11 Mar ‘21
Top Things to Consider Before You Start/Launch an E-Commerce Website
11 Mar ‘21
In: Web Design & Development, / By: Kristen O'Connor
Reports show that global retail e-commerce sales grew by a whopping 27.6% last year.
Although this unprecedented growth rate is forecasted to slow slightly in the upcoming periods, there’s no denying that now is as good a time as ever to launch an e-commerce website.
However, before you press go on your e-commerce business, it’s essential that you plan thoroughly. Estimates state that 80% to 97% of e-commerce businesses fail.
Want to ensure that your e-commerce business doesn’t become a statistic? If so, here all the top things to consider before you begin setting up your e-commerce store. Keep reading to launch your e-commerce website the smart way.
Stocking Products vs. Dropshipping
One of the first things to think about when looking to start an e-commerce store is your distribution model.
The two main options to choose between are stocking your own inventory vs. dropshipping.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, dropshipping is the practice of marketing and selling products that a third-party supplier then fulfills.
For instance, say you decide to open an e-commerce website using suppliers sourced from places like Aliexpress. Once you have generated a sale, your dropshipping partner will take care of shipping and delivering the item to your customer.
Dropshipping has become incredibly popular over the years, thanks to its low investment nature. Dropshipping is also relatively easy to set up. However, if you don’t go about it the right way, you can still run into issues.
Over the years, dropshipping has gotten a bad rap in some circles as a get-rich-quick scheme. One of the reasons for this is that once internet marketers heard about the easy money one can make from dropshipping, many started spamming low-quality products they had never tested.
This doesn’t mean that dropshipping isn’t a viable business model if you do it correctly. One of the keys to creating a sustainable dropshipping e-commerce business is to order and test the products you wish to sell.
Another key area is returns. To avoid issues around returns, you have to ensure that your returns policy falls in line with those of your suppliers.
Doing Your Own E-Commerce Inventory Management
Handling one’s own e-commerce inventory management requires a higher upfront investment. This e-commerce distribution model is also more complicated to manage. You will need more infrastructure, as well as storage space to house your inventory.
Besides this, in-house e-commerce fulfillment also takes more time and human capital than dropshipping.
That said, managing your own inventory gives you far more control over your products and e-commerce business. It also allows you to market high-quality items, such as handmade or ethically sourced goods.
What’s more, it is possible to start small if you have the space and time to stock and fulfill orders yourself.
What Niche Do You Want to Target?
The next question to ask yourself is what niche do you want to target? Picking a niche is vital when it comes to starting an e-commerce store.
By niching down, you can immediately establish a level of credibility for your e-commerce website. Because you specialize in an area of products, consumers are more likely to trust your store as a reliable place to purchase things in that category.
What’s more, niching down can also improve your chances of making upsells and downsells. Additionally, marketing and keyword targeting can be easier.
For instance, let’s say you are a dog lover and decide to launch a store that focuses solely on dog-related products. If you do this, you will stand out as a go-to e-commerce store for dog items. You can also target your marketing primarily to dog owners.
On the other hand, if you decide to open a store that sells just about anything, you’ll be going up against giants like Amazon. Competing on this level requires vast amounts of capital and resources.
Another key consideration is your potential competition.
It’s essential to research competitors, so you can plan how to surpass them and differentiate yourself.
Let’s take our previous example of the dog-related e-commerce website. Let’s say that before you start mapping out your business plan, you put some time into looking at the competition.
From here, you might be able to spot ways that you can top their offerings. Maybe it’s faster shipping times, better products, a better e-commerce website, or free returns?
On the other hand, maybe you realize that it will be hard to top the existing competition. In that case, you might want to look at other related categories where there might be less competition, such as an online store focused solely on e-commerce products for parrot owners.
Marketing and Branding
Before you launch your e-commerce store, you should have your branding in place and create a solid digital marketing plan.
Do not rush these tasks. Make sure you put thought and effort into your branding, as rebranding can be expensive and detrimental. Put time into crafting a compelling brand story, identifying your target customer, and creating a mission statement and tagline.
Once you have done this, you can map out your marketing strategy, which should include things like paid ads, content marketing, and onsite SEO.
In many cases, it can be well worth the money to bring on marketing experts who can help you refine your branding and marketing strategies. Launching an e-commerce website is an involved process. Hiring out this area gives you more time to devote to sourcing e-commerce products and ensures that your branding and marketing strategy is as effective as possible.
Building a DIY E-Commerce Website vs. Getting One Professionally Made
You will also need to decide how you’re going to create your e-commerce website. While it is possible to DIY one, this generally isn’t the best route.
When launching a site, it must be functional, easy to navigate, fast, and attractive. Unless you have a comprehensive background in web design and e-commerce sites, this can be hard to achieve.
E-commerce sites are typically a lot more complex than simple content-only sites. What’s more, e-commerce sites can easily become bogged down through high-res product media.
Instead of struggling with these obstacles on your own, it’s generally easier and faster to find a reliable agency that specializes in marketing and building e-commerce sites.
Do You Need Help With Your E-Commerce Website?
Launching an e-commerce website is no small task. If you want to successfully launch and scale an e-commerce business, you need to consider all the key factors. These include what niche of products to sell, what distribution model to use, etc.
You also need to make sure that you have the right help with marketing, branding, and site design.
Ripe Media is a full-service design and marketing agency. Contact us today for all your marketing and design needs.