Web Design

How to successfully launch an online store

26 July 2017 Maxence Pezzetta

Today, the web has become a fully-fledged marketplace. According to a study conducted by eMarketer, e-commerce accounted for nearly 8.7% of total retail sales in the world in 2016. By 2020, global online sales could exceed $ 4 trillion.

The web is therefore clearly not something to be overlooked today and having an online store has become a major asset.

Only, the question that regularly comes up is: how can you beat the competition? Essentially, unlike physical stores, which mostly have local competition, an online store will have to compete with other online stores in its region or even those of a neighboring country.

Opening an online store is one thing, having a successful launch is another. Making your way in this great digital world is not easy. First impressions with future customers must be the best possible to build loyalty and to make them your ambassadors.

Lay the foundation with a business plan

Despite appearances, opening your online store does not happen overnight. Before you start, you have to choose the right market, the right product, the right target, the right identity, the right platform, the right communication and finally the right business strategy.

As with a traditional store, opening an e-commerce site requires a solid business plan with specific items and goals. This plan will allow you to better define the different characteristics of your strategies. It will bring together all your decisions and your expected results. It can also function as a logbook for your site to ensure that you always move in the right direction. It will guarantee the consistency and the future of your online store.

Find a unique identity for your online store

After choosing your main e-commerce approach (a marketplace like Amazon, simple e-commerce solution like Shopify or an online store design service), it’s time to think about your identity. This step is very important because it will allow you to differentiate yourself from your competitors. It will be the reason users enjoy visiting your site. It will immerse them in a unique universe, convey your values ​​and your potential.

Beyond your brand name and logo, identity is made up of many “small” details such as colors, font, tone, design, icons, etc.

This identity should not be chosen lightly. It must be based on specific trends and expectations of your target market, determined with comprehensive study.

Refine your site’s user experience

Nowadays, the user experience is at the online store, while sellers are at traditional stores. It allows future buyers to better find their way, find all the answers to their questions and be supported in their progression towards a purchase.

A good user experience will provide, among other things, clearly identifiable interactions and calls to action, easy contacts, clear content pages and a quick and easy purchase process.

By creating an optimal user experience, you’ll be able to lower your site’s bounce rate and increase your conversion and retention rates.

Make your customers store ambassadors

As with any business, customer relationships are essential for an online store to function properly. It is important to keep in mind that a satisfied customer will relay his experience to 3 people around him while a dissatisfied customer will tell 11. On the web, this number can be multiplied by 100! Essentially, there are many places where happy or dissatisfied buyers can share their opinions: social networks, forums, opinion sites like Trip Advisor, etc.

Building a positive online image takes time, but losing it can be done very quickly. That’s why we must always take customer satisfaction to heart.

Your goal, when launching your online store, is to provide a great experience to your first customers to encourage them to return and share it. Special discounts, free delivery, regular contact or even small tokens in the package, everything is good to make a customer happy. Following a purchase, you can also put many things in place to motivate customers to share their experience with their loved ones. For example, why not offer a discount for all referrals or suggest sharing your order on social networks?

Of course, the quality of your experience must be maintained as long as your site is online.

It is also important to mention that the customer relationship is not limited to the time of purchase. As in a relationship or friendship, a good customer relationship is made of consistency, thoughtful gestures but no harassment. It is crucial to regularly keep in touch with your customers without being overly present.

Setting up an email marketing strategy is therefore highly recommended.

Be available and get people talking

Today, the internet is governed by the dogma of social networks. We like, we share, we tweet and we tag. It’s up to you to use these different channels effectively to be seen and heard. There’s nothing worse on the internet than being invisible and unknown. How can you drive traffic to your online store if no one knows about you?

Having a Facebook page, an Instagram and other accounts is good; but sustaining them regularly is better. Showing that you are available and active will increase the confidence that users have in you. It will make you more human and more accessible. A good idea to set up: post a countdown to announce your launch day to different communities.

Beyond a simple social media presence, you can also use influencers to help get you started. Some of them have serious firepower and can make or break a brand with a simple article or a photo.

Also, having articles written by third parties (websites or blogs) will allow you to improve your online store SEO on Google.

Become Google’s best friend

Finally, the last tip but not least, is to get Google in your pocket. The search engine provides you with many tools that will help you showcase your online store. Here are some things you can do to start your relationship with Google:

  • Work your site’s content around well-chosen keywords related to your online store. The goal is to position yourself as high as possible in the search results. Implementing an SEO strategy is therefore essential. One of the techniques to start with before launching your site is optimizing a pre-launch page. Ideally, this page should include a newsletter registration form to begin creating a potential customer database.
  • Set up AdWords campaigns for online advertising on Google’s networks (Search and Display). This will allow you to show up at the top of search results. This solution is much more instantaneous than SEO and is recommended when launching an online store.
  • Set goals and track conversions with Google Analytics to analyze your results. You can then better understand the path your first customers took and their behavior on your online store. You can also find out which search terms brought people to your site, and how to tailor your content, your AdWords campaigns and your offer.

Conclusion: think of a comprehensive online experience

Finally, the key to successfully launching your online store is to think of the web as a comprehensive experience. From the first point of contact to the purchasing act, offer your users an optimal journey so they have a good image of you, want to share their experience and return. A famous quote says, “The first impression is always good, especially when it is bad.” Well, that’s true on the web too!

To quickly get traffic and conversions when launching your online store, you can follow our tips.

Need support for your online store launch? Don’t hesitate to contact our SEO-SEM experts and boost your traffic!

Maxence Pezzetta
Cofondateur et Spécialiste Web Marketing et acquisition de clients Diplômé d’une double Maîtrise en Marketing et Communication, Max cumule plus de 10 ans d’expérience en Marketing digital. Ancien employé de Microsoft, sa mission est de « mettre le Web à la portée de tous » pour aider les entreprises à améliorer leur présence en ligne.
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