These days, anyone can create an e-commerce site. But doing so in a way that actually produces profit is a whole other challenge. Success means devoting some time to develop your site. Here are our three tips for launching an e-commerce site that will make you money.
Use market research to define your business plan
A business plan is the starting point for an e-commerce site. Before jumping into building your website, evaluating its profitability in the coming months and years is an indispensible first step. Doing market research will allow you to evaluate your prospects for growth in relation to the competition, and from there forecast your expenses and receipts.
Record all the fees associated with this new business in a forecast budget, and above all, be complete: the more precise you are, the more your forecasted budget will match with your actual revenue.
Various free templates are available online that can help you with making your business plan, but you should also consider contacting the owners of well established e-commerce sites to see what they can tell you about how to come out profitable.
Launch your e-commerce site with a carefully selected domain name and “extension”
Now that you’ve established your business plan, it’s time to bring your e-commerce site to life. There are three essential choices you’ll have to make: what domain name you pick, the “extension” (or top-level domain) you choose, and your e-commerce platform.
Choose a domain name
A domain name is your site’s address online. It’s like the front door of your online store. You’ll use it heavily when promoting your site, which is wh your domain name should meet certain criteria. It should be:
- Attractive: to keep your future customers’ attention
- Unique: your domain should distinguish you from your competitors and generate interest
- Pertinent: whatever is too vague or too cryptic might dissuade potential customers
- Easy to spell and to remember: a good e-commerce domain name should pass the “radio test”, that is, people can remember and correctly spell your domain name after hearing it for the first time
- Short and simple: ideally, your domain name shouldn’t be more than two words
Forget about any domain name that uses numbers, hyphens, or other special characters that might complicate things for anyone searching for your website or increase the risk of spelling errors.
Finding a domain name that meets these criteria and that’s still available might seem daunting. That’s why you might consider opting for a new top-level domain (TLD, sometimes referred to as an “extension”) can be a good compromise in order to obtain an optimum domain name.
Choose an “extension”
Choosing a top-level domain (TLD) depends first and foremost on the purpose of the website you’re going to be using it for. When creating an e-commerce website, reassuring the average internet user that your site is authentic and trustworthy is of capital importance. You have a few different options:
- .com: the classic, considered a safe bet!
- .uk, .in, .eu, .nyc, .london, .amsterdam, …: localize your domain to stand out more! With a strong sense of identity, these domains help build trust and let internet users know you’re local
- .shop, .store, .site, .online, …: these new domains target your area of business more precisely and lend credibility to your online presence
These new possibilities in particular offer greater flexibility in your choice of domain. Feel free to try several combinations in order to find the ideal domain “extension”. It’s worth noting that your choice of top-level domain (TLD) is first and foremost a way to reassure users but choosing an explict domain name can also improve your SEO.
Choose an e-commerce platform
Your choice should be guided by the features that you wish to provide customers of your online store but also, (and above all), by your technical skill level.
If you’re interested in an option that gives you lots of autonomy, choose a platform like Shopify or Wizishop, that let you quickly launch your site. These very popular e-commerce platforms take care of everything for you, from choosing a template to adding products and payment methods.
If on the other hand you’d like to customize your online store a bit, an open source option would let you maximize the customization available to you and keep control over your site. Prestashop is one of the most-used options in the world for building professional e-commerce websites, all while being easy to use and set up. We now offer a turnkey solution for launching your e-commerce site with Prestashop in 10 minutes or less!
Create your online marketing strategy with precise goals
Once your e-commerce site is online, focus on your marketing efforts in order to promote your business and meet the goals you defined in your business plan. Whatever the budget you’ve decided to allow for this, to be efficient, your online marketing strategy should be based on these three pillars:
- Exact, attainable, and measurable goals for the short and the long term. These will be the connecting thread of all that you do, of which every impact should be miticulously analzyed using carefully chosen metrics
- An identified target, because no, you can’t just sell anything to anyone. Segment your audience based on who has greater demand for your products and work to increase the rate of conversion there
- A pricing structure that ensures your continued profitability and that also takes into account your competitors’ rates as well as the image you want to define for your brand
Now you’re ready to build your e-commerce site! Keep in mind that, as with any project, you’ll have both success and failures. But with determination, your e-commerce site can quickly achieve your objectives. So, what are you waiting for? Launch your site!