You’ve incorporated your business and are getting ready to build your online store. What’s next? Take a cue from the MBA playbook and think through the famous “3 C’s” before you make more decisions. By thoughtfully considering your customers, competition and company, you can maximize the impact of your online presence.
Always think with your target customer in mind. They are your most important assets and without a strong customer base, your company will not grow.
The best way to appeal to your target market is to ensure that all text and imagery are relevant to their likes and interests. For example, if you are selling beads for jewelry making, you will most likely be trying to capture the attention of creative women. A website featuring a vibrant color scheme would likely prove more appealing to this target audience than something consisting of black, brown and grey.
It pays to keep an eye on the competition. The importance of this is two-fold: you can ensure that your store is competitive in pricing and selection and identify key areas of distinction to highlight.
In order to do both of these, look at several competitors’ websites and pick out their strengths and weaknesses. Investigate what features their websites have that could be applied to your own site, paying special attention to their product selection, pricing and marketing methods. Are any competitors using unique sales tactics? For instance, if you find that all competitors use free shipping as a discount, it could either be a tactic worth testing or instead a cue to launch a different promotion that sets your company apart.
Lastly, you want to think about your own company as a whole. You need to take into account your limitations and what you can realistically do in the time you have.
Keep in mind that you do not have to be a large company or have lots of resources to have a successful online store. There are countless website building tools such as WordPress that you can use to easily create a beautiful website for your small business. And once you have a functioning site, it’s simple to install a shopping cart plugin that allows you to sell your products online.
By keeping the 3 C’s in mind, you should be on your way to a successful online store in no time. As long as you have a product or service and have carefully thought through your customers, competition and company … go for it!
Anjali Cameron leads marketing for Cashie Commerce, which makes it easy for small businesses to create and mange social, mobile and online stores. Cashie Commerce helps customers sell anything on any website and provides the sales and marketing tools to help customers grow their business. Working daily with small businesses, she’s learned a lot about ecommerce best practices. Check out her tips and ideas for selling online.