How to know when to start selling online (and what to do about it)

Everyone is talking about e-commerce this year, and with good reason. Selling your products online can unlock a whole new audience for your brand and provide the much-needed growth your business is looking for.

But, with over 26 million e-commerce sites worldwide, how do you know whether you’re ready to sell online? And how can you get started?

What products are you selling?

If you already have products you sell offline or in a brick-and-mortar store, the great news is that you’re on the right track! If you know what you’re selling, you are well on your way to opening a fancy new online store.

What is the difference with e-commerce? Product descriptions, titles, and images are king in the online world. The better you master these three essential elements, the more money you can make.

Do you have a competitor?

Don’t worry if they’re already online and seeing great success – this means there’s a sizable market for your products!

Competitor analysis using tools like SpyFu can help you better understand any search engine optimisation and user experience required for your industry or field while avoiding common pitfalls. Competitor analysis isn’t about copying your competitors, but it should help you better understand your place in the market (what market share you have) and what works and what doesn’t work.

If you don’t have competitors, that’s not a problem either! You’ll need to be smart about what keyword search terms your site is optimised for and be sure about your target audiences. We’ll come back to this later.

Remember, not having competitors online isn’t a bad thing. After all, being innovative is the holy grail of e-commerce.

What’s your USP?

Having a unique selling point is essential for any business, so you probably have one, right? That’s great! Just remember that USPs are do-or-die online.

In a world occupied by behemoths like Amazon and Target, having a clear niche will help distinguish you from the rest and avoid a pricing war. Larger e-commerce companies win price-down battles because they have the capital to undercut everyone. This is why having a USP is so hugely important in e-commerce.

These days audiences resonate with a brand’s authenticity, especially younger generations, so having a clear mission and ethos can help put you ahead of the rest.

Who is your audience?

Knowing who will visit your online store and make a purchase will help you focus your branding and advertising to the nth degree.

In the world of e-commerce, nothing is accidental, including marketing. Every Facebook ad, YouTube Video, and Google Display ad is painstakingly targeted to the right people precisely at the right time.

How is this done? Most businesses start with buyer personas, fictional representations of real customers, that detail common behaviours, interests, ages, and keyword search terms. Once they’ve enticed somebody to their site, the real magic begins with retargeting ads and abandoned cart email campaigns.

How will you take payments?

You probably think you’ll take card payments, and that’ll be it, right? Of course, that can be it, but that’s certainly not the end of your options for e-commerce.

If your company is based somewhere like the Cayman Islands, you’ll need a payment gateway provider to process payments into your merchant bank account. It can be hard to know which provider is right for you, but there are a couple of great ones in Cayman we typically recommend.

If you’re all sorted with payment gateways, you still have more options to consider. Offering multiple payment avenues in your store will increase conversions, so it’s essential to consider whether you want to offer Apple Pay, Paypal, or even an invoice generator for later payment. Checkouts with Paypal payment options generally see around a 26% increase in conversions. The key here is making payments as fast and straightforwardly as possible.

Buy now, pay later options, like Klarna, can also kickstart sales, with some businesses recording up to a 20-30% increase in sales.

All of these options help reduce the ‘sticker shock’ of checkout online, which is particularly helpful for larger ticket items.

Okay, I’m ready. What now?

Sweet! Just like you wouldn’t build a store without a construction expert, you’ll need an e-commerce specialist to help you get started with your website.

The good news is that we are e-commerce specialists! So bring us your knowledge of your products, competitors, USPs, and audience, and we’ll do the heavy lifting for you when it comes to web design and development. No idea who your competitors are or what your audience should be? We can help you with that too!

Get in touch today for a no-commitment call, and we’ll help you build the e-commerce store of your dreams.