Opening Day Checklist: What To Do Before Launching Your E-Commerce Store

Mar 11, 2016 by Lina Vashurina, Ecwid Team
Posted Mar 11, 2016 by Lina Vashurina, Ecwid Team

Starting your own business means planning for the future, scheduling things in advance, and appropriately maintaining the necessary control so that you don’t miss anything. In this article, you will find detailed instructions on how to prepare for the opening of an online store.

Have enough inventory in stock

In preparing a business plan, you should have calculated the estimated turnover of products. In order not to avoid the situation of having an e-commerce version of a line around the block and nothing to sell, make sure to keep a necessary quantity of goods on hand. If you are making things to order, purchase materials and think about who you can ask for help if your own powers are not be enough.

Establish smooth operation with suppliers

By the time your store has opened, you should be developing warm relationships with suppliers. It will depend on them whether you will be able to meet the expectations of buyers in time. Even a small delay of one or two days can be enough to risk your losing customers. Validate plans and get the necessary paperwork to make sure things continue smoothly. Doing so will save time, money, and nerves. (You’ll also want to read the article about how to find manufacturers for your product idea.)

Deal with social media presence

Create your store’s social media accounts before the opening, not after. Social media is a good source of traffic and a good means of gauging how consumers interact with your product. Community members who are already interested in the product can easily find your site.

Pick social networks that commonly host your target audience, then create groups or pages there and start to promote them. Use social media to regularly publish news related to your company and the product, place the product images and announcing the coming opening.

For example, our client Trusbox created the relevant social network pages a month before the store’s opening and began taking pre-orders while publishing funny content. In three weeks, they had accumulated 500 potential buyers, half of which made a purchase as a result.

Trusbox powered by Ecwid

Throw a competition and give small gifts as prizes, enticing potential buyers to try out your products before your store’s opening.

Prepare newsletter

In addition to social network activity, it’s important to have a fleshed-out newsletter. There is no need to wince at the memory of the spam that you receive on a weekly basis. Newsletters can be useful and interesting, but the burden is on you to make them so.

1. Choose an email tool

What to consider in your email list provider:

  • It must suit you in terms of price and tools
  • You should be able to make your email look exactly the way you like
    it ought to be convenient to use.

2. Prepare email templates

Make a few templates ahead of time that are specifically devoted to telling people about the opening of your store and any notifications of discounts or promotions. If you already have a database of customer e-mails, then use it to announce the opening of the store and offer your beloved database a special promotion for first-time buyers — offer a discount coupon, or perhaps a gift with purchase.

3. Grow your subscriber list

Some methods to doing this:

  • Leverage your social media platform to let people know that the first subscribers to your email list will get gifts or discounts from you. Ask for email addresses so that people can get in on the action.
  • If you have a blog, use it to broadcast an announcement about your store’s opening and add the subscription form to the post. Ask blogger friends to share your news, growing your subscriber base on your behalf.
  • Create a special plug on the store site. Read on below to find out how.

5. Create an online store or add one to your existing site

This is what it’s all about. You can create a store from scratch, add a small store to an existing site, or turn your Facebook page into a store. Even if you don’t have experience with programming or design, this process will not take you very long at all.

6. Set up the construction page

You’ll need a temporary “parked page” design as a placeholder until your store is up and running. This is simply a pretty page that informs visitors that a cool shop will soon open up here. It ensures that the address of your website gets indexed in search engines and that there’s content there for people to interact with until the main event. But in getting to the page, a user should not see a 404 error — who wants to go back to a page that used to be a 404? Your parked page is like bait, enticing the viewer to return in the near future.

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 16.31.17

Screenshot of Fabeona.com

You might place a subscription form there with an attention-grabbing enticement for people to sign up. Your task is to convince people to sign up to find out about the opening of the first, and receive a gift for doing so.

7. Take product pictures

Fill your store with inventory, or more precisely, with beautiful pictures of your inventory. Read our the article on how to take great pictures without hiring a professional photographer or renting pro gear. With a well-taken photo, you can use those tips to bring the image to life in post-production.

8. Think about the nuances of the delivery

The first thing a potential customer will look after the goods is delivery terms. If they are cumbersome or undesirable, the story of the order becomes meaningless. Think for yourself and come up with some answers to the following questions, and make sure they are plainly visible on your site:

  • How are you going to wrap the products?
  • What will be the cost of delivery?
  • Would it be possible to return the goods, and on what terms?
  • How will you deliver the goods — by mail or with a courier?

Read about how to organize the work with the postal service to increase the number of sales in the regions.

9. Install Google Analytics

To understand the direction you are going, you need to constantly analyze the results being achieved in the present: the ratio of the number of visitors to sales, the presence of permanent customers, customer interest in your items. Such metrics help you paint a picture of understanding about your business, filling in holes where needed and informing you on best ways to proceed in the future.

There’s no need to collect statistics on absolutely everything; it’s very possible to drown in a sea of information. Choose the metrics that are most important to you. In our article you will find tips for setting up and using Google Analytics.

10. Prepare a dazzling store opening

Do you remember how loud the opening of stores in the real world are? Multi-colored balls, bright displays, decorations, loud music, performances of stars of various sizes — a store’s first day in operation is nearly a holiday.

For an online store, there are also plenty of opportunities to lean on these tactics:

  • Broadcast the opening on the social networks and mailing lists.
  • Give gifts to your first customers.
  • Arrange a competition or a lottery of your own design, something to retain interest and attention.
  • Make a small offline presentation. Arrange an event somewhere in a city that your customers are likely to inhabit, or open a pop-up shop. Perhaps you’ll set things up so that your event coincides with the opening of a large conference or festival for the sake of courting people who otherwise might not have met you.

Do not stop

You’ll be tempted to relax after your grand opening, but it’s impossible to do so. Over the course of the first months of your store’s operation, your work pace will fluctuate for weeks before normalizing, allowing you to set the pace at which work.
But we are sure that you will not want to stop. Owning and operating a business is an exciting experience that can be educational, challenging, and profitable all at once!

We wish you a pleasant opening and many successful sales!

About The Author
Lina is a content creator at Ecwid. She writes to inspire and educate readers on all things commerce. She loves to travel and runs marathons.

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