I have been in e-commerce for almost 6 years and I have met a lot of e-merchants.
I have seen that today, with the arrival of online e-commerce training sellers, a number of people are going into online selling because they think it is an eldorado.
A way to make money fast.
But what they forget is that e-commerce is a profession in its own right and that it can be learned.
Creating a store requires mastering several skills: logistics, web marketing, customer/supplier relationship, social media management, web design, natural referencing, etc.
Managing a merchant site is one of the most complete jobs on the internet.
I know a lot of e-merchants who work on their site for months and months, even years without paying. It’s hard work, but so interesting when you know how to do it.
The goal of this article is not to tap on trainers who are often former e-merchants but to make aspiring e-merchants understand the “difficulty” of being an e-merchant and the basics to be successful. It’s e-commerce when it is launched.
I still see too many e-merchants who want to save money on everything and therefore do not want to invest, not even $ 30 to create a professional logo or $ 70 to have a more ergonomic theme for example.
Wanting to touch everything allows you to learn a lot, increase your skills, and save money.
But you can’t master all the skills necessary for e-commerce alone.
You must delegate!
I can already hear you say: “I have no money? How can I delegate ?! ”
There are online micro-service platforms ( 5euros.com, Fiverr …). With these platforms, you can get a good quality logo for your e-commerce store for 20-30 $! On these platforms, individuals who want to supplement their ends of the month monetize their services.
I am not talking about investing thousands of euros but at least a few hundred euros for the launch.
Subsequently, once the site is launched, do not hesitate to do the same to develop site traffic (without traffic there is no sale – as beautiful as your site maybe).
Invest a small budget in Facebook advertising, launch contests, have your products tested with bloggers who in return will write you articles that will turn into a turnover.
If you don’t invest a minimum of money on your site nothing will happen!
No one knows your site.
Google doesn’t know you. He didn’t reference you.
You are therefore invisible!
I’m not saying that without money you can’t succeed, but it will be much more complicated!
E-commerce is hard! When a physical store opens, if it is well placed it will have natural traffic (passers-by in the street) from the 1st day. While your e-commerce site will have very few visitors on the first day (s).
When 40-50% of visitors go to a physical store buy, the store owner only sells it to 1 or 2% of its visitors, this is called the conversion rate or e-commerce conversion rate.
You understand that investing at the launch of the site and even more afterward, on a daily basis, to have traffic must therefore be a priority for you.
When you start, I advise you to start next to your salaried job, because you can wait for months and months or even years before having a suitable turnover that will allow you to pay.
But you have to make sure you work a certain number of hours every day. Let’s say 2 hours per day during the week and 4 hours per day on weekends, for a total of 18 hours per week. I think it’s a minimum to develop an e-commerce site is a part-time job.
So yes, you will be working more than 53 hours in total with your salaried job.
But honestly when I work on my sites, I don’t feel it as a constraint, it’s a passion. It will take a great organization to reconcile professional life, child (ren), friends, family, but it is doable.
You will probably see your friends less and go out less, but you have to know your priorities. This is what I advise you to do so as not to scatter yourself because you have little time, so you have to be productive. Make to-do lists. Do task after task and cross off tasks once done.
If you think that you are going to launch an e-commerce site without money and especially without elbow grease go your way, you will have to “fight” to get each order.
Your site should inspire confidence. He must reassure the customer. E-commerce has been professionalized for a long time. The customer is mature and we can no longer sell online lightly. Internet users buy from Amazon because they know that they will have no problem with their order and that even in the event of a problem, they can return the product for free.
Get inspiration from big sites to create your e-commerce site. You must put down on paper the features you want to find on your site, the host you want, the design …
This is called the specifications.
Here are some essential elements to make your site professional:
In addition to reassuring the visitor, you must make their life easier, the visitor is volatile. If he has to look for the information, he will eventually leave and if he is not reassured enough he will not buy from you.
One of the biggest mistakes of e-merchants is wanting to stock their products from the start.
I advise you to start with dropshipping suppliers because you will have little investment and you will be able to integrate a lot of products.
Why dropshipping? When you start your business, you don’t know what products are going to work or not work, so stocking up at this point can be fatal to the life of your small business.
When I launched my 1st subscription diaper site, I built up more than $ 5,000 in stock and you know what I did to sell? I bought the same quantities for each diaper size while the best-selling sizes are sizes 3, 4, and 5.
When I made my first sales, I almost exclusively sold these sizes mentioned, so I quickly found myself out of stock. If I had been able to operate with dropshipping, I would have had a vision of what works, which sizes are selling the most, and I would have been able to shop for merchandise accordingly.
I would have made more sales and I would have less stocked the products that worked less.
Tell yourself that a product that does not sell is money that goes out and does not go in your pocket, not to mention the storage costs if there is any.
On the other hand, an essential thing, you must be able to update your stock with that of the supplier in order not to sell an unavailable product. At first, sales are scarce so don’t go cancel sales and lose a customer because of it. Nowadays, there are many modules that allow inventory synchronization.
Once you’ve found your top products, of course, I strongly recommend that you buy them in bulk for better margins.
If you sell a product that everyone else is selling, you will have very little chance of someone coming to buy from you. Select a product that is not already selling at Walmart, or in the physical store that is located on the street because they will inevitably have better prices than you.
You have to get the customer to buy from you. For this, I advise you to do a market study before creating a site.
How do you get the customer to buy from you?
Create your own brand
To develop their turnover, many e-commerce sites create their own brand. This makes it possible to have a unique product and therefore a better impact with buyers. And above all, to have greater margins than on other products.
In my work, I see the strength of this strategy. We achieve 30% of our turnover on our brands, which is not negligible with comfortable margins.
On the other hand, you must have a strategy of developing notoriety for your brand otherwise, as for your site, no one will buy it because no one will know it.
Offer a personalization service
By adding personalization to a product, you make it unique in the eyes of the buyer and you can also sell it for more.
Offer Superior Business Service to Your Competitors
Let’s be honest. If you had the choice between 2 sites: one offers free shipping and the other offers free shipping and returns. Which would you buy from? I think I already know the answer …
Also, be available by email or phone. I see it at work. If you knew the number of people calling each day either for reassurance or because the product is technical and they need advice.
Like physical stores, e-commerce is not exempt from the advice part, you must reassure your future customer by phone or email about the reliability of your site and your products.
Your priority must be your customer, you must provide them with value.
With the rise of dropshipping + Facebook traffic fashion, new e-merchants who are starting out have no long-term strategy.
The only strategy is to build up Facebook traffic, find a winning product and “scale” (increase advertising) to make more sales, and resell the store a few months later.
The real problem with this strategy, which I call the “coup strategy”, is that at the slightest problem on Facebook ads, overnight, the turnover can drop or even end up at 0.
I’m not saying this strategy is bad but you shouldn’t do it all. You have many marketing tools available so you might as well use them!
If you are serious about launching a site, it is going to take time and money, as we have seen above, and you must have a strategy. Know where you are going, what means do you need to get there. You will then have a clearer vision of your site and it will be easier to develop it.
It goes back to point 5. With just one source of traffic, you won’t get very far if it suddenly cuts out.
In SEO for example, I have seen friends see their traffic cut by 3 in a few days.
Well, it was a malicious competitor and everything was back to normal, but only after 1 or 2 months. Result: a sudden drop in turnover
Your sources of traffic should be diverse and varied, that’s ideal. For example 20% referrer site (other sites that talk about your site), 20% AdWords, 30% SEO, 20% Facebook Ads, 10% marketplace. This is only an example, but you have understood the principle.
SEO, despite what I just said, remains one of the safest and most profitable sources of traffic because once your SEO is established, it will cost you almost nothing …
You will have regular orders without depending on advertising which can quickly be expensive.
I’m going to simplify the concept of SEO but it’s just to make you understand what it is. SEO is:
There are plenty of other criteria like site speed, title tag, Hn tags, but if you’ve already understood the basic principle of SEO, that’s good.
Here is a simple SEO launch strategy to put in place before you even launch your site step by step:
Allow between 3 and 6 months for these different stages. It all depends on the depth of the catalog you are going to add.
I talk about it a little more, to frame your project well and not to forget anything, I advise you to make a checklist.
You are going to list all the actions to be implemented for the launch of your online sales site and even after.
You will therefore create a checklist and a marketing plan for at least one year.
Of course, the marketing plan will not be followed to the letter but according to the opportunities that arise. It will however be your compass for where you need to go.
The preparation phase is as important as monitoring the plan.
As I told you, selling online requires mastering a number of skills. You must therefore train yourself in these.
I’m not telling you to become an expert for each but at least to master them a minimum.
With the Internet, information is everywhere for anyone who knows how to look. Uses change so quickly these days that you have to keep up to date all the time.
I got my e-commerce license in 2012, we are soon in 2021 and the uses have changed a lot since. You have to follow blogs and influencers of every skill, go to events, join Facebook groups… You have to be curious.
The advantage of the WiziShop e-commerce solution is that it offers you free e-commerce training! In your administration area, you can find all the stages of creating an online store as well as the different web marketing techniques and strategies. With this training, you will be able to sell on the internet effectively and create an e-commerce site that generates sales.
I see a lot of people who get into e-commerce without having professional status.
From the first sale, you must be a business or a micro-entrepreneur, it is mandatory.
Becoming a micro-entrepreneur is easy on the internet, to be in good standing and give confidence to your service providers, suppliers, and especially customers, you must quickly create your micro business.
A visitor, when he arrives on your site, does not know you. He will read your T & Cs and legal notices to find out who is behind it. If he sees that it’s a private individual doing this in his garage, he may not be confident enough to pull the trigger and make the purchase.
On your site, you need to display a cookie bar, send the invoice to the customer after placing an order. Since the Hamon law, the customer has 14 days from delivery to return his product. And there are plenty of other legal obligations.
I strongly advise you to educate yourself on the subject if you don’t want to get into trouble.
You absolutely must not be discouraged!
The life of a company is not a long calm river. A business is an emotional roller coaster.
And even more in e-commerce.
One day you are going to make the best sales you have ever made and the next day you are going to make 0 €! Rather see the length and not day after day because otherwise you will be discouraged.
What it takes is for you to do more than the month before, that’s the goal.
Do not be discouraged at the slightest drop in turnover because you will experience it. Some days, you will see your traffic increase but not your turnover, and sometimes it will be the other way around. It is for all of these reasons that I find e-commerce exciting.
Note that I did not go into details for each point listed. If I had had to explain everything in detail, the item would probably triple in size.
The goal is to deconstruct the false beliefs of the beginner e-merchant and to sharpen your mind on all the aspects to be mastered before starting.