So you are getting all set up to begin your own business online. Now that you have the legal side covered and are all set to begin crafting your website, where do you go from there? At this point it is great to have an experienced ally to point you in the right direction, provide some helpful advice and even warn you of a few pitfalls often encountered. With this in mind, allow me to share some of my advice and experience collected over being in this very spot before. Following are 8 of my very own business tips that will allow you to get your e-commerce business off the ground. Determine your niche. Finding the niche that is just right for you is important for the passion and determination you will need for pushing your business forward. This is something that can’t be emphasized enough. I know for a fact that if I hadn’t had the inherent interest and passion about my products, I’d never have made it as far as I have. But, here I am three years later business and passion still going strong. Find suppliers for the products that you want to sell. The best provider would be a specialty provider that doesn’t operate on Amazon. By locating your very own niche market you will not have as much competition and your customers will be able to find you better. Furthermore, you will want as many suppliers as you cannot just the one supplier. Despite their immaculate reviews and the great trust you have for your suppliers they will eventually run into a hiccough and you will be met with fulfillment issues. This is where you will be grateful for the backup plan in the form of a secondary supplier. Set aside plenty of time to work on your business. The results that you can expect from your ecommerce business will be directly related to the amount of time you spend learning your trade and investing in your website. I laugh when I think that my initial idea was that my own work was going to allow me the freedom to work when I please and travel all the time –– major misconception! Your time must be consumed with researching important trends and ways to make your ecommerce look and function better. Keeping ahead of the competition is an all-time task. Look to your big fish competition for solid strategies and proven techniques, then look to the smaller fish for clever innovative ideas that you can improve on. Then if you are ever in doubt and have questions about what you are doing, take them up with the Google. There is always something more to learn and new questions to ask. Choose a platform with great customer service. If you have enough funding, go all out and get your own personal custom made web page complete with a team to maintain it. If you’re like most others starting out in this game you will probably have plenty of other things to do than figure out how to build from the ground up. A tool like Shopify. I chose this service on the basis of their impressive reviews and 24/7 customer service. If you are anything like me, you will put their service to the test with important questions at all hours of the day and night –– questions they will have to call their superiors for help with. If I dislike any details of the page I am free to navigate the sites back areas to make the changes I deem necessary. Furthermore, there are a whole slew of features that can help out with important aspects of ecommerce. If you’re wondering about what platform to choose – compare – look at this Shopify and Wix comparison for example. Choose apps based on their reviews. Be sure to check out supporting apps like Abandoned or Persistent Cart once you have accrued a greater quantity of traffic. There are actually hundreds of such sites and you should select those that will fit you needs the best. This may require some experimentation but it is definitely worth it once you find a winner. Find reviews made by those with similar situations as yours and contact the Apps customer support. If an App has poor customer support, they are no good. No matter how enticing the features they offer, eventually they will be nullified by downtime and other errors. Find the right influencers. Once more this will be very dependent on the specific niche you re in. But you can often find considerable support by connecting with the right influencers and providing them with free stuff in return for their help. This should only be done if you have already researched how influencers will work in your niche and understand how to spot the real effective ones from the fakes. Get everything in writing. While this should go without saying, it is not unusual for certain things to slip by and this can lead to regrets later. But, you should always end your business negotiations with a clear outline of what the terms of the agreement are and get that signed too. Put More Focus User Experience The first step to creating and running a successful e-commerce business is building an e-commerce website. When making the site, your focus should be primarily on the user experience. Considering that customers cannot walk into a virtual store and physically touch and see the products you are selling, it is essential that you make up for this by ensuring your site is easy to navigate and enjoyable to use. There are several things to consider when building a user-oriented e-commerce website. They include: Mobile-Friendliness – A lot of people today shop for things they want online through their tablets and smartphones, so it is essential to ensure that your site is mobile-friendly. Easy Website Navigation – Ensure that site visitors have an easy time finding their way around the site from perusing products to checking out. Visually Appealing – Ensure your site is visually appealing by using high-quality, eye-catching product images. You could use one of WordPress’ professional themes to give your site a professional touch. Fast Page Loading Times – 53% of internet users will leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Consider boosting your website speed for better results. Websites that internet users enjoy visiting are more likely to see them return again and again. A good CMS can help massively with this and this post on Supplygem.com comparing two of the largest is worth reading. Drive More Traffic to Your Website Once you have built a unique e-commerce site that you believe future consumers will love, the next thing you need to do to ensure your e-commerce business is successful is to drive more traffic to the site. If you don’t have people visiting your website, you will not have any customers. There are several ways that you can use to drive traffic to your e-commerce site. However, for beginners like you, there are two easy and quite cost-effective strategies that can be used – these are creating content and optimizing your e-commerce site for SEO. Optimizing a website for search engine optimization helps it rank higher in SERPs and creating blog posts for use as site content will also help with that. Make sure that you craft entertaining, useful blog posts such as gift guides that include some of the keywords your potential consumers might search for. Doing so will increase the chances of your site being found by people searching the internet for some of the things you have to offer. More traffic equates to more customers for your business. Get Social Another great way of driving traffic to your website is by becoming more social. A lot of people (potential clients) are on social media, so it is essential to ensure that your e-commerce business is there too. Promoting your business on the different social media platforms available is one way to get more traffic flowing to your site and to introduce yourself to new audiences. To get more traffic, take full advantage of the different social media platforms available. Share high-quality photos of your brands and products on Instagram and make use of all the relevant hashtags to widen your reach and more people to view your posts. Do remember to add links that link to your e-commerce site in your bio. You could also create social advertisements that are specifically aimed at your target audience.