Starting an e-Commerce store can be hard, but thankfully it’s not something that hasn’t been done before. Starting an e-Commerce store is a tried and true way to draw customers to niche markets, and is the go-to for hobbyists and enthusiasts.
Not every e-Commerce store will be successful by that feature alone, in fact if you rely solely on that you will find yourself failing and fast. It is useful to look at the success of others and learn from it. Keep in mind however that every business is different and you will need to adapt to your own market.
Know your market:
Every business has a target market. This is true no matter where you go, and knowing that market will make the difference between profit and bankruptcy. Each market has its own interests, features and quirks. It is your job to learn and make the most of a given market and hopefully keep the lights on.
One company that has learned its target audience well is Snaptotes. They sell personalized totes, bags and purses with a custom image applied to them. This appeals specifically to new parents and grandparents who like to have a picture of their child or grandchild on something they use often. To this end, they sell totes, purses and handbags all which appeal to young parents who tend to carry around plenty of supplies for their child.
Stand out in your market:
Just as it is important to know your market and sell what your market demands, it is also important to stand out from the crowd. If you just do what another e-commerce store is doing, even if you are doing it cheaper or better, you will never take much of their customer base. To this end, you should look for a niche that is either not filled or distinguish yourself in an existing niche.
Snaptotes again distinguished themselves in the custom photo products industry by selling bags and purses of a very high quality. Most other custom photo products competitors use simple cheap and fragile items, whereas Snaptotes uses leather and offers a thirty-day replacement plan to ensure that their customer is completely satisfied with their purchase.
Focus on good customer interactions:
If your customers are dissatisfied, they will stop coming, but it’s worse than that, they may discourage their friends and family from buying from your store too. When you’re early on, you will not find that a single negative review will be cause for alarm, but getting complimentary reviews will help exponentially. A few good customer interactions can secure you evangelists early on, which will help to spread the word of your store and the business it receives as a result.
Snaptotes uses their ability to design your own purse as their own form of advertisement sense when people see something they like, they are likely to ask where they can get one for themselves. To further this point, they only get good press this way, since someone with a less than interesting tote wouldn’t be asked where they got it. The concept is interesting enough for online writers to blog about it as well, leading to more accessible and interesting descriptions.