The Ultimate guide to ecommerce store setup and operations for small business

The Ultimate guide to ecommerce store setup and operations for small business

Ecommerce or electronic commerce store is currently one of the most important aspects of the internet to emerge. It is a type of business or commercial transaction that involves the transfer of information which covers a range of businesses, from consumer based retail sites, to business exchange trading goods. Ecommerce allows consumers to electronically exchange goods and services with no barriers of distance and time. For properly implementing an e-business plan, researching and understanding of the guidelines is a crucial part which helps to develop a successful online store.

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To start an ecommerce business is hard work with many steps and correct decisions that need to come together at the right time. Here are some simple yet important things that are placed in a logical order, to build and grow a profitable ecommerce business.
Let’s get started,

1. Choosing a product:

The most challenging part of starting a new online business is to know what product you want to sell. It’s always advisable to start with the ideas you already have. Another great source of product inspiration can come from your local news papers which tend to feature new, innovative and local concepts and products. With all your resources available you should start generating a healthy list of product ideas to begin.

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2. Research your competition:

You’ve have found your product. So, what’s next? Its time to write your business plan. Before you do that you should thoroughly research your competition, so that you know exactly what you are up against. It’s always better to identify your top 5 competitors’ specific to your industry and make a list of things you like and don’t like. Most importantly consider the following things like:
What are their prices?
What is their product photography like?
How are their product descriptions?
What are their shipping options like?
Is their site optimized for mobile?
Now that you have a list of your top 5 competitors and basic research on how they operate, its important to operate with flexibility and pivot direction.

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3. Brand positioning:

As in the name, brand positioning is nothing but positioning your brand in the mind of your customers. This includes a vast section of marketing itself.
-Elements like pricing, distribution, and even competition highly depend on brand position.
-Positioning of brand plays a significant role in ecommerce, which deals with a massive volume of products. This makes marking out a single brand quite tough, especially if your brand is not a renowned one.
-The product that you promote should match the requirement of your target audience. Only then you can expect a successful conversion.
-In ecommerce, product exclusivity forms a crucial feature. With the bulk of products available, exclusive product is bound to capture the attention of users.
– Personalisation of customer experience gives your brand an exclusive touch. It helps in bridging the gap between your business and customers. It brings customers close to you thereby creating a sense of trust on your product.
Why brand positioning is important? Proper brand positioning helps in increasing your product visibility to the relevant audience by promoting it at right time.

4. Unique selling position:

Call it whatever you want, USP is what sets you apart from others. With all the competition present, customers will be asking why they should buy from you. And your answer is your unique selling position. Create a USP that sets you apart from your competition. So, apart from explaining how you’re different, what else can a strong USP do for your ecommerce store? A strong USP helps build your ecommerce store’s brand. It increases your sales. So, now that you know what a USP is and what it does to your business, let’s see how to create yours.
a. Research:
First thing you need to do is research your top 5 competitors and figure out what their USP is. Also see what their customers are saying about them. You need to do some research on yours and should develop a customer persona. This will help you identify what your customers really care about, so that you can deliver it to them uniquely.
b. Extract benefits:
Customers generally shop for benefits. You need to understand what benefits you deliver to your customers. To rule this out, use your customer persona research to help you out
c. Find what’s unique:
Not always the product needs to be unique, your brand position also does. You have identified several benefits that you provide to your customers. Using your competitor research compare your benefits to theirs. It could be anything from product quality to customer service.
d. Keep it Simple:
Your USP is one of the first things they see the moment they land on your store. So, make it clear and concise. No one is going to read paragraphs of why you’re different!!
e. Market:
Your USP is at the core of your business, which means it needs to be everywhere. Put it on your website, definitely on the homepage, but possibly on the other pages in header. Put it on your social networks and anywhere a consumer comes in contact with your brand.
Differentiate yourself from the hundreds of other stores in your industry. No one is going to give you a second thought if you’re just like everyone else. Show them what’s unique about you and they’ll never forget.

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5. Minimum viable product:

A minimum viable product is a new product developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters. Minimal viable product helps a team to gather the greatest amount of insight about consumers. It costs less for the business to produce, while showing enough value to get people to try it. It channels consumer feedback to the business, which it can then use to refine and improve future product development. This model introduces products to consumer groups in limited doses with the goal of enlisting early adaptors who offer useful data in addition to revenue. The data obtained is used to optimize the continuing development of the product until market satisfaction is achieved. MVP is an effective tool for ecommerce owners who want to leave room for experimentation and test the waters before getting a new product up and running.

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6. Hire experts:

Planning a website includes to go through a few processes to make sure that we get the best possible result. Well, when we can’t do all the things, its best to trust the experts!! Because a quality web design will make your store look better. It is a misconception that web designer is just there to create mood boards, graphics and to place images in the right spaces. Actually, the job of designer is to plan every detail of your ecommerce store to make it all work in sync. Hence, it is important to hire experts to design your store.

7. Test for feedback:

Effective feedback is valuable information that will be used to make important decisions. Feedback both positive and negative is very helpful. Top performing companies are top performing companies because they consistently search for ways to make their work better everyday. Feedback is helpful only when it highlights weaknesses as well as strengths. First of all, select your audience to get feedback from. It’s always better to select people whom you trust, like your friends, family, and colleagues etc. Continued feedback is important across entire organisation to create strategies and service improvements.

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8. Refine feedback:

Feedback generally doesn’t contain a single opinion. As the feedback is collected from different people, it includes different opinions of different people. It’s impossible to consider every single feedback obtained. So, first important thing to do is to refine the obtained feedback. This makes you easy to do change your strategies and improve your services, formulate better decisions to improve and increase performance. After all continued learning is the key to improving.

9. Hire virtual assistants:

Setting up a website and starting a business is not just enough. You should work on it from time to time, add new products, market it, campaign for it. All these things cannot be done at a time a single person. Hence, it is important to hire virtual assistants. They are experts in importing subscribers, setting up welcome series, nurture and drip campaigns, provides you with monthly reports. In the meanwhile, you are freed up to concentrate on your own expertise and leadership, While all your needs are answered by experts!

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10. New offers:

An exciting offer can never go wrong!! Generally shipping offers are a big deal to consumers shopping for holiday gifts. Consumers generally don’t like to pay shipping fees; hence they mostly look for sites that offer free shipping. Generally these promotional offers are used to motivate consumers to buy. An offer can encourage a buyer to order more of given items. Most common offers include:

-free shipping
-free gift with purchase
-a percentage off
-cash back

Promos are regular part of doing business and something the consumer expects.

11. Listing on other ecommerce platforms:

Now you are done with designing your web site, exciting offers, exceptional products. How do people get to know about your business?? Advertising. Your subscribers are not your only customers. You should increase the access of your business by advertising about it on other ecommerce platforms. Reach of people to the popular websites will be relatively more. So why not use it for our business? It’s best to list your business with most popular deals available on the other platforms with relatively more access. The options are practically limitless when you take your campaign online effectively.

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If you are looking for ecommerce store design and development, we are here to help you. Libra web solutions is an ecommerce solution specialist who transformed 75+ ecommerce ventures for customers from UK, Australia, India, Hong Kong and Singapore since 2008. Feel free to contact us at: info@librawebsolutions.com

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<p>Digital transformational leader into Digital Payments & omni channel commerce, Software Services & Delivery using Web & Social, Mobile, Analytics, Could Platforms.Hands on 360 degree implementation of applications ranging from Commerce, Marketing, Sales, Service and Billing and back office operations</p>