When you decide to start a business, optimism and excitement abound. You work tirelessly to ensure your business has solid fundamentals across legal, product and more but as launch day for your online store approaches, a myriad of new details and competing priorities can leave you feeling anxious. Here are 5 areas of focus that should top your list to help you successfully launch your store.
Put your best foot forward
One often sees online stores fail in one crucial area: properly and beautifully showcasing their products. Despite a strong product line, customers can misconstrue poor picture quality for poor product quality. Don’t fall into this trap! Follow these simple guidelines and display your most important site assets, your products, in the best possible light.
- Consistent background: pick one consistent color or backdrop and stick with it for all product photos.
- Crop to the same size: choose one set of dimensions for all photos so a shopper sees a product listing page of equally sized images, focusing on what is important versus oddly shaped images.
- Zoom in: include at least one picture that shows your product up close, perhaps the fabric pattern, texture or other intricate detail.
- Provide context: show your product in use. The more guessing you can take out of the equation for a customer, the more likely you are to make the sale. That means showing a food product on a table, an earring on an ear or soap in a nice bathroom setting.
Make sharing easy
Word of mouth about your store cannot spread easily without the proper mechanisms in place. Many shopping cart platforms give you the technical tools to include social share buttons, star ratings and product reviews on your store. The social cues that are sent when a shopper sees favorable stars, reviews and shares are invaluable. Be sure to enable these features immediately and ask friends and family to seed some positive responses to help you get going in the right direction.
The little touches matter
Stores with excellent products are nice. But stores with great products and topnotch customer service are memorable. Start with custom order receipts. This is one of the rare chances when a customer is expecting an email from you. Include a discount to encourage a follow up purchase and thank them for their order. Additionally, consider unique packaging or including a surprise sample or note along with a customer’s shipment. In short, even little touches can help you stand apart from the competition and boost sales.
Create a “test & try it” calendar
If you try to tackle every sales and marketing tool in the handbook at launch, you’ll likely end up overwhelmed and unable to fully give each the attention it deserves. Instead, create a calendar with a weekly goal. Each week, try a new strategy or tactic. In the beginning that could be week 1 creating your Facebook business page and week 2 starting your Twitter account. After you’ve gotten into the routine of posting to each, create a Pinterest account in the weeks that follow.
Get in front of customers
Selling your products offline can help you tailor your messaging and pricing online. Local farmers markets, mall pop-up booths and trade shows are all great places to get in front of a large volume of shoppers and hear their on the spot reaction to your products and how you’ve positioned them. In person feedback is invaluable and can help you refine your store quickly after launch, showcasing the best possible version to your online customers.