The critical moment of your store having longevity is in the first 90 days. What you do in this time period with your online store will dictate if you have what it takes to survive in the ecommerce world—ok, maybe not THAT cutthroat. But for those who’s only opening an online store for personal enjoyment with no concept of time, the below need not apply.
For those in need of generating income from your store, we call this the 90 Day Growth and Retention Strategy, and it is the second part of our series on Ecommerce Strategy and Tactics. Some might have viewed Part 1: The Ecommerce Desert to be a bit vague. It was suppose to be. Strategy and tactics are concepts based on how well we know our challenges. Now we’ll take a look at some concrete steps to take in the first 90 days of your online business.
6 Online Store Growth Factors
Instead of reviewing technical lectures or the latest marketing gimmick, ask yourself if you have these items in place to have a well-thoughtout 90-day business initiative to follow:
- Have Elements to Leverage: In another words, what’s your angle? Probably the single most important aspect of any ecommerce business is: what is it that’s going to make someone buy from your store? Every online business needs one or a combination of a few. Is the emphasis on prices 50% lower than everyone else? The most customization available? High-end? Testimonies? Does it appeal to your hobbyists/fans?
- Training Yourself: List out what you don’t know, and find experts who do. Building a online store, marketing, finding customers, accounting, taxes, etc.. Don’t forget to also list out what you do know, its just as important. Rate yourself from 1-10 on how skilled you are for each item. Ask yourself where you NEED to be after 90 days for each skill, and then draw up a plan to self-learn or find help during this period. You’ll thank yourself you did.
- The Right Tools: Better to find out ahead of time what types of software/hardware you need, as well as any mechanical/craft tools if you are involved in making the products you are selling. Do the necessary research. You don’t want to get ahead of yourself with a great idea only to find out the machinery was too expensive or too difficult to use.
- Communication Ready: Starting to sell online is more than about opening a store. Do you have your email accounts setup? Will you have a dedicated Twitter or Facebook page for your store? How about a physical address or phone number? All these things take time to setup. Have a schedule for when (early on) in the first 90 days you are going to accomplish these things. After all, if the customer can’t find your contact information, it usually means abandon cart time.
- Culture Driven: Your store could be an extension of you ( or maybe something more delightful if its not the case). Give your store a friendly personality, whether it be through wording, images, or videos. Work with your site, social networks, ads, and such to give your store the culture that appeals best to your customers. For some it comes naturally; for others, its going to take some work. Layout your approach and research your customers ahead of time so that you are clear and concise in the way you spread your messages.
- Rewards: Be prepared to hand out awards, prizes, free products of sorts to help to reach the customers you want. Give it some thought as to where to invest your handouts. Some may lead nowhere while others open new doors for your business.
Include in these 6 factors into your online store roll-out strategy, and it will make the difference between your store and all the others out there. Remember to build plans around them within the first 90-days for the maximum effect. If you already have a store opened, work on the ones you need improving on. Better late than never.