So, you’ve completed the first steps: finding a gap in the market, legalising your business, creating a business model and mapping your strategy.

But how do you branch into the ever-growing e-commerce space?

We have worked closely with customers who use various different e-commerce platforms, and know some of them inside-out. In this blog post, we’ll give you some helpful tips on best practices when taking the plunge into the e-commerce world.

Choose an appropriate e-commerce platform

Different e-commerce platforms have different features and levels of support so choosing one that suits your business is important. Factors like business model (dropshipping, print-to-order, etc.) or the size of your business and team play a huge role in this decision. The biggest e-commerce platforms are Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify, Wix, BigCommerce, Zyro, and Squarespace. Each has its own pricing models, suit different niches, and has very different options to customise your website. OneTimePIM has built-in Connectors to Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento which make up a large percentage of the market. These Connectors make it easy to create and edit products within a central system built for handling product data, and easily distribute it to your website.

Decide on a target market and how to reach them

Given that you have decided on a product or range of products to sell, it is worth developing a customer profile of who you envision buying your products. With this in mind, you can develop marketing strategies that will effectively reach this audience and get in front of the right people at the right time. This will also dictate the direction you take your branding and content.

Design your website with a brand identity in mind

With your ideal customers in mind, it is important to build a brand that promotes consistent messaging, content, and image across all platforms. Your website should also have consistent branding. Website design and interface, social media platforms, other customer support/engagement avenues, colour palettes, logos, digital assets and graphics, and photography/videography should all be considered at this stage. It is important to fix your company’s goals, values and mission and ensure that these are well communicated across all customer touchpoints.

Decide on internal team and processes

A strong team is essential to get the business started. Depending on your business model and goals, you may need a team with many different skill sets. It is certainly worth considering what kind of marketing staff you need as this is what will initially get your business in front of customers. You may also need product managers, web developers, and e-commerce experts to help if you have a large range of products and want to expand quickly. Of course, lots of these jobs can be outsourced too so it is worth keeping an open mind. It is of utmost importance to get your internal processes correct at the beginning as it will catch up to you if you have to make lots of changes further down the line. This can be anything from establishing how your business markets the products, how it delivers the products, establishing who is in charge of what elements of the product data and what systems will help the business.

Decide on external systems to help

To ensure success from the get-go it’s important to consider what other systems will help your business to flourish and expand. A Product Information Management (PIM) system will help you create your products and easily populate them with data in one central source. This can then be linked to your e-commerce platform and distribute the information to wherever else it needs to go. Many companies also opt for an ERP system or an inventory management system like Linnworks to aid the business too.