By Aaron Duncan, Founder & CEO, wonderMode.com
As an entrepreneur and Founder of wonderMode.com, an online high-end sales and marketing platform/incubator for new and established brands, I meet many people in need of advice on the “how” to get started with ecommerce.
This article briefly covers some key points that you should consider when planning your brand’s foray into the world of e-commerce.
Setting up your own ecommerce business can be daunting; a lot of time, money and effort needs to be focused to make it viable.
One myth is “build it and they will come.” Small, young companies with limited brand recognition should remember that opening an online store is equivalent to opening a shop on a very quiet street, where no one goes to shop unless you market its product offerings/location – same for online!
However, online has greater long term potential as you can reach a much larger audience faster and generally with better economies of scale (still expensive, though!).
10 THINGS TO CONSIDER:
- DON’T BE A “KNOCK OFF” – Be different and better! Research, research, research! “Branding is everything” — particularly for new companies still developing their image. Treat your website site like it’s your “flagship store” as it’s literally the window to the world! Ensure your site visually showcases your brand vision and story, while at the same time resonating with your customer base.
- NEWNESS – Update your site often in order to entice your customers back and attract new ones. Treat your online-store like a brick-and-mortar store by introducing new products/promotions and re-merchandising your space often.
- SIMPLICITY IS BEAUTY- make sure your site is easy and simple to get around, as “user experience” is very important – just as if you were walking into a store looking for a department. People are time strapped and want to find what they are looking for fast.
- PRODUCT IS KING – products should be clearly shot with multiple angles, preferably on a model (or mannequin if budgets are tight). Remember, people want to easily visualize how the product will look and fit them.
- SPARE NO ATTENTION TO DETAIL – detailed product description, sizing specs, competitive pricing, image details, etc…get that all right and returns will be limited.
- GROW YOUR ASSETS – ensure you have an automated online-process to collect and store email addresses. The math doesn’t work in-terms of renting mailing lists for early stage firms. You will be surprised how fast your fan email list will grow from regularly emailing them with brand updates and employing a strategic social media plan (see #7).
- BE A SOCIALITE- use vehicles such as Facebook, Twitter and blogging to connect and engage with your user and attract new ones. This is a lot of work and should be part of a bigger social media plan.
- ADD VALUE — MERGE CONTENT AND COMMERCE – be a go-to resource for your customers; do their homework for them and give them a reason to come back (just changing the merchandising isn’t enough). Remember to integrate your blog content with relevant posts that complement your product etc.
- USE THE FREE STUFF – Utilize Google Analytics and Facebook Insights to analyze your traffic – This is a whole separate discussion along with search engine optimization (SEO) for another post!
- TEAM, TEAM, TEAM – Lastly, you can’t do the above without a passionate and motivated team, as there is too much to get accomplish to go it alone, so involve all your valuable resources to make it happen!
To conclude, be patient, once your site is operating it takes a lot of time and hard work to drive traffic and in turn sales, but your brand will surely reap the benefits.
My 30 second pitch: A unique site like wonderMode.com, a premier luxury platform “online department store – marketplace” that enables designers to promote, sell & build their brands online, provides an ecommerce solution for you if you don’t have the time, money or resources to build and manage your own ecommerce site. While we do not carry your inventory (you pick/pack and ship) we do facilitate the online sales/shipping logistics, brand-marketing and ecommerce processes; for a minimal charge we can even shoot your product. Thus, consider wonderMode as an option to help you grow your brand and online business.
For further information on wonderMode and its services please contact: Aaron Duncan, Founder of wonderMode.com at aarond@wonderMode.com.