How to Launch your online store – 7 Steps
Launching your online store can be a task. Get your online store off the ground with the following steps…
1. Make a plan
Your online store won’t just take off by itself. If you run a brick and mortar store you know how much time and effort you must put in to nurture and grow your physical business – you have to have the same mindset about your online store.
Sit down and come up with a plan for making your online store successful. Speak with an expert if you can. How much budget will you dedicate to marketing online? how much time will you be able to spend updating products, fulfilling orders and engaging with your online audience?
Coming up with a plan will not only increase your chances of being successful, it will help you to manage your time, budget and resources effectively and avoid unforeseen problems.
2. Ensure your site is up to scratch
Before launching your new site, you want to make sure it is 100% ready to go.
Here are some things to think about:
- Online Security – is your site secure and backed up?
- Payment methods – Do you offer enough payment method options?
- Shipping – Have you organised how you will fulfill orders and factored it into your pricing?
- Refunds – Do you have a plan for offering online refunds?
- Customer Service – Have you provided a way for customers to contact you and do you have the time and resources to support them?
- branding – Does your online store not only reflect your brand but entice your target audience to buy through it’s design?
3. Create an offer
Build it and they will come doesn’t apply to online stores – usually. Consumers are spoiled for choice online. Unless you can rely on your brand reputation or price point you will no doubt be competing with a lot of other stores for the same customers online. The hardest part is getting their online foot through your online door and creating the initial traction that you need to build your online presence. This is where an offer comes in.
Get creative and come up with a launch offer that your potential customers can’t resist. The idea here is not to make maximum profit but to create brand awareness and build an audience of engaged buyers.
Here are some ideas:
- Free shipping
- 15% off store-wide for the first week (given through a code to people who opt-in)
- Buy one get on free on a certain item
- Free $20 gift card for first 500 subscribers
- Flash Sale
Some of these are better than others and what works for you will come down to your store, your products, and your margins.
4. Set up socials
You may already have social channels you can utilise (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.) If you do, start prepping your audience for your impending launch. Use the special offer you’ve come up with. Just remember to give them a reason to care. You could mention your offer and start talking about the date of your site launch or give out codes or forms to capture details – engage your audience.
If you don’t have them already, set up your socials. Choose the appropriate social channels for your target audience and start building and nurturing your customer base. You may need to put some budget behind sharing your upcoming news (or your above offer) to get interaction and followers but if you do it with the right mix of creativity and passion it should hopefully pay off.
5. Leverage your audience
If you have a physical store you should already have customers. Hopefully you have a customer database of some sort in the form of a mailing list, a customer loyalty program or something similar. This audience is the perfect launchpad for your online store. Be creative and come up with a campaign that maximises their existing familiarity with your brand. Incentivise them to check out your online store, like, engage, share it and refer their friends.
If you have a physical store and you don’t already have a list of some sort, consider building one before your launch. Ask your customers to leave their details in exchange for an offer of some sort relating to your impending site launch. Perhaps implement a loyalty program or something similar.
6. Focus on organic growth
It’s difficult to always find new customers. Build your store and your launch campaign in such a way that you can communicate with each customer and remonetise them. People who have bought from you once are likely to buy from you again. Make sure you have set up your site to capture their details. Prompt users to leave reviews to build authority and to help with search engine optimisation (Google rankings).
Make sure also that you have the right re-marketing pixels installed on your site if you intend to re-market to your site visitors. It takes time to build up audiences so it’s best to cover all your bases from the beginning.
Once you’ve executed a plan to launch your online store one of two things will happen: it will go well or it won’t. Either way you want to know why. Make sure your site has been built with analytics and tracking so you can dissect the outcomes of your online campaigns and figure out exactly what works and what doesn’t. Data is priceless – make sure you use it effectively from day one.
If you’d like to speak to a FrontLine digital expert about your online efforts feel free to contact us. We’re here to help!