Have you recently been wondering how to start or grow an e-commerce business? We all know starting an e-commerce business is a great way to make money online, especially if you know how to market what you’re selling online to the current needs of the  marketplace.

So, what’s stopping you from trying out this type of business venture that could potentially help you become mega-wealthy? Is the problem that you don’t really know where to start, or know how to run a successful e-commerce business? Today, I’m going to provide you with a few key lessons that I learned about e-commerce businesses, before I sold my e-commerce company.

You see, one of the companies I used to own was a thriving e-commerce business. It’s one of the most successful ventures I’ve been part of throughout my entire business career. We were doing millions of dollars per year in online sales. We even won the Online Retailer of the Year award from Canada Post.

If you want to make money online, and even make money while you sleep, then starting an e-commerce store is a great idea. Click To Tweet

Why does this type of business venture carry so much potential? Well, millions of people will agree that one of their favorite hobbies is online shopping. Many people will even tell you that they rarely shop in stores anymore, and only shop online. That’s why there are a lot of opportunities when it comes to creating wealth by starting an e-commerce business. 

With the right product, proper research of your target demographic, and the right marketing strategy, starting an e-commerce business can be a brilliant investment.

If you want to make money online (and even make money while you sleep) then starting an e-commerce store is a great idea.

If you want your e-commerce business to be successful, however, you can’t solely rely on the quality of your products. Yes, that’s important, but what you really need is a killer marketing strategy. You’ll need to upgrade your business skills if you want to succeed in e-commerce, and you’ll especially need to upgrade your marketing skills.

You need to know how to market your online store so that your e-commerce business actually generates sales.

Every day, new e-commerce sites emerge online. Some of them seem to become successful overnight. This success often occurs due to a combination of their marketing strategy and the demand for their unique product. It also helps if they got a famous public figure to endorse their online store’s products, or implemented an effective social media marketing strategy.

E-commerce sites such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Shopify are the big online retailers many consumers prefer to go to for their online shopping needs. Other consumers, however, prefer to buy from boutique online stores or smaller, more niche e-commerce businesses. So how can you successfully run an e-commerce business?

Someone making an online purchase with their credit card

1. Remember That Conversion is King

Conversion rates are everything for an e-commerce site. How many of the people who visit your e-commerce website or read one of your blog posts actually buy something? How many visitors are you converting into customers? You should be measuring, tracking, and analyzing your Google analytics and your conversion analytics.

You need to measure your bounce rate, too. Your bounce rate tells you how soon prospects are exiting your site, and where you’re losing them.

Where are you seeing people exiting your e-commerce website? Where exactly are you losing your prospects?

One of the things I noticed when I was involved in my e-commerce business, is that we were losing a big chunk of our customers at the checkout.

This means that a lot of customers were making it all the way to the checkout, but then left. This was peculiar, because this meant they liked the product, clicked on the product, and added it to their cart. But when they went to buy the product, we were losing them.

Clearly, this was not a good thing. So, how did we fix this problem?

Well, first of all, we added testimonials throughout the checkout process.

We also streamlined and simplified the checkout process. We made it much shorter and easier to buy the product. In other words, we reduced the number of steps necessary to check out.

Once checking out was faster and easier with less steps, and testimonials were visible, sales dramatically increased. 

Online shopping on an iPhone

2. Set Up Shoppable Posts on Instagram

E-commerce businesses were thrilled when Instagram introduced shoppable posts. This means you can post a photo of your product on Instagram, tag the featured product in your post, and provide Instagram users with the ability to click and buy your product directly from the their Instagram feed.

With nearly 1 billion monthly active users, utilizing a huge platform like Instagram is a great way to sell your products and grow your e-commerce business.

Consumers love browsing through their Instagram feed, and now they can shop products they like directly from one of their favorite apps.

Statistically, approximately 200 million of Instagram’s users are currently visiting one or more business profiles daily. In other words, Instagram is a very business-friendly app.

All you have to do is set up shoppable media on your Instagram account. This requires that your Instagram account is connected to a Facebook account, as that’s one of the requirements. Other requirements include ensuring your Instagram account is a business account, and that you connect your product catalog to your account.

Approximately 200 million of Instagram's users currently visit one or more e-commerce business profiles every day. Click To Tweet

Shoppable posts are marked by a shopping bag icon in the bottom left corner of the Instagram post. If the Instagram user clicks on the product in the photo, it will be tagged with the name of the product, and users can easily click to buy, if they like what they see. Once the user clicks to buy, they’re taken to your e-commerce website, typically to the product page of the product they clicked on.

Setting up shoppable posts on Instagram will help you grow your e-commerce business, but you’ll also want to upgrade your Instagram marketing skills so that you make the most of the shoppable media feature.

e-commerce business owner measuring customer behavior analytics

3. Measure Customer Behavior

To successfully run an e-commerce business, you have to measure everything. Measure data, analytics, and conversion tracking. Make sure to measure traffic sources, referral sources, and especially make sure to measure your customers’ behavior. 

Measuring data will help you determine which products are selling the best. When you’ve got products that you can see are selling well, make sure you’re featuring those specific products on your homepage and in blog posts.

4. Optimize Your Website for SEO

The better your website ranks on search engines, the more traffic you will get to your online store. The more traffic you get, the better chance your e-commerce business has at succeeding.

To optimize your website for SEO, you need proper distribution of strategic, target keywords that you want to rank for on Google. These target keywords need to be strategically distributed throughout your e-commerce website in product descriptions, headers, blog posts, meta descriptions, and website copy.

The strategic keywords you choose can’t be random. You must choose keywords that have a high search volume. These are keywords you want to rank for, because they are often searched for by people on search engines like Google. Professional copywriters know how to choose these keywords with high search volumes and write website copy that utilizes these keywords. This is one of the best ways to optimize your website for SEO, get more traffic to your online store, and run a more successful e-commerce business.

Optimizing your website for SEO is one of the best ways to get more organic traffic and organic leads for your e-commerce business. These are customers who find you organically, via search engines, without you running a paid ad.

Optimizing your e-commerce website for SEO is a great way to attract new customers.

Eventually, by implementing SEO best practices, my e-commerce business was getting most of its customers organically. 60% of our sales were coming from organic traffic, and 40% of our traffic was coming from paid traffic.

5. Have a Paid Advertising Strategy

When I was involved in a successful e-commerce business, we were running a lot of paid ads on Google. We were paying per click, so we were spending a lot of money on these ads, paying to get traffic to our e-commerce site.

The thing is, you can’t solely rely on SEO strategy or organic traffic strategies. Any good marketing plan will involve paid ads. This includes paid Facebook ads that advertise the products for sale on your e-commerce site, paid Instagram ads, Google ads, and more.

You may even wish to pay an influential blogger to review one of your products on his or her popular blog. Similarly, you can pay a popular vlogger to review one of your products on his or her YouTube channel. It’s also extremely common to use Instagram influencers to model, use, or wear your products and promote your products on their Instagram page.

Remember that when running paid traffic campaigns, you should not spend your entire advertising budget on one type of ad. Be smart with your marketing investment, experiment, and find out what works best.

Woman online shopping and smiling

6. Maximize Revenue From Existing Customers

To run a successful e-commerce business, your marketing strategies can’t solely prioritize acquiring new customers.

You must also have marketing strategies in place to maximize revenue from your existing customers.

Target customers who have bought from you in the past using email marketing copy that persuades them to make another purchase. Brush up on your copywriting skills and write some email copy to your customers that is compelling and persuasive. You could offer an incentive, such as a discount, to past customers so that they purchase something from your e-commerce store again.

You can also target your Facebook ads to people who are likely already your customers. For example, you can target your ads to those who already follow your page.

Another thing you can do is offer a loyalty program or rewards program. Perhaps customers get a $50 e-gift card for every $500 spent at your online store. You can also offer a 24 hour sale, exclusively for recent customers who have made a recent purchase. These are just a couple of examples, as there are endless ways to reward loyal customers.

7. Beware of Dead Inventory

Having too much inventory just sitting in a warehouse can kill your e-commerce business, especially if it doesn’t sell. That’s why inventory management is crucial for the success of any e-commerce business. 

You never want to have too much inventory sitting there, because what if it expires? What if the quality of the product diminishes due to sitting in a warehouse for too long? What if your product becomes outdated during the time it’s sitting in a warehouse, unsold? Ask yourself, What happens if you can no longer sell all of that inventory?

Having way too much inventory of products that don’t sell (dead inventory) can kill your e-commerce business. Investing all of that cash into inventory is dangerous, so be careful, and make sure you can sell all of it.

Too much inventory in an online store's warehouse

I know you might be tempted to place a large order of inventory, with high hopes that you’ll sell it all on your e-commerce site. Part of the reason e-commerce business owners are tempted to place large orders is because their cost-per-unit goes down with higher volume orders. However, don’t be fooled by the bulk order discount. Unless you’ve done the research to be sure it’ll all sell, these huge bulk orders of inventory are a great way to lose a lot of money.

Start with a smaller supply of inventory. Test out what the marketplace likes the best, and get feedback from your customers on what they like best. Do marketplace research and test your products with the marketplace before you do a large inventory order.

8. Implement a Content Strategy

Part of any good e-commerce business’s marketing strategy is a content strategy. Make sure to have a blog on your website, where you post consistent content on a weekly basis. Every week, post new blog posts that are fun, engaging, and softly sell your products. 

Your blog posts can include education about your products, information about your products, and how-to tips on how to use your products.

If your online store sells fashion items such as clothes and accessories, for example, your blog can include a style guide. This could be a fun fashion blog to help sell your clothes and accessories online.

Woman looking at a fashion blog on her iPad

Blog content should also often evoke emotions in your readers, for example by telling heartwarming stories about how one of your products changed someone’s life for the better. Again referring to the example of a online fashion retailer, an emotional story could be about body positivity and dressing for your body to boost self-confidence.

Starting a blog is one of the best content strategies you can implement for your e-commerce business. Why? Because blog posts that are SEO-friendly will boost your e-commerce site’s Google ranking, generating more traffic and ultimately more sales. Plus, blog posts help educate customers about your products. And, if they’re engaging and contain a good call-to-action, blogs can certainly help sell your products.

Learning SEO content writing skills will certainly help you run a more successful e-commerce business.

What Skills Do You Need To Have Before You Can Start an E-Commerce Business?

If you’re wondering which crucial skills you need to acquire before you can successfully start an e-commerce business, and which skills you might be capable of learning on your won, take my FREE high-income skills quiz here.

What skills might you discover you need to run your e-commerce business more successfully? Copywriting, for example, is a skill you’ll need. Why? Because your e-commerce site needs persuasive sales copy and compelling product descriptions written in order to sell your product. You’ll also need digital marketing skills (especially social media marketing skills) and content writing skills. But which skills are you best-suited to learn on your own, and which skills do you need to outsource?

There are many skills and tips you need to learn about and know about before you start an e-commerce business. Once you feel prepared, you’ll feel confident about starting a successful online business. Think of these skills as the armor you need to succeed in the competitive e-commerce space.