How to Build a 7 Figure eCommerce Business From Scratch With 7 Figure Cycle
Today, eCommerce is one of the best avenues for entrepreneurs to find success. In 2016, over one billion consumers made an online purchase. If you play your cards right, you can leverage this for a six-figure income; you just have to know what you’re doing. Play-by-play, here’s how you can win with an online retail business.
1. Write Out a Business Plan for Your Online Store
It’s tempting to dive right in and start uploading products to the internet without a set plan, which is why many people avoid this step. If you don’t write out a strategy, though, you’re likely to spend more and generate less return on investment in the long run. Here’s what you need to outline in your eCommerce business plan.
- Value proposition – explain the benefits your retail experience will provide consumers.
- Business model – provide a summary of your eCommerce business.
- What are you selling?
- Who are you selling to?
- How are you sourcing your product(s)?
- Market analysis – who is your competition, what are they doing, and can you do it better?
- Marketing and sales strategy – what methods of advertising and sales will you use?
- Technology – create a list of the software you will need.
- Financial management – describe your projected revenue and expenses.
It’s crucial, when creating a 7 figure business plan, that you are descriptive and use real numbers and definitive, attainable goals. I always recommend that companies are as detailed as possible with their written planning, including times and dates to check in on their plan to see if they are on the path to reaching their goals. If they are not, I suggest they adjust their plan in areas where it seems to be lacking.
3 Golden Rules to Building a Seven Figure Online Business https://t.co/ZHfwPKvQ1t
— 7figurecycle (@7figurecycle) November 20, 2017
2. Choose Your eCommerce Platform
There are many content management systems (CMS) to choose from when creating your website. If you’re serious, you won’t choose a general CMS like WordPress to host your store. Instead, you’ll choose a system designed specifically for online retail.
Shopify is my favorite and the most popular eCommerce platform. Here, you have access to over 100 of the best free and premium eCommerce themes that you can install with the click of your mouse. You can try this platform at no cost for 14 days. After that, you will pay $29, $79, or $299, depending on which features you need.
In most cases, you will start out with a basic account ($29 per month) and scale up as you grow. If you want to launch your store with options like gift cards, professional reports, or abandoned cart recovery, you will need to start with tier two ($79 per month). When you need advanced reports or third-party calculated shipping, Advanced Shopify ($299 per month) is right for you. While exploring the platform, try out one of their many top eCommerce add-ons.
Though Shopify is the natural choice for an eCommerce platform, don’t rule out other options. Explore the features offered by BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Magento, and more to make the decision that’s right for you.
3. Upload Inventory to Your Website
Your online store won’t exist without products Once your site is up and running, you will need to upload your products. Great images are central to success – they will make or break your conversion rates. Depending on your business model, you may be able to source product images and descriptions from the manufacturer. If you are the manufacturer, you will need to hire a product photographer to create stunning images for you.
Drop Shipping Model
Drop shipping is probably the easiest eCommerce model because your manufacturer has ready-made product images, titles, and descriptions. Additionally, you can likely automate the process of adding inventory to your store. Today, drop shipping software like Oberlo provides seamless integration with your eCommerce platform.
Wholesale/ Imports Model
With wholesale/ imports, you may have access to product images, titles, and descriptions, but you will likely need to manually add each product to your store. Being in good rapport with wholesalers will ensure that you are successful.
In-House Manufacturing Model
If you manufacture your own products, you will have to create and upload images and product titles/ descriptions manually. Often, it’s wise to outsource this to specialists, since they tend to know the current best practices, which change over time. You will need to use your own warehouse for storage and shipping.
4. Optimize Your Product Images and Descriptions for Search
Whether or not you have ready-made product images and descriptions, you will have to go through and make sure that everything is search engine optimized so that Google and other engines know what you’re selling and shoppers can find your products in search results.
SEO for Product Titles
Keep in mind that your goal is to appeal to potential consumers’ search trends. When it comes to product titles, it’s fine to get creative, but you need to be relevant. At one point, Ikea named their products after frequently Googled problems that their products solved. This is a clever idea, but if you look at Ikea’s website today, you’ll see that these titles no longer exist.
To build powerful product titles, summarize what the product is. If it’s a name-brand product, list the brand. Include specific attributes of the product: shape, size, color, fragrance, etc. Make sure to research what your target market is searching for and the competition for these search terms to choose the best product titles.
SEO for Product Descriptions
Product descriptions play a major role in conversion; this is where you want to be as descriptive as you can. Here’s how to write powerful product descriptions.
- Clarify your buyer persona.
- Write a comprehensive list of features and benefits of the product.
- Define your tone of voice.
- Create a scannable format.
- Write a rough draft.
- Edit the text using persuasive language.
- Optimize your copy for search engines.
Ensure that all of your similar products share the same format so that pertinent information is easy for shoppers to find. Always include size guides for clothing.
SEO for Product Images
I’ve seen too many people avoid SEO for images in their online store catalog. Once you know which search terms you want a product to appear in, leverage this in the ALT text area of your image; this is how Google and other search engines know what image they’re looking at.
This is how to add alt text to product images in Shopify:
- Hover over your product image.
- Click the alt text hyperlink between the preview and delete buttons.
- Enter search-optimized text into the image alt text box.
- Click “Done.”
Once you’ve followed these steps with each product in your inventory, your product images are optimized for search engines.
5. Test Your Site Navigation, Search Box, and Checkout Process
When using a modern eCommerce platform like Shopify, your basic options for navigation, search, and checkout will often automatically be optimized. However, you need to be sure to test these functionalities before you launch your online store as they are crucial to your conversion rate. So, you should hire beta testers to “shop” your store and make sure everything easy to find and purchase.
When a beta tester tells you about something they didn’t like or an issue they had during the checkout process, no matter how trivial, take them seriously. Beta testing for an online store should be sufficient to find all errors. Allow yourself enough time to implement any changes necessary.
6. Launch Your Store and Implement Your Marketing Plan
I can’t say it enough – make room for changes to your strategy. At launch, you likely need to be more aggressive about your marketing efforts than you will need to be as you become established. It’s critical, especially during launch, to monitor all marketing efforts and alter your tactics when they aren’t working. You can get more information about how to build a 7 figure business here: https://7figurecycles.net/4-steps-to-build-a-7-figure-business-without-any-employees
After reading this, you should be on your way to a seven-figure eCommerce business. Keep in mind that it isn’t likely to happen overnight. If you continue to grow and scale your business, following the advice of experts in the industry, you will eventually reach your dreams.
Ashley Kimler has been helping all sized businesses with their digital marketing for the past decade. She now works with Heroic Search in Tulsa. If you’d like to follow along to see what she and her team get into next, follow @ashleykimler on Twitter.