Hey you, let me bet- You are just itching to join the online community. Generating income on your terms. I hear you, it sounds AMAZING. But wait, don’t skip ahead to the headlines just yet! Hear me out.
When stating ‘a few things to consider’ I just want to make it clear that this is only a drop of water in the big bucket called E-commerce. From my own experience, you can never stop learning. Going online is an exciting venture, being your own boss has never been easier to come by than at this day and age. From what I’ve seen so far, the year 2020 marks as the booming of online businesses. Yes, it has been around for long now, and yes it grew by the day. But my gosh, this year has been another story.
Let’s jump off the Online-pony for a sec and just stare at it from a distance – E-commerce can mean anything these days. It’s not just a shop selling products anymore, that can generate income. You’ve got Life coaches, Online courses, Online classes, Influencers, Digital products, Physical products, marketplaces etc. The list goes on and on- your head will explode trying to think of all the possibilities. Trying to dive into each possibility and what you need to do there will take pages and pages full of information, that is why I will just cover the basics. Basic areas that you need to focus on, regardless of what online platform you’re creating. Some things I can elaborate on, others I will need to extend to other blog posts in the future.
Alright, thanks for sticking with me so far.
For the basics, I divided everything into three sections: Customer Experience, the follow-up and costs. Let’s dive in.
1. Customer Experience
I’m starting with this for a reason. In my experience, customer experience is one of the most important aspects to focus on, basically in any business. Online, it looks a little bit different. Customer experience includes everything from how your website is rolled out to the follow up.
- Your website
Okay, I don’t think I need to tell you how important your website is. It is literally the most important part. It is where a customer will engage fully with your brand, do it wrong, and you lose that person within a few minutes. You have 8 seconds to impress a visitor. WHAT!? I know right! a Sharp decrease from the average attention span of 12 seconds in the year 2000 by the way. Now I know what you are thinking, how can I sell something to someone in 8 seconds. That is a question to answer in another blog post (Yes, it is on my list). But, to give a quick summary as to how to keep a user engaged – Your navigation should be easy and simple. Be informative. Make sure your website is user-friendly and mobile-friendly. Your photography should be on point together with your overall branding.
- Customer’s process
Meaning, the process a visitor goes through from the moment they engage with your brand. This is basically the customer experience, but I just had to put the website as a point by itself. The process might look like this: Discover and engage with your brand on Instagram. Click the link to your website. Browse your website. Choose to buy a specific product. Checkout. Payment. Receive order confirmation. Receive package. You want to make sure that every phase of this process runs as smoothly as possible. Also, don’t be afraid to be creative as well. Being creative is what sets you apart. It will make your brand memorable, bringing back recurring customers. Consider every aspect of this process. Heck, go through it yourself to test it out, ask a friend or two to do it as well and gather feedback. This is not a thing you should overlook.
Just a quick tip – please oh please try and automate as much as possible. This will make your life much easier, whilst keeping your customers happy. Lucky for us, there are amazing platforms that do the automation for us, Like Woocommerce or Shopify, to name a few.
2. The Follow-up
Putting customer experience first, and this second is not a coincidence. Technically, the follow-up is part of the customer experience. Personally, I feel it deserves its own shot in the line light. Let’s start off by defining what I mean with following up.
Consider this – we are constantly bombarded by marketing messages and brands pushing their products/services in our face. If that is not enough, we already don’t have very long attention span. Throw our busy lives into the mix, what do you get? A customer that buys a product when they see and like it, but might not return again – if not reminded of your amazing brand again – a.k.a the follow-up. A follow-up can take many forms: A quick cutesy call or email to hear if the customer is happy. A coupon code to say thank you for the purchase. A discount code for every future referral made, and the most popular – loyalty points (Ahh, now you get it, glorious loyalty points!). This is something that can create customer trust and loyalty. It can humanize your brand (which is so important these days) and make you relatable. So, start dotting down some follow-up strategies, you won’t regret it!
The dreaded money-talk. But I feel like I have to mention this because it is something to consider when taking on anything. Costs when starting any new venture can be divided into two basic categories: Start-up costs and recurring costs. So, start budgeting for both.
- Start-up costs can be anything from paying someone to do your branding and website, to stocking up on products or using your time (yes, time is money).
- Recurring costs. Website costs money to start and build yes, but there is recurring costs as well. For example, your hosting and domain payments, subscription, external service subscriptions like Mailchimp (unless you are using the free package) etc. All of this comes down to proper planning and budgeting.
As mentioned, this is only a drop in a big bucket. There is so much more out there that needs to be said but can’t be covered in one post. I will do my best in the next posts for future reference. The world of online and E-commerce is a wonderful thing, it can open so many doors for you. All you need to do is sit and brainstorm. Figure out your passion, what you are good at and combine the two in one heck on amazing idea I know you can do! In a creative rut? I’ve got you covered! I’m throwing in a FREE brainstorming sesh just for YOU. Get it and get started! Now is the best time.
Until next time! Thanks for hanging with me,