Everbody is talking about it, everybody is trying it. E-commerce is definitely one of the hottest verticals out there. In this article I’m going to try to give away a few tips and tricks for launching and growing an e-commerce store. I won’t focus on a specific product or specific site, but rather I’ll try to provide you with a checklist of general things you should look at when building, growing or optimizing your store. Its non exhaustive and based on my experience with affiliate marketing and e-commerce, its not a guarantee for success but I hope it will help you, at least a little bit, in the search towards scale and profitability.
So, here goes. The basic checklist is just two simple yet important lessons:
- This is the most important one. E-commerce is all about the product. If you have a good/cool/fancy product, it will sell with the least minimum marketing effort. If you have an avarage/shitty/not-cool product, you can spend thousands on marketing, it won’t sell. So, how to pick a winning product? Honest answer: no one knows. Its all about testing, testing and more testing. And if you have to fail, fail fast. And then move on to the next product to test.
- Time – don’t understimate the amount of hours and nights you’ll have to spend to build a succesful e-commerce store. Some people think you can do this as a side project. Its not possible. You’ll have to go all-in in order to make it work and make a living out of it. Available time and lots of persistence, not giving up, are key ingredients to success.
Those are basically the two most important tips – its all about the product and time investment. If you don’t have a cool product and you don’t have time – stop reading here. The rest of the checklist is more centered on Optimization, and will be subdivided into various topics.
- You’ll have to do Paid Advertising. Don’t rely on keywords, free or organic traffic. Thats slower than a turtle and will never get you to a decent scale. If you want to grow and reach scale, you’ll need to do paid advertising, right from the start. I suggest to focus on Facebook, Google Adwords, Native Adnetworks and Affiliate networks to get paid traffic. Read and study these traffic sources through and through, only spend money once you understand how the traffic source works.
- Implement tracking so you can optimize. Implement Google Analytics, Google Ecommerce Tracking and the Facebook Pixel on your site – all three are free tools – so you can track everything that happens (visitors, clicks, conversions, value, countries, etc). Data is knowledge and will help you find the path towards what countries and products to focus on. It will also show you the ROI of your paid advertising, and where to invest your money – and where not. Don’t do any paid advertising without conversion tracking properly working.
- Dont focus on likes, shares, retweets, comments. Thats all ego. You can’t pay bills with likes and banks dont accept shares or comments as payments. Focus on products that sell and bring in money.
- Work with an ecommerce solution to host and build your site. Most popular ones: shopify, magento, woocommerce, bigcommerce. I personally recommend shopify as its very easy to use, not expensive, and there are a lot of cool site templates you can use for your store. Don’t overcomplicate things, you can start doing that when you’re making +1K$ a day with your store.
- Where to get the products? Get them on Aliexpress and “dropship” at the start and once you reach scale you can get them on Alibaba. Import them into your store using Oberlo. Double the price and start marketing them. A lot of people ask “why would people buy your product if they can get it half the price on aliexpress?” 90% of all people don’t know Aliexpress, and from the 10% that do know it, half doesn’t trust it. So your market is huge. Just look around for a long time on Aliexpress/Alibaba and then go to your local store, mall or shopping center, you’ll see a lot of the exact SAME products. Just priced way higher. Sales is about Marketing and how you present it to the customer, its about Persuasion and the Copy/Text/Videos you use for that.
- Spy on your competition. Check big ecommerce sites and see what products they sell, what their conversion pipeline looks like, what tools/apps/technology they use and don’t use in their selling process, etc etc. Then copy – paste – test – improve. No need to reinvent the wheel every time you do something.
- Use a nice logo and nice product pictures. No crappy and low resolution images. Work with videos to show and explain your products, people are lazy and don’t like to read long texts.
- Do some research on colors and what they mean – how that relates to your product and your ‘brand’. Be consistent with your color choices. Get a design specialist to help you with the design aspect (images/videos/logo building/etc)
- Be careful with pop ups. Its quite agressive. You could use a pop up when the user has an intent to close the screen and leave your site, offering a discount code.
- Test Hotjar or any other heatmap technology to see what users look at and click on. Use that information to optimize your site and make it more user friendly. You can also use Google Analytics for this.
- Make sure the pictures are not to heavy so the load speed of the site is fast. Nobody likes a site that loads slowly. A slow site will kill your conversion rates. You can use https://tools.pingdom.com/ for testing and optimizing the speed of your site.
- Get “trust logos” on your site: mcafee, norton, paypal secure, etc. People will only buy from you if they trust your site. In that regard. Make sure your site is https, have the above mentioned trust logo’s in there and also an “About us” section with pictures of your team/office/etc can help with that, amongst other things.
- Try out a “chat button” so people can chat with you or even when you’re not there, they can leave their questions, comments and complaints. That will help you with understanding your customers better.
Conversion increasing tips:
- Make sure to have big and clearly visible Call to Action buttions: “buy now” or “get it now” or “buy”. A/B test a lot with this.
- Offer free shipping and mention this multiple times througout the sales pipeline. People love free stuff.
- Make sure the sales pipeline is short and easy. How many clicks does it take from getting on your site to reach the checkout and pay? The shorter, the better.
- Work with upsells and cross-sells. Upsell: If somebody is buying product X, you could offer to get an additional product or feature on top of product X for just a few bucks extra (eg headphones with the purchase of a phone). Cross-sell: if somebody buys product X, offer them to buy X+Y at a discounted price. Amazon is a master at upselling and crosselling so just study how they do it and do it as well.
- Have customer testimonials on your site.
- Put a clearly visible “return policy” and “shipping policy” on your site. People want to know whats going to happen after they ordered, when they’ll get the product, and if & how they can return the product in case they are not happy with it. Your main goal is take the insecurity away so people are not afraid to order on your site. Trust is everything.
- Keep track of everything. Return percentages, average order value, cities people order from, profitable vs not profitable traffic sources, questions that customers have, google analytics stats, drop off/bounce rates, etc etc. The more data you have, the better your view on how the store works and what people buy and don’t buy. Otherwise you’re just another guy with an opinion. Data talks, data walks.
- Negotiate with your suppliers for the best possible deal. And once you have that and have some traction, re-negotiate.
- Start off with 20-25 products in your store and work with dropshipping from Aliexpress/Alibaba. Get each product at home or in the office before publishing it on the site. Rather soon its going to be clear that the bulk of your sales will come from one or two products. Once you have significant traction, it would make sense to start holding stock off your best selling products so shipping times decrease (very important for customers!), the rest of the products you can keep on dropshipping them.
- Do some Good customer service. Presales – whats in the box, how to use it, warranty details, how long is shipping, etc. During Ordering – how can I pay? is there a tracking number? And also After Sales with a follow up/confirmation email to confirm the order has been placed and another one when the order ships.
- A/B test different apps to increase conversion rates and sales volumes. E.g. Trackify, hurrify, RetargetApp, Fomo, Zendesk, Wheelio, Conversio, etc are just a few examples. When A/B testing just change one variable in the setup, so you can calculate the impact it has on performance and ROI.
That’s all for now folks! If you have your own ecommerce store and already have some volumes but are looking to grow and scale to +1,000$ a day, then ChameleonAds can help you with that. Don’t hesitate to reach out via email or phone!