The fundamental question that the person who is going to sell their products on the internet for the first time asks is, what steps do I have to follow to make my online store a success? We are talking about small stores that have to compete with large e-commerce like Amazon or with its traditional competitors.
It is evident that the design of an online store must be elegant, practical and intuitive, but the most important thing is the online marketing that is done from the online store. There have been many cases of stores that from the point of view of the design did not say anything and yet have had a very good reception in the public, translated into sales, thanks to the promotion that has been done.
In this article we will talk about the keys when carrying out web design, programming, on which online marketing is based and the start-up of your online store.
When planning the store, the first thing we must take into account is whether the project is a physical store that decides to sell on the Internet or a new online sales channel exclusively. In the case of physical stores there is less freedom in the design since it has to be corporate using the colors, letters and shapes of the store, they are usually more expensive stores because pre-established mockup designs are not followed.
The next thing to be clear about is knowing which audience we are going to address and what online strategies are going to be followed to attract that audience. A children’s clothing store is not the same as a make-up store or a more technical sale to a more segmented audience, such as batteries for solar panels, for example. What you have to keep in mind is that everything is sold on the internet and from many parts of the world and we can have something we buy in China at home in just five days, so another point to keep in mind is where I want to sell my product. Generally, you want to go little by little and sell only in a localized area, which can be a serious mistake if a detailed study of our sector on the Internet is not carried out by an online marketing company.
Another aspect that is usually ignored is that of the person in the store who is going to be in charge of introducing products, prices, discounts, campaigns or, on the contrary, we decide to contract these services in a company is a cost that we must take into account.
This is a fundamental point of your store and must be taken into account in each of the steps.
An online store is created with the sole objective of selling, unlike other web products such as pages, blogs, digital newspapers, which seek traffic to be able to collect on advertising, branding to generate a brand or simply present the company and have a point of reference. where customers can see me or interact with them.
With which online marketing and the strategy to follow is essential for its success. Generally, the company that carries out the design of the online store is in charge of promoting it on the internet, this is usually done in this way to generalize the work and for costs, since it is not the same as the marketing company having to retouch the programming of the web that If that website is already programmed for search engine positioning or for a clean incorporation into social networks.
At the level of online marketing and web promotion we have to decide if we are only going to focus on individual strategies or a mix of strategies. Here we list the most used:
- Web positioning or SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which is what is commonly called natural positioning, that is, what appears in Google that are not paid ads when we search for something, being the most profitable from the point of view of investment recovery since the cost is relatively low and the income with patience can be very high.
- The SEM (Search Engine Marketing), which some only interpret as Adwords, which is the official SEM of Google and it is on which we will focus although there is more. We are going to briefly explain what this is about Adwords, when we search for something on Google, the ads that appear at the top, bottom and right are not natural searches, but companies that have paid in an auction for that ad to be there, they are pay per click, that is, each time a user clicks on the ad, we are charged and depending on how you program those ads, you can be higher up so that more customers will click on you. The one that pays the most is not in better positions, someone may be willing to pay €3 each time they click on their ad and interpret that Google will put them above another advertiser who only bid for €1 and this is not the case. To make it cheaper, you will have to hire an online marketing company that, for a low price, will make our campaigns successful. You also have to take into account being able to place it in other types of Google ads, which are those found in the Google Shopping or store that also goes by pay per click.
- Social networks, each one of them is used in a different sense, for this reason it is necessary to be clear about the product that is sold and the public I want to reach. You can carry out a strategy on Facebook for contests or simply pay per click that is cheaper than Google’s although much less effective, use its virality with specific campaigns or on Twitter or another social network depending on our product, in short. , an online marketing company that advises us as a “Community Manager” or the strategy that we must follow.
Within this section we have not included email marketing or other marketing strategies that should be considered later.
Once we are clear about the type of store we need, we will see which editor can best suit our needs. It is true that we could develop our own, but it is also true that the advantages that already established frameworks or editors give us, both in applications and in solving small inconveniences, have left custom editors behind.
The only problem with these editors such as Prestashop, Zencart, OCommerce, WordPress Woocommerce, Drupal or any other is that we will have to adapt a template to how we want the store and there are some aspects that cannot be done if it is not a custom editor, less and less because they are being perfected but there are.
Depending on the modifications that had to be made to the proposed templates, a higher cost would result, for these two reasons the design of the stores have such disparate prices.
The programming is independent of the web design or layout, one thing is what it looks like on the outside and another is how it is programmed on the inside. This is even more important than web design and must meet at least three basic requirements or pillars, that it be SEO friendly programming, that is, that it be programmed in such a way that search engines can index it perfectly with search engines, that in As much as possible, it complies with the W3C standard, that is, that it does not have code errors that will always influence performance and that it is responsive or, in other words, adapted to mobile phones.
There are many more points that web programming should meet, but these three are vital if we want our project to be a success. Not complying with a professional program implies that on the outside we see a store that we like very much according to the design and on the inside it has so much garbage that after a few months we have to throw it away and make it new.
The different channels that lead to your store:
Well, we already have our online store, we have made an attractive design, we have structured it so that it is easy and intuitive to use, the contents are clear and descriptive, that is, we already have the racing car, now we only need the circuit where to put it to run .
As we have been saying from the beginning, we need to sell and in order to do so we need to bring customers to the store.
It is clear that a good SEO positioning is going to bring us clients in the medium-long term, it depends on the product and the competition it has but it is not a short-term process, patience is needed, although once positioned it is the channel that most sales will give a lot of difference.
If we need to sell in the short term or they are products with a clear seasonal sale, it is best to help us with an optimized SEM campaign monitored by online marketing professionals.
In social networks we have both possibilities, on the one hand we can carry out ad campaigns although they are cheaper currently they do not have the effectiveness of Google and on the other hand we can go to certain groups of people where we know that we can find potential clients looking for virality or make branding, improving the perception of the brand
To explain all these processes we would need to write a book but we simply have to keep the idea and the online marketing company will explain in more detail what we need to know.
The topic of a blog within the store that talks about our products and creating virality with the articles that are written is also interesting, although it is a cost that can be assumed later. Another interesting topic is creating videos, placing products on sales portals, etc.
We have already mentioned in the article the importance of social networks, although we are going to develop the idea a little more. We have to think that buying online is always associated with an element of insecurity on the part of the buyer that we must try to overcome, we must generate trust, of course the service, the quick response, a safe and efficient payment method, fast and efficient customer service. resolution make that element smaller. But what makes that element disappear is the purchase in our online store from a friend of the person who wants to buy.
Let’s explain it more in detail; the success of social networks interacting with online stores, is that I know that when I go to buy some shoes and I see that one of my contacts has already bought in that store, he has put a like and has even added a positive comment to the purchase, my doubts are instantly dispelled since we assume that everything we talked about in the previous paragraph will be fulfilled since someone close to me has positively valued that purchase in our online store.
That is why it is very important to actively involve social networks in our store, not only in promotional or communication actions, but also so that someone who buys in the store can directly share it on their wall and make it known in their social environment. We must also try if it is possible to develop within our profile in the different social networks, a small store where you can buy directly or take us quickly and efficiently to the store.
This point is key, we have to think that unlike a physical site, an online site does not have a face to which we can address ourselves, to ask questions or anything that may worry us when making a purchase. Our customer service must be impeccable since we must generate trust in the client so that they can tell another potential client or buy again, it is what can make a store a success or a failure.
Confidence in a store encompasses many points, from putting a contact telephone number, going through that the conditions of delivery, shipping, payment etc… are clear and precise, and ending because the resolution of incidents is fast and attended at any time . Of course we must follow the data protection law LOPD and perfectly establish what is going to be paid for the product and the time it takes to deliver it.
If we are able to make the customer feel that they can find us and count on us at all times, we will make them feel safe and confident when making a purchase in our online store.
The payment method
We have left for last the point that always generates the most controversy: payment. Here there are always two clear opponents: customer comfort versus payment security.
It is true that payment gateways are improving and that the obstacles when hiring them are fewer than they were a few years ago, even so we will find ourselves at a clear disadvantage compared to portals like Amazon where the agreements that can be reached are better by volume of sales.
It is important to be aware that payment in a store has to be an agile process that does not involve an endless number of clicks that ultimately make the buyer give up their purchase.
You cannot even imagine how small online stores manage to position themselves above the original manufacturer’s own store and large corporations, achieving an unimaginable sales volume when they decided to join the internet world. Good for them and a resounding suspense for those who have let themselves get ahead.