As time goes by, web users are becoming more comfortable with making purchases online. Websites such as eBay and Amazon are where I had my first online shopping experience from. In the UAE, Souq.com has been a major online success, perhaps capitalising on the first mover advantage.
Almost on a daily basis, I come across individuals looking to set up an eCommerce websites in Dubai. While many of these entrepreneurs have a clear idea and understanding of what can make their venture a success, there are always some that need a little more guidance. So, based on my experience, when it comes to online business ventures, here are my top 5 steps to successfully launch your eCommerce business.
1. Carry out Market Research
I know that this may seem simple, but many people look to run before they can walk. They have an idea and just run with it without taking time to carry out some market research. For any business to succeed, the products or services it offers must first be able to fulfill a compelling need to the end consumer. There are a whole host of resources at your fingertips, use them.
2. Design a User-Focused Website
If the market research is conclusive and feasability analysis studies show a potential to make profit, then it is time to start looking at building a website. People now have high standards when it comes to browsing websites online, so make sure your website it focused around the user. You have less than 5 seconds to make an impression or you may loose that visitor forever. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:
- Ensure your website is easy to navigate
- Have clear call to action on each page
- Make it easy to purchase (no more than 3 to 4 clicks)
- Ensure it is built in responsive design (Will adjust to screen size)
3. Activate Social Media Channels
While you are going through the process of creating the website, I would advise activating your social media channels to start creating awareness of the brand and start building a community of your potential customers. These individuals would have been pre-identified in your research. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the most obvious channels to start off with. Having a strong strategy in place will ensure that once the website is live, you will have a community of people already in place that are eager to view your offering. While the website is still under development there is nothing to stop you from selling through your social channels. A great way of doing so is through Facebook Applications. To see an example please check out: https://www.facebook.com/LYNcommunity/app_599788450050788
4. Use Search Engines to Drive Qualified Traffic to the Website
As with building any website you must have a way to get people to it. Using Search Engine Optinisation and Search Engine Marketing will go a long way in making sure that your website is visible to those who are looking for it. Search engine marketing (or PPC or Pay Per Click Campaigns as this is commonly known as) will help with visibility from the early stages of the launch but be strategic with what keywords you go after, or this could turn into a expensive exercise.
Retargeting campaigns are very powerful and can be implemented using the Google Display Network and even now through Facebook. This targeted advertising allows you to show ads to people who have visited the site previously and is a good way of keeping your brand top of mind.
5. Personalise your Emails
Once you have a customer, try to make sure that you make their experience memorable. Sending out email shots on a daily or weekly basis becomes annoying and spammy. Try to send personalised emails to your database of clients. Email Marketing is still a great tool and should be included in your online strategy. Use a platform that allows you to track each campaign and user behaviours. Doing so will make sure you have a higher Click Through Rate.
The online sphere is changing at a fast pace and new technologies and experiences are being created but the principles are the same and you will not go far wrong once to stick to the basics.