how to move your business online
moving your business online

Moving Your Business Online: The Ultimate Guide

How to Take Advantage of E-Commerce

So. You own an established business. You sell locally, or B2B, and you’ve been doing it pretty well. Recently, you’ve heard about the rise of “e-commerce”. Maybe you’ve even heard that one of your competitors is moving their business online, and has been rapidly increasing sales.

Naturally, you don’t want to fall behind the competition. Now you’re wondering: “can I start selling MY products over the internet?”

The good news is, without even knowing your specific situation, I can tell you definitively: YES. You can take advantage of the massive e-commerce opportunity and quickly start selling your products over the internet. Today, I’ll teach you how to do just that.

Welcome to Boardroom’s ultimate guide to moving your business online.   

In this guide, we’ll talk about the 9 Steps to moving your business online so that you can become a bonafide direct-to-consumer e-commerce brand. This article will go pretty deep, so I want to take a second and make one suggestion…

Build Your E-Commerce Business Today

Are you looking for help from e-commerce experts? Our company specializes in helping established businesses complete all of the steps included in this article and become a thriving online brand. 

We are professional management consultants by trade, offering hands-on help, website design, software development, and a whole lot of industry experience. If you want to take a shortcut to moving your business online, simply fill out this form and we’ll be in touch to schedule a free consultation. 

Prefer to DIY? No problem! This guide has everything you need. Here’s a little preview of where we’re headed. 

The 9 Steps to Moving Your Business Online

(Click to navigate)

  1. 1 – Design your ideal customer experience.
  2. 2 – Choose an e-commerce platform.
  3. 3 – Master order fulfillment.
  4. 4 – Build a search-engine-optimized website.
  5. 5 – Set up your socials.
  6. 6 – Plot your advertising and marketing campaigns.
  7. 7 – Tap into your current list of customers, relationships, and other assets.
  8. 8 – Launch!
  9. 9 – Evaluate, experiment, and expand your reach. 

If you can master all 9 of these steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful D2C e-commerce brand. But don’t feel overwhelmed! We can help. I’d encourage you to just scroll up and fill out the form to get in touch and schedule a free business consultation with Boardroom.

Step 1: Design your ideal customer experience.

Critical in any business venture is to think from the customer’s point of view. E-Commerce is no different. The VERY FIRST STEP you should take is to design your ideal online customer experience. By starting with this step, you ensure that you put the customer’s needs first and as a result the remaining 8 steps will be all the more fruitful. To achieve this, ask yourself:

  • Who is my ideal customer? (As an established business, you probably know this already). What are their demographics? What are their psychographics (meaning, their psychological makeup that leads to their being a customer)? 
  • How will they initially find my brand online? There are a lot of potentials here. You need to consider your customers’ preferred form of online media consumption. Is it a Google search? A Facebook post? A lengthy blog article? An email?
  • What type of message will resonate with them? How will you capture their attention and convince them to click through to your website?
  • Once they arrive at your site, how will you convince them to stay? What emotions should your site evoke? What are the main sticking points that really get your current customers to make a purchase?

Ok, now that you’ve gotten a customer – how do you encourage them to become a customer for life? 

Finally, how do you take that repeat customer and motivate them to tell their friends and family about your brand? What is your “buzz factor” for word-of-mouth growth?

Phew. There’s a lot we could dig into in that list. But the important thing to remember is that you want to start by answering these questions on paper, since they will inform the rest of your e-commerce business design. For that, keep reading.

Step 2: Choose an e-commerce platform.

Now that you’ve designed your ideal customer experience, you’re ready to choose an e-commerce platform. Now, there are many options. Let’s outline just a few of the most popular choices for e-commerce brands.

  • Shopify: by far our strongest recommendation, Shopify offers unparalleled ease-of-use for e-commerce businesses. The platform is self-serve and flexible, allowing you to get up-and-running in minutes, and includes built-in payment processing, design tools, analytics, and reports. It has an enormous “app store” with a wide variety of supplemental tools that can help you solve any special challenge your business might face. Reasonably priced at $29/month, it’s hard to beat Shopify in almost any category.
  • WooCommerce: an older, more established player, WooCommerce is the e-comm platform of choice for websites that are built on the WordPress content management system. It offers flexibility for your own customizations, reports, and has been used in every industry vertical imaginable. WooCommerce has a free plan, but the majority of established businesses will need to pay for modifications and enhancements to the WooCommerce product. 
  • Custom-developed site: For truly custom business situations, a fully custom-coded website may be in order. This situation is rare these days with so many great e-commerce platforms out there, but I thought I’d mention that Boardroom offers custom development services for these rare cases. 
  • Honorable Mentions: Magento, BicCommerce, Squarespace, 3DCart…As you can see, there are many options out there, each of which powers thousands of businesses. In truth, any of these platforms would likely meet the needs of your business’ pursuit of going online. We simply recommend Shopify since it is far and away the easiest to use and comes with the most robust functionality. 

Step 3: Master order fulfillment.

Now, you may already have your logistics figured out. If that’s the case, feel free to skip to the next section. But in case you don’t, I wanted to dedicate significant time to it here, because it’s of utmost importance. 

First, let’s define order fulfillment.

Order Fulfillment, one component of the broader topic of Logistics, is the process involved from the time a customer places an order to the time it arrives on their doorstep.

Order Fulfillment is of massive importance. I think this topic scares people a bit. Who wants to talk about, research, and carry out a plan for *logistics*…?

Nobody.

Impact of Choosing the Right Fulfillment Model

Picking a Fulfillment Model is a critical component to every business. The ramifications of this decision will in some cases determine:

  • What marketplace your business will use to sell products
  • Where you will find a manufacturer
  • How much work it will take to set up your store
  • Your plan for customer service

If done right, your fulfillment strategy can be a major differentiator and give you a leg up on your competition. If a misstep is made, it can spell disaster for your e-commerce business in the form of lost products, unnecessary fees, ballooning expenses, and dissatisfied customers.

Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen. We’ll now take a look at the most common answers to the question: “how will I deliver my product to my customers?”

The Most Popular E-Commerce Fulfillment Models

In the world of e-commerce, there are many ways to handle order fulfillment. However, there are really only a few mega-popular fulfillment models. The majority of e-commerce ventures use one of the following four options:

  • Seller Fulfilled
  • Fulfillment by Amazon
  • Dropshipping
  • 3PL Fulfillment

Let’s spend some time now defining each of these models. I’ll provide you with an overview of how they work, the benefits, and downsides of each.

Model #1: Seller Fulfilled

What is it?

With a Seller-Fulfilled model, you, the owner and operator of the business, store inventory in your own home and manually ship out each order (via FedEx, UPS, or USPS).

Some people prefer to start with seller-fulfilled in order to cut costs and get proof of concept that their business is a viable idea. In all cases, if the business is successful, the owner ends up outsourcing their order fulfillment to a third party.

I ONLY recommend starting with a Seller Fulfilled model in very limited cases. For example, if you are launching a handmade products business through a platform like Etsy, then seller-fulfilled may be your best bet to get started. If that’s you, then I recommend taking advantage of the discounted shipping labels that Etsy provides and don’t stress too much about it. Remember, you’re only doing this to get proof of concept before switching to another fulfillment model. 

That’s because, ultimately, the Seller-Fulfilled model does not scale. In order to succeed with e-commerce, you will likely need to be selling 10s or even 100s of products every single day. Do you really want to manually box up and ship out hundreds of products every day?

Of course not.

Model #2: Fulfillment by Amazon

What is it?

With Amazon FBA, you order inventory in bulk and send your products to an Amazon FBA warehouse. Amazon then delivers your products to your customers via Amazon Prime 2-Day (or, next day) Shipping.

Fulfillment by Amazon, or FBA, is an extremely popular business model. And for good reason: with FBA, you are able to list a product on the website of the world’s largest e-commerce retailer – Amazon. Many people don’t know this, but Amazon is made up of over 2 million third-party sellers. Over half of Amazon’s sales come through third party sellers (that’s well over $100B per year)! You can become one of those 3rd-Party Sellers.

How FBA Works

YOU can join their ranks simply by signing up for Amazon Seller Central, creating a product listing, and then buying inventory and sending it to an Amazon FBA warehouse. Amazon will post your listing on their site (you know, that site where you and everyone else buys EVERYTHING), and deliver your product to your customer as soon as they make a purchase.

It’s a bit like the digital equivalent of having your product listed for sale at every Walmart in the USA…

Here are some of the key benefits to Amazon FBA:

  • I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is yes: your products are automatically eligible for Amazon Prime 2 day (sometimes, next day…) shipping. 
  • Amazon handles all customer service including returns, refunds, and inquiries.
  • The Amazon platform comes with a host of marketing tools that you can use to advertise, run promotions, create coupons, and more.

Amazon FBA is a fantastic opportunity because of the natural traffic that Amazon generates for you by being so dominant in the world of e-commerce. As such, we devote an entire section of our site to teaching the Amazon FBA business model. 

Downsides to Amazon FBA

Just keep in mind that like all of the fulfillment models, FBA has its downsides:

  • It requires significant upfront investment, since you usually will need to import inventory in bulk from overseas.
  • You don’t get to keep any of your customer’s data. Not even their email address; Amazon owns everything. This makes it difficult to create repeat buyers and build brand awareness.
  • Since the opportunity is great, so is the competition. Product markets quickly become saturated. So, price wars are inevitable – and amazon shoppers definitely price shop, making it difficult to maintain a high profit margin.
  • Amazon charges pretty hefty fees, sometimes up to 40% of the sales price, for their services.

These factors lead some people to steer clear of Amazon, and go for a different fulfillment model, such as…

Model #3: Dropshipping

What is it?

With dropshipping, instead of storing inventory at a warehouse, you don’t hold any inventory at all. When a customer places an order through your online store, the supplier ships the product directly to the customer.

Dropshipping is a completely different order fulfillment model, which also has major appeal among eCommerce entrepreneurs.

Instead of buying and storing inventory at an Amazon (or any other) warehouse, you don’t hold any inventory at all. Instead, an agreement is established with a supplier, usually on AliExpress or a “Print on Demand” company. Once a customer places an order through your online store, the supplier ships the product directly to the customer. You don’t pay a dime to your supplier until an order is placed by your customer!

How Dropshipping Works

Since it involves no upfront manufacturing costs, dropshipping is a very attractive model to entrepreneurs that are interested in starting an e-commerce business on a small budget. The primary costs, in money and time spent, are in Marketing.

For example, marketing tasks and costs include:

  • Creation of a well-designed online store where customers can find your products. Most people use Shopify, which is a turnkey solution allowing you to create an e-commerce store in minutes – no coding required.
  • Development of a brand story, mission, and vision.
  • Writing of enticing product listings with good pictures and compelling product descriptions.
  • Directing traffic to your store so that people actually see your products and have the opportunity to buy them. The most popular way to do this is through paid advertising.
Downsides of Dropshipping

But, again, be warned: dropshipping has its downsides.

  • Navigating the competitive world of online advertising can be difficult, and often stops entrepreneurs in their tracks.
  • Since you aren’t storing the product, you have very little control over the quality and timeliness of the delivery. As compared with Amazon FBA 2 day shipping, most dropshipping products take 2 weeks or more to be delivered.
  • You don’t have the option to customize your product or its packaging, which are very important in brand development.

For these reasons, some people decide to go with FBA, or a different option, like…

Model #4: 3PL Fulfillment

What is it?

With this model, the seller buys inventory and sends it to the warehouse of a 3PL (3rd Party Logistics Company). Once your customer places an order through your online store, the 3PL delivers the products to the end customer.

A third party logistics company is one that specializes in product distribution, warehousing, and order fulfillment services. Essentially, logistics is such a burden for most businesses that an entire industry cropped up to solve this problem.

How 3PL Fulfillment Works

Start by buying inventory. Often, this involves importing a product to the US in bulk (likely using a platform like Alibaba).

Sound familiar?

So far, this is exactly like the Amazon FBA model. Here’s where things differ. Instead of sending the product to an Amazon warehouse, you send your stock to the 3PL’s warehouse. And once your customer places an order through your own online store, they deliver it to the customer.

Remember the downsides of Amazon FBA and Dropshipping? Many of them vanish with this fulfillment model:

  • Many 3PLs offer 2-day delivery
  • You don’t have to pay Amazon’s high fees
  • You are in control of the product quality
  • It provides the freedom to customize your product and its packaging
  • The big one: you keep your customer’s data (including email address)

Of course, you will still have to pay your 3PL inventory storage fees and order fulfillment fees. You also bear the burden of marketing your store (just like with dropshipping).

But this is an interesting hybrid model that most e-commerce entrepreneurs are not taking advantage of to answer the “how will I deliver my product to my customers?” question. There is something to be said for the benefits listed above. I have personally used this model with great success.

Now, many 3PL companies have large monthly minimums, making it prohibitive for eCommerce entrepreneurs that are just getting started.

ShipBob: Recommended 3PL for eCommerce

However, some innovative companies have come along that are friendly to small businesses. One great example, which I use for my business, is ShipBob. ShipBob is a 3PL with a modern technology stack and no monthly minimums. They can integrate directly with your Amazon, Shopify, WooCommerce (and more) stores and automatically fulfill your orders when a customer makes a purchase. They are definitely worth looking into!

Feeling overwhelmed by all of the options in Order Fulfillment and logistics? We can help. Don’t be a stranger – feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to provide a free consultation. 

Step 4: Build the website.

Alright, so you’ve mastered the hairy beast of logistics. At this point, the next step in moving your business online is to build out your e-commerce website. 

Now, with a user-friendly tool like Shopify, even people without web design experience have a reasonable chance at developing a solid e-commerce site. 

You’ll be amazed at just how easy it is to get started. Check out this video, where I build out a functioning Shopify store in less than 10 minutes!

That being said, there are some web-design principles to keep in mind when building out your store:

  • Intentional color palette: use a tool like coolors.co to create an awesome color palette for your site. 
  • Do basic SEO: make sure your pages all have header tags and that your site’s meta data is set up correctly. Create a Google My Business page to be officially listed on Google. Set up a Google Analytics account to monitor traffic and conversions.
  • Appealing design: use the principles of web design to capture your visitor’s attention and “wow” them with your site’s look and feel, without distracting them from your site’s main content. 
  • Ease of navigation: if a website visitor gets lost on your site, they will leave. And if they leave, they will likely never come back.
  • Clear CTAs: it should be obvious to the end user what action you want them to take on any given page. Browse this product line? Contact customer service? Make a purchase?
  • Keep customer experience in mind: refer back to your answers to the questions in Step 1 of this guide. Customer experience is everything!

Building your website is a huge step in moving your business online. If you’ve accomplished this step, take a moment to congratulate yourself!

Step 5: Set up your socials.

Social media marketing may not be your specialty, but it is important to maintain an online presence on the platforms where your customers spend their time. Said another way, your goal should be to meet your customers where they are already congregating online. 

Even if your social posts don’t receive a ton of engagement up front (think likes, shares, comments), it’s still important to create a digital footprint. 

Imagine that your ideal customer is considering a purchase with you. Wanting to learn more about you, they search for your company on their favorite social platform (e.g. Instagram). Low and behold, they discover that you don’t even have an account. This is an immediate turn-off for them. Suddenly, they aren’t so interested in your products anymore.

That’s the exact situation that you want to avoid. 

So, follow these steps:

  • Take some time to get a backlog of really great product photos and videos stored up. 
  • Create a posting plan. How often will you post? What will your brand voice be?
  • Curate your social media assets, graphics, copywriting, and post content. 
  • Assign a community manager who will engage with any visitors that stumble upon your social channels and engage with your content. 

The most popular platforms for e-commerce are Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, LinkedIn, and SnapChat. Do a little research and find out which platforms your ideal customer is already using, and start there! By now, you’re really on your way to moving your business online.

Step 6: Plot your advertising and marketing campaigns.

Advertising is such a huge component of e-commerce that I would like to spend some significant time on it here. There are so many channels, strategies, and tactics to employ with advertising, that it can be a bit overwhelming when you first get started with moving your business online.

If this is all too much, don’t fear! Digital advertising is one of our specialties here at Boardroom. Feel free to contact us – we would love to help. 

You will learn the most by doing. Nevertheless, I thought I would go over a few basic strategies with you now, along with a high level overview of the 6 types of digital advertisements available for you to use to grow your business. 

Basic Ad Strategies

Let’s talk about the high level strategies you need to keep in mind when advertising. 

First, I’ll review two broad categories of advertisements in Digital Marketing: Indirect Response and Direct Response. Then, we’ll talk about how to create a captivating advertisement. Finally, we’ll review the most popular strategy for Direct Response Ads.

Indirect vs Direct Response Ads

Indirect Response Ads typically have the goal of growing Brand Awareness. They do not have a clear Call-To-Action (CTA) and do not ask anything of the audience. The idea is for the viewer to become familiar with the brand in the hopes that they will make a purchase later. 

Direct Response Ads, on the other hand, seek to attain something from the viewer immediately after they see the ad. 

Indirect Response Ads are really only effective for companies with a big ad budget and a long term plan. We will focus on Direct Response Advertising for the remainder of this section. And for our purposes, there are only two things we are seeking to attain from the viewer of our Direct Response Ad: 

  • Their email address, and/or
  • Their $$

Yup, we are either trying to create a customer right on the spot, or to generate a LEAD for our business that we can convert into a customer later. When a potential customer volunteers to give us their email address, they become a Subscriber. This presents us with a totally new opportunity to market to them, which we will cover later, in the Subscriber Marketing article.

Creating Great Advertisements: Best Practices

Ads typically have three components: 

  • Copy: This refers to the text that grabs the viewer’s attention and/or tells them what the advertisement is for. 
  • Creative: This is the image, video, or graphic that accompanies the copy. Some ad formats don’t have a creative.
  • Destination: The Landing Page a viewer is redirected to once they click on the ad. For Direct Response, this is either a Product Page or a “Squeeze Page,” where a prospect can enter their email address in exchange for something valuable. 

Great. But how do we create the best ads possible?

First, make sure that your ad is framed in terms of the problems that you can solve for your customer. 

Beyond that, let’s turn to marketers Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin. In their book, From Impossible to Inevitable, they talk brilliantly about the direct relationship between Trust and Attention. The idea is that the less someone trusts you, the less of their attention they are willing to give you. 

This is manifestly true with digital advertising. 

When someone has never heard of you or your brand, they are likely to give your ad 1-3 seconds of attention. That is, unless you can captivate them. 

How can we captivate our audience with such a short window? As Ross and Lemkin put it, by appealing to the “Dinosaur Brain.” This refers to the things that cause us to react at the subconscious level (visual processing). 

Appeal to the Dinosaur Brain by making sure your Ad Copy and Creative contain some of the following attributes:

  • Newness
  • Contrast
  • Movement/Speed
  • Surprises
  • Amusing Details
  • Impressive Visuals

If you are not tech savvy or particularly creative, don’t worry. I wasn’t when I started. Like anything else, this is a skill that you can practice.

Ad Targeting

Imagine if websites did not collect any data on their visitors. In this cold world, us eCommerce Business Owners would be stabbing blindly in the dark. Fortunately, that is not the world we live in. Publishers (the websites that you might pay to “host” your ad) and Ad Platforms DO collect data about their site’s visitors. As such, we can target audiences on most advertising platforms. 

For example, most publishers / platforms will let you target Geographic Regions and Demographics. You could choose to only show your ads to men over 18 years old in the Midwestern United States. See how you can use the definition of your target customer to maximize the value of your advertisements?

Prospecting

Anytime you advertise to individuals for the first time, even using Advanced Targeting metrics like those offered by Facebook, it is considered Prospecting. You are essentially extending your feelers to find out who from your targeted audience is interested. And some of these people might respond to your ads (i.e. give you their email address or make a purchase) right away. 

Retargeting

But other people will require a bit more convincing before becoming a subscriber or customer. As a result, the best Ad Platforms will allow you to use what’s called a Retargeting Ad. This is one of the most effective ad tactics out there today. With Retargeting, websites use Cookies to track which users have interacted with your ad (clicked on it) and how they interacted with it (for example, how long did they watch your Video Ad before closing the window?). 

After you have, say 1000 people that have interacted with your ad, you can run a Retargeting Ad that is only shown to those 1000 people. Conversion Rates (the percentage of ad viewers who buy/opt in on your landing page) are drastically higher with Retargeting Ads as compared with Prospecting Ads.

I hope that was a good overview of some of the basic ad strategies out there. Next, I will go over the different types of Digital Ads out there. 

Types of Advertisements

There are 6 Types of Digital Ads that I want to cover. They are:

  • Paid Search Ads
  • Social Media Ads
  • Native Content Ads
  • Display Ads
  • Email Ads

Let’s briefly review each.

Paid Search Ads

Paid Search Advertisements allow you to create an advertisement that will appear at the top of results returned by a Search Engine. Since 87% of all search is done on Google, that’s where your focus should be. 

You can target specific keywords so that when someone is searching for a relevant topic on Google, your Landing Page is the first link at the top of the results. You will typically pay Google only when someone clicks through to your page, that is, on a Cost Per Click (CPC) basis.

Google has a very powerful advertising engine and can be used extremely profitably! Just another reason why doing keyword research is so critical when launching your eCommerce brand.

Social Media Ads

Social Media advertising has exploded in popularity over the past 10 years. That’s no surprise, when you consider just how positively pervasive social media usage has become. Facebook has over 1.75 Billion Daily Active Users. Let that sink in. Instagram, another Facebook owned property, has another 500 Million DAUs.

Social Media Ads all appear in front of users of the social platform, and blend in somewhat with the standard content on the page. For example, a Twitter Ad looks an awful lot like a normal tweet. There is just a small bit of text indicating: “Ad”.

Facebook is an extremely popular choice for Advertisers not only because of the statistics mentioned above, but also because it has some of the most advanced targeting metrics available. You can advertise to highly curated audiences based on extremely specific interests, behaviors, demographics, geography, and more. 

Want to target women between the ages of 24 and 54 that live in large urban areas that have expressed an interest in fitness? Facebook has got you covered.

Plus, there is no minimum spending amount, so small eCommerce entrepreneurs can get started easily and inexpensively with Facebook Ads.

A completely different way to advertise on social channels is Influencer Ads. This is where you contract with the owner of a popular account on a social platform to promote your products. In today’s economy, this can be a very effective route to pursue.

Native Ads

Native Advertisements are ads that blend in with the surrounding published content to create a seamless experience for viewers. In reality, Social Media ads are a subset of Native Ads. However, there are large Native Ad platforms, like Taboola or RevContent, through which you can place native ads onto non-social media sites (like blogs) all over the internet. For example, head over to your favorite Recipe website. Do you notice some “Recommended Articles” that are in fact advertisements? These are Native Ads. 

Native is a relatively newer and vastly underused segment of digital advertising. You can get a leg up on your competition by considering “going native!” 

Display Ads

Display Ads are typically an image only, perhaps accompanied by a headline, that appears along the header (a Banner Ad), in the Sidebar, or embedded in the Footer of a website. These appear on a variety of publisher’s websites and are different from Native Ads because they typically do NOT blend in with the content on the page. In fact, the main goal is typically to catch the viewer’s eye by standing out from the page. 

By and large, Display Ads have lower Click-Thru-Rates (CTRs) than other ad formats, and have a less predictable Return on Investment. I recommend staying away from Display Ads during your first foray into Digital Advertising. 

Email Ads

Email Ads are…ehm…ads that appear in an email. Many individuals, publishers, and companies have developed large lists of email subscribers. 

One way they might monetize their subscriber list is by running ads. Email Ads could appear as a Display Ad at the top or bottom of the newsletter. Another option is to run what’s known as an “Email Solo” Ad. Instead of a Display Ad, the ad content takes up some or all of the body of the email itself. These can be very lucrative IF the subscriber list owner has an engaged audience and your offer is written in a compelling way. 

Several marketplaces have cropped up where you can buy and sell Email Solo Ads. My favorite is Udimi.

Ads Wrap-Up

OK – now hopefully I haven’t overwhelmed you. Digital advertising is one of the most important ways you’ll sell your products online, so I wanted to be sure you were well-equipped. But don’t be a stranger! Please contact Boardroom if you have any questions.

Step 7: Tap into your current list of customers and other assets.

As an established company looking into moving your business online, it is extremely likely that you already have a contact list of past clients and key relationships at your disposal. An important next step is to set yourself up to make the most of these assets and grow them in the future.

The best way to do that is to sign up for an email marketing platform like MailChimp, MailerLite, or Klayvio. 

Using these tools, you can upload your contact list and send them email messages in bulk that promote your brand and specific products. 

These great tools also come with built in automation features. For example, when someone subscribes to your newsletter or purchases a certain product, you can automatically send them a specific email or a set of multiple emails over several days that are designed to encourage them to make additional purchases. 

Up to 50% of an online brand’s sales come from email marketing. Entire books have been written on the best practices and effectiveness of email marketing, but suffice it to say that this is a sales channel that you can’t afford to miss out on!

Step 8: Launch!

You’ve come so far in your pursuit of moving your business online. Your ideal customer experience is mapped out. You’ve embedded that customer-first mentality into your website and advertising campaigns. You’ve mastered order fulfillment and tamed the beast of logistics. Your socials are set up to thrive and you’re ready to rock and roll with email marketing. 

Now, at long last, it’s time to “press go.” 

Yup, the time is ripe to launch your e-commerce store to the world. 

Send a “Welcome” communication to your existing customers, post on social media, turn on the advertisements, and start sending traffic to your website. 

Hopefully, you can sit back and watch the sales roll in.

Step 9: Evaluate, experiment, and expand your reach.

Ah, the three “Es” of e-commerce. Now that you’ve launched, you aren’t totally finished with moving your business online. There’s no “set it and forget it” in e-commerce. 

The next step is to evaluate. I mean you should consistently monitor all of the things you set up in Steps 1-8 above. How are your assumptions panning out? Is your site getting the level of traffic you expected? Are your advertisements profitable, or are you spending more than you’re taking in? How’s your conversion rate, returning customer rate, and average customer lifetime value?

Whether your analysis in the ‘evaluate’ phase leads you to believe there are major problems that need fixing, or that everything is A-OK, the next step is to experiment. A good digital marketer is a scientist who tests headlines, creatives, copywriting, targeting, platforms, product bundles, and more. Just be sure to design your experiments well, so that you can once again evaluate the results and truly learn what works best for your business over time. 

You can and should repeat the evaluate + experiment loop over and over again as a matter of regular business activity.

Finally, expand your business’ reach by forming key partnerships, offering your products on new sales channels like Amazon, and doing more advanced media or in-person events. Now, you’re in growth mode. 

Moving Your Business Online: Wrap Up

I genuinely hope that this article was helpful in giving you all the tools you need to successfully move your business online. But if you’re a busy business owner, you might be thinking, “I don’t have time for this!” 

We can help. 

Click here to consult with Boardroom today.

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