If you build it, they will come.
That’s the ideal we all want with launching an online store, right?
You may have even had several customers reach out to you on Instagram or at your store asking if you will have a website they can shop from soon. So surely, once the proverbial “doors” are open, you’ll have some people coming through and placing orders.
However, most merchants who launch their online store are disappointed with the initial results and the slow trickle of orders.
The reality is, the real work starts after you flip the switch.
In this article series – You’ve Launched, Now What? – we are going to simplify a gargantuan subject like “how do I get more sales with our new online store” into a 7-part, actionable roadmap that you can follow over the next several months.
Now, launching an ecommerce store is no easy task, so well done by you!
But now is the time to make a push to really build some momentum and see the return on your investment. Let’s get into it.
The very first step is the announcement
Whether you have an audience of thousands or dozens, the first step in this process is always the same: getting the word out.
How you do this depends a lot of how to reach your target market, but here are some strategies that you can run with no matter how many followers, email list subscribers, or customers that you have.
Create print media to display in your store
If you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer, then the foot traffic in your store is one of the best “audiences” you can target to get the word out – they already have a concrete experience with your brand and were interested in your products enough to be in your store.
What we recommend as the minimum is:
- Signage for the storefront or entry (Something like this or this)
- Flyer/handout to include in the bag with purchases
If you don’t have a graphic designer in-house to create these, then hire a freelancer on Upwork.
These print materials essentially need to communicate three things:
- The URL to your online store
- Excitement about the new site launch – frame this as a benefit to the customer (shop from your home, exclusive online-only discounts, easy/no-hassle shipping and returns policies, etc.)
- Some kind of discount as an incentive (10% off for first time orders on the site)
Be sure to also train your staff on getting the word out to the foot traffic. They should be familiar with the discount and the conveniences that your online store offers to customers so that they can communicate those things effectively to anyone who comes in.
Celebrate over social media and run a limited offer to create urgency
This is the lowest of the low-hanging fruit because it only requires creating as little as two posts to go out over your social media platforms.
Once the site is launched, you post about it – again framed around the benefits and conveniences to the customer. If the bulk of your content is about how excited you are about your new online store, your audience simply will not care.
Make it about them. Why is this good news for them?
Along those same lines, we highly recommend running some sort of limited promotion as a part of the announcement (ex: First 25 orders get a free [accessory – upgrade – limited edition something-or-other – etc.] included with their purchase)
The customer limit adds a different level of urgency, and, in a way, draws a line in the sand for who your best customers are. This is a very effective combination to prompt impulse purchases.
Most eCommerce platforms will allow you to set a usage limit for a coupon code, but you will want to make sure of that before running a limited offer campaign.
If you have an existing email list, that should be another channel that you include for this announcement and promotion.
Email past customers
If you’ve been in business awhile as a brick-and-mortar shop, chances are that you already have a sizable database of customers.
This is the perfect opportunity to reach out to them specifically by email, either to include them in on the limited offer or a special discount as a way of showing customer appreciation.
Either way, you want them to feel like they hold a special place in celebrating the new site because they have been a part of your growth.
Collaborate with another brand to expand your reach
This last strategy requires more effort but can lead to a higher payoff in expanding your marketing reach outside of your own audience.
Most brands are more than happy to entertain a cross-promotion opportunity, as long as the mutual benefit is there.
Reach out to another local business or online brand that also serves your target customer and invite them to do a collaboration. Let them know that you are making a push to promote the new website and would like to offer something of value to their audience (usually in the way of a tempting discount or giveaway).
If you haven’t already done a collaboration with another brand, I highly recommend this article as a quick and dirty intro for what to expect and how to execute in a way that you look like you’ve done this before.
Whether you’ve just launched today or last year, these strategies will help generate a nice spark of interest and sales for your online store.
But this is just the start. In the rest of this series we’ll be looking at how to create some real momentum and exponentially grow your online revenue.
Up Next: The $1000 Email
Streamline Retail is a consulting firm that partners with retailers to grow their in-store and online businesses through eCommerce design and consulting, inventory planning, point of sale, and support the technology that ties it all together. Want help? Be in touch!