Many online sellers start with the big marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy and eBay in order to gain exposure to their products. It’s a smart move if you don’t already have a brick-and-mortar or previous brand developed. Leveraging the customer exposure from these marketplaces increases visibility that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
However, if you’ve been selling through an online marketplace for a while now, and you’ve scaled your customer base, you may be ready to launch your very own branded website. You’re ready to establish your own territory on the web, but you’re not sure where to start.
We’re here to help! Here are some tips on how you can get started with your first online ecommerce store:
1. Shop around for the best ecommerce platform.
As cloud software has become more accessible to small- and medium-sized businesses, several ecommerce tools have paralleled that growth in accessibility. There are several different ecommerce platforms you can use to sell products and build a brand. From SquareSpace and Shopify to BigCommerce and Magento, the price points and features may vary, but they all provide you with the opportunity to build your brand online. Several of online commerce platforms will offer you a free trial period. Take advantage of this! Test drive a few options before committing.
Tip: Check out the amount of integrations these ecommerce platforms offer. It is incredibly important that you choose scalable tools so that you have the flexibility you need as your company grows.
2. Research your target audience.
When selling in a marketplace, it’s a bit difficult to figure out who your target audience really is. So many different people shop on Amazon, so it’s nearly impossible to nail down who, in particular, is shopping and enjoying your products. Also, Amazon makes it quite difficult by not allowing sellers to reach out to customers for marketing purposes. However, there are ways around this... sort of.
If you have substantial customer ratings, leverage that feedback to get a good idea of who your target audience is. Figure out who is giving feedback, what kind of feedback that is and see if you can uncover patterns. It may not give you direct access to your current customers, but if you look at it strategically, it’s qualifiable data you can use for future brand building.
Tip: Always be sure that you are following the laws of Amazon, eBay and other marketplaces. Their systems are quite sophisticated and any breach in their terms may send your shop into immediate closure.
3. Promote the launch.
If you’ve hired a third-party fulfillment center, this may be a bit tricky. However, if you’re packing and shipping your products in house - this is a great opportunity to promote the launch of your new website. Get postcards printed that have the soon-to-be launching website URL on it. You can also include a small discount to drive current users to your site. Or if you don’t want to put the launch date and instead, would like to add the URL to, say, the tag of your apparel or exterior of your packaged item, go for it!
Tip: If you’re building a brand and including social media, plaster those everywhere. Use the “@” for Twitter instead of the full URL. For example, “Follow us at @StitchLabs” instead of “Follow us at www.twitter.com/StitchLabs”. You want to take advantage of every opportunity to sell your brand.
4. Implement the smartest systems.
When you expand your business from single-channel selling on a marketplace to selling on several channels, you must put the proper systems in place so that you can grow smarter. Leverage tools like Stitch Labs to manage inventory in multiple locations and gather sales analytics to make smarter decisions. If certain products are selling better through Amazon than on your branded website, you’ll be able to gather that data in real time with Stitch.
Ready to start selling through multiple channels today? Check out Stitch Labs for free and manage your multichannel selling strategy with ease.