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New to ecommerce? 3 challenges, and how to overcome them
Posted by Peacock Carter Ltd on 18 Apr 2017
If you’re a new or an established business looking to start selling online, ecommerce can seem like a daunting world of acronyms.
Ecommerce web design agency Peacock Carter guide you through a collection of topics to consider when starting your ecommerce business, from choosing your platform to finding customers.
Picking an ecommerce platform
One of the most daunting aspects of starting an ecommerce website for those not comfortable with technology is the sheer number of ecommerce platforms around. Ecommerce systems are what allows your website to accept orders and payments, and manage your product catalogue.
Ecommerce platforms can be roughly split in to two types:
- Hosted, “software as a service” ecommerce software
- Self-hosted ecommerce software
Hosted ecommerce software – with Shopify being the current leading example – provides a great starting place if you want to “dip your toes” in to ecommerce. Platforms like Shopify take care of the technology side, leaving you to populate your products and focus on marketing and selling. The downside is that they can potentially be more limiting in how your store works, but they can be a great introduction to ecommerce for smaller businesses.
Self-hosted ecommerce platforms – such as WooCommerce for WordPress, and Magento - typically require greater investment to have your website built, as well as greater ongoing costs for maintenance, but can allow you greater flexibility for functionality and design than hosted systems. With this cost typically comes the ability to flex the software to work around your business processes.
There are free trials and demonstrations of the ecommerce software mentioned above, and it’s well worth spending some of your time to become familiar with the options available to you before committing.
Marketing your ecommerce website
Having an ecommerce website to sell your products simply isn’t enough in today’s competitive market. As such, an ecommerce website isn’t a silver bullet.
You will need a marketing strategy to help drive relevant traffic and customers to your website, and to make sales. For most ecommerce businesses, these potential customers are driven from a wide range of sources, including:
- organic search engine rankings built over time (SEO)
- pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
- your company’s social media accounts on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook
- any associated paid advertising on social media platforms
- email marketing to stay in contact with existing customers and prospective sales
- marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay – whilst these don’t drive traffic to your website directly, they can be a vital part of an ecommerce business’ success
Talk to digital marketers with explicit experience of working with ecommerce clients, and be prepared to wait: getting the perfect mix of the above and building your ecommerce business is a long term project.
Knowing when you’re succeeding, and when you’re failing
You’ve launched your new website, and you’re making sales: great! But do you know where the sales are coming from? Which products are selling, and which are not?
Your digital marketing agency should be helping you to measure and improve your sales, improving conversion rates, and proactively monitoring – and improving - your website. You may want to consider some training in Google Analytics or similar to help you understand the data behind your store: this is the life blood of your new business.
Be prepared for aspects of your site to fail, too: sometimes, not every avenue for marketing - or every feature – works in the way you think it will, and the ability to adapt will help you focus on building the successes.
If you would like to discuss your next ecommerce project with an ecommerce agency with over a decade of experience, please contact Peacock Carter.