It is almost time: the go live of your brand new webshop! A while back you decided to start a webshop , and now all that work is done. Congratulations! You have your own webshop! And your products are ready to be shipped.But what is still left to do?
There are a few things to do before pushing the button. We call it the pre-launch phase of your shop. This is a critical phase for any online store. So, we have put together 9 countdown tips to prepare your shop for the launch.
Tip 9 | Test your webshop
Before you open your webshop for orders, we recommend to test your webshop extensively. Here are some tests that you shouldn’t forget:
- Click on all the buttons on your webshop and see if everything works the way you had in mind.
- Make sure all links work.
- Ask yourself if the layout of your webshop is logical, even for users who (unlike you) are not yet familiar with your webshop.
- Why not ask a family member or friend to test the site too and leave feedback on his/her experience? This is often very helpful and will probably lead to some (small) adjustments.
- Finally, place a test order on your own webshop to see if the ordering process is going well and if you see the order in the maintenance tool of your webshop. In short, whether the ordering process goes as desired.
Tip 8 | Prepare your business social media account
Social media is a popular way to communicate for businesses and brands. It ensures a consistent flow of traffic and customers for many businesses and it also generates awareness for your business, webshop and the products you sell. You will find a large audience interested in your product and brand on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. There are a few important things you need to do, to prepare your social media channels before launching your webshop:
a) Claim your webshop name
Regardless of the niche in which you are active, you probably want to be active on today’s two largest social networks: Facebook and Instagram. Even if you do not plan to use these two media (a lot) it is at least important to claim your webshop name on them. Both to be able to post content and to prevent someone else from claiming the name. There are of course other social media channels that can be interesting. For example, if you sell visually attractive products, or run a brand that includes a certain lifestyle, a photo-oriented social media platform like Pinterest can also be a good option to be active in . Are you planning to create a lot of video content and put it online? Think about claiming a username on YouTube so you can publish videos on your own YouTube channel.
Remember that keeping track of social media channels takes a lot of time and effort, so only choose networks that connect well with your shop or brand and that you know you have the time to maintain. For example, when people see that your last post was posted a year ago, they may doubt the reliability of your shop because you seem inactive.
When it comes to social media, your company profile name should be consistent across all channels. To check if possible, with the name you have in mind, use a service like NameChk or KnowEm to find out in a few clicks whether your desired username is still available on different (hundreds of) social media channels including the most important ones like Facebook. It is smart to include the most important keyword of your page in your name, for example the name of your company or the name of the product you’re selling.
b) Set up your profile, including photos
The next step is creating and setting up your profile. This includes placing a profile picture on both Facebook and Instagram and additionally adding a cover picture on Facebook. You will also need to fill in general information about your shop together with some good photos. For example, add some photos of your shop, products and yourself or your employees to make the page more personal. Once you’ve posted a number of posts, you can invite friends to ‘like’ your Facebook page and follow your shop on Instagram. Of course, it’s also smart to refer to your Facebook and Instagram page on your webshop.
Don’t know what photo sizes are ideal for social media? Take a look at this list of ideal sizes.
c) Search for ambassadors or influencers
Send one or more products from your assortment to influencers a few weeks before the launch of your webshop. You don’t have to think of large, very influential influencers, but you can also appeal to local influencers. Ask these people if they want to test or use your product(s) and place a photo or post on their Instagram page. In return, there is often a fee.
Example: a make-up brand appeals to beauty bloggers who share experiences about various make-up products on their own blog or Instagram channel. As a make-up brand, you can then send a free package of mascaras to these influencers/bloggers about which they can post.
Tip 7 | Prepare your email marketing
Email marketing is proven to be a very effective marketing channel that you can use to excite and inform your customers. What you need to think of:
a) Choose a mailing tool
There are many programs on the market with which you can manage your email marketing. Take your time and test some of them before you finally make a decision as you will most likely keep the one you choose for along time. Once you built your customer lists on one mail platform, you most likely will not want to change. There are a number of mailing platforms available within the CCV Shop software that you can use: the CCV Shop mailing tool itself, MailChimp, MailPlus, LaPosta or GetResponse.
Once you have chosen your mail platform, here are some ideas on how to get started with your email marketing:
– set up a welcome email that you send to every new customer to welcome them
– create an email in which you communicate a promotion to celebrate the launch of your webshop.
Tip 6 | Link Google Analytics to your webshop
It is important to set up Google Analytics from day one. Google Analytics is a tool to follow statistics and data from your webshop. For example, you can find reports that give you valuable insights about the visitors and customers that visit your online webshop. Before you can use Google Analytics, your webshop needs to be logged in and verified. Read here how to link your Google Analytics account to your webshop, so you can immediately see visitor statistics after the launch of your webshop.
Why is Google Analytics a good tool for your webshop?
In a physical store you can literally see your customers and you can easily have a chat with them. Online, however, you do not have this possibility, and without Analytics you can learn very little about your customers.
Tip 5 | Do keyword research
Before launching your webshop, it is important to do a keyword research. Simply explained, keywords are what a potential customer would type on Google to find your products. Keyword research is an important part of search engine optimization (SEO). The underlying value of choosing the right keywords is to help Google and other search engines understand what your online shop is about and what products you sell. This increases your online visibility and increases the chance that search engines will show your shop in the search results when potential customers are looking for the products you sell.
Tip 4 | Determine your KPIs
Before you launch your webshop, it is wise to determine a number of KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) in order to gain insight into the progress your shop is making. There are several KPI’s you can keep track of when you start an online shop:
- Monthly number of sales
- Average order size
- Conversion rate
- Number of shopping cart abandoners
- Webshop visitors
- Unique visitors versus returning visitors
- Duration on website or Time spent on website?
- Number of pages viewed per visit
- Sources where visitors come from
- Newsletter subscribers
- Social Media followers or fans
Do you want to know if you actually achieved the KPIs you set yourself? This can be done with Google Analytics or via the Dashboard of the CCV Shop maintenance tool.
Tip 3 | Determine your shipping strategy
Your webshop is almost ready to go live. Shipping is a crucial part of running a webshop. This part deserves a lot of attention before you launch your webshop online. Think carefully about the way you arrange the logistics process and be aware that the way you do this can make the difference between satisfied and dissatisfied customers. There are several factors you need to think about:
Packing your products for shipment has a functional purpose first and foremost. During transport, parcels fall off the sorting belt and are stacked on top of each other. Make sure your parcels are packed properly and can withstand shocks and impacts. Use a sturdy, well-fitting box without damp spots or cracks, wrap each product in suitable material such as paper or bubble wrap for extra protection, use filling material to fill empty spaces in the box (e.g. with air cushions, filling paper or wood wool) and seal the package securely with packaging tape. If you are sending heavy packages, use double or even triple corrugated cardboard and reinforce the corners extra.
There are many different carriers you can work with to ship your products with. Each carrier has its own specialty. Some transport networks are more focused on light and small shipments, others on larger, heavier shipments. There are also carriers with a strong national shipping network, while others specialize in international transport. Transit times may also vary per destination and carrier.
We often see that price is the decisive factor in choosing a carrier. However, carriers with the sharpest shipping rates for a certain type of shipment and destination do not necessarily also offer the best network. Of course, you can take the price into account when selecting a carrier, but also take into account factors such as delivery times and the type of shipping network (national or international).
Naturally, you want as few returns as possible, but you will always have customers who want to return a product. It is then important to pay attention to how your customers can return parcels. Research has shown that consumers are more inclined to purchase when a webshop offers a good, inexpensive and user-friendly solution for returns. Provide complete information about the return process you use and try to keep it as simple as possible for the customer. There are also many possibilities for returns. Investigate the options and select different options to be able to offer a suitable solution for the different wishes of your customers.
Tip 2 | Finalise your promotion and strategy for the launch
Once you’ve gone through all the previous steps, it’s important to think about which promotional tools you want to use before launching your shop. Do you start with a discount of for example 20% on all items in your shop and promote this via social media, Google ads? Or are you friends with an editor of online (e-commerce) platform who is willing to publish a short article about the opening of your webshop? In other words: what communication channels do you use to tell the public about the launch of your shop?
At least post messages on your social media channels, ask people to share these messages, email friends, family and acquaintances and send press releases to relevant websites. You can also use ‘old-fashioned’ flyers. Start locally by, for example, distributing flyers.
Tip 1 | The launch
Now that you have completed these 9 countdown tips for the launch of your webshop, it’s time to actually launch your webshop. If all goes well, you already have some followers on social media and you have a mailing tool with which you can reach your audience and future customers.
The real work starts now!
Communication Advisor at CCV shop