By Gytis Labašauskas, CMO at Zyro
So you’ve just launched your first e-commerce store? You’ve got great products, a beautiful website and a fully functioning online shop. Only one thing’s missing… customers.
Landing your first e-commerce customers can be one of the biggest challenges for a new business, but you shouldn’t get disheartened. Attracting shoppers to your site and successfully converting them takes time and experience.
In this short guide, we’ll be taking you through a few of the basics of e-commerce, providing some top tips for new online stores, and helping you to drive traffic and convert that traffic into your first big sale.
1 – Get your SEO right
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of making your website rank higher in search results. While the ins and outs of SEO can sound complicated, most of the important work can be done at home, for free! All it costs is some of your time.
Before anything else, you need to think about ‘on-site SEO’ — all the things you do on your website to ensure that it appeals to search engines. Google will drop websites down the rankings if they’re slow, difficult to navigate, or if they don’t use the right keywords. Always keep those things in mind if you’re building your site from scratch. Alternatively, if you’re using a website builder, make sure you fill in all the relevant SEO and keyword options.
After you’ve optimised your website, you need to start thinking about ‘off-site SEO’ — how the rest of the internet relates to your site. Generally, this is about link building: getting other, trusted websites to hyperlink back to your site. The best way to do this is by getting your brand in the news or talked about on forums or other influential sites. Even stories on local news sites can have a huge impact on your SEO rankings.
2 – Make the most of social media
Spend time thinking about the appearance of your profile, ensuring that the images are up-to-date, and the graphics are consistent with how you want to be perceived. Also ensure that all of your information is accurate and that you’re posting regularly. Nothing puts potential customers off faster than a seemingly ‘dead’ social media page.
If you’re an advanced user, you may also want to reach out to relevant influencers to help promote your products or brand. However, do so with caution; some influencers are far more open to partnerships and promotions than others. If you’re not quite confident enough to approach fully fledged influencers, try partnering with other local businesses to help promote each other’s content, or to run joint social media initatives.
3 – Produce great content
In the same way that you might promote your products, views or ideas on social media, an on-site blog can be a great way to get potential customers engaging with your brand.
The most important thing when producing great content is to avoid being overly promotional. Nobody wants to read a two-page sales pitch. Instead, people typically read blogs to engage with interesting content or to learn new ideas. A bit like social media, blogs are very personal platforms, so don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through when drafting new content.
One thing that many small business owners struggle with when creating their first blog, is coming up with new ideas to write about. If you’re struggling, there are plenty of handy tools out there to help you. As just one example, check out Zyro’s free “”, which auto-generates a list of potential blog ideas based on your market and brand.
4 – Pay for publicity (wisely!)
While free promotion through SEO and social media can get to some attention, you’re going to have to fork out some cash if you want to reach a mass audience.
Platforms like Google Ads, YouTube and Facebook all offer opportunities for you to display banner, video, or other adverts to billions of users. But before you invest too much of your money in these platforms, always ensure that your ads are targeted, compelling and compliant (they follow the platform’s rules). Also, never pay more for adverts than you plan to make back from the sales gained!
5 – Analyse, optimise and improve
Which marketing techniques brought the most traffic? Which delivered the most sales? Which represents the highest return on investment? These are some of the crucial questions you need to answer at the end of each round of marketing campaigns and on an ongoing basis.
As a new online store, you probably don’t know much about how your target audience perceives your brand. To overcome this, you need to collect as much information as possible to reflect on what’s working and what’s not. To see whether your marketing messages are effective, free tools like Google Analytics are invaluable. Here are a couple of metrics that you should be using:
Bounce rate — How many users are arriving at your online store only to leave again straight away? This is a great indication of whether your website layout and design are working as planned.
Click rate — What percentage of users who saw your ads clicked on them? If this number is lower than you expect, it’s likely that your ads aren’t persuasive enough or are in the wrong place.
Cart abandonment — Did shoppers add items to their basket and then fail to checkout? The key to understanding cart abandonment rates is identifying where exactly shoppers lost interest. Google Analytics can help you spot this point and adjust your website design accordingly.
Conversion rates — How many people are making purchases at your online store and where did they come from? For the best understanding, you should look at the conversion rate for all of your marketing channels individually, and compare it based on different demographics.
If you follow these five simple steps — and incorporate the right analytics technologies — you’ll be well on your way to driving valuable traffic and making your first online sale.