If you are about to launch an e-commerce business, then you already know there is a lot to think about. From the back end operations of fulfilment, to the user experience of your website – there’s certainly plenty to keep you busy!
With so much going on, it can be easy to overlook the things that are important to your success.
There are some key things you can do on and around your launch period that will get you off to a strong start. Here are 7 things to remember as they will position your business for success.
01 / Don’t skip the pre-launch promotion
In the build-up to the launch of your online store, it is important to build some excitement. If you have been growing an email list, then now is the time to prepare your coupon codes or other launch day incentives.
This way you can be making sales from the day your business opens. Of course, social media is important here too - this is your opportunity to tease what you will be offering.
As a brand-new site, getting traffic will be one of your biggest challenges. So showing up regularly on social to remind people where you are is key.
02 / Test purchases are crucial
Before you start accepting purchases from new customers who don’t know you, it is very wise to test all your payment options. You can enlist friends and family for this, to get a second or third pair of eyes on the user experience.
Not only do you want to make sure that the payment system you have chosen is configured correctly. You also want to make sure that it looks good at the customer’s end, and the confirmation screen is successfully shown to avoid confusion.
Ideally, your system will send a confirmation email too, and offer contact information in case of any issues.
03 / First impressions
The look and feel count for a lot on your e-commerce store. The current trend towards simpler layouts with white backgrounds comes off the back of much research into user behaviour.
“When people land on a website that looks clean and professional, that inspires trust in them.”
It is highly recommended to keep your store’s look and feel simple and clean, with just one or two accent colours. Obviously, we recommend hiring some branding experts (like us!) to help you, but if you’re short on budget, you can use a free online tool such as Logo Creator or Canva to create your logo. That logo is ideally placed on your homepage, and on your confirmation emails, receipts, and also on your corresponding social media and email newsletters.
When people land on a website that looks clean and professional, that inspires trust in them. This means they are more likely to proceed with a purchase. So keep that first impression smart, clean and uncomplicated.
04 / Ease of purchase
This is something you will have tested by now, and it’s crucial, especially where you want to encourage impulse purchases. In short, the more steps a user has to take to get to the checkout, the more opportunity they have to change their mind.
The aim here is to keep the purchasing process simple. Put all the information they will need in order to make their decision in one place. Think about having the following visible above the ‘fold’ of the web page, meaning little or no scrolling is required:
- Product description
- Product images
- Returns policy
- Delivery information
Using a collapsible element for each of the above is a smart way to keep everything there, without the user having to scroll down the page.
The key is to keep the ‘buy now’ button visible at all times.
05 / Invite repeat custom
Repeat custom is valuable, so encourage new buyers to come back by emailing them a thank-you offer after their initial purchase.
Although repeat customers only account for 15% of all sales overall, there is more to this. Those repeat customers typically spend higher, making up to a third of all online revenue.
Repeat customers also cost less to acquire. You don’t need to work as hard with them in terms of marketing, a simple email newsletter can be enough to remind them of you and tempt them to take another look at your products.
Start encouraging repeat customers from day 1 of your launch to get your business off to a strong start.
06 / Ask for feedback and keep refining
Online processes can be hard to see from the customers’ point of view. Send a follow-up email to ask them how it went and what they would change.
Maybe you can find somewhere to refine your process and make the customers’ experience better in the future.
This also makes those first customers feel heard and valued, which is great for encouraging them to revisit you in the future.
07 / Ask for shares and recommendations
Do you have a recommendation scheme in place to reward your loyal customers who invite their friends?
Approximately 92% of people trust a referral from a friend, and people are around 4 times more likely to purchase when a friend has referred them.
A lot of the work that goes into marketing and advertising is about building trust. With referrals, a good deal of this trust-building is done for you. So it can be really worth investing in a referral scheme for loyal customers.
Giving a small discount in your early days of business can repay you with referrals and repeat customers for years to come.
“92% of people trust a referral from a friend, and people are around four times more likely to purchase when a friend has referred them”
When planning your launch, it can be easy to get hung up on the here and now, but don’t forget to think about the long term too. Much of what you do now can set you up for continued success further down the track.
Your launch period doesn’t have to be perfect either, as long as you learn from it and communicate with your customers. The feedback you get from your first few sales will provide valuable insights that you can work with.
Keep taking that feedback onboard and improving your customer’s experience, and keep thanking (and rewarding) the people who take the time to give the feedback to help you improve.
After all, all the hard work of launching will pay off if you keep your customers happy and loyal!