There are plenty of guides online nowadays that try to tell you how easy it is to make money by setting up an online store. While they might explain how to set up the store, very few show you how to make it a success. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that over 90% of all internet businesses fail within the first 120 days. If you want to make sure your online store is a success, you’re going to want to ensure you have these five important components covered.
Most Important Components of a Successful Online Store
1. The perfect product
What is it you’re selling? This is going to be the starting point for any online store, so it’s essential you give it plenty of thought. Will you be making your own products? Will you be drop shipping them? Perhaps you’ll be ordering in bulk from somewhere like AliExpress and then shipping them to customers?
Before your online store goes live, you need to ensure you’re selling the best possible product at a price that makes sense. Competing against the big names, such as Amazon and eBay, is no easy feat. So, while finding the perfect product is half of the battle, there are plenty of other things you need to consider too.
2. An enjoyable shopping experience
Once you have your perfect product (or products), it’s time to move onto the online shopping experience itself. Unless you’re willing to pay for a developer or have some web design knowledge yourself, it’s imperative you find an e-commerce platform that lets you design a fully-functioning store with very little experience.
Popular e-commerce platforms include WooCommerce on WordPress – although you may need some web design knowledge for this – and Shopify, which has several templates and themes for you to get started with right away. Ask friends and family members to test out your new online store, to make sure it’s easy for a potential customer to use.
3. Safe and secure
Next on the list is ensuring your website is safe and secure. People are far more likely to purchase from you if you build a sense of trust. The first thing you’re going to want is an SSL certificate to keep their personal details safe, especially at the checkout.
4. Build your community
Social selling is key to driving traffic to your online store nowadays. However, don’t just schedule some posts on social media and hope that you’re going to win over thousands of new customers. Instead, build a community around your brand. Engage your audience with advice, tips, tricks, buying guides, questions, pictures, and videos.
On top of building your community on social media, consider signing up to a handful of the big name review websites too. This will give somewhere for customers to leave glowing reviews of your business – and somewhere for potential customers to check if you’re as good as you seem!
5. Customer service
Finally, one of the most critical and often overlooked components of a successful store is customer service. If you put all of your time and energy into the above points but forget excellent customer service, then it will all be for nothing.
Make sure you’re keeping your customers happy every step of their buying journey. The happier they are, the better your reviews and the more new customers are likely to buy. Answer questions promptly, deal with returns swiftly, and do it all with a smile on your face! Excellent customer service is the key to success.
These are just five of the most important components of a successful online store, although there are many more. If you run your own e-commerce business, what do you think has contributed to its success?
Matt is a blogger and business coach, with a particular passion for e-commerce. In his free time he enjoys golf, learning new languages, and drinking really, really good coffee.