If you are starting an e-commerce business on your own, here are some tips based on the experience we’ve had in developing e-commerce websites for our own clients:
1. Define your products and market carefully
What products are you selling now? Are they under your own brand or do they belong to another business? More importantly, why would a customer buy from you (online) versus buying from a marketplace like Lazada or Shopee. What makes you unique enough to stand out and withstand the competition? Is your group of target customers price-sensitive which means they’re always looking for the cheapest option? All these affect the kinds of products you will sell online as well as the online strategy that you will use.
2. Work with a trusted e-commerce website provider
Start looking at e-commerce websites that appeal to you and fit your brand vision. Find out who can help you design and develop your e-commerce website and able to advise you what you need (pre-setup is more important than the actual e-commerce setup). It’s important that your e-commerce website creates trust because without looking credible, no one will buy from you! Decide if you have someone in-house to help you update your products into the e-commerce website. Your own team will work closely with the e-commerce website designer because there will be a lot of technical details to decide and sort out.
3. Promote your website on social media and online marketplaces
Once your e-commerce website is up and running, it is time to promote it on social media platforms and online marketplaces that matter. Always lead your customers back to your website because it’s the only way you can prevent your products from being compared side by side with others (usually this happens in an online marketplace). Use the online marketplace to get the eyeballs with selected products but get them onto your website for the full range.
4. Learn from successful online retailers
Read stories of how online retailers started. Use their success stories as motivation and inspiration. Ask people who are already running their online shops about their experiences and challenges.
Having an e-commerce website isn’t the end; it is the beginning of your online selling! Selling online is just like selling offline. You need strategies and campaigns to get prospects to visit your online shop so this is where a strong marketing focus helps.
E-commerce in Asia is getting exciting as the infrastructure is catching up despite main obstacles like poor Internet connection in certain areas and some sections of the public who are still reluctant to shop online.
Despite it all, if you’re not going online with your retail, you’re missing out on a huge piece of the e-commerce pie!
This article is contributed by Krista Goon of Redbox Studio, a web design and marketing firm in Penang. Redbox Studio’s speciality is in creating websites with marketing strategy to help business owners increase their online visibility, credibility and profitability.
Krista Goon is an entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in copywriting and marketing. She also co-founded WomenBizSENSE in 2006, a dynamic women entrepreneur organization in Penang. She was its president from 2012 to 2016 and is currently its adviser. For her work in establishing a vibrant women entrepreneur community in Penang, she was nominated and shortlisted for the Great Women Of Our Time Awards in 2008. She is a board member of the International Association of Business Communicators (Malaysia chapter) and a director for Penang Women’s Development Corporation.