You can buy literally anything online these days, and we see new eCommerce store popping up all the time. Advances in web technology has made it accessible for anyone to build an online shop and list their products. But what does it take to make that shop a success?
All too often we see people attempting to build their own fashion empire or digital goods emporium using free online store builders like Wix or Squarespace, and are left baffled when their business fails due to lack of sales. Here are our top tips to avoid the usual pitfalls of new online businesses.
Get the experts in
Although you might think you’re saving money by building a store yourself, you have to ask yourself the following questions: ‘Have I ever built a website before?’ and ‘Do I know how to make it a success?’ if the answers to both of those questions are a resounding NO then you need to re-evaluate your plan. Here at Premier Web Consultancy we have built thousands of websites, so we know how to do it, and how to make it a success.
Choose your niche
If you don’t already have a product or range of products in mind, you need to find a previously untapped niche. There’s no point entering a saturated market like the fashion industry unless your have a very exciting USP, or trying to build the next AO.com if you don’t have a unique offering, you’ll just get chewed up by the big boys.
Take great pictures
So you’ve got a fabulous website, and have lined up the perfect products, the most important step is to professionally photograph them. Ideally on a white background in a well lit studio. If you have a creative streak you can give it a try yourself, Fred Aldous in Manchester city centre provides full studio and equipment hire for just £20 per hour. Images sell the products, and can make or break your online business.
Find your customers
With the best will in the world, customers won’t come to you if they don’t know about you, your products or your website, so you have to find your audience. Luckily the world of internet marketing is here to help. You can reach out on various social media platforms, approach the press if you have something particularly impressive, and even try our SEO services in Manchester.
Reward loyalty and retain customers
Once you have your audience and you’re making sales, it’s important to recognise your customers. Keep them up to date with special offers via mail shots, send them discount codes, offer them free postage, whatever it takes to encourage them to come back and spend again.
Cross sell your products
A well built eCommerce store will allow you to link relevant products together, presenting the customer with more buying opportunities.
Rinse and repeat
Once you have a winning formula, there’s nothing stopping you from replicating your success. Learn the lessons that your first venture has taught you, and do it all over again, perhaps in a different sector, a little diversification never hurt anyone!
There are literally hundreds of website design agencies in Manchester alone, and even more freelancers, so how do you choose the right partner?
For some people it's all about cost - the cheapest deal they can find will win the contract, for others its about finding an agency that understands their business or has experience in their sector. Here's our top tips for finding the right web designer in Manchester.
Write a brief
This is the most important stage when it comes to finding a web designer, it means you have a clear understanding of what you want your website to achieve, and it gives everyone else a set of deliverables which they must work towards. Armed with a clear, concise brief means you'll find it much easier communicating with prospective designers and developers.
Understand your requirements
Having an in-depth understanding of your requirements is vital, especially for a larger web build. Set these requirements out and stick with them. You might want your website to help people locate your business, promote your latest offers, or even sell your products online.
Establish your search criteria
How you look for a web design agency will determine the kind of results you can expect. If you post a status on Facebook saying that you're looking for a web site designer, then you'll get bombarded with freelancers and amateurs. If you search Google then you'll find the top results are usually the larger and more expensive agencies. If you ask your friends and business associates for recommendations you'll get much more reliable prospects.
Set a budget
It makes life so much easier if you decide how much you can spend on your new website, and be honest with people. A clearly defined budget means an agency can work out what they can offer you for that price, it doesn't mean they're going to take the money and run.
There's no harm in shopping around, you wouldn't buy the first car you come across, so why should it be the same with your website. There are many agencies offering different types of services at different prices, so have a discussion with a good handful of developers to get an idea of cost, their abilities and how they can help you and your business.
For larger projects it's vital that you get written proposals or statement of works from your prospective agencies, this demonstrates that they understand your requirements, and you can judge their abilities.