Here are some tips for tunring your e-commerce nugget of an idea into a viable business…
1. Do you understand your e-commerce Business Structure? Will you be online only? Are you going to just sell via Etsy or eBay? Or do you have a shop as well
2. Don't try and sell everything on Day One. Most of the successful e-commerce businesses sell a focused range of products, so decide where you're going to focus yours.
3. Identify your USP (Unique Selling Proposition). Make sure it's clear to your customers in everything you do. So, for example, if customer service is everything, make sure your phones are manned when your customers want to speak to you!
4. Don't buy the wrong website. However big or old your business is, your website needs to be fit for purpose. Don't buy a five-figure site if you're only going to sell four-figures worth of products in year one.
5. Spend money on good web hosting. If your website doesn't work or is too slow, your customers won't buy - so don't scrimp on your hosting fees. Plus, site speed will affect how much search engine traffic you get too!
6. Don't assume that just because you have a website, you'll get customers. Making a website live is not the same as opening a shop. When you open a shop, you already have people walking by on the pavement. You do not have that luxury online (although there is the benefit of much smaller overheads.)
7. Create a marketing plan. Even if it's only for three months at a time, outlining your marketing plan will really help you keep focused and give you time to spot the opportunities.
8. Don't forget to capture customer data. On day one you might not be planning to use postcards to drive sales. But you might one day, so start collecting those addresses and the permission to use them!
9. Include an email sign-up form on your website. This will help to increase the amount of engagement between your site and your customers.
10. Don't forget to install a traffi-monitoring programme. Software such as Google Analytics and Open Web Analytics is free, including e-commerce conversion tracking - you will need that data to plan year two!
Chloë Thomas is author of e-commerce MasterPlan, and owner of e-commerce agency Indiumonline.