So, you have decided to start your very own eCommerce store?
That sounds great! But before you quit your job in order to become the next Jeff Bezos, take some time to create a business plan.
Even though starting an eCommerce business sounds exciting, jumping right in without a business plan can be a shortcut to failure. Constructing a business plan will help you get a complete picture of everything you need in order to start a successful eCommerce brand.
Writing a business plan might seem like lots of work but luckily for you, there are great free business plan templates you can use.
What Else Do You Need for a Successful eCommerce Launch?
Starting an eCommerce business can be quite frustrating. This is especially true when it comes to launching your eCommerce website. Of course, you want the launch to be neat and without any obstacles, so the customers are satisfied. But in reality, this is easier said than done!
To help you out, we’ve created this checklist. Go through it to make sure you don’t forget any of the most important elements that make a successful eCommerce launch.
Add a Custom Domain
First things first, the name of your online store shouldn’t look like this: www.annas-store.myshopify.com. You can buy a custom domain name from domain registrars like Nameboy, Uniregistry, Hover, or Namecheap for a relatively low price that is paid annually. This way, you will have your own professional-looking & original domain.
Plan Your Marketing Strategy
If you begin marketing your online store before it launches, you will be able to start selling immediately after it goes live! Choose the most effective marketing methods and channels for your business. You can use content marketing, SEO, social media, and email marketing to make sure people know that you’re about to launch an e-store. Make a plan and get down to work.
Edit the Homepage Title and Meta Description
Ensure that your homepage title and meta description contain updated information. These two elements are important because they’re what customers see when they find you on Google. Well-optimized titles and meta descriptions are also important SEO-wise as they can help you rank higher in SERPs. The title should contain your store’s name so it can be easily identified by both potential customers and search engines.
Optimize Product Images
Poorly optimized product images are one of the most common reasons for slow loading websites. And customers tend to leave slow-loading websites. That’s why you need to make sure your images are well optimized. Check out the product image editing service by Pixelz to edit your images and cut down their sizes without compromising on quality.
Add an About Us Page
Did you know that the About Us page is almost always the most visited page on any site? Potential customers go to this page to find out more about who’s behind the e-store, so this is a good place to convey your message, tell your brand story, and engage with your customers.
Add Contact Info
The customers need to be able to contact you at any time, whether by live chat, phone, or email. Make sure that you can be easily reached through at least one of these options and that it’s clearly visible on your Contact page.
Add a FAQ Page
Although you are just starting your business and haven’t had the chance to deal with customers’ questions, try to predict what customers will want to know. Customers are very likely to visit your FAQ page for answers to any questions they might have before they decide to contact you, so leaving helpful answers there will save you a lot of time and energy once your store is launched.
Add a Terms of Service Page
In general, terms of service agreements are legally binding. Some platforms like Shopify automatically generate Terms and Conditions documents for the stores but you can use Terms and Conditions generators or templates as well.
Add a Shipping, Returns, and Refund Policy Page
Customers want to know how your store’s shipping process works: how you’ll be shipping the products, what’s the time frame, and whether they can return products, and details about your refund policy. That’s why you need to ensure this info is readily available for them. If you don’t provide this info on your site or if it’s not completely clear, they might choose to shop elsewhere.
Make Checkout Simple
Minimize the information fields your customers need to fill in at checkout to make sure you get only the information you really need. If the checkout process is too complicated, your customers will abandon their shopping cart. This is especially common in customers who shop from their mobile devices. The space allotted on mobile is limited, which makes the form look longer than on desktop devices.
Offer Different Payment Methods
Ensure that your customers can shop from your e-store using their preferred payment method. This may mean integrating gateways like Stripe, PayPal or Shopify Payments.
Collect Customer Emails at Checkout
In eCommerce, emails are very important as they’re one of the most personalized ways to communicate with your customers. To expand your email list, add an email opt-in on your homepage or a pop-up triggered by visitors scrolling through your site. In addition, offer an option for customers to opt-in to your newsletter before checking out.
Use Tracking and Analytics Tools
The top three tools that allow you to track visitors that come to your e-store are Google Analytics, Shopify Reports, and Facebook Pixel so make sure to install them before launch. These tools will provide valuable customer insight that physical stores can’t get.
These are the steps we believe are most important in order to have a successful eCommerce website launch. Depending on your business goals, you might not have to check each of them but for most e-stores, they’re a great starting point.