Many people are interested in starting an e-commerce business, but don’t often know how to begin. Those who have started one struggle with the first few sales, often try some ads and then hit a wall. It’s a bit like the chicken and the egg metaphor. You need sales to show social proof so that you can generate more sales. Shopify has many apps that can help you build customer trust and social proof on your store. These apps will help you improve your visitor to sales conversion rate, and make buying ad traffic more easily profitable. There are also a number of services such as online chat, 1 800 #s and others will be key for managing customer service which will in turn improve your close and conversion rate on sales.
Some trends I saw in 2019 include marketing strategies that go beyond basic drip campaigns with e-mail marketing (NOTE: e-mail follow-up is especially critical for abandoned cart followups and get easily add 7% to 10% sales to your store). New strategies include using online chat with AI (artificial intelligence), Facebook Messenger and SMS integrations with abandoned cart follow-ups for example. These customer contact methods show engagements much higher than many others.
Getting an e-commerce store going can take as little as a few days to a few months. Here are 3 steps below on how to get started. I have also included my top recommended apps and services for getting you started selling as fast as possible.
1. Choose Your Niche Wisely
There are lots of resources online on how to do this, but this is very very important so take your time. You will need to look at competition, go to Google Trends, search Amazon Movers and Shakers, Aliexpress.com search hashtags on Facebook to get a read on if your niche is growing. Also try using the Jungle Scout Chrome plugin to see what items are actually selling on Amazon, and for how much monthly revenue. There are many paid services also like ecommhunt.com and others, but my advise is they are not necessary, and often suggest already saturated market niches.
But really IMHO, an idea is only as good as its execution, and e-commerce is ALL ABOUT EXECUTION! You can choose a great niche, line up a top-notch local supplier, but you are dead in the water if you make a home-made logo, have bad design, UI, don’t use proper apps etc. See our article on 10 Steps To Get Started with Dropping in 2020.
2. Create A Store
Like Nike said, Just Do It! You will need to create a logo and open a Shopify store. Although I highly recommend Shopify given its excellent reliable hosting and wealth of apps as well as native e-commerce tools (if you are slightly more technology savvy), you may wish to create a hosting account at Dreamhost and install WordPress, then add the WooCommerce plugin.
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You need to get product listings up and running so that you can show it to other manufacturers to get them to see that you are serious about selling. It is a bit like the chicken and the egg. You need a store to get suppliers, but you need suppliers to have a store. So start with the store and make it look good! Quality photos and videos are key, so take lots of time with this. White space is your friend, so keep it simple and hire an expert for your Shopify template or WordPress design layout for WooCommerce. Choose a colour palette with 2 or 3 colours max, and echo them throughout your site and promotions. This set of colours should match the tone and feel of your products – red means action, and pink mean softness etc.. Talk to your designer about the tone you are going for in your branding.
3. Use Apps and Services
You can’t create a store alone without using plugins on WordPress or apps on Shopify. You need the right apps and services, and yes, you will need to spend some money, though our Gravy Sales & Marketing Shopify App is totally free! Invest $500 on Fiverr or Upwork to get a professional site that is optimized, has a colour palette that suits your ideal customers and please oh please create a professional logo. A bad / illegible or busy logo will kill your brand before it gets off the ground. It is really worth it! It is then up to you to choose products images and copy to create listings. You can also outsource this…
You will need to budget $50 to $100 per month on store hosting and apps. Seem like a lot? It’s not, and will pay for itself many times over once you start selling. Shopify’s Community and blog is a GREAT resource to get feedback on your site, and help with what apps to load.
For my high ticket site, here are the apps I use below.
3 Looka.com – logo creation using artificial intelligence
5. Ringcentral – 1800 services, vanity #
6. Paybright – credit financing up to $15K Cdn (Requires $300K of sales)
3. Privy – email newsletter popup
4. Tidio Chat – online chat with custom AI/responses
6. Recart – Facebook Messenger/Cart follow-up
7. Upsell Now – an excellent free upselling app
8. Sticky Cart – your Add to Cart button follows customers
Bonus -> Do’s and Don’ts!
- Branding consistent in design/colours throughout site/emails/pops
- High quality photos and videos convert!
- Can a 7 year old navigate your site?
- Cart abandonment email/messenging is easiest recovery!
- Customize Shopify button labels on checkout
- Disclose your shipping timing, location, return policy, about us
- Learn how to use Google Shopping and Facebook Ads
- Add Google Analytics into your site to track traffic sources and pages and also to help sell your business later (this is key!)
- Use small type and multiple fonts
- Use more than 3 colors (palette) for your theme/layout
- Add more than one email pop-up and one sales pop-up per page
- Give customers costly shipping surprises during checkout