The Internet is still a land of many mysteries to some business owners who know that they should move their traditional businesses online. Hosting, domain name, and templates are the easy parts. It’s what you’re not considering that can hurt you.
Going Niche Deep
Creating a niche is one of the cornerstones of any good business. But when you’re able to go deep in the niche, your prospects and customers find it easier to understand what you do and what value you bring to their table. For example, if your niche is selling textbooks to biology college students and so far you’re doing well, you could go even deeper and segment your offerings by catering specifically to gross anatomy students or canine biology for those who want to become vets. Deepening your niche makes your marketing much easier.
Understand How the Web Fits
Planning your eCommerce website development means that your online strategy is a reflection of your business strategy. But if you’re operating a B2B (business-to-business) site versus a B2C (business-to-customer) or C2C (customer-to-customer) online business, you need to figure out how the Internet properly fits you. For example, B2B businesses may use the Web as a brochure to showcase services and lead generation. It may also have an inexpensive secure online payment processing portal that’s just for clients who are ready to pay. For B2C sites, you’re using a site to drive sales and collect payments for products or services. For C2C businesses, like auction sites, you’re facilitating eCommerce transactions between individuals in a secure, regulated environment. Each model means a different fit.
Set Your Priorities
Once you understand how the Web fits into your overall eCommerce strategy, you can start prioritizing your business initiatives in ways that also align with your budget. For example, if you want to build an email list, you need to find ways to get a visitor’s email address, which means investing in a quality autoresponder. You may have other things you want to get to, but you may have to leave those features for a later date.
Customer Acquisition is More Expensive
If you’re planning to invest in CPC (cost-per-click) campaigns based on your prior keyword research, be aware that while it may have cost you 25 cents a month ago, it could be upwards of $1 or $2 by now. Getting customers is getting more expensive and you need to understand if Google AdWords is giving you the kind of conversions that make it worth it. Familiarizing yourself with your analytics and finding out exactly how much you’re paying for that customer will help you decided if the channels you’re using are worth it.
One of the most important points to remember in eCommerce is that investing in professional web design up front saves you more in the long run. A poorly designed site will cost you in customer revenue and redesign dollars. It’s not worth it to cut corners there because you never get a second chance to make that necessary first impression.