Whether you’re just starting out in e-commerce or are a seasoned store owner, good advice and planning saves time and money. Here are 7 strategies you can employ to put your e-commerce startup store on the fast track to success.
1) Find the low hanging fruit
There’s a lot of competition in niche markets these days. You’re goal is to find a niche that has seen relatively little innovation and is relatively large in size (ideally $1b+ market cap). Some good ways to source ideas for your new e-commerce startup are searching kickstarter for recently funded campaigns, do keyword research via google tools, browse etsy, pinterest, and other product discovery platforms, and work backwards.
2) Don’t obsess over perfection
When you’re just getting started, it’s easy to convince yourself everything has to be perfect. But that’s the type of obsession that can easily sink your business in the early stages. You’re main goal as an e-commerce startup is to create a minimum viable product (MVP) and generate sales. Yes, it would be nice to invest millions in R&D, but don’t let your lack of funding stop you from taking action. Stick to a product that is different enough, and has enough of a compelling grab, that it sells itself without being the ultra-deluxe final version you see in your minds eye.
3) Be Different. Very, very different.
This goes with the last point about selling a product that’s so unique it sells itself. What innovative spin can you put on an old product? What niche industries are out there that have experienced little or no innovation? The trick is to find one of those relatively untapped niches and apply technology so that you can penetrate the market faster, and offer a more compelling product than the competition.
4) Get horizontal.
Pop quiz: what’s easier? Selling your product 1 time to 1,000 people, or selling it 1,000 times to 1 person. When you find good distribution channels your workload decreases and your sales increase; a mathematical relationship all business owners love. Spend your time hammering the leads that will result in volume orders, and let the single sales come to you.
5) Growth Hack
Does your product breed word of mouth? When someone uses whatever you sell are their friends, family, and colleagues going to hear it, see it, smell it, or somehow be affected by it? Ideally one or more will happen. That’s how you get your customers to do your marketing for you. When your product is innately social, every sale is a two-birds-with-one-stone transaction.
6) Find a mentor
The value of a good mentor is worth their weight in gold. How many tactics succeed as opposed to fail? I can you definitively failure comes easier (and more often) than success. A good mentor will have failed a number of times, but will also have a few successes under their belt. That experience is invaluable and, when shared, will help you navigate through the series of decisions that can literally make or break your business.
7) Never forget the importance of a GREAT web development team.
Bug on your website? Need to update your design or add functionality? Maybe just a new landing page for a special you’re running… Whatever it is, remember that website maintenance is an ongoing responsibility. Your site is the face of your business. And when things go wrong, you need to act fast. In the early days, if you can, you’d be smart to partner with a good service provider rather than break up equity in your company to hire developers. Sales, not development, make or break your company. So find a good e-commerce development team to take care of fixes, new development, and website logistics, and save your equity for the team members responsible for growing your business.