Patience is key when launching an E-commerce venture
Let’s begin by dispelling the notion that great things happen overnight, I can tell you from my experience that when something appears to have “popped up” overnight online, it hasn’t. The reality is that there has been months if not years of blood, sweat and tears. Before we even get to the point of launching the site you have branding, packaging, logistics, stock management, product testing, market research, countless meetings with web developers and bank managers, etc, etc, etc. We, the consumer, just don’t get to see the donkey work that goes on, that’s the reality. Am I saying this to put people off? Absolutely not, I just wish someone had prepared me for the reality when I made the leap. If you are hardworking and you believe in your idea/product/service then none of this will frighten you.
When I finally got a date to launch the site I assumed that I was going to be knee deep in orders from the get-go, nope. Days passed as I sat at my laptop hitting refresh, watching to see if there were any active carts, I was torturing myself. Days turned into weeks and still nothing, traffic was where it needed to be but still no orders. It’s at this point that you start to doubt yourself, start to panic, the “what if” disaster scenario creeps in. If I can give you one piece of advice here, from experience, It’s simply relax, sales won’t happen overnight. It will be perfectly normal in this instance to feel deflated after the euphoria of launch. E-commerce sites are not plug and play, your work doesn’t stop the minute you launch, in reality, this is just the start of the work. For me the next step was engaging on social media, joining LinkedIn and Facebook, setting up business pages, building a network online, video marketing and driving traffic towards the site. If you are even remotely creative then these platforms will suit you, write a blog, any idiot can do it. You cannot ignore the importance of this task, engage all social media.
What advice would I give anyone in this position? Don’t try and do everything at once. Set yourself manageable daily targets and plan your day wisely. If you do happen to have free time at the beginning then get online, make a video, create a competition, do something that your competitor isn’t. Take time to enjoy the little victories that you will get. There is no point working this hard not to enjoy a win every now and then. When you do eventually get that first order it will feel like you have won the lotto. Don’t panic is there is a lull, it’s perfectly normal, you have to allow for organic growth, social media will help to gee this up. Always check your site, check the pricing, the product images, is there anything that you feel can be improved? Improve it. Experiment with marketing, if, like me, you don’t have a huge marketing budget then have a look online and see what cheaper alternatives are available, everything helps. Measure the success of each different thing you try, keep the good ones and put the others in abeyance, they may work later down the road. If you are unsure about anything then reach out and ask, this is where LinkedIn is very good, you can join groups and potentially find online mentors. There will almost always be someone who has been where you are and they are usually happy to help you out. Most of all, stay focussed. Don’t allow yourself to lose track, easy at this point to put the feet up and swing the kettle, you must work hard, all day, every day.
Nb: I still sit hitting refresh on the laptop, that will probably never change