How to start an eCommerce business - part 6
Welcome to part 6 of our series about starting your own eCommerce business. So far we've looked at getting all the groundwork in place, to prepare for your new business venture, your design work is done, and the store build is underway. Now's the time to source people to manage the day-to-day running of the store, looking after your customers, processing orders, and keeping your offering on peoples radar with effective marketing.
Now we get down to setting the detail of the day-to-day operation of your store. This actually ties in quite closely with my previous blog on finding success with your eCommerce store, but it basically boils down to getting the right people in place to look after your customers with pre and post-sales support, efficiently process your orders, and promote your offering with inbound and outbound marketing.
You might not want to have everyone start in their roles immediately depending on the timeframe until launch, but it's a good idea to find people so you know everyone is in place when you need them. You probably will however want to have marketing start sooner rather than later to build some pre-launch excitement about your store and what you offer. This is a good way to add anticipation before launch and get people informed, interested and keen to buy from you early on.
What roles should I hire for?
In the early stages of running your store you probably won't need everyone I've outlined from the previous success blog post as sale quantity is likely to start low and so you'll need fewer key people in place. But the roles you do need to look into will be fundamental to the early success of your store. So make sure that you source people with good experience, and who understand the need to drive the business forward in those early stages.
The first role you'll need to consider is the eCommerce manager. As the store owner you might want to take on this role yourself, but you may also prefer to hire an experienced eCommerce manager who can then report back to you with the headlines on how the store is doing.
The eCommerce manager oversees all aspects of the store and it's general day to day operation. Their job is to keep things running smoothly, ensuring the other members of the team have everything they need, and understand their current priorities.
They'll also be the person who looks at the bigger picture of all processes and services that are used to make sure the store runs smoothly and identify areas where operations might be made more efficient. They can also make decisions on changes to be made based on team members feedback and will usually be the one responsible for new hires, and reviews of current staff and performance.
They're a key player in your setup and having someone who overseas all of your day to day operations is critically important to helping you understand exactly where you stand with the overall success of your store.
As I'm sure you're very aware, effective customer care with a solid, approachable and responsive pre and post-sales team makes for a great customer experience. It will be a key factor in whether a customer decides to buy from you in the first place, and will increase the chance of them making those all important repeat purchases.
If you can couple great customer service, with desirable products at the right price, and quick shipping, you won't go far wrong.
Depending on the complexity, and quantity to be processed, you might need a dedicated team of people just processing and dispatching customer orders. At least at first however, the order quantity isn't likely to be huge, so initially you might want to take on this role yourself, or even get your sales team involved. As your store sales scale up you'll almost definitely want to have one or more people dedicated just to dispatch to keep order processing smooth and efficient alongside continued effective customer care.
Promoting your store through effective marketing is a key method to get people onto your site and buying. Even before launch, it's a great way to to get them interested and excited for when your store goes live.
Something I've said before in this series is that the unfortunate reality is no one is going to be waiting for your brand new shiny store, or looking forward to it's launch unless you tell them about it, and give them a reason to anticipate what you're offering. As I've also said there's always going to be somewhere else your customers can go to buy the products you're offering so why should they come to you instead?
In part 2 of this series, we looked at the need to validate your store idea, early on. This also means that you'll have a USP for what you're offering, compared to the competition, and that's exactly how your marketing team will promote and sell your product.
Marketing, and seeing the results of marketing takes time, so it's important to start sooner rather than later to ensure you're getting your customers interested in what you have to offer as soon as possible. Doing this also means you have a basis to build further marketing efforts post-launch. As well as this it should also make it easier to gather early feedback and reviews for your store and products, and this is a great way to build that initial trust and reputation with your customer base.
Making sure your customers have a great experience with you is key to the early success of your store. We've already looked at the importance of strong design and a solid store build in previous parts of this series, and here we've seen how great customer care, and prompt shipping completes the experience for the customer.
I hope you're enjoying the series so far. There's a couple more parts to go, and next week we look at finally launching your store to the public, and continuing marketing efforts to further widen exposure to your customers.
Thanks for reading this blog post, and I look forward to seeing you next week.