a healthy dose of confidence in yourself and your idea.
The only solution to a fear of failure is to change your mindset. You have to see failure as an opportunity for learning and growth and stop seeing it as the end of the road, an indictment of your abilities or a stain on your character. Reading accounts by successful entrepreneurs will inspire you to see the possibilities rather than focusing only on the risks.
Becoming a successful entrepreneur typically demands experience; you need to understand your industry and business management in general if you want to earn a living from your venture. When you have limited experience, you may be reluctant to move forward, and understandably so.
You can make up for this, however, by actively seeking the experience you lack. Take an online course to gain a grasp of business management basics. Strive for a leadership position with your current employer so you’ll acquire strategic planning and people management skills. Work with a mentor or shadow an entrepreneur you admire.
3. Financial limitations
Launching a business takes money, and most people don’t have ample cash to throw at a startup. There are several options here. First off, you could begin saving now for the funds to establish your business. If you shop for a better mortgage and reduce your house payments by refinancing, you can sock the savings away in your startup fund. You can trim costs in other areas to put away a few hundred dollars each month or save even more by picking up a side gig.
Barring that, you can secure funding in a variety of ways, such as borrowing from friends and family, crowdfunding, seeking loans and grants or even working with angel investors and venture capitalists. There’s always a way forward.
Dealing with uncertainty
When starting a business, uncertainty is inevitable. Dealing with this is a matter of managing how this uncertainty impacts you and your health. Starting a business can be an anxiety-inducing experience, but doing your research and having a plan can help mitigate those feelings of anxiety.
Dealing with uncertainty also means learning from your mistakes and what to do differently and there will definitely be some mistakes. That’s just part of the learning curve! Remember, you can’t forecast for everything and plans are never set in stone. Be flexible and always have a backup plan.
How entrepreneurs bear uncertainty
But how do they do it? In his recent doctoral dissertation, Dr. Steve Trost studies how entrepreneurs bear uncertainty. They don’t simply rely on luck. Very often, entrepreneurs direct their efforts seemingly against the odds simply because they disregard information that others do not question — information that is oftentimes limiting.
Many entrepreneurs escape the curse of knowledge, because they don’t accept the notion that the past limits the promise of the future.
This is not necessarily an ability they are born with, however. There are ways to improve one’s ability to bear uncertainty.
Tony Robbins has a catch phrase that he says all the time: “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with.”
Uncertainty is going to crop up anyway, wouldn’t it be nice to find a way to comfortably live with more of it?
Here are six ways you can make that happen:
1. Embrace uncertainty
Certainty is a cage.
Sure, we all like that warm feeling that comes from knowing where we are and what’s coming next, but that’s not the way life is meant to be lived 24/7.
We are meant to grow and become more as people, and growth is always, always, always preceded by something novel and uncomfortable. You cannot evolve without new and challenging experiences.
You know that expression, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten”? It’s true.
As the founder of a startup, you likely already have expertise in your area of business. But what you need is entrepreneurship expertise. Your job is to imagine the future and go about creating the version of it that is best for you and your business. The only way of doing this is to learn two things: to understand people and understand the economy. Technical knowledge is easily acquired — and can be hired. You have a team for a reason, so use it.
We are desperate to know about the future, but the problem is that it is unknowable. This is the foremost burden on entrepreneurs, since they are in the business of creating their version of the future and hoping for the best. They bear uncertainty. And they do it for the whole economy.
The future is imaginable and, at least to some degree, can be controlled and even created. But to create something new, it is necessary to also think outside the box — new and different. Don’t allow yourself to be unnecessarily restricted by the past and what you think you know. More information is not necessarily better, especially if you endeavor to do what has never been done before.
In a very real sense, entrepreneurs create our future.
3. Acknowledge fear, and hear what it is trying to tell you
Look your fear square in the eye.
Don’t try to pretend you’re not afraid, because as psychiatrist rockstar Carl Jung told us, “What we resist persists.”
Fear is not bad. It’s here to warn you. It’s saying, “This might happen, so plan accordingly.” But — and this is key — make sure you don’t believe fear knows more than it does about the future.
Once you’ve heard the message and have prepared as much as you’re able, don’t let it keep screaming in your ear, repeating its prophecies of doom.
4. Do something
Action is the antidote to fear.
If you’re uncertain and afraid, the worst thing you can do is to simply wait to see what happens.
Do something. Do anything.
If you’re worried about money, send some emails to prospects who may hire you. If you’re worried about your marketing message, re-read your sales copy and do what you can to refine it.
Remember how I said that uncertainty and fear are the keys to growth? Well, this step is where it happens. Don’t just experience fear. Use your fear.
Chuck D. from Public Enemy said, “When I get mad, I put it down on a pad — give you something that you never had.” He doesn’t just get angry; he gets angry and uses that anger to write lyrics. Fear works the same way.
It can cripple you, or it can inspire you to do something awesome, even if that awesome thing just feels like a way to escape fear at the time you do it.
Starting a business is about managing financial risk
Just about every entrepreneurial venture starts off under-capitalized. Before you can seek outside investment, you need to have developed a prototype of your product and proof of concept, if you’re selling a service and / or product. This takes time and money. This is the bootstrap phase of your business. This is where we ask “friends and family” for an investment or a loan to help us get our venture off the ground. Or we convince our life-partner to let us mortgage the house one more time to fund our latest crazy idea. This is the start of financial risk and financial pressure.If we are fortunate enough to build our prototype and demonstrate proof of concept, we have to start building our team. This costs money. We still don’t have revenue. Top talent is expensive. Cheap talent is more expensive in the long run. We may still be too early for outside investment. Either we are not big enough or their money is too expensive in terms of the equity they require at this stage. Do we take a loan, max out our credit cards, mortgage the house (if you have one), close out the 401K, raid the kid’s tuition
Forms of Financial Risk
Over time, as our business grows, we face different forms of financial risk
Our customers are a form of financial risk. Customers are looking to buy on credit, and we are looking to generate revenue so we extend credit pretty readily. All of a sudden we are facing a bloated accounts receivable and a skimpy bank account. What happens if our customer goes under and we don’t get paid?
We also face supplier risk. In times of financial distress, suppliers concerned about their own accounts receivable exposure may tighten credit and accelerate payment terms. You may not have that same luxury with your clients. Collecting in 60 days and paying in 30 days can drain your bank account pretty fast.
There is also banking risk. Banks generally like to lend in growing economic environments when businesses are making lots of money and really don’t need a loan. The worst time to ask a bank for a loan is when you really need money. In severe economic times, banks have been known to limit credit lines to amounts already borrowed and cut off your supply of oxygen (cash) when you can least afford it.Leverage is another huge risk for any business. Leverage is simply the use of debt to grow the business. The problem with too much debt is, if sales take longer than expected to materialize, or if business in general slows down, your lender still expects to be paid every month. And if your business fails, you will generally still be personally liable to repay that debt. There is a place for debt in growing your business, however, that decision needs to be made very prudently and the proceeds from the loan managed very carefully.Some businesses get very lucky and they take off immediately growing faster than their founders ever could have imagined. While this sounds really exciting, there is an element of financial risk when growth is too rapid, which is you may out-grow your capital. What could be more awful than running out of money while running a business that is growing at exponential rates? None of these scenarios are pleasant. However, in the life cycle of building your business you will encounter most, if not all, of these risks.
Exploring the Personal Financial Risk
Shifting gears a bit, while contending with all of these potential financial risks to your business, there is also the personal risk. If your business is experiencing a cash crunch and your struggling to pay your employees and vendors then guess who will go without getting paid? Yet, there is still mortgage / rent, car payments, grocery bills and children’s tuition to get paid.None of this is meant to scare you, or dissuade you from pursuing your entrepreneurial dream. In fact, it is meant to encourage you to follow that dream. Knowing the risks that lie ahead of you and having a solid plan to manage your scarce capital and related risks makes all the difference between success and failure. The more disciplined you are in your approach to financial management, the better run your business will be and the more attractive you will become to investors or lenders as your business matures.
So, What is an Entrepreneur to Do?
So, what is an entrepreneur to do? Establishing some very simple protocols early in the life of your business is key.
Know your numbers: What will it cost to build, sell, distribute, provide your product and / or service. Know your unit costs and your gross margin.
Know how much capital you need to get to that first sale: Do a detailed plan. Once you have come up with the amount you believe you will need to get funded, double it.
When you are starting out, allocate a certain amount funds to 90-day sprints: Have a clear set of goals and dollars available to fund those goals. Are you spending more or less? Why? What can you control? What can you Adjust? The earlier we figure out there is a flaw in our plan the earlier we can adjust before it is too late and we run out of cash. There is a very simple tool I have used with all of my businesses and my clients that I will be glad to share with you. A side benefit of this practice is that it creates a disciplined culture of accountability.
While none of this will guarantee your success, it helps tilt the scales in your favor.
Starting a business demands a lifestyle change.
Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, but for those who adapt to the lifestyle changes required to run their own business, the rewards can pay off. Those lifestyle changes might be daunting, but going in knowing what to expect will help set you up for success.
Your workdays will change
Time spent working as an entrepreneur is vastly different than in traditional employment. This is both a good and a challenging thing. As your own boss, you aren’t necessarily beholden to any supervisor on a daily basis, and you can be far more flexible with your time.
Conversely, and particularly when starting a business, there are little to no bookends to your day. Hours will be long and days off in short supply. This is where business plans come in handy. Having those attainable goals can ensure you are on the right track and will be able to hire people to help grow your business so you can have a moment’s rest!
For those who struggle with self-discipline, starting a business can be challenging. Learning to hold yourself accountable for tasks and achieving goals is paramount in running a business. While you are your own boss, you are responsible for your business’s success and therefore, are responsible for all the cogs in the wheel that make up your business.
the answer is now. E-commerce is huge, and getting bigger every year. According to Statista, in 2014 the global e-commerce market was 1.3 trillion dollars. In 2023, it’s projected to be a whopping $6.5 trillion. The best time to get in was when it was still nascent. The second best time is right now.
“Okay,” you say. “But I have no idea what I’m getting into. How do I even choose what to sell?” A great question, and one that’s easier to answer than you might think, but it’s important that you get it right.
Because selling online is completely different than selling in a brick and mortar store, you want to choose products to sell that are conducive to online purchases and appeal to the typical online buyer.
Here are some of my “must have” product guidelines when choosing what to sell.
The product should not be fragile and easy to ship – Because we are going to be shipping products through the mail, you can avoid most headaches if you choose a product to sell that won’t break during shipment.
The product should not take up much physical space – Certain ecommerce business models require carrying inventory so it’s in your best interests to choose something small to sell and preferably an item that fits in a shoebox.
The product’s inherent value should be ambiguous – For example, I would never sell electronics because there is a set value for your goods that everyone is aware of. On the contrary, keepsakes and informational goods are much harder to place a price tag on.
The product should be timeless – Once again, I would never sell electronics because they lose value the longer they stay on the shelves
Avoid seasonal goods – In general, you don’t want to choose products that are only purchased during a specific time of year. For example, I would tend to avoid selling Halloween costumes.
Sell goods that sell from $15-200 – This is the sweet spot for pricing for online purchases.
For example, what if you’re selling alcohol? You have to deal with extra types of taxes. Or what about shipping large, bulky items like mattresses across the country? Maybe you’re importing from a foreign country and have to learn about import duties. Whatever the case may be, the product is the bedrock of your e-commerce efforts.
If that’s you, don’t despair. While picking an ecommerce product is the first step, it’s also one of the hardest. Hard, however, doesn’t mean impossible. If you learn the right tactics and put in the work, you can do it. Here’s how to choose a product to sell in your ecommerce store.
You may have been told in the past to just sit down and have a good ol’ brainstorming session, and ideas will come to you. But this advice is trash. It’s trash, not because it’s wrong, but because it doesn’t tell you exactly what to do and why you are doing it.
The key is to flip your thinking: The question isn’t, “What can I sell to make money?” The question is, “What do other people need that they will pay money for?” Switch from me, me, me to them, them, them. That’s how you’ll win.
(Bonus: You also don’t need to sit down while brainstorming. Pace the room, lie in the park, go for a jog, whatever gets your creative juices going.)
Niche product serve a very specific consumer base. Instead of a hundred different product lines, you choose one high-quality item — perhaps with multiple variants — and develop a targeted marketing strategy. Because they’re exclusive and desirable, niche products tend to be price inelastic and usually have quite high-profit margins.
Niche products can be one-of-a-kind (a crocheted shawl or a piece of hand-thrown pottery) or small-batch (handmade leather bags, seasonal preserves).
They can also be single-product ventures like Larq, for example, which only makes self-cleaning water bottles (and a limited number of accessories). Larq’s customers are incredibly passionate, and they’re willing to pay more than average for a good-quality product.
The following tips can help you come up with a solid niche product idea to sell online:
For each idea you have, click the category that best describes it. You’ll see the top products in each category, which can help you figure out whether people are looking for anything like your idea. If lots of companies are selling the kind of product you’re interested in, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If their ratings aren’t great, you’re looking at a golden opportunity to break into a market if you can improve on what’s available.
Every problem has a solution:Innovation often starts at home. Can you create marketable solutions (products or services) to solve problems you encounter regularly?
Find your passion: You’re about to put a lot of time and effort into your new business, so you need to ensure it’s based on something you can stay interested in.
Figure out branding potential:Branding is vital in ecommerce. How will you brand your product? Who will your target audience be, and how will you create fellowship with them?
Guilty pleasures are a-go:People spend a lot of money on things they love. If you can tap into consumers’ passions — or vices — with a strong product, you’ll almost certainly build a customer base.
Keep an eye out for opportunity: The most successful entrepreneurs constantly look for gaps in the market. Pay attention to societal shifts, and you’ll see consumer trends before they ever materialize. You might even help them manifest themselves.
Get on the trend train early:Speaking of trends — if you do notice an appealing product trend, get on board with it early. The earlier you segue into an emerging market, the more likely you are to be seen as an original part of the industry. “Authentic” brands get a bigger slice of the industry pie.
Spot niche markets: We mentioned Larq earlier because it’s such a good example of a niche idea. Larq identified a problem (unhygienic water bottles) and came up with a solution (a rechargeable sanitizing water bottle). Larq raised millions of dollars in venture capital before ever producing a single production run. Ah, the power of the niche
Validate Your Ideas
Now choose your favorite ecommerce productideas from your list. It’s time to see if there’s anything to them. This process is called validation, where you see if an idea stands a chance on the market before you sink a bunch of money into it.
Let’s say you had an ecommerce product idea for a fun new baby toy. You could check the Amazon Best Sellers list and click “Baby” in the menu on the left. To get more specific, you could filter down into sub-categories—in this case, you might check both “Gifts” and “Activity & Entertainment.”
Research Keyword Volume
One of the first and very basic advances you can take to decide if there’s a suitable market to offer your products to will be to inquire about the keyword volume. Keyword volume is an information point that speaks to what numbers of individuals scan for your specific keyword every month, which gives you a sign of how popular your product thought may really be. To look for keyword volume you’ll require a keyword analytics tool.
The initial phase in utilizing keyword volume research to approve your product thought is to make a rundown of keywords or expressions your group of spectators may use to scan for your product. These keywords or expressions can be as straightforward as the product name, or as intricate as to incorporate the product specs. For instance, in case you’re selling a rucksack, your keywords could essentially be “knapsack,” or “book bag.” You could likewise get increasingly explicit by including key expressions like “knapsacks for experts,” and “cowhide knapsacks with zippers.” The last two key expressions sharpen in more intently on the specialty that your knapsack products may oblige, in this manner helping you see how many requests there may be for the accurate sort of products you intend to sell and the specialty you intend to take into account. When you have a rundown of keywords, to begin with, input them individually into your picked keyword analytics tool. The tool utilizes information and calculations to comprehend the month to month scan volume for keywords and expressions so you can comprehend what the requestor intrigue level is.
You may imagine that there are bunches of interest for your product thought, however, the keyword examination device you use may demonstrate something else. Then again, you probably won’t feel that there are numerous individuals looking for your product thought however you might be refuted all things considered, as well. That is the reason it’s so critical to utilize a keyword examination tool to really investigate keyword volume: You don’t really have the foggiest idea what the keyword volume is until you investigate it and keyword instruments give the cool hard actualities instead of just contemplation or suppositions.
It is significant, in any case, that keyword analytics tools don’t generally take care of business. The keyword volume information they produce is a decent marker of what the genuine pursuit volume is, in any case, there is potential for mistake as it is anything but an accurate science. Remember this as you’re inspecting keyword search volumes and don’t accept the outcomes as limited yet rather as an overall pointer of the various keyword information that you inquire about. When you utilize the keyword analytics tool to inquire about your important keywords, at that point you’ll have a smart thought of what the interest is for your product thought. Contingent upon the keywords you use, it likely won’t be an accurate portrayal of what number of individuals are looking to really buy the product consistently, however, only a general review of the enthusiasm for the product thought itself. It can give you a rough approximation to consider so you can start to comprehend the size of your market.
Build a Landing Page
Give your clients a chance to come to you with a well-advanced point of arrival. Greeting pages are incredible in light of the fact that they can be as straightforward or intricate as you need them to be but the two choices can assist you with finding and interface with your market viably. This choice is generally a much more slow strategy to approve product thoughts as it regularly requires some investment to drive a considerable group of spectators to your point of arrival. As you develop your group of spectators, notwithstanding, you’ll have the option to interface with them and assist them with becoming more acquainted with your image and what your arrangements are for product advancement later on which can assist you with building deep-rooted client connections.
By building a point of arrival, you’re making a space online where individuals searching for your product thought can gather to examine, collaborate, and interface with you or different purchasers inspired by your product thought. Along these lines, you can start to build up a network around your product thought which will give you knowledge into what individuals are and are not inspired by, as far as your product thought. You can utilize your greeting page to measure intrigue, request exhortation, associate on the web, interfaces disconnected, and share your strategies as it creates.
To effectively cooperate with the group of spectators you work through your presentation page you’re likely going to need to incorporate an email catch on the point of arrival itself so intrigued individuals can join your email list. Along these lines, you’ll have the option to speak with them all the more adequately and you’ll likewise manufacture a developing rundown of individuals intrigued by your product thought. Consider additionally posting your business’ internet-based life handles so your group of spectators can associate with you there, as well.
Determine The True Cost Of Production
There are a handful of things you must take into account before launching your business. The first involves the cost in getting the product into the hands of the customer.
First, how much does it cost to bring a product into existence?
As an extremely basic example, consider the case of someone who makes yarn-based crafts as a small side business. She might pay $5 for two balls of yarn, from which she creates an item that she sells for $35. The ultimate profit—$30—is impressive for a hobbyist, but not particularly significant in the greater financial scheme of things.
Now apply the same logic to goods whose production is more extensive.
A company that makes T-shirts is paying for more than just the cost of the material. Most likely, it has to employ people with access to equipment, which in turn is kept in a building, which in turn requires electricity to operate, and so on.
One of the biggest mistakes I see entrepreneurs make is to not account for the time they spend working. Eventually, you need to hire someone to take on your role, that will increase your cost.
Bigger profits require bigger outlays in terms of initial investment.
As explained on Entrepreneur, running a business comes with many potential costs, including, but not limited to:
Property and equipment leases
Salaries/wages/commissions of employees
The inventory itself
These concerns are not limited to the realm of traditional businesses.
For example, a seller whose inventory is housed in a third-party warehouse must still pay the costs associated with third-party logistics.
Other factors that will need to be written into the profit margin may include:
Shrinkage (e.g. shoplifting)
Finally, even after a product has been “produced,” there are freight costs—the shipping of the product from Point A to Point B.
Point A is the place or places at which the product was manufactured or assembled; Point B is your place of business—or, depending on the scenario, the customer.
Again, note that similar principles apply even to “nontraditional” business enterprises: a seller who utilizes the drop-shipping services of a third-party distributor must still contend with the costs of shipping.
What makes the determination of profitability tricky is the ultimate realization that every factor listed above is subject to change.
Overhead and shipping costs can (and will) increase over time. Employees can (and will) ask for raises or attempt to renegotiate salary. But perhaps the biggest source of change will be found in the specific nature of the market you have chosen to enter.
If you want to learn how to start an ecommerce business, or you already have one and want to up your game, you’re in the right place. We’ll talk about how to set up an ecommerce business, from pinpointing an idea to finding a manufacturer to growing your customer base. Throughout, we won’t just talk theory—you’ll get concrete tips on what to do to make it happen.
The time to move your business online was yesterday.
You’ll find this guide useful if…
You are starting an ecommerce business from scratch
You already have an ecommerce company, but sales just aren’t where you need them to be
You own your own ecommerce store but are having trouble scaling it up to size
1. Finding Ecommerce Products
If you’re totally new to the world of ecommerce, you might be wondering just what exactly you should be selling. In fact, getting stuck on this is a big reason why people never take the plunge in starting their own ecommerce businesses.
In actuality, you have to be strategic in identifying a set of products or a single item that’s trendy, or not so easy to find in stores or on popular ecommerce websites like Amazon.
That’s why going the generic route and opting to sell books or jewelry will likely lead to a dead end. There are already lots of major players out there meeting those demands.
Instead, you’ll want to go with more specific items that appeal to a particular audience. We suggest starting by making a list of potential products you might like to sell in your store. Think about things that you, your friends, coworkers, or family would be interested in. Also explore social selling siteslike Pinterest, Etsy, or even Instagram for more input on what to sell.
There really is inspiration everywhere once you start looking, and you can always verify whether your product ideas are any good by searching for them on Google Trends.
For more on what to sell, check out the following resources:
Have a brainstorming session
You may have been told in the past to just sit down and have a good ol’ brainstorming session, and ideas will come to you. But this advice is trash. It’s trash, not because it’s wrong, but because it doesn’t tell you exactly what to do and why you are doing it.
The key is to flip your thinking: The question isn’t, “What can I sell to make money?” The question is, “What do other people need that they will pay money for?” Switch from me, me, me to them, them, them. That’s how you’ll win.
(Bonus: You also don’t need to sit down while brainstorming. Pace the room, lie in the park, go for a jog, whatever gets your creative juices going.)
To assist your brainstorming, there are tools out there that specialize in product research. Take for example Jungle Scout. They offer a Web App and Chrome Extension to help you sort through potential products to sell on Amazon.com. The Jungle Scout tools report the kind of data that helps you discover products with high demand that you might not otherwise find. Data such as monthly sales estimates, competitor reviews, sales rank, and even an opportunity score that weighs demand and the competition. There are several different ways to filter all of the data, but there are several pieces of criteria they recommend to use as a rule of thumb during your research:
Social listening. Hang out on parts of social media where others in your industry post or where your target customers spend time, and see what they say. Browsing trending hashtags or using social listening tools to gather data over time can also provide valuable insights.
Following search trends.Google Trends is a great place to see what trending products people are searching for. It can also tell you the keywords used most commonly in search, and what problems people are commonly trying to solve.
Browsing e-commerce websites and aggregator sites.Pages like Trend Hunter or assorted subreddits for your niche can clue you into developing trends before they get big.
As you brainstorm, try to keep in mind that you’re brainstorming specifically for ecommerce, not a brick-and-mortar store. The best ecommerce ideas check off three major boxes. We call this the golden trifecta:
Trending – You ideally want an idea that’s en vogue. Everyone can go to their local store to grab the same old, same old. What are you doing differently to capitalize on recent trends?
Light – We’re not talking color or aura. We’re very literally talking about weight: You want a product that isn’t heavy. Why? Unlike a physical store, you have to ship your products, and shipping for heavy items can be astronomical. Keeping your product light keeps your costs low.
Cost efficient with high value – This is simple. In a perfect world, you would sell a product that costs nothing to make yet sold for millions of dollars each. We don’t live in this magic world, though, so the goal is to get as close to that ideal as possible. Try to brainstorm products that have low production costs but high perceived value (so people look at your products and say, “Oh wow that’s impressive and I want it now!”).
2. Researching Other Online Businesses
Research is integral to the success of your ecommerce store. Once you have chosen your products, look at competitors and what they are doing. Here are a few things to pay attention to when doing a competitor analysis:
What is their business model?
Are they selling multiple items or just one product?
What social media channels do they utilize?
Who is their target market?
How do they push sales? (e.g. paid social, PPC, SEO, email, etc.)
Competitor analysis can lead you to identify better products to sell and give you a great understanding of how to launch an online business.
Executing a competitive analysis requires some planning, research and honest introspection. Take it step by step, and you may be surprised what you discover about the business environment in your neck of the woods.
Identify your competitors
On the surface, this seems like an easy step. A quick Google search reveals who else is selling similar items. But understanding competition requires a bit of thinking and nuance. First, you must understand the different varieties of competition you face.
Direct competitors are those rival businesses who sell goods and services identical or nearly identical to your own. If you sell funny t-shirts, you are in direct competition with other websites selling funny t-shirts as well as brick and mortar stores also selling funny t-shirts.
Indirect competitors sell good and services that are not the same as yours, but which satisfy the same customer need. For instance, a restaurant that sells pizza is in direct competition with another pizza parlor down the block, but it is indirectly competing with hamburger stands and catering companies. Potential customers want food, and they can satisfy that need in a variety of ways.
Finding your competition begins with research. Use keywords that describe your company in a Google search. Be thorough and search every term and combination of terms you can think of, taking care to include terms that cover your indirect competitors as well.
Identify the top search results for businesses in your product or service area. Determine how your offerings compare to theirs and what differences stand out. Dig deeper into your biggest competition by investigating:
Government reports and certifications
If possible, contact their current and former employees. They provide invaluable insight into how a competitor’s business strategies, best practices and potential pitfalls.
SWOT the competition
Once you’ve identified your main competitors, analyze their capabilities and the health of their businesses. A long-standing economic tool known as SWOT analysis focuses on four sectors to determine a company’s viability: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. For each competitor, use a whiteboard, draw a large box and separate it into four equal parts. The top two quarters contain strengths and weaknesses, the bottom two contain opportunities and threats.
Strengths and weaknesses refer to real assets and tangible factors that affect a business. List the company’s available resources and possible liabilities, such as:
Funding, income and investments
Location, equipment and facilities
Employees, customer base and other human resources
Trademarks, patents and copyrights
Processes, employee programs and software systems
Fixed and variable costs
Opportunities and threats refer to external factors that can positively or negatively impact a business, such as:
New products entering the marketplace
A shift in technology or customer needs
Changes in government regulation
Changes in supplier and partner relationships
This analysis provides a sharp picture of your competitors’ health and where they may be vulnerable. Once you’ve performed a SWOT analysis for them, perform the same analysis for your own business.
Create product profiles
Now that you know your competitors’ strength and weaknesses, assess their products or services in much the same way. If your products are similar, how are theirs better than yours? How are they worse? If your products are identical, what service do they provide to add value for customers?
This is the most important step in competitive analysis. By understanding what your competitors sell, you identify gaps in the market. Adapt your products or services to fill the gaps and create new customers.
Be systematic and begin by analyzing yourself.
1. Perform an honest assessment of your own products and services by rating several relevant metrics on a ten-point scale:
Location or market visibility
2. Perform the same ratings for your top competitors’ products or services.
3. Examine where your product is strong in comparison to your competition and what your competition does better than you.
4. Use this information to change your product, offer new products or re-focus your promotional strategy to fill gaps in the market.
This process works on any scale and for many other aspects of business.
9It is particularly valuable to create profiles for marketing and promotional strategies. Discover where your competition is not advertising and expand your marketing into those areas. Find new target demographics. Perhaps there are untapped populations who will form a solid customer base for your business. Reach out to them and let them know how your product or service will benefit them. Competitive analysis never ends. The marketplace continuously evolves. Businesses without a clear picture of the landscape fail to adapt. Use the tools outlined above at regular intervals to avoid surprises and keep a step ahead.
4. Create your business structure and register your company.
To get started in earnest, you need to pick a business structure and register your business. If you’re a freelancer trading under your own name, you can sign up as a sole proprietor; otherwise, you’ll most likely register your ecommerce company as a partnership, an LLC, or an S corporation.
This type of business structure is ideal for self-employed people who don’t want to (or aren’t ready to) register as an LLC. It’s a straightforward process in most parts of the country. In many states, you don’t have to register your freelance business unless you operate under a pseudonym. Five states — Oregon, Alaska, Montana, Delaware, and New Hampshire — don’t have statewide sales taxes. In most other states, you pay sales and use taxes quarterly.
The setup might be simple, but there are a couple of major drawbacks to sole trader status. Firstly, if your company goes bust, your personal assets aren’t protected under the terms of a sole proprietorship. Secondly, you’ll be subject to self-employment tax, which increases as your earnings go up. The way out of both issues? Pick a different business structure.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
When you register an LLC, you limit your personal liability by separating your own assets and your business’s assets. To get going, appoint a registered agent — the person who’ll represent the LLC — and file articles of organization with your home state. You’ll need to pay a fee, but it won’t come to more than a few hundred dollars.
As the owner (also known as a member) of an LLC, you can manage your own company or hire staff to do the work for you. You’ll need to get an Employer Identification Number(an EID, also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, or FTIN) from the IRS before hiring employees.
You don’t have to file a tax return specifically for your LLC; instead, its profits travel through the company to you, and you pay self-employment taxes on all of your profits.
If your company hits the big-time and you begin to earn a lot, you can elect to pay taxes as an S corporation instead. At that stage, you can allocate yourself a “reasonable” salary and avoid any taxes on profits over that amount.
Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
You can create an LLP just as easily as an LLC, but there are a few differences between the two business models. An LLC can have one or more members; an LLP has to have at least two members. Unlike LLCs, LLPs have to define at least one partner member who will take legal responsibility for the partnership’s actions. Silent partners and investors in an LLP are not personally liable if the company goes bust, gets into business debt, or gets sued.
Small business owners usually register as LLCs; professional partnerships — law firms and accounting firms, for example — go for LLP status. In many states, LLCs and LLPs both have to produce annual reports. Like LLCs, LLPs function as pass-through organizations for tax purposes.
You don’t have to bring in millions of dollars a year to incorporate your company. With that said, nearly all very large publicly traded businesses are corporations. Two corporate structures exist:
The C Corporation
All businesses that incorporate are automatically C corporations unless they apply for S corporation status with the IRS. Like LLCs, C corp owners have limited liability, so they’re not held responsible for business losses. If you need to raise significant capital, you can take your business public and sell corporate stocks and bonds to investors. On the flip side, you’re taxed twice: once on your own salary and again on company profits.
The S Corporation
To create an S corp, you first need to form a C corp and then apply to the IRS for S corp taxation status. Like LLCs, many S corporations act as pass-through organizations.
Owners pay themselves salaries and pay income taxes on those earnings, but then don’t have to pay taxes on their remaining profits. S corporations can’t have more than 100 shareholders, so if you decide to go public later on, you’ll need to convert your S corp to a C corp.
You’ll almost certainly spend more on accounting services after you incorporate your company. Corporations have to issue regular financial statements and tax season is quite a bit more complex if you decide to register your business as a corporation, so you’ll almost certainly spend more on accounting services every year.
Obtain Appropriate Business Licenses
If you plan to do business as an LLC, an LLP, or a corporation — basically anything but a sole trader operating under your own name — you’ll probably need some type of business license. I
f you run a dropshipping business from home under an assumed name, you’ll have to get a DBA license and a sales tax license, for example. Business licensing and permitting requirements vary from state to state, so it’s important to check if you fall into any of the categories in your jurisdiction.
Branding Your Company
Visual branding is a complex topic worthy of its own 2,000-word article, but we’ll go over it in nutshell form here. To make your company memorable and create brand awareness, you need to come up with a logo and complementary branding colors that stay the same across all of your sales channels.
You can design a logo yourself, or you can use a freelance designer to get a professional result.
5. Set up your e-commerce store
Once you have chosen your products and done your competitor research, the next thing to do is build your store. Choosing e-commerce platform like like Shopify can make setting up your store easy. Shopify has lots of templates to start with and an easy to use online store builder that doesn’t need coding input.
When building up your ecommerce store, choose a theme that suits your target audience and prices that reflect the success you envision.Naming your ecommerce business something memorable will guarantee that people will remember your name. This also applies to your logo, which can be as colorful or creative as you want it to be.
When your website is ready to start taking orders, remember to try a test order yourself to make sure the process is smooth for the customer. Alleviate any additional steps needed to buy something online and only ask for information that is necessary for the check out process.
When setting up your website, you’ll want to include these essential pages:
Shop An obvious link to your store is a must, even if you have products for sale on the home page. If you have a number of different product types, you can include a drop down menu for different categories.
About Don’t forget to tell people the purpose of your site, and the story behind how you came to be.
Shipping/returns Provide essential information on the logistics of shipping, and your return policy, in one easily accessible place so that customers don’t have to tear their hair out looking for it. Macy’s, for example, has a great returns page, as it gives visitors clear steps for how to return items. (Want tips on how to write a great returns policy? BigCommerce has you covered.)
Contact/help Make sure the header of your site gives users a clear place to click for info on how to contact customer support.
FAQ As you run customer support, you’ll start getting a certain set of questions about your store over and over and over again. Instead of just emailing the same answer a billion times, you can compile all those answers on a “Frequently Asked Questions” page.
The next step is to set up the store itself. Don’t panic. While this could get technical really quickly, it doesn’t have to, because you can let someone else do the hard part for you. There are severalE-commerce platforms that allow you to set up a shop pretty much instantly, letting you focus on your product and brand.
3. Manufacturing, Packaging, and Shipp Your Ecommerce Product
One of the biggest pain points for people learning how to start an ecommerce business is the pure logistical challenge. You’re not a huge corporation, so how, exactly, can you manufacture a real, live, physical product?
Yeah, it can seem staggering. Lots of people just think, “Oh, that’s not realistic. I couldn’t do that.” And they turn away, pursuing some other business idea, or even worse, abandoning their entrepreneurial ambitions entirely.
That’s too bad, because the truth is that in today’s world, ordinary people really can hash out the logistics of manufacturing and shipping products.
What’s more: You’re reading this guide, and you’ve gotten this far. That alone means you have enough drive to push through and make this happen.
There’s no need to stress out about assembling parts or figuring out every technical detail on your own or turning your garage into a mini factory. Really, you don’t need to manufacture your product yourself at all.
Instead, you can contract with an experienced manufacturing company to get the job done. By working closely together and drawing on their expertise, you can keep upfront costs low when first starting out.
Who should you work with? There’s a lot to consider in that decision, but when you’re first developing your product, the first rule is to stick with someone local. By partnering with a nearby manufacturer, you can be more involved in the process and avoid the hassle of communicating with strangers halfway across the globe.
How much does it cost to start an ecommerce business? The majority of the costs will come from manufacturing your product. Global manufacturers can put out lots of product for cheap. But they generally demand a high minimum order, requiring that you purchase something like 1,000 units of your product right off the bat. For new ecommerce stores, unless you’re lounging in a hammock between two money trees, that cost can be prohibitive. Global manufacturers can be tough to work with when developing and prototyping a new product, mainly because of the logistics of being so far apart and dealing with a place you’re not familiar with.
So how do you find a local partner? When searching for a manufacturer for your early-stage ecommerce business, you should ask two big questions:
Where are they located?
Can they put out quality product?
Location is key, for the reasons mentioned above. Unless you already have connections, the best way to find a local manufacturer is simple: Just search for it online. Say you live in Boston and you’re starting an ecommerce business selling bracelets and other jewelry. Go to Google and type in “bracelet manufacturer boston” or “wholesale bottle manufacturer seattle.”
Yes, I basically just told you to Google it, but what can I say? That’s where you start.
Try out another search engine or two as well. You can use general search engines like Google and Bing. You can also try specialty business search engines like ThomasNet.
Once you find several manufacturers you might want to work with, it’s time to research them.
What are their track records? Can you find other business owners complaining about them online? Who else do they manufacture for?
You should also reach out and chat. Ask them to explain their processes and pricing. Get them to give you an idea of the quality of the work they produce, not with empty promises, but with real, physical examples of things they’ve made. This is another reason starting off with a local manufacturer is the best move.
Later on, once you feel confident enough in your product to place much larger orders, you can always transfer production to a global manufacturer. The best bet for finding a global manufacturer who fits your needs is Alibaba, where you can create a free account and browse millions of merchants.
Even if you’re creating your product on your own, you still might need a supplier for raw materials. Some of these same tips can help you through that process.
Find a Global Manufacturer
Eventually, you may be ready to move from local to global manufacturing in order to get a higher volume of product at a more affordable rate. When you arrive at this stage, fire up Alibaba, the biggest online commerce company in the world.
Alibaba is a massive directory of manufacturers, suppliers, and other merchants. With millions of sellers on the site, it’s the perfect spot for finding manufacturers who can produce merchandise at scale.
Finding and sourcing global manufacturers is an extensive subject and needs more detail than what we can write here. Fortunately, we can offer some great resources to dive in a little deeper:
7. Drive traffic to your e-commerce store
Launching an ecommerce site is easy. The challenge comes when you need to drive traffic to it. We’ll cover both paid and free digital marketing tactics to boost your website traffic – and sales.
Organic Marketing Channels
Organic marketing channels take time to build traction, but they create the strongest long-term return on investment (ROI). A few of the best tactics include:
Search engine optimization (SEO): Relevant keywords included in page text, product descriptions, and other website content boost search engine rankings.null
Content marketing: This includes starting a blog on your site, optimizing blog posts, articles, to drive targeted traffic to your site.
Social media pages: Active Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages encourage new website visits.
Link building (off-page SEO): It is very hard to get Google traffic without a lot of high-quality, relevant links to your website. These link building strategies include guest blogging and forming link partnerships with other sites in your niche.
Email marketing: Email is a huge marketing channel for ecommerce businesses. You should choose and email marketing service that lets you create email popups, send abandoned cart emails, create welcome email series (that include discounts), and send targeted, image-rich marketing emails for holiday promotions.
Paid Marketing Channels
Paid marketing channels produce quick results, so they’re a popular choice for start-ups as well as large-budget businesses. While they provide quick online marketing wins, they typically have a lower ROI than free tactics (excluding affiliate marketing, which has a strong ROI).null
Here are some of the top paid acquisition channels for ecommerce brands:
Affiliate marketing: Bloggers and influencers with popular websites join your company’s affiliate program and are paid affiliate commissions for any sales they help generate via their affiliate links.
Influencer marketing: Social media influencers on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and other platforms promote your products for a fee. (Here are my guides about how to make money on Instagram and TikTok.)
Pay per click (PPC) advertising:You set up PPC ads with Google and pay each time someone clicks on your ads. This can also include Google Shopping ads, which sync to your product catalog and make your products available on the Google Shopping platform.
Social media ads: Paid social media ads on Facebook can target new prospects and retarget previous website visitors. One of the best Facebook Ads strategies is to use their DPA ads. These ads appear to Facebook users who visited your product pages and highlight the exact same products they saw on your website. You can also sell directly on Facebook with product listings.
The most effective marketing strategies use a combination of different channels to capture consumers and generate conversions.null
If I were to start an ecommerce business from scratch today, I would first create a strong SEO strategy. This includes conducting keyword research around terms that have high search volume and could bring in your target audience.
For example, if you sell camping supplies, you could write a blog post on “The Top 10 Backpacking Tents” and link to your product pages within the content.
Next, you’d want to develop a strong link building strategy and partner with other blogs in your niche to get backlinks. This will increase your website’s Domain Authority (DA) and make it easier to rank all of your pages on search engines.null
Finally, I’d use paid advertising carefully, staring with retargeting ads on Facebook. Then I’d move to PPC ads on Google only if you can generate a strong ROI.
Stats like these just show that in less than 21 years, ecommerce has become an integral part of everyday life for people across the world.
In this article, we will look deeper into what is ecommerce. We will run through and share some important statistics. Furthermore we will delve into e commerce development, platform.
Key Features of an Ecommerce Platform
Any viable ecommerce software will enable customers to buy your products and services from your online store. Where solutions differ is the degree to which they can unify and leverage both front and back-office applications with both their unique and shared data. Ecommerce platforms provide the unification of core business processes, where businesses can gain complete visibility across their company and ultimately meeting their most discerning customers’ expectations. An ecommerce platform should:
Run on a single, unified platform. Eliminate integrations between separate systems with natively unified ecommerce, accounting, POS, inventory and order management, marketing, merchandising, customer service and financials on a cloud-based platform.
Provide a 360° customer view. Deliver consistent and personalized cross-channel experiences, targeted marketing and superior customer service with a single view of all customer interactions and transactions across all touch points and channels.
Intelligently managing orders.Exceed and set new customer expectations for buying, fulfilling and returning purchases, both online and in stores. Maximize profitability by centralizing order management and having a single view of inventory across all channels and supply chain business units.
Deliver innovative customer experiences. Rapidly create unique, personalized and compelling mobile, web and in-store experiences to differentiate your brand and exceed customer expectations.
Support unlimited expansion.Quickly deploy sites for multiple business models, channels, brands, countries, currencies and languages all on the same platform.
Choosing the right ecomerce platform
more so than ever before. Not only are you dealing with a more competitive market, but your customers have higher expectations. It’s no longer enough to stock up on the right products, you also need to delight customers and be able to fulfil orders in the fastest, most affordable way possible.
Then there’s the fact that shoppers are increasingly using multiple channels and devices throughout their buying journeys. They’re shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, online, and, more importantly, on mobile. Retailers who want to keep up must be able to provide great shopping experiences across various environments and devices.
It’s a tall order, but you need to be able to deliver if you want to stay competitive. And a big part of doing that lies in the technologies you use in your business. To thrive in today’s market, you need an ecommerce platform that will allow you to deliver on the expectations of modern consumers. You need the tools to sell the right products, provide amazing shopping experiences, and fulfil orders efficiently. And if your existing solution can’t meet those needs, you should find one that can.
That’s exactly what this guide is for. This resource will walk you through the process of finding and selecting the right ecommerce platform. Go through the steps below and incorporate them in your search for a new solution.
1. Reliable base to build eCommerce capability
Different eCommerce platforms offer an option to add new features through the plugin store, while some others offer the addition of features through custom ecommerce development. However, by not opting for custom development, entrepreneurs can put their eCommerce portal at risk of online threat. The reason behind this is, during custom development, new features are added by an experienced team of programmers and changes are made in the rest of the code as well, improving the overall security of the marketplace. Therefore, it is advised to prefer custom eCommerce website development.
Technology is changing fast. Keeping your business up-to-date in terms of technology is essential. Many businesses are using open source platforms, which are free and easily accessible. However, in the long run, they will cost a fortune to maintain and run since you’re dependent on developers to make even small tweaks on your eCommerce store.
The global mobile internet traffic is approximated to 48.91% in 2019. This means half of your customers are using smartphones to learn more about products or buy online. This makes mobile-first a crucial factor for your online success.
Fortunately, eCommerce website builders tend to offer mobile-friendly solutions that are designed for faster checkouts and easier transactions. You also have the option to build your own eCommerce mobile app to create a seamless shopping experience for your customers.
Integrations and extensions
Sometimes your online store might require a specific set of features. Integrations help avoid long development hours and connect your online store with tools that are optimized with the right features to serve your customers better.
2. Ecommerce operations
Running a business requires so many technicalities. From managing the inventory to books, the work involved is seriously time-consuming.
Creating conversion-friendly product pages
Online stores have a slight disadvantage because customers cannot touch and feel the product. They can only rely on product images and descriptions. The ability to add custom fields becomes necessary for listing various specifications and features to offer a comprehensive product page.
The product page should also display verified reviews to help customers long-tail search-friendly keywords that they use to describe the product better. These reviews are indexed by search engines trying to help you improve your organic visibility.
Categorizing products based on various factors
Cataloging is the main feature of any online eCommerce business. Proper categorization is essential to offer users easy navigation and help them find products easier.
You can list the same product under multiple categories, but ensure they’re relevant and something the customer expects when they navigate to the particular category.
Comparing different products
Customers prefer to compare the functions and features of different products before making a purchase. Finding a platform that allows comparison between products will be an advantage.
Real-time order management
People shop online primarily because they can shop at any time. Showing the actual availability of products is important to send out orders on time. Otherwise, mismanagement can lead to delivery dates being affected or orders being canceled.
Proper inventory management
Inventories are essential for running a business. Without a live inventory, it will be difficult to maintain multiple storefronts. It will cause mismanagement and out of stock products being sold to customers. This will cause issues with timely delivery and customer satisfaction will be hit worst.
Product Reviews based on user experiences
People tend to research online before buying a product. A study shows 74% of customers consult reviews before making purchase decisions.
Easy accounting tools
Built-in accounting tools will allow you to maintain your books easier. Invoice and bill generation will also work more efficiently. These systems can often be integrated into the same platform as your eCommerce website
3. International payment gateways
Payments are one of the most essential parts of an eCommerce website. A reliable payment method helps assure customers. With a reliable method in place, buyers and sellers don’t have to worry about returns and refunds.
The third-party involved will take care of all the payments only after a satisfactory deal has been completed. You can use escrow agencies to help you in the process.
Multiple payment options
Giving customers the option to select from many payment options helps boost sales. Credit cards, debit cards, cash on delivery, wallets, and EMI options are some of the featured payment methods. They allow users to reconsider the purchase even when short on money.
Including international banks
Banks have to be hosted to be integrated into a website. These banks will redirect customers to their website to complete payments. Once completed, they will be redirected back to the merchant site. Having banks with an international presence helps set up an international business.
Integration with PayPal and other wallets
International business calls for international payment methods. PayPal allows for the transfer of funds in different currencies. A study has proved that there is a 70%higher checkout rate with PayPal transactions than with non-PayPal transactions. These wallets allow for funds to be transferred directly into your bank accounts.
4. The eCommerce platform should be well within your budget
The next step is to think about how much you’re willing to spend on your ecommerce platform. When setting your budget, be sure to consider the “non-obvious costs” that come with implementing a new solution. Go beyond the on the surface costs like licenses and development, and consider expenses for maintenance, consultation, set up and the like. Here are some of things you should factor into your budget
Cost of the ecommerce platform– Ecommerce platform costs will vary depending on the business’ size, sales volume, and of course, the solution itself. Some solutions (such as Magento) charge yearly licensing fees while others (like Shopify) require monthly subscription fees. In some cases (such as Demandware) the provider takes a cut from the retailer’s sales.
These are just some of the things that would factor into your budget. Typically, though, SMBs can expect to spend amounts in the hundreds while enterprises should budget at least $20,000 a year for ecommerce platform costs.
Design and development costs – Building your online store is another expense. SMB solutions often have themes that range from free to hundreds of dollars.
As for enterprises? Depending on your company, you can choose to design and develop your site in-house, outsource the job to an agency, or do a combination of both.
Maintenance fees – Many merchants end up paying more than expected because they overlooked maintenance when budgeting for a solution. Don’t make the same mistake. You need to think about ongoing development, as well as other upkeep costs such as marketing, integrations, SEO, security management, analytics, and more.
Transaction fees – Transaction fees may vary from one ecommerce solution to another. You may end up with lower fees by choosing the preferred payment provider of the vendor. Look into each platform’s integrated payments to see if they integrate with your payment gateway of choice or if you can use any of their payment partners.
Hosting costs – How much can you expect to pay in hosting fees? Again, this depends on your solution.
You could go with a hosted solution and let your ecommerce provider handle server maintenance, updates, etc.
Alternatively, you could choose a self-hosted ecommerce platform in which you’ll need to handle the setup and management of your own servers or find a hosting partner. With this setup, the merchant pays server costs separately.
Consultation fees (if applicable)– If you’re hiring a consultant, don’t forget to factor in their fees into your budget.
Some e-commerce platforms to consider.
1. Shopify —
First up, we’ve got Shopify. More than 800,000 ecommerce businesses use the Shopify platform, and since its launch in 2004, they’ve made billions in collective sales.
Setting up a store with Shopify is easy. You can buy your domain name right through Shopify and start building immediately. There are more than 60 themes you can use to customize your store, but be aware that some of them cost extra. If you don’t like any of the premade themes, you can also work with a designer from 99designs to create a custom Shopify theme.
Shopify also offers an enterprise-level platform known as Shopify Plus. The difference is the platform’s power: a store built with Shopify Plus can handle more than 10,000 transactions per minute. You pay a lot more for Shopify Plus, but you get a lot more, too. Shopify Plus offers a few features that large-scale store owners might want, including:
A dedicated store launch manager who audits your store to ensure it’s fully compatible with Shopify
A customizable checkout page
Shopify Flow, a tool that creates personalized storefronts for customers based on their previous purchases
A more robust analytics system
2. Big Cartel —
Big Cartel advertises itself as being for artists and makers. If you’re a creative entrepreneur, keep that in mind—Big Cartel was built to accommodate the kind of business you run, with five images per product and multichannel selling options, so your site goes with you to every art show and vendor fair.
Unlike most of the other entries on our best ecommerce platforms list, Big Cartel offers a free option. It’s limited for sure, but if you’re brand-spanking-new to ecommerce and you have a shoestring budget, Big Cartel’s free option might be your best choice. With it, you get a basic setup with premade themes, shipment tracking, sales tax calculations and the ability to sell both online and in person. These are all things you’ll get with a paid plan too, but for a free option, we’d say it’s pretty robust.
3. Magento —
Among the best ecommerce platforms on the web, Magento is one of the biggest. Magento actually offers more than an ecommerce site-building tool; the company brings to the table a variety of products for various aspects of launching and operating an ecommerce business, like order management and business insights.
In 2018, Adobe bought Magento and subsequently launched Adobe Commerce Cloud, a rebranded version of what was previously known as Magento Cloud. It’s a cloud-based version of Magento Commerce that gives users access to Adobe’s suite of ecommerce tools like Adobe Marketing Cloud, Adobe Analytics Cloud and Adobe Experience Manager. Adobe Commerce Cloud is Magento’s enterprise-level offering and, according to the BigCommerce blog, launches often have six-figure price tags.
Any kind of ecommerce business can use Magento’s platform, but it has configurations tailored to a few specific industries like fashion, automotive and food & beverage. With one of these setups, you can build a website that provides exactly what customers want from a business like yours, with features like easy mobile ordering for a restaurant.
4. WooCommerce —
WooCommerce isn’t a standalone ecommerce platform; you also need to use WordPress. Don’t worry, WordPress is free—but all your store’s individual components, like your domain name and hosting, are not. The upside is that you’re not locked into buying a domain or hosting from a specific provider, so you’re free to shop around to find the best prices.
WooCommerce is free too, but don’t assume that means running an ecommerce store with WooCommerce doesn’t cost anything. The plugin itself is free, but to run a functional store, you’re going to need additional plugins that can cost anywhere from $25 to $100 apiece. Some themes are free, but more stylish or customized themes cost extra as well. If you’re not tech-savvy enough to do all the backend work yourself, you’re also going to need to hire a developer.
As far as ease of use goes, WooCommerce isn’t as simple to use as a hosted platform like Shopify or Squarespace. But since you’re outside a gated platform like this, there are a lot more ways to customize your store. Unfortunately, those customization options aren’t created equally—you could end up with a buggy, broken or non-secure plugin if you don’t do your homework
5. Wix —
Wix is perhaps best known as a free website builder, or even for being very easy to use. That extends to Wix’s ecommerce site builder, which comes fully loaded with premade templates, images and backgrounds. Also, Wix ecommerce is partnered with dropshipping platform Modalyst, so setting up dropshipping is super simple.
Wix’s online store builder also includes tools meant for specific types of businesses. For example, if you’re a restaurant owner, you can easily upload your menu and accept reservations through your Wix website. If you’re a musician, you can add a SoundCloud or Spotify music player to your store so visitors can listen to your work before they buy. Regardless of your business type, you can use any of the user-created plugins available in the Wix app store.
But Wix ecommerce isn’t perfect. It’s simple, but simple often means basic—and compared to other platforms, Wix lacks more advanced features like multilingual stores and the ability to accept Apple and Google Pay.
6. Squarespace —
Squarespace is among the best-known website builders, and that popularity lands it among the best ecommerce platforms on the web. With Squarespace, you’ve got everything you need to build your website, like a domain registrar, hosting and a no-coding-skills-required editor, all in one spot.
Like other platforms, Squarespace comes with lots of free website templates (and plenty of paid ones too). You can also use apps and plugins to add functionality to your ecommerce site, but there’s no actual app store with Squarespace. Rather, you’ll be using third-party apps.
Squarespace isn’t a dedicated ecommerce platform, but instead a general website builder that has ecommerce capabilities, so it lacks some of the features the other best ecommerce platforms offer. This means fewer payment gateways, fewer marketing extensions and more features restricted to the higher-tier subscriptions than other platforms.
7. PrestaShop —
The last of our picks for the best ecommerce platforms, PrestaShophas the quite a lot in common with WordPress. Like WordPress, PrestaShop is an open-source program that’s completely free to use. Similarly, like WordPress, the PrestaShop community is full of custom-made templates to download and plugins to install to improve your shop’s functionality. The main difference between PrestaShop and WordPress is that PrestaShop was created specifically for ecommerce, whereas WordPress is a more generalized platform that can be outfitted for ecommerce.
It’s impossible to estimate what it costs to run your store with PrestaShop because you’ll need to buy the plugins your store needs and a template that works for your industry and brand. The costs for these vary widely, so we recommend taking a look at the PrestaShop Addons marketplace and sketching out a rough budget of what the setup will cost before you commit.
Although you have to buy your own hosting, PrestaShop is partnered with two hosting providers, so setting up hosting is a relatively straightforward process. Similarly, PrestaShop offers customer support plans, website audits, optimization services and training on how to use the platform—but you have to pay for them.
8. Volusion —
Next up, we’ve got Volusion, another hosted platform that offers customizable store templates, add-ons and integration with third-party services and products.
One of the specific features Volusion provides is Quick Wins: affordable services that help you get your store up, running and optimized for profit. Among the services Quicks Wins offers are Google Analytics training, Facebook Pixel installation, SEO-friendly URLs and PPC ad copywriting. Beyond these, Volusion offers larger scale professional services too, like custom logo and brand kits.
9. BigCommerce —
Although it’s on the pricier side, BigCommerce compensates with more advanced features at the basic level than some other platforms have at higher tiers (or at all!), such as automated image optimization, unlimited staff accounts, unlimited bandwidth and professional analytics reporting.
Like other ecommerce platforms, BigCommerce’s service is available in tiers, but unlike the others, each of BigCommerce’s tiers have sales limits. For example, BigCommerce Standard’s sales limit is $50,000 annually. If you sell more than that, you have to upgrade to BigCommerce Plus regardless of whether you actually want or need the upgraded tools available at that tier.
BigCommerce stands out as the only one of the best ecommerce platforms that makes it possible to sell tangible goods, digital goods and services without integrating an outside app. Other platforms on our list, like Big Cartel, can be set up to sell tangible and digital goods, but if you’re selling a service, BigCommerce is your best bet.
10. SalesForce Commerce Cloud —
Of all the best ecommerce platforms, SalesForce shares the most in common with Magento. Both are companies that offer multiple licensed ecommerce products, rather than being one store-building platform. SalesForce, like Magento, also offers a customer relationship management (CRM) platform as well as marketing and sales products.
Specifically, SalesForce Commerce Cloud is SalesForce’s ecommerce platform. There are two distinct products: one for B2B businesses and one for B2C businesses. One thing that makes SalesForce Cloud Commerce unique is its approach to pricing: instead of charging users a flat monthly fee, SalesForce takes a commission from each user’s sales. This can make running a store with SalesForce inexpensive… if you aren’t moving much inventory. On the flipside, it can get expensive if business is booming.
The foundation for ecommerce was created in 1979 by Michael Aldrich. He connected his television to a computer using his telephone line. While it was unlike ecommerce as we know it today, his idea sparked the idea of shopping without visiting a physical store. At the time, most people didn’t own computers. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs popularized computers for the average person. Bill Gates even said that his goal was to put “a computer on every desk and in every home.” Without computers, ecommerce would be remarkably different.
In 1994, Jeff Bezos founded Amazon as an online store selling over one million different books at launch. Amazon would eventually go on to become the most popular online store for consumers to buy any type of products.
By the mid-1990s and early 2000’s, people were adding computers to their home and paving the way for the growth of ecommerce. Companies were accepting checks in the early to mid-1990s as there wasn’t an online payment gateway to transfer funds from customers to businesses. When PayPal was founded in December 1998, it simplified the shopping experience for customers as credit cards were easily accepted.
With the addition of Shopify, WordPress, and similar platforms in the 2000’s, businesses could build their ecommerce stores with little to no development skills necessary. Thus the barrier of entry was lowered. Now anyone who had a computer connected to the internet, and a little capital in hand, could set up an ecommerce online store with very little difficulty.
By 2008, online sales made up 3.4 percent of all sales which shows industry growth. In 2014, it was estimated that there were around 12-24 million online stores worldwide.
Fast forward to 2021 and the knowledge gap is closing very quickly between beginners and more advanced ecommerce professionals. Thanks to the ever increasing blogs and online resources, industry tips, tricks, and strategies are available at the click of a button.
Today, anyone can set up an ecommerce website and start seeing solid results from their efforts in less than six months.
So what is e-commerce.
Sadly, others have no clue what it means. So, what is eCommerce? The term can be defined merely as the purchase and selling of goods and services through online platforms, that is the internet. eCommerce covers a wide range of various forms of businesses from consumer retail sites to corporate transactions there is a lot more to know about it.
eCommerce makes it possible for consumers to exchange goods and services electronically. It was first introduced in the 1960s, through electronic data interchange (EDI). As internet access continued to grow, eCommerce realized better transitions.
The change was driven by the advancement of digital technology. Consumer-based technology, for instance, has been at the forefront driving the evolution of eCommerce. The platform continued to grow, and new online sellers emerged in the 1990s. Amazon and eBay were among the first to operate online. The platforms allow consumers to trade with others online and has surprisingly become the favourite mode of trading in the contemporary world.
Global Ecommerce Sales (2020-2021)
Heading into 2021, the retail industry looks wildly different from what it was just a year ago.
Thanks to 2020, millions of retailers now depend on ecommerce as their sole channel for revenue. Those that are able to continue brick-and-mortar operations are looking for ways to build trust and the promise of safety with consumers. Add to that an extremely tight competition for digital real estate and now ecommerce suddenly feels like a dragon that many brands are still learning how to slay.
But despite these changes, one thing remains true: there is a way forward.
To help retailers get a better grasp on the current state of ecommerce (and how to prepare for it), we took a look at global performance, industry leaders and mobile usage to uncover opportunities to grow. Here’s a roundup of the top ecommerce statistics every retailer should act on in 2021.
Ecommerce Business Statistics: Companies Leading the Market
The chart below illustrates leading vertical ecommerce companies – most of which are split between the US, UK and Germany (with some performance from brands across Poland, France and Australia).
Peloton (a home workout cycling retailer), Wayfair (a homegoods retailer) and Ocado (a British online supermarket) lead the way in terms of market share. This is in line with pandemic lockdown trends as many people turned to at-home exercises, DIY home and garden projects and virtual grocery shopping in order to adhere to social distancing measures.
Consumer survey: Home and garden retail goes virtual
In 2020, more people spending time in their homes meant higher traffic and sales for home and garden retailers. Our home and garden consumer surveyanalyzes shopper affinities during 2020 and opportunities for Home and Garden retailers.
UK Ecommerce Statistics: What are Consumers Buying?
If we look at consumer behavior in the UK throughout, fashion and accessories holds the number one spot (55%) in terms of goods purchased. Food deliveries come in second (32%) — a not-so-surprising result of indoor restaurant dining due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Interested in seeing more ecommerce statistics by vertical?
Nosto’s State of Ecommerce Q3 2020 breaks down the trends in key performance indicators seen in the industry across 6 different verticals during May-August 2020.
Mobile Commerce Statistics
As the demand for ecommerce continues to rise, so does the desire for mobile experiences. Data shows that mobile is projected to account for 72.9% of total ecommerce sales:
What does this mean for retailers?
Despite consumers being less ‘on the go’ than past years, the demand for mobile-friendly experiences is still strong. This increases the need for retailers to focus on:
Offering personalized site experiences with limited screen real estate
Implementing a mobile-friendly UX
Facilitating seamless route to checkout
Statistics and Best Practices Based on Key Site Experience Factors
To help ecommerce retailers hit the ground running in 2021, we’ve compiled the ultimate roundup of industry trends and best practices: from choosing the right ecommerce platform to driving conversion rate, lowering return rate and optimizing experiences such as site search, shipping and delivery and fraud management.
What Is Ecommerce Business?
An ecommerce business is an organization or individual entity that seeks profits by offering goods or services over the internet. It allows consumers to buy quickly and choose from a range of payment methods to execute the e commerce transaction. There are many different types of ecommerce businesses, based on the model you choose.
Popular Ecommerce Business Models
The beauty of ecommerce is that there are more options for you to choose from. Whereas in traditional commerce the business models were more restrictive. There are four widely known business models, but there are other niche models.
B2B: The B2B commerce model, business to business, is when a business is selling to other businesses. Alibaba is an example of a B2B business, as their suppliers sell to other businesses. Alibaba prices are extremely low as they’re wholesale prices to allow businesses to make a profit off of their products.
B2C: The B2C model, business to consumer, involves businesses selling to consumers. If you decide to open your own online retail store, you’ll likely be selling to customers instead of businesses. Amazon, Walmart, and Apple are examples of B2C businesses.
C2C: The C2C model, consumer to consumer, is when consumers are selling to other consumers. Consumers typically do this through online selling siteslike eBay, Craigslist, and Etsy. Many of the sellers on those sites aren’t businesses, but average consumers selling products they own whether second-hand or new.
C2B: The C2B model, consumer to business, is when a consumer sells their own products or services to a business or organization. This could be a photographer selling their photography to a business.
Examples of e-commerce businesses
Online retail: Amazon is the crowned champion of retail in the e-commerce world, but you don’t have to be the next Amazon to succeed in this space. You can use resources like Amazon and eBay partnerships to get an online store off the ground.
Wholesale: One of the best-known wholesale e-commerce sites is Alibaba. While Alibaba does get into B2C sales as well, they have established themselves as a global giant in the B2B space. Businesses all over the world get their goods from Alibaba.
Dropshipping: Dropshipping is where another company handles your product for you. You create the online space where customers can browse and place orders, but the dropshipping company takes care of the logistics of delivering the goods to the customer. While Amazon does cross into this space, the No. 1 dropshipping company right now is Shopify. You can have a working storefront on Shopify in a matter of hours.
Subscription: Subscription companies come in many shapes and sizes. The subscription can be for automated replenishment of goods, like the Dollar Shave Club. They can be for curation, like with a wine of the month club. The subscription can also grant access to a service. Netflix is easily the best example of this type of subscription model.
Digital products: Digital product stores do not offer physical, tangible goods. They offer digital products, which should not be confused with services. The most common digital product is software. Microsoft is one of the most prolific digital product companies. Digital products can be art, online courses and other “objects” that can be purchased, even though they only exist on a computer.
Physical products: On Etsy, people make physical objects that they then sell and personally ship. You can see how this is different from retail or dropshipping. A physical products e-commerce business will make the things they sell.
Services: Services are some of the easiest things to sell online. E-commerce services include tax and accounting, healthcare, legal services, and just about anything else imaginable.
What are the best ecommerce platforms?
By using shopping carts and ecommerce platforms, retailers build online stores where they showcase their products and services. Having an online storefront is one of the most straightforward ways to conduct ecommerce. There’s a great number of ecommerce solutions and choosing the right fit for your business depends on your budget, preferences, and company needs. Below we’ve listed the best ecommerce solutions currently on the market.
A popular choice among many SMBs, Shopify allows clients to build effective online stores and scale their business. Created with a user-friendly and intuitive interface, as well as tons of templates, this platform offers flexible shipping rates, automatic taxes, and over 100 payment gateways. Shopify enables social media integrations, is packed with built-in SEO features, and is fully hosted.
Best for: Small businesses looking for an all-in-one ecommerce solution.
Magento is a highly flexible ecommerce solution used by medium sized businesses ready to scale. This platform offers robust features which allow retailers to customize all aspects of their online store including custom templates, extensions, and modules. If clients need to further extend the functionality of their Magento store, they can always use add-ons to turn the vision of their online store into a reality.
Considered by many a complex ecommerce platform, Magento supports clients by maintaining an operative community of developers and experts on the Magento ecosystem who are ready to help newbies with the maintenance of their online store.
Best for: Brands looking for a highly customizable ecommerce solution.
This fully-hosted solution allows you to run a powerful ecommerce store in the cloud. Merchants using Salesforce won’t have to worry much about platform maintenance and development since it’s fully hosted by the company (though this may limit your freedom a bit).
One of Salesforce’s strengths is that it’s built with omnichannel retailers in mind with features that allow merchants to easily sell across physical and digital storefronts.
Best for: Large businesses that need a fully-fledged and scalable CRM software.
Oracle Commerce is a powerful ecommerce solution suitable for both B2B and B2C retailers. It is packed with out-of-the-box-features that enable you to sell more complex merchandise and data-rich offerings.
This is a highly customizable ecommerce platform which allows retailers to customize every aspect of their online store and campaigns.
Best for: Growing businesses looking for a flexible and scalable ecommerce platform.
WooCommerce is one of the biggest open-source ecommerce platforms. Specifically designed to integrate with WordPress, WooCommerce has plenty of templates that can help you build a unique online store. You’ll get all essential features including unlimited products, unrestricted customization, order management, and free shipping.
Best for: Small businesses that have a website powered by WordPress.
Pandora, a popular jewellery retailer, is built with BigCommerce.
BigCommerce is a popular ecommerce solution that provides online retailers with a robust online store builder for creating a fully functional online store and selling an unlimited number of products. One thing that particularly distinguishes BigCommerce from other ecommerce solutions are the powerful business management features such as shipping, reporting, and product and order management, as well as the fact that it’s fully hosted.
Additionally, BigCommerce has a built-in B2B offering for companies engaging in B2B ecommerce.
Best for: Growing businesses that want to leverage on multi-channel selling.
Another popular ecommerce solution, Volusion allows merchants to create online stores, showcase their merchandise, and take payments all on one platform. Volusion comes with standard features including a site builder, shopping cart software, marketing tools, and more.
Best for: Small businesses in need of a simple and easy-to-use ecommerce platform.
This is an open-source ecommerce framework that enables users to build online stores and applications on Drupal. Drupal Commerce is highly flexible and offers hundreds of modules that allow users to enhance and extend its functionalities. Drupal Commerce also offers the Commerce Kickstart package which integrates with the latest versions of Drupal. It’s packed with out-of-the-box features that allow developers to quickly set up and customize all aspects of their online store.
Best for: Large businesses that require a robust and feature-rich ecommerce solution.
What Makes an Ecommerce Store Successful?
Running an ecommerce business is not easy. Just having a store and some stock to sell does not mean that people will flock in and buy your products. There are things you can do to try to ensure your store will be a success.
Focus on the User
With ecommerce, you can sell anything to anyone, but you must be careful to know what you need to do to make website visitors trust you enough to buy a product from you. Pick theright website theme, choose the right branding and tone of voice for your copy, and keep your focus on only one or two target audiences so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Test with Friends
Use your friends as your test subjects and have them run through the purchase steps to make sure everything flows perfectly. You don’t want the checkout process to be too long that people leave before they have placed an order.
Be Mobile Optimized
Make sure that users can purchase on mobile and tablet devices. With mobile commerce on the rise, optimizing your store for the small screen is paramount to being successful in your business.
Invest in SEO and PPC
SEO and PPC drive traffic to your store, so missing out on them will slow down your success. Find a good consultant or agency if you have the budget, or get started bylearning about ecommerce SEOand applying relevant strategies on your store.
Research and Develop
Never be content with what you do; research new products and ways to sell them. You don’t need to restock your ecommerce store every month. Try to attract attention through innovative ways to grow your store more.
Kickstarting your e-commerce store
If you want to start a successful business, you need a brand that connects with your persona. Identifying your persona makes building an ecommerce brand easier. You might avoid girlie colors and images if you are selling products to corporate businesswomen interested in living a sustainable life. But before you set up your store and get into the nitty gritty of building a brand – there are some basic steps you’ll need to take.
Register Your Business.
Choose a business name and register your company. There are legal protections and tax benefits for incorporating, so don’t skip it.
Pick Your Store’s Name
The name of your site and the legal name of your business don’t need to be identical, but keeping them consistent has its benefits. Make sure whatever you choose fits your niche – you don’t want to pick a brand name at the last minute.
Get Your Business Licenses
If you’re not familiar with this process, the Small Business Association has plenty of resources to help you get started, including a mentor-protege network and courses on small business basics. Look actively for mentors – their advice can be priceless, even for little things like acquiring business licenses. One of the smartest decisions I ever made was finding someone who could show me the ropes.
Get Your Employer Identification Number
You’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to open a business bank account and file your business taxes next April, even if you don’t plan on having any employees. Your EIN is a bit like your business’ social security number: it’s a unique number that identifies your business and helps you file important paperwork.
Apply For Business Licenses And Permits
Operating an online store does not exclude you from needing certain business licenses and permits. Check with your city, county, and state to see what sorts of sales tax licenses or home business licenses you need, and get those approved before you start operating.
Don’t fret over it too much, but do make sure that it is not in use by another company in your niche. Logo design doesn’t have to be terribly original, however (and really shouldn’t).
Consider the colors of your brand, the imagery you’ll use, and the typeface or fonts you’ll employ carefully. If you’ve got the budget, you might want to hire a marketing firm to create a design brief for your company. If not, you can create your own. Just keep it consistent and read marketing tips designed to help boost your brand.
What are the pros and cons of operating an e-commerce business?
Pros of running an e-commerce business
There were lots of reasons to start an online retail business before the pandemic, and there are even more now. Here are seven of the big ones.
It has fewer overhead costs than a physical store. A big expense of running a retail business is the physical storefront. That means money spent on rent, utilities and other such needs. All of that goes away when you operate an e-commerce store. There is no rent to pay. You don’t have to worry about keeping the lights on, nor do you have to pay to have the lawn mowed or the walkways shoveled.
You can operate 24/7 with no staff. The internet doesn’t have store hours. It is up 24/7, and so is your e-commerce business. Unlike a physical store with set hours, your site can accept orders whenever your customers are ready to buy, which can drive more business. If you use software to automate most of the process, you won’t need to hire an ordering manager to work the night shift.
Your business can scale on the fly. There are physical limits to how many products you can stock when you operate a brick-and-mortar store – you only have so much shelf space. There are no such limits with e-commerce; you can add and remove products as you see fit.
You can reach more customers. Your business may be in New York, but you can sell to customers in California if your store is online. “E-commerce changes the game for small business,” said Ben Richmond, U.S. country manager at Xero. “It doesn’t matter if you’re in a city or in a small regional town – e-commerce gives you the opportunity to live where you want and sell into many markets.”
It’s easy to track your sales and shipments. Logistics are make-or-break for e-commerce companies. Thanks to the digital nature of e-commerce, it’s easy to track sales and shipments. The benefit of having this information in real time is that it allows you to quickly identify and rectify any snafus.
It compiles customer data. When you sell products online, you capture a lot of customer data, from addresses to emails. You can also glean information about their purchasing preferences. You can use these insights to target loyal customers with promotions and discounts.
It’s pandemic-proof. While brick-and-mortar businesses were forced to close their doors amid the pandemic, online businesses were able to stay open. As a result, consumers have shifted their shopping habits, making it a necessity for every retailer to run an online store. “I strongly believe that with COVID-19, the pros of running an e-commerce business outweigh the cons,” Richmond said. “As more consumers are shifting their spending from visiting brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping, businesses need to shift too.”
Cons of running an e-commerce business
Though e-commerce has many benefits, it’s not without its challenges. Here are six to consider before you decide if an e-commerce business is right for you.
You can’t reach everyone. Even amid the pandemic, there are still consumers who simply don’t like shopping online; they want to see and touch products before they buy, and they are afraid of online fraud. According to Oberlo, 2.05 billion people are projected to shop online in 2020 – but that’s out of the 7.8 billion people worldwide, making it approximately 26%.
Data and credit card fraud are rampant. One of the biggest problems with e-commerce is the risk of fraud. Credit card and identity theft are commonplace, affecting thousands of consumers annually. If hackers breach your network and steal sensitive customer information, it could cause irreparable damage. On average, a cyberattack costs a business $200,000, and 60% of businesses shutter within six months of the incident.
Customers abandon their shopping carts. E-commerce makes it easier for customers to window-shop with little intention of buying. Shopping cart abandonment impacts a high percentage of online sales.
E-commerce is a cutthroat business. You aren’t the first person to sell a product or service online; depending on your industry, you may have many competitors with identical or very similar products. Since many consumers shop based on price and expect to find good deals on the internet, you may find yourself in a race to the bottom.
Customers want fast, free shipping. Physical retailers don’t have to worry about packaging and shipping their products. An online retailer does. Amazon has taught customers to expect not only two-day shipping, but also free shipping – which you may not be able to afford
What Is Ecommerce Marketing?
Ecommerce marketing is a process that helps to drive sales for online stores, using platforms that are mostly online. This can include brand awareness campaigns, display advertising, discount QR codes, etc. Most marketing tactics come from traditional marketing strategies but are applied online.
The beauty of marketing for ecommerce is that you can learn almost anything online through webinars, blogs, and ebooks. This means that everyone has the ability to become successful through this type of marketing no matter your budget.
For example, you can advertise your products through Google Ads and social media websites. Also, you can set up promotional emails to get your products in front of additional audiences. Other ecommerce marketing examples include affiliate marketing, social media marketing, video marketing, and influencer marketing.
3 key facts about e-commerce marketing
1. E-commerce Marketing is Ever-Changing
Methods used to execute E-Commerce marketing change and evolve virtually every day. As trends come in and fade out, and as technology advances, marketing tools and strategies do too. So don’t stop learning
2. E-commerce Marketing is Visual
Potential customers are captivated by what they see. Honestly, nobody enjoys ads, but colorful displays and loud noises easily entrance the human mind. So you should go for strategies that effectively utilize visual effects. Ensure your page is mobile-friendly.
3. Consistency and Content are Key Elements
Do not expect to put an e-commerce marketing strategy out today and get loads of responses today. You have to be consistent and patient.
Another mistake often made is throwing out negative ads. Ensure that there is always relevant all embodying content to view when a prospective customer gets to your website or application because you are content marketing
Social media and ecommerce
Social media platforms can help ecommerce businesses expand their reach and establish a recognizable brand identity. They can also increase sales and pave the buyer’s journey by either directing consumers to the retailers’ online stores or by enabling shoppers to buy items directly from the retailers’ social media pages.
The most popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, aren’t usually used by sellers as an alternative to online stores. Rather, retailers use these platforms to showcase their products by using visuals, like photos and videos, and appealing social media copy to attract customers and reach a wider audience. Consumers that come across an item they find interesting on social media platforms are then directed to the retailer’s online store so they can make a purchase.
Conducting ecommerce transactions on social sites
Is there anything more to be said about social media ecommerce or ecommerce on social? Well, some social media platforms are taking things further by enabling clients to sell products directly from their social media accounts. For example, retailers that showcase their products on Instagram can use Instagram’s checkout option. This feature enables customers to purchase the items they like without having to leave Instagram.
Since September 2018, companies can also use Instagram Shoppable Stories, a feature which allows businesses to add product stickers on a story. Customers that come across a product they like can just click on a sticker which will redirect them to the product page that features further details about the product.
The above-mentioned initiatives certainly are interesting, but it’s important to note that not all social selling projects are successful. Take Twitter’s Buy buttons. In 2014, this social media platform launched a feature that allowed customers to purchase items directly from a Tweet.
Many small businesses have fallen into traps simply because they believe they’re too “small” to get the attention of those charged with regulating operations.
Some don’t have employee handbooks even though they are required to do so. Others have been very loose with designating workers as “independent contractors” when they clearly are not. Some have inaccurately deducted expenses for having a home office.
Today, the “we’re-too-small” mentality has trickled into the vernacular when it comes to cyber security, resulting in financial ruin. Frankly, the risks are greater with small businesses simply because one successful hacker or phishing expedition can close their doors.null
However, it stands to reason that small businesses frequently don’t take the proper precautions. They may not have sophisticated IT professionals working on their behalf. Some may be too busy. Others simply believe it just won’t happen because hackers don’t target small companies.
It makes sense since because we rarely read about small companies that are targeted by cyber security. The big names in the corporate world are the ones getting noticed. For example:
For Small Businesses, Cyberattacks Can Be Crushing
The 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) found that 28% of breaches involved small business victims. Ransomware demands have also skyrocketed, with the average payment jumping from $111,000 to $178,000 in 2020 alone—a 60% increase in less than a calendar year. With these numbers sharply on the rise, it is not surprising that 60% of victims go out of business within six months of an attack.
The COVID-19 pandemic also created new opportunities for attackers to strike, particularly as businesses rapidly adjusted to remote work. As COVID-19 vaccines enter distribution, attackers will see this as a new and lucrative opportunity. Security pros have already discovered wide-ranging cyberattacks targeting large and small businesses up and down the supply chain. With attackers only growing more determined, companies should look to shore up their networks against a wide variety of attack vectors. They should also establish additional visibility into attackers seeking to secure privileges and move laterally to further their attacks.null
Credential Theft Continues to Loom Large
According to the DBIR, 80% of hacking-related breaches involve brute force attacks or stolen credentials. Poorly secured credentials represent a problem that affects businesses large and small, with incidents ranging from last year’s Twitter hack to a recent ransomware incident that forced two Michigan doctors to shut down their practices. Attackers attempt to get their hands on these credentials in various ways, including phishing scams and searching unsecured endpoints for exposed credentials. Many of today’s small businesses use Active Directory, a popular target for attackers looking to escalate their privileges.
Recent surveys have shown that privileged access was used in three out of four attacks, demonstrating how vulnerable organizations are when they cannot prevent the theft of credentials and privilege escalation activities. Finding and remediating these exposed credentials before attackers identify and exploit them is essential. Businesses can turn the situation to their advantage by seeding their networks with deceptive credentials that trick intruders into exposing themselves. Defenders can then neutralize the attack and gather adversary intelligence to better prepare for the next attack
Common Cyber Threats
There are three common types of cyberattacks:
Malware, or malicious software, could be a virus or worm to damage the user’s information.
Phishing sends emails with faulty email addresses or text messages posing as a reputable company.
Man-in-the-middle, where a hacker intercepts communication between a consumer and a company. The hacker often uses Wi-Fi to steal the customer’s information.
It is important to have strategies in place to safeguard your business from cyberattacks. Use the strategies below to protect your business and employees.
Train Employees On Security Standards
One of the biggest cybersecurity risks your business faces is employee negligence. There are two main degrees of negligence: simple and gross. Employees should be trained on decreasing the chances of a data breach. This can include not leaving computers unattended and unlocked, not using unsecured Wi-Fi when working from home or in a public space, creating strong email passwords, identifying phishing emails, and how to protect sensitive information. To help with this, the Small Business Association has an online self-guided course on basic cybersecurity tactics. The FCC also provides a planning program for small business owners to create a cybersecurity plan.
Use A Firewall Antivirus Software
It’s been estimated that the average enterprise uses 500+ software applications. So it’s important to make sure business computers are up to date with the latest antivirus software and anti-spyware programs. Using high-quality software provides the latest updates automatically, which prevents and corrects security problems. These updates improve how well your computers function.
Secure Your Wi-Fi Network
One major factor in protecting your Wi-Fi network from hackers is using firewall protection and encryption. Place your Wi-Fi network in a hidden location for higher security and create a Service Set Identifier (SSID) to hide your network name and router. Make sure your SSID is password protected with a strong password.
Strong passwords should include:
At least 10 characters or more
One or more uppercase letters
One or more numbers
At least one special character
Protect Payment Processing
Businesses big and small can have their payment processing software attacked. As a result of a cyberattack against Target, payment card data for more than 40 millioncredit and debit card customers was compromised. To protect yourself, work with your bank and other financial institutions to get anti-fraud equipment that ensures the safest transactions. Create policies with financial institutions that will protect transactions, such as using different equipment for payment processing only and not for internet searches. For more ways to protect your payment system, look at the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council guide.
Backup Your Data
If your business is a victim of a cyberattack, you need to make sure that all critical data in your system is backed up. The best practice is to do a system backup weekly to protect your database, including word documents, financial records, spreadsheets, and employee files. The backup system can be stored off-site or in the cloud.
Control Access To Systems And Data
It’s best practice to prevent access to computers and systems to unauthorized people. When not in use, secure or lock laptops and give each employee a separate user account and password. Limit your administrative system access to only IT staff. It’s also best not to limit one employee to have access to all system information. Employees should be given access to the system that they work with directly. There should also be a limit as to what software employees can download as well.
The risk of cyberattacks on businesses of all sizes is only increasing over time. More and more, hackers are using sophisticated methods to gain access to your sensitive information. Protect yourself by taking steps now to improve your business cybersecurity
Cybersecurity best practices
In addition to implementing some sort of software-based solution, small businesses should adopt certain technological best practices and policies to shore up vulnerabilities.
Keep your software up to date. Hackers are constantly scanning for security vulnerabilities, Cobb said, and if you let these weaknesses go for too long, you’re greatly increasing your chances of being targeted.
Educate your employees. Teach your employees about the different ways cybercriminals can infiltrate your systems. Advise them on how to recognize signs of a breach and educate them on how to stay safe while using the company’s network.
Implement formal security policies. Putting in place and enforcing security policies is essential to locking down your system. Protecting the network should be on everyone’s mind since everyone who uses it can be a potential endpoint for attackers. Regularly hold meetings and seminars on the best cybersecurity practices, such as using strong passwords, identifying and reporting suspicious emails, activating two-factor authentication, and clicking links or downloading attachments.
Practice your incident response plan. Despite your best efforts, there may come a time when your company falls prey to a cyberattack. If that day comes, it’s important that your staff can handle the fallout that comes from it. By drawing up a response plan, attacks can be quickly identified and quelled before doing too much damage.
Research shows that 87% of shoppers say that detailed product content is important to their overall purchase decision. Moreover, eCommerce sales are at an all-time high with consumers spending $861.12 billion online with U.S. retailers in 2020, a 44% increase from the previous year. You can’t afford to miss a piece of that pie with lackluster product descriptions.
A successful product description requires the right balance of storytelling, rich content and SEO awareness. Use the following guide (with real-life examples) to learn how to write product descriptions that will boost your sales.
How Important is a Product Description?
An eCommerce product description summarizes the features and uses of a product sold online. The main purpose of a product description is to give potential customers enough information to convince them to make a purchase.
How important are product descriptions to online shoppers? Very. Product descriptions are involved in purchasing decisions for 82 percent of U.S. mobile shoppers. That’s too many customers to ignore.Credit: eMarketer
Brilliant product descriptions that compel customers to buy require two things:
Knowledge of what motivates them to buy
Decent writing skills
Customer knowledge helps make the copy engaging and attractive by appealing to their motivating factors. And solid writing skills are a must to keep it brief, organized, and easy to read.
When you combine these two qualities, the result is a simple, short, benefit-packed, and engaging product description like this.Credit: Apple Store
Now, let’s find out how to write product descriptions like that.
Basic Elements of Product Descriptions
1. Include what it’s made of (aka materials)
Product description 101: Materials.
Tell me what the thing is made of, or in the case of a service business product, what it includes.
If I’m thinking about buying a shirt from you, I’d like to be sure that it’s made of cotton and not, say, bees.
If I’m thinking about buying a water bottle from you, I want to know that it doesn’t contain any BPA.
What’s it made of?
Make sure to note if your product is made locally, or from organic or fair-trade materials. This is an easy way to build trust in your products’ quality.
2. List detailed measurements and dimensions
Ever bought furniture, such as a sofa on Craigslist, and realized an hour later that it didn’t fit inside your house?
Oh, that was just me? Cool.
It wasn’t this bad.
The dimensions of your physical retail products need to be clearly stated, so your prospect knows whether your company’s horsehair anoraks will fit him.
Chunk information so it’s easier to process, like Fitbit does.
Don’t overlook your button copy opportunities.
Your buttons probably say something like “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now.” And that copy probably serves you just fine most of the time.
But if you’re a chronic overachiever (AKA ecommerce optimizer), try testing button copy that speaks to what your user will get, instead of the action they need to take.
Example: Instead of button copy that reads, “Download Your Conversion Optimization Ebook Now,” test a button that reads “101 Ways to Make More Sales Right Now.”
Don’t forget to test click-trigger copythat tells people exactly what’ll happen when they click that gorgeous “Buy” button of yours.
This should be a given: make sure you’ve got a great mobile UX.
If your ecommerce site isn’t mobile-optimized, you’re not going to win with customers. And you’re not going to win with Google.
Writing a Product Description to Grow Sales
Product descriptions play a huge part in generating sales. But what should they say? How long should they be? What format is best? How do I make them rank high in search engines? We suggest using the following template to ensure you are crafting the best product description.
1. Think about the who, what, where, when, why and how before writing.
Journalists utilize the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How method for getting across the facts of their stories, and following this process is the first step in crafting a compelling product description:
Who is this product for? The target audience can be a gender (women or men), an age group (college kids, retirees), a lifestyle demographic (new mothers, car enthusiasts) or some other defined group of people.
What are the product’s basic details? This includes attributes such as dimensions, materials, product features and functions.
Where would someone use this product? Is it meant for indoor or outdoor use, for your car or your home?
When should someone use the product? Is it meant to be used during a certain time of day, seasonally or for a specific type of occasion? Just as important is pointing out if a product can or should be used every day or year-round, as that will speak to its long-term value.
Why is this product useful or better than its competitors? This can be anything from quality to value to features — really think about the benefits that will speak to customers. Also consider how images can complement your product copy.
How does the product work? This may not be necessary for every product, but if you are selling anything with moving parts or electronics, it’s a must-have.
These questions are great to use as your product description template when you want to accurately describe your best items.
3. write a product descriptions that tell a story
As you write product descriptions, try to describe an experience, not just the product itself.
Focus on making the reader envision themselves using (and enjoying) your product.
If appropriate, go as far as describing a time or place.
For example, look at the description for the below Bumble and bumble hair product. There’s a tagline under the product name “Sweat fearlessly. Clean Instantly.” Immediately, you already understand what this product does. Then the description further explains how you feel post-workout with sweaty hair, and how it can combat that issue. The benefit icons are just the cherry on top! (More on benefits later…)
Product descriptions that tell a story are persuasive to potential customers, nudging them towards the “add to cart” button. The story doesn’t have to be all flowery language — it can also include informative details. In fact, consumers are 131% more likely to buy from a brand after they consume educational content .
Apple is the masterclass example of marrying storytelling with information within their product descriptions. Cameron Craig, who worked in PR for Apple, told the Harvard Business Review:
“Our mission was to tell the story of how our innovative products give customers the power to unleash their creativity and change the world.”
You can see just that in the product description of the latest MacBook Air. The copy immediately educates the reader on how this product will optimize their personal and professional lives. They also break down complex technological specs (like CPUs) and explain what that means for users in practice, i.e., you can complete more tasks and waste less battery.
3. Choose goals and KPIs to measure success of your product descriptions.
You need goals to measure the success of product descriptions.
“But this is going to take a long time,” you might be thinking, especially if you rely on product descriptions from your distributors or manufacturers. And you’re right, this isn’t a quick process. But, if you can commit to writing a dozen or so product descriptions a day using the formula above, you’ll begin to see a variety of benefits:
An increase in conversion rate.
A decrease in cart abandonment.
A lower return rate.
Fewer calls from shoppers.
Improve organic search rankings.
Now let’s take a look at how eight real online stores sell more with product description perfection, with tidbits you can take from their expertise to increase your own conversions.
4. Use product descriptions that match your tone to your buyer persona
One way to accomplish this is by matching the tone of the product description to your ideal customer.
For instance, if your audience is millennial consumers and you’re selling a lifestyle product, you can inject humor and frivolity to catch their attention.
On the other hand, if you sell professional-level tech products targeted toward business buyers, you’ll want to keep the tone more serious and detailed.
The perfect example of tone is Dollar Shave Club, a brand that made a name for itself with irreverent humor. Notice how their product description reflects its overall brand voice (and matches the tone of their audience) with tongue-in-cheek jokes.
5. Don’t be afraid to boast.
Take the product description formula above one step further, like water polo retailer Kap7 ( and check out their amazing backstory). Is your product differentiated through a founder’s expertise? Is your product better because of years of testing? Is it hand-crafted?
Call that out!
Tell a better story in your short product description paragraph by including tidbits of detail that prove why your product is better than rest. Don’t be afraid to name drop, either.
Holding a product is vital to certain consumers. Even with the eCommerce boom from the pandemic, a recent surveyfound that 46% of people still prefer to shop in stores. And 33% say it’s because they want to see, touch, feel and try out items.Ecommerce brands can overcome this hurdle by including stellar product imagesfrom multiple angles.
You don’t necessarily need to hire a professional photographer to take product pictures (although if you have the budget, it can be worth it). High-res camera phones with portrait mode make it increasingly easier for eCommerce business owners to DIY product images.
When possible include images of the product in use, like someone wearing a piece of clothing, a customer using a tool — or even a screenshot of a digital product. These types of images help contextualize the product in action, which makes it seem more real and tangible.
Note how Thrive Market overcomes the issue of selling spices (becasue it’s essentially just a ground-up powder, it’s tough to really spotlight in an exciting way). But they still use pictures to their advantage, showing the packaging, so customers know what to expect. They also incorporate an image of a meal that uses the spice, helping to put the product into context.
How to Write “I Must Have That” Product Description Copy
Let’s talk about everybody’s favorite thing: words.
Be clear about that in your copy. Speak to that one specific prospect’s frustration, pain, and desires — that is persuasive copy.
Opaqueness is a tantalizing promise when it comes to leggings.
When you use writing techniques for one person, that person feels like you understand them. So they click “Add to Cart.” And you get paid.
2. Paint a picture of how it feels to use your product
One shortcut to addressing your prospect’s deepest, darkest desires? Describe how it would look or feel for them to have your product in their hands, on their bodies, or in their mouths. Hit all the senses.
Luxury brands do a great job of painting a picture because they have to. When you’re selling a high-price luxury item, you’re not selling the item. You’re selling status, exclusivity, indulgence.
Straight from ONE SINGLE STURGEON to you and your beloved.
3. Keep your tone consistent with your brand
Continuing with the luxury brand theme: Kate Spade makes whimsical, highly conceptual purses that seem like a super-fun “why not?” purchase.
The product and the brand are known for being droll but sophisticated, and the product description for this bunny purse nails that tricky tone balance.
Feel like buying me this purse?
4. Make them feel something
If there’s one surefire way to get someone to buy, it’s appealing to emotions.
Emotional appeal has long been a tactic in marketing and advertising, way before those horrific vintage ads aimed at making women feel worthless and unattractive for being “overweight” started appearing. You know the ones.
I bet this ad hit a lot of women right in the feels, and not in a good way.
Features are what your product is or includes, like “64G memory card” or “Reinforced stitching.”
Benefits are what your product does for your buyer, like “Never worry about running out of room for your vacation photos,” or “Durably constructed, so you can wear them for years.”
Put this technique to use when you’re listing materials or construction, like Zappos:
Combine features (side zipper) with benefits (easy on and off).
6. Banish cliches and empty phrases
Hey, ACUVUE, just wondering: What exactly is “crisp vision”?
Is it the same as being able to see? Oh, it is? Then why didn’t you just say that?
If you find yourself defaulting to meaningless filler descriptors like “leading-edge,” “first-class,” or my very favorite nothing-phrase, “high quality,” take a step back from your laptop.
Figure out what you’re actually trying to say when you default to lazy cliches. Then just say that thing instead.
Common Mistakes in Product Description Writing
Watch out for these common mistakes in product descriptions to avoid losing sales.
1. A Lack of Benefits
Feature-focused product descriptions lack appeal for customers, so they’re not as engaging as they could be.
This example below mentions where the product was manufactured and mentions the name of the brand two times (hidden for privacy).
The result is a production description with very little value for customers. This text does the opposite of storytelling; the brand has a very low chance of grabbing attention and making customers imagine having the product.
2. “It’s All About Us”
This next product description example misses the mark by focusing too much on the company.
It mentions training people to work on all popular social media platforms. However, this is something that a potential customer expects from a company that does social media marketing. So, writing about it wastes space.
Don’t just tell your customers about employee training. Instead, talk about the goals you can help them reach.
3. Not “Selling” the Product
The fact that someone reads a product description doesn’t mean they’re considering a purchase. To make them pull the trigger, you need to be convincing.
This product description lacks “sales pitch.” Although the text has useful product details, it’s largely unappealing.
Product Description Writing: Final Thoughts
Product descriptions make sales because customers need them. To make your descriptions help you sell, follow the tips in this guide – they make writing clear, customer-focused, and compelling.
But don’t stop there! Make your eCommerce store even better with stunning product photography. The imagery is just as important as descriptions, so making proper investments in both is something that successful online stores should strive to prioritize.
You want your customers to be so delighted after making a purchase that they return to you again and again. Even more importantly, delighted customers often tell their friends and family about their favorite businesses. So how can you go about using your online marketing strategies to please your customers?
Customer delight is defined as going above or beyond meeting customer expectations and providing a positive experience with your brand, products, or services. Delighting your customers is all about establishing an emotional bond between brand and buyer.
Customer delight index is a metric to find out how satisfied the client is with the product or service you have provided. It can be measured with customer satisfaction metrics such as NPS or CSAT.
What’s the difference between customer delight and customer satisfaction?
It is important to note that customer satisfaction and customer delight are not the same.
Karen Donaldson, a celebrity communication and body language expert, said being satisfied is equal to receiving decent customer service.
“When customers purchase, they expect decent customer service,” Donaldson said. “Customer delight means to exceed expectations and make a lasting impression.”
If you keep your customers satisfied, it’s still easy for them to leave. It’s not so easy for them to find somewhere else to spend their money if they are delighted. Loyalty doesn’t come from giving customers the status quo, but from going above and beyond to surpass their experience.
“The reality is that customers and clients who feel good and feel that they are appreciated will return, invest more, and refer other customers,” Donaldson said.
Levels of Customer Satisfaction
Here, in this illustration, you will find that Customer Satisfaction is nothing but the net satisfaction that you received after subtracting expected service from the perceived service. Now, this leads us to three levels of customer satisfaction:
Much better than expected:This is where the perceived service represented in the blue bar is higher than the expected service, represented in the purple bar. As and when this happens, the customer is totally satisfied with your product and would be totally loyal to your brand.
As Expected: This is where the perceived and the expected service equate, resulting in a normal satisfaction level. Here, a customer may or may not churn away.
Worse/Different than Expected: This is where the expected service is way higher than the perceived service. This is something that a customer does not like, or appreciate. They will simply churn away and add negative reviews about your brand.
Why does customer delight matter?
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, customer delight was a nice add-on. Now, it’s practically a necessity. During the pandemic, small businesses had two choices: pivot to a new business model or stay the course and hold on to the customers they already had. Those who took the latter route had no choice but to delight customers.
“Customer delight has become the way through this global meltdown, where so many of us have seen our revenue plummet,” Majcher said.
From eliciting warm feelings to building loyalty, here are four benefits to creating customer delight.
1. They know you care.
Customers tend to be loyal to the businesses that appreciate them. If you go above and beyond to show you appreciate their business, they’ll be more loyal to your brand in good and bad times. This requires listening to your customers and responding to their complaints and desires. By paying attention to them, you’ll find opportunities to delight them and enhance your relationships.
2. They become your promoters.
Word-of-mouth marketing is the cheapest and arguably most effective way to promote your business, and delighting your customers is a natural way to achieve it. Delighted customers tend to share their excitement with friends, family and others in their network. They might share an update or post a tweet praising the brand. That referral is more powerful than an ad campaign.
3. It increases customer spending.
Customers tend to spend more with the companies that make them happy. The more you delight them, the more they are apt to spend.
4. It protects your reputation.
Your business is only as good as its reputation. A bad review on Yelp or several complaints on social media can have a negative impact on your sales. If you give your customers delight, it will cushion the blow from any bad reviews. You have brand ambassadors who believe in your company and will likely defend you against negative comments.
How to delight your customers.
let us discuss some of the best strategies to help you in retaining your existing customers, delighting them, and making them your brand ambassadors.
1. Provide real time support
Have you ever thought about how your customers feel about wait time in a phone queue?
Does it really have any worth when you say to them “your call is important to us”?
A survey by American Express found that the maximum amount of time customers are willing to wait is 13 minutes.
Businesses can align your customer’s expectations with reality by deploying new technology to provide real time support to your customers. Great customer experience can be achieved by using live chat software and live engagement tools that boost customer satisfaction rates.
Live chat is the most preferred channel over other communication channels such as phone and email. The real time support it delivers to customers makes it popular. “79% of customers say they prefer to live chat because of the immediacy it offers compared to other channels.”
Live chat instantly connects with your customers and assists them in real time.
You can trigger proactive chat messages to guide customers in their buying journey and improve their experience.
You can engage your customers in real time by using live customer engagement such as co-browsing, video & voice chat. These tools allow customers to communicate within minimal wait time and delight your customers.
Here is how to delight customers by using visual engagement tools?
Video chat allows us to identify the issue faster and deliver effective solutions, which reduces the number of touchpoints and increases customer satisfaction.
Co-browsing solution allows you to collaborate with customers and guide them to complete a complex form fillup or application process.
Having direct personalized conversations develops trust in customers and delivers a delightful customer support experience.
2. Deliver consistent omni-channel customer service
Customers expect excellent consistent experiences across multiple channels as they use them to reach out to you or make a single purchase. And when the experience is not consistent they get frustrated and prefer switching to another brand.98% of Americans switch between devices on the same day.
Businesses should go omnichannel to make sure that your service is consistent across all the channels such as website, social media, phone, in-app, stores, etc. It means the customer satisfied with your social support over Facebook messenger should be equally convinced with your quality of website support.
How to delight customers by adopting an omni channel strategy?
Streamline all the customer conversations under one platform and provide a cohesive experience.
Identify the most preferred channels and be 24×7 active across those channels to reduce average response time.
Make use of tools like live chat, chatbots, visual tools to gain faster details of the issue and deliver first contact resolution.
Customer delight example – Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the biggest known brands following consistent omni-channel service to its customers. The bank allows for everything from depositing checks to scheduling an appointment to be handled by the company’s mobile and desktop apps.
3. Empower your team to delight your customers
Why empowering the customer service team is a pillar of delightful customer experience?
Empowering support teams means you give them the authority to take independent decisions to impress your customers. It also requires your employees to be well trained to identify and act on opportunities to deliver excellent service and make customers happy.
How does an empowering support team act as a customer delight program?
Freedom of decision making – The employees hold the complete authority to handle customer’s queries independently. It is their responsibility to amaze them by meeting and exceeding customer expectations.
Perform as a team – Empowering your team allows them to perform together to take a move to deliver superior customer service that surpasses the customer delight index.
Employees feedback – The feedback from employees are directly aligned with the company’s objective. The mission of the company and the opinion of your team are linked that makes them valued.
Giving employees ownership for their own work will result in improvements in motivation, customer service, and morale, but also to improvements in quality, productivity, and quick decision-making.
The Ritz-Carlton Group believes in ‘the key to making customer service visionary is team engagement.’
Ritz-Carlton focused on customer service and gave its employees the authority to spend up to $2,000 per day to delight their guests with their service. You can structure and incentivize your team so that your employees can work independently to resolve customer queries keeping themselves on their feet.
Empower your customer service reps by measuring the feedback collected and total resolved queries that were assigned to deliver great customer service success.
4. Analyze customer feedback
“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”
Customer feedback is crucial for the growth of all businesses. It provides valuable insights into what is working well about your products or services and what should be done to make the experience better.
You as a business need to ask for customer feedback at the right time to acquire actionable feedback. You can acquire feedback just after the end of the live chat conversation, after a successful checkout, or after the resolution of a support ticket.
How analyzing customer feedback is a vital part of customer delight programs?
Analyzing feedback involvesidentifying customer needs and frustrations of customers so that businesses can improve customer satisfaction and reduce churn. Feedback analysis needs to be done wisely by following the below steps.
Categorize all feedback into categories – The feedback may include product delivery speed, after-sales services, customer service approach, etc. Once categorized you can divide further that deserves immediate attention.
Identify the nature of the feedback – Customer feedback comes with negative and positive comments. The positive ones bring in concrete ideas on what can be extremely effective in building customer loyalty. On the other hand, the negative ones provide insights on improvement areas.
Consolidate results and plan your next move – Finally, amalgamate all the results to make a plan of action as to how you intend to respond to each of the issues raised. Make a feasible and effective plan that would address all the problems your clients think your business is having while keeping the good services still functioning.
Note: You need to train your customer support team to ask feedback at the right time via the right channels and by tailoring feedback questionnaires.
5. Personalize your communication
The power of personalization is no secret to marketers today.
A personalized customer communication strategy is sure to meet the customer delight index. 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand that provides personalized experiences.
Today’s customers expect business interactions to be customized to their needs and preferences. Personalization is all about understanding your customer behavior and tailor your messaging to align both of them perfectly.
By using the right technology, you can collect customer data and turn it into actionable insights to personalize your customer interactions and provide unique messaging to every client regardless of their preference of channels.
Here are some ways to personalize your interactions to meet the customer delight index.
Use a tone that matches your customer personality. Some prefer short and direct communications and some like longer conversations and sharing opinions.
Listen to your customers and empower them. Asking your customers about their preferences both personalizes the experience and builds their confidence in your brand.
Understanding your customers’ backgrounds by having authentic conversations helps to personalize every relationship.
Make kind gestures by sending follow-up messages to customers after each purchase or service interaction to thank them and offer further assistance if required.
Recommend products and services to your customers based on their purchase history. Personalized cart recommendations influence 92% of shoppers online.
How to measure Customer Delight?
It is no surprise that the happiness of a customer is a strong measure to foresee the future of any given company. That is where Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) come into picture. Track your customer delight with these easy metrics and progress towards your goal
1. Churn Rate
Churn rate is said to be the total percentage of the customers that refrain from using your product over a certain period of time. Try to keep this metric as minimal as possible. A high churn rate is an indicator that your business might soon run out of profits and it is time to pay special attention to the details. It is given by the formula:
Number of customers lost in a period of time / Number of Customers at the beginning of the period
2. Retention Rate
In simpler terms, retention rate is the opposite of the churn rate. To measure your customer delight, having a high retention rate is a must. For this, you will have to take the number of current clients you have from the beginning of the year or quarter and compare it to the number of customers you have till the end. It is given by the formula:
Pre-existing customers at the end of a year / Pre-existing customers at the start of a year
3. Customer Lifetime Value
Customer Lifetime Value is seen as the value that every customer brings over in the lifetime of their respective relationship in a given period of time, be it a year or a quarter. Further, it predicts your net profit in the given entirety of your relationship with a customer, starting from the first touchpoint to the end. It is given by the formula:
Average value of Sale x Retention Time x Profit Margin x Amount of Transactions
Who is responsible for delighting customers?
Creating customer delight is the responsibility of every customer-facing employee in your company. Larger businesses may have a team focused solely on wowing customers, but for small businesses, the job is everyone’s.
The idea is to create customer delight in every aspect of your business, from the phone lines to social media. Everyone in the company should know they need to surpass expectations throughout the customer’s journey. Whether a customer interacts with a sales representative, engages with your brand on Instagram, opens a package from you, or calls customer service, they should be delighted with the experience.