I’m a eCommerce web developer. I build websites for a living and have been doing it for over 10 years. I’ve built enterprise level Magento sites doing millions in revenue quarterly and I’ve built low scale mom and pop shops just wanting the online exposure it brings them. I tend to think that I somewhat know what I’m doing. I a have a wide range of real-world experience building and designing all sorts of websites.
Stop wasting your time on low effort, low-quality eCommerce ventures.
As in. If you’re serious about making money online then you need to have a plan. I get it. You have a dream of starting an eCommerce website from scratch with almost no budget – it’s a fantastic dream but if you want to start a business. Give it a chance of surviving.
You need to have a budget and you need to do your research. Anyone can get a Shopify subscription. Anyone can set up a stock theme and start drop shipping any of the thousands of
cheap Chinese goods from Ali-Express. Seriously. Anyone can do that.
The thing that sets those that fail and those that succeed apart is all in the planning, preparation, research, and execution.
Every eCommerce project with a low budget is usually a failure. The exceptions are the ones whose owner has experience with marketing, sales or has a very in-demand niche product.
A reoccurring theme I see a lot is people getting a basic Shopify subscription on a basic stock theme. They slap a 20 dollar logo up. Do very little customization and try to do their user flow, graphic design and website on their own.
Then they list the same products as 500 other websites from Ali-Express. Eventually. After a month or two of no sales. They go on Reddit or email me asking for advice and wondering why they haven’t had any success!
I’m going to go over some of the core principles of giving your eCommerce business and website the best chance for success. The same principles can be applied to almost any professional venture in life.
Have a Plan. Get Educated.
It seems like common sense but you would be amazed how many people don’t plan their new eCommerce business out. You need to do the research on the product you’re selling. Find your competition. Find out who else is selling the same or similar product as you. Find out who their suppliers are and find out if they are going to undercut you. Find out if you can even compete with their prices.
In eCommerce, it’s all about profits and returns. If you can’t make a decent profit per sale then you need to move more volume to reach a decent return on investment. If you can’t compete, you can’t make money and you can’t grow.
A Working Budget.
The reality is professional websites and marketing are expensive. You cant start off with a $1,000 budget and expect to compete with an established retailer doing millions in quarterly sales. It just isn’t going to happen.
A decent well thought out small-scale eCommerce website is going to start at around $4000. That’s with a few products, some professional branding, a small amount of custom development & graphic design.
That’s not even including a marketing budget. Marketing and SEO are just as important as the design of your website. You need organic search traffic, you need backlinks and you need a social presence to build that trust factor with your customers. All that isn’t cheap.
Get capital. Get investors and have a decent working budget that gives your eCommerce venture a thriving start at success. When you launch that new website you want the marketing and social campaigns to go along with it.
One of the hardest parts of retail is finding a product to actually sale. A product that people need, that serves a purpose and a product that a million other people aren’t selling. A niche. A unicorn. A golden egg!
When you do find that product and niche. You need to analyze what your competition is doing. Look at their website. At their user flow, their platform, the entire user experience and look at their branding. When your done researching their actual website you need to analyze their marketing.
Where are they getting traffic from? How are they utilizing social media, print media, online ads and where are they getting their web authority from? Who is linking into their website? Who are their referrals and how can you utilize this data to your advantage.
Find out what your competition is doing. Use that data and knowledge and do what they are doing – BETTER.
See my article about free SEO tools that you can use to analyze your competition.
Let’s face it. You can’t hire a plumber to come un-stop your toilet for less than a $100. That’s $100 for less than 20 minutes of work. It’s not rocket science. It’s plumbing.
You didn’t hire the plumber because he was cheap or you were lazy. You hired the plumber because he’s a professional. He does it for a living and you know at the end of the day when you wiggle that nozzle. Your toilets going to flush. You want it done and you want it done right. Simple as that.
The same concept needs to be applied to eCommerce, Web Development, Marketing, SEO and Web Design.
What makes people think they can become a graphic designer, web developer, marketer and SEO genius in the matter of a few weeks evades me. It’s a very extensive and deeply skilled trade. Web developers spend years perfecting their craft and charge a premium for quality work. We charge a premium because we can – our services are like GOLD to the right people.
Don’t think you can build your website on your own, do the marketing, the branding, the graphic design, balance the books, the SEO and be able to grow. You simply cant. You need professional help. You need to surround yourself with people that have experience and the know-how to get your website up and running on a professional level.
Professional work builds trust. Trust builds conversions and conversions fuel your business and allows you to grow.
Where you end up usually depends on where you start. When it comes to eCommerce, Web Development, and Web Design. You want to start out ahead of the competition – not behind them.