You are planning on launching a new e-commerce site. Maybe you already have a product, or even a site ready to go. How do you marketing your new e-commerce site? How do you drive traffic? Arguably, marking is the most challenging piece of the puzzle, and will take a long time to develop. But here are some ideas to get started.
Pick a Niche
You can't beat Amazon. So don't try. There are already several major stores that sell millions of products, and millions of stores that sell many products. To find a market, you need to drill down and find people with a specific need and interest. But remember, if you do want to become Amazon, Jeff Bezos started with just selling books out of his garage, eventually competing with Barnes & Nobles and Borders. He gradually expanded horizontally to take on Walmart and grocery stores.
Talk to people, listen. Find a specific product that fills a need few others are filling. For example, MeUndies started out as a brand that sold simple, comfortable underwear for men and women. Not a large fashion house or multiple lines. No spring/summer or resort season. They eventually branched out into socks and sweaters because people loved how comfortable their products were.
Unique Selling Proposition
Competition in e-commerce is stiff; let's not lie to ourselves. The days of just selling books online and becoming a billionaire are over. E-commerce isn't the future, it is the now, and it is crowded. You have seconds to convince your audience to pick your product before they look through a plethora of other options. The average user spends 3 minutes and 1 second on an e-commerce website. Meaning your window of convincing someone your product is the right choice is narrow.
Etsy does a good job of this. On the home page, just under the feed of new and recommended products, is the "What is Etsy" section. It shows in three simple points what Etsy is and why it is different, with a link to read more. Most people will not read more, but it gives the audience a 30-second overview of why the brand is different.
Simple but Good UX
Don't reinvent the wheel. I can't stress this enough. I have worked with many founders and e-commerce sites that discuss hiring a development team and designing the greatest thing on the web. Most founders have a grand vision for this amazing site or app that will stand out.
Unless a feature is fundamental to your product, not just your marketing, DO NOT build an app or website from scratch. And even then, really ask yourself if that one feature is necessary for your product. I have seen so many startups burn so much of their runway trying to code or design a website to stand out.
E-commerce isn't rocket science. SaaS providers like Shopify, Squarespace, and Wix host millions of sites and have almost all the features any young business needs. Setting up a site can take weeks instead of months, and you can devote the money and time you save to marketing and a killer product.
Personally, for e-commerce I like Shopify, while for a non-e-commerce site I prefer Wix. Shopify has a clean and simple shopping flow that users understand. Remember, it is more essential users find shopping to be seamless than that they find the site surprising. Shopify also has a vast app store of all the possible marketing integrations you might need. Most are plug-and-play, so you can get up and running collecting leads on Mailchimp rather than designing a pop-up.
I might go against the grain on this one, but I don't recommend WordPress. I have worked with many small brands that have wasted so much time and energy building and maintaining a WordPress site. Remember, WordPress was designed as a blog platform, not an e-commerce platform. Over time, plug-ins were developed to Frankenstein the platform into an e-commerce site.
Collect Leads (Emails)
Most of visitors to an e-commerce site don't buy on the first visit. Do you? Most of the time, people visit a site, look around, then leave and maybe research other options before returning to make a purchase.
Anyone selling online needs to think in terms of getting eyes on their site and recapturing their interest so people return. There are several primary methods for doing this:
Facebook retargeting ads
For now I am going to focus on email, which is the most important. Email has one of the highest ROI any marketing channel. But the key here is to collect emails in the first place. The first, and most obvious, way is the pop-up. Mailchimp is the industry standard and has a nice pop-up feature prebuilt. Because people might not be willing to give their email immediately, oftentimes a site will set a timer to have the pop-up show after 5 to 20 seconds. This way, users are less likely to instinctively click the X.
Getting started selling your product online can seem daunting. But there are many areas where you don't need to reinvent the wheel but simply focus on the areas you CAN do marginally better than the next brand. Focus the majority of your time on producing a stellar product and marketing it.
If you have any more questions about getting your e-commerce site up and running, contact us. We are happy to help with any of your digital marketing needs.