The right strategy for your online shop

Independent of the size of your business, there are various tasks to complete, before you can start your online shop. In connection to topics like data maintenance, layout, contracts with payment providers, possible leasing of premises for storage and packing and much more, the lead-time of such a project, from the beginning until it goes live, can last from several months up to more than one year. In order to overcome this challenge in collaboration with software developers, designers, photographers and all other service providers successfully, you have to define precise objectives before, by means of the which you can determine the importance of each part for the project development.

I would like to outline precisely the, according to me, most important objective, namely the desired effect of the planned offer on the internet. If you consider this key objective in advance, you reduce your economic risk and prevent a wrong self-assessment and therefore the failure of the complete project. I would like to point out in the beginning that you will save time and money for the complete project due to the strict rules resulting therefrom.

In doing so, you enable the possibility of a fast and successful establishment of your planned offer on the online market. The starting point for the right path and the associated focal points in the phase of project implementation is the current condition of your business. Therefore, I divide this article in two parts, as follows.

Starting point 1 – Known in the market

“Existing, established, stationary retailshop, branch network or mail-order business”

Usually, it is to be assumed that the name of your business or brand is regionally known in your branch. Your planned online shop opens a new market for your existing business and provides your regular customers with a new and more convenient way of procurement.

Such a starting point is the perfect opportunity to place the focus of your offer on your business or brand name and the associated services. You benefit from long-term trust of your customers in your business and your established services to win potential new customers trans-regionally. Your business premises and your company’s headquarters are an outstanding added value to stand out from many “letterbox online shops” and shows your proximity to your customers.

If you have been running your business for more than 10 years, it is advisable to use this fact as a marketing instrument by means of suggesting continuity and long-term confidence. Your exisiting structures, like a working storage, established software solutions and proved business processes allow you to fully concentrate on your new branch – your online shop.

Starting point 2 – Unknown in the market

“New establishments or, even rarer: New trade relations regarding B2B oder B2C”

Important note: In case of new foundations, pay attention to focus on an inventory management system and the associated business processes for a seamless course of business. If the central processes in order processing do not work and your business processes present errors, sooner or later, you will be taken down, at least as soon as the online shop goes live.

Independent of your branch I assume that in case of non-exclusive products there are online dealers offering the same products at the same price – or maybe at an even lower price. Don’t be scared, practice examples and independent studies in the past have shown that the price is not the only decision criterion for a customer, in order to be successful with your online shop. Set yourself apart from your competitors by providing outstanding service which are not usual in the industry and offer some added value to your customers. Below this section, I cope more precisely with the term “added value”. For you, whose business is not known in the market and who wants to stand out by means of first-class services, the following section is of particular importance

Notify the visitors of your online shop, especially on the product level of the services offered, because very often this is the starting point for potential buyers via search engines. A visible telephone number and the possibility for live chat create trust and the feeling of proximity to the customer. Particulary, note the times during which this contact option is available.

Applicable for both starting points

Focus across all products on a comprehensive and in particular unique description of the product using all means available on the internet. These include individual product images from several perspectives, unique product descriptions in the continuous texts, data sheets in pdf format, product evaluations, videos or interactive techniques like a 3D presentation of the product and any other cutting-edge technologies of today. Emphasis is to be put on the easy and unique way to find the right product constellation according to the customer’s requirements via an individual product configurator in order to set yourself apart from the competitors on the market.

Pay special attention to the quality of the product information: In case you have not populated substantial data of a product, it is recommendable not to offer this product in your online shop. Hint: Talk to your existing or future suppliers, if they are able to deliver high-class product images. If they are not, investing in professional product photography is worthwhile.

Concluding, I would like to point out to a fact regarding which you can find all necessary information on the internet: Do not take on any product descriptions that are provided by your suppliers. Individually escribe your product, in complete sentences and including all information you have. If possible, avoid listings of technical data or supplement such a data table by continuous text. Furthermore, make use of the technologies of your online shop system like individual category descriptions or rigid text pages to describe your goods group. There is a general rule for all texts in your online shop: Write for you customers and not for the search engine.

Thank you for your attention and your interest in useful hints for e-commerce. I wish you a lot of success in implementing your goals as well as for your future online shop. I look forward to receiving questions and comments to