The actual act of launching an e-commerce site is not quite as easy as “just add water and stir.” But it’s not all that difficult either.
You could be crocheting toaster cozies in your basement and decide one day that you’d like to sell them. With the right software and little know-how (or a friend with that know-how), you could have that e-commerce site up and running in no time.
BUT - and this is a big but - without the proper planning in place, you’ll more than likely have to keep your day job and abandon your dreams of being a toaster cozy baron(ess).
Are You Committed to the Launch of A Successful E-Commerce Business?
If you’re feeling certain that it’s time to launch your e-commerce site, then you’ve ideally taken the following eight steps:
1. You Have Tested Your Product
You’ve taken a serious look at your product. Not from your adoring eyes, but from the far more discerning eyes of others. And you’ve determined that there is demand for it.
In other words, it doesn’t suck.
Because it’s one thing when your friends say, “You should totally sell this.” It’s another when you try to peddle that product to friends of those friends. And you know this.
Therefore, you have conducted surveys and/or given out samples to test and refine your product. And it’s a winner.
2. You Have A Solid Foundation
You determined your product is worthy (i.e. not a toaster cozy). Congrats. But you didn’t immediately push the launch button.
It wasn’t for lack of eagerness. Your trigger finger was primed. But you know that the best time to get organized, track your customers and automate as much as you can is BEFORE the launch. And in your infinite wisdom, you have. You’re like Yoda.
You know there will be foreseeable problems in the future and fixing them then is gonna cost you. And while you can’t put every feature into place before the launch, you’re also aware that the whole “we’ll deal with that when it happens” is a decidedly ineffective business model that works for almost no one.
Speaking of a business model…
3. You Have A Business Model
Yep. You do. Because even though you’ve gained some market share with your free samples, you’re not playing the “I’m too cool for school” card and pretending you can just wing it from this point forward. Like dill gummy bears, it’s just a bad idea.
Sure, ditching the business model might have worked for Facebook. But you’re not Facebook. (What would that even look like?) And nearly every other company that chose this approach at their e-commerce site launch is now defunct.
So kudos on that business model, friend!
4. You Are Not Banking on Raising More Money
You’ve already taken (honest, non-criminal) measures to establish the capital needed to start a fully sustainable and long-term business. Partially because when you seek out a venture capitalist later and tell him or her that you need money to scale, they will smile and be happy and give you money. Maybe chocolate too.
But also because you know that if you tell him or her you need money just to break even, he or she is likely to frown and look at you akimbo in much the same manner as a disapproving parent. And then all of those weird parent triggers will be enacted and you’ll feel bad about yourself. Again.
You already recognize that it’s way better to ask for money when you don’t actually NEED it.
5. You Have a Marketing Budget
Once you launch, you can’t assume people will just naturallymigrate to your site. Unless you’re giving away diamonds. Or ponies. (In either case, a devastatingly poor return on investment.)
So in order to drive traffic directly to your site, you’ve enlisted the help of an advertising/marketing firm to assist with SEO efforts and getting backlinks to your site. Because, frankly, there ain’t no link like a backlink.
6. You Are Prepared to Listen to Your Customers
And you know you’ll be hearing from them. A lot. And right from day one.
Of course, you’re well aware that you don’t have to act on everything they say. For instance, Tom Q. feels his suggestion that you consume his gym shorts is helpful in some way. You know it’s not because you don’t even like gym shorts.
But you also know that customers will point out things about your product that may not have occurred to you. And, as you know, that can be really valuable. They could guide you to make necessary changes.
And once you make those changes, the customers feel valued - thereby establishing a deeper bond and fostering brand loyalty.
7. You Are Sticking with One Product
You have effectively eliminated the term “vertical integration” from your vocabulary. For now, at least.
Because, of course, you’ve got this killer product and you want to drench it in the limelight and let nothing steal its thunder. Yeah, that’s a mixed metaphor that makes no sense. But neither does cramming your e-commerce site with a bunch of irrelevant product. It will not serve to highlight your amazing product. Instead, it will bury it.
But you know that already, smarty.
8. You Are in It for the Long Haul
Odds are, the process is going to be slow. Like watching paint dry. But harder. Like watching paint dry while juggling. And climbing a tree.
Like Seth Godin says, “It takes about six years of hard work to become an overnight success.” Oh, that Seth. Such a way with words.
But he’s not wrong.
Are You Ready to Launch Your E-Commerce Site?
Bottom line? If you’ve done all of the above and feel confident that you have a great product to sell, follow your passion. Get that e-commerce site up and running.
And when you’re ready to explore marketing options, feel free to contact us. We’d love to talk to you about your passion.