1) What is the best web platform for small to medium sized retailers? Shopify, Wordpress/ Woo Commerce or Square Space?
If you are launching an online retail store I would strongly recommend Shopify for getting you live quickly and cost-effectively. It can also grow with your business and allow you to worry less about the running of your site (hosting, payment processing, development costs etc) and more on developing your product and marketing.
If you are only interested in a content/ blogging site then Wordpress is a fantastic option. Both Wordpress and Square Space have ecommerce features but were essentially built to manage content and then added ecommerce later. Shopify conversely was built with the purpose of helping small business retail online. They’ve evolved their blog and content capabilities. And now also attract medium to large retail businesses due to the low set up, running costs and scalability.
Shopify is the ultimate drag and drop, plug and play ecommerce platform that gives you everything you need to successfully run your online business. You can add additional features at a small extra cost by selecting apps from the Shopify App store – it’s like the Apple App store for ecommerce and is just as easy to use.
Shopify have a range of plans to suit your needs starting from $29, which has ample capability to get you up and trading quickly. Test out a 14 day free trial.
2) Tademarks and domain names and social media registration.
- Check that your business name is not trademarked: gov.uk/search-for-trademark (or your country alternative)
- Buy your domain: uk.godaddy.com.
- Buy the .com and your country extension i.e. .co.uk
- Register your social media using your business name.
3) Google Analytics: How to understand how your customers are engaging with your online store.
- It’s crucial that you understand your analytics. You cannot grow your business without 3 things: Traffic, ATV and Conversion.
- Create your free Google analytics accounts and build your funnel on day one. Your funnel needs to at least include: product page to category page, category page to cart page to checkout. Don’t be daunted by this task it’s very easy to set up and will give you valuable intel conversion behaviour and drop off points.
Marketing is even more important for online retail as you can’t tempt customers in and raise brand awareness from a well-positioned bricks and mortar store. Over 90% of online retail businesses fail in the first 6 months and reason most often cited is lack of Marketing. Don’t be the best kept secret in online retail!
- If you are an established business, don’t spend time and money on advertising until you have optimised your email marketing strategy. It’s 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to resell to an existing customer. Most ecommerce sites sell to their customers only once. Don’t tread water, by losing a customer and paying to gain a new customer – it can become a vicious cycle if you don’t invest in a good email marketing platform and planning.
- In every business I have worked with I have found a direct correlation between number of emails you send to your customer base and sales performance. Test, measure and optimise this for your audience.
- If your unsubscribe rate is less than 0.5% you should be sending more emails.
- If sales from your emails represents less than 30% of total, you should be sending more emails.
- Build authentic relationships with your customer.
- Automate welcome, abandoned basked and repurchase emails.
- Segment and target customers to increase relevance.
- Test and optimise times and subject lines.
- Add personalisation.
- For those launching an online business start marketing 3 months in advance, create anticipation and build your email database – this list will become your most valuable asset!
- A strong email marketing strategy will transform your business.
- The best email marketing platform I have worked with to increase sales generally and repeat purchase particularly is Klavio.
Klavio they have a free plan for up to 250 contacts.
Do Not waste money on boosting posts! Use Canva.com to create simple ads and target your audience using the audience selector in the Facebook Ad centre. You can target your competitors facebook group, audiences you create and retarget people who have visited your website. Here is a fantastic step-by-step guide for newbies.
You can also see great examples of your competitors facebook ads here.
Take some basic SEO cues from your competitors by understanding their traffic and linking strategy at Uber Suggest. Use in conjunction with Google keywords trends to identify the potential of keywords relevant to your business so that you can create a content strategy designed to drive you free traffic and sales.
I would also strongly recommend working with Micro Influencers and using PPC (including Google Shopping) to market your business which really needs a post of their own– it’s on my list 😊
5) Social Proofing: Reviews will increase your conversion!
Having reviews from customers, on your website will be a far more powerful sales tool than any product description your team can produce. When customers need reassurance and opinion the first place they will look is your customer reviews. You can also use your reviews in creating content for email marketing and social to build trust and authenticity.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list but should be enough to give you some important tasks on your journey to online retail success. The perfect formula for any marketing is test, learn, optimise and refine! Good luck on your journey and please comment with any questions 😊
All of these subjects are covered in detail in my course, starting soon. Sign up to my email in the footer to be added to the waiting list.