Getting Off the Ground: How to Launch Your First E-Commerce Site
You’ve got a product line you want to sell and a business plan that can’t lose.
Great! Now, how do you turn that into a functioning and successful online shop?
The following are the key steps to get from plans on paper to real profits in your pocket.
1) Control Costs with Coupon Codes.
From finding customers with paid ads, to using credit card gateways, the costs for your ecommerce store are going to add up fast. Go through our list and find coupon codes for each. Try CouponLynx.org for coupons for your domain name, as well as hosting costs if your ecommerce software doesn’t supply hosting along with their software (i.e. Shopify). If you need hosting, you can also try here:
2) Settle on a Supplier
Unless you have a very niche product line, there will be a number of supplier options. Compare prices, ask for samples, check their business history and references, and work out the added costs and delays of customs if your supplier is overseas.
3) Ready Your Shipping Plan
Failure to anticipate the full costs and complications of shipping is a common rookie mistake.
If you’re packing and shipping in-house, you’ll need a breakdown of the full costs of materials, labor and carrier rates. A fulfillment service might be more economical than the DIY approach.
4) Pick Your E-Commerce Software
There are two basic approaches to choose from: a core stand-alone website that you add individual elements to (like an online shopping cart), or an all-in-one e-commerce platform like Shopify or BigCommerce. The features you need will determine which is best for you.
5) Activate Your Marketing Plan
You want to start generating awareness before you launch. Do that with social media, direct email and mailer marketing. Also consider indirect marketing methods like a blog, which help establish authority and boost your ranking in search engines.
All that’s left is to stock your starting inventory, test out any initial promotional offers for bugs and unintended consequences, and you’re ready to rack up sales!