2012 has seen a massive rise again in the number of ecommerce stores being built. As a web design company specialising in ecommerce websites we see a vast array of online businesses starting out. The trend this year so far has been for mainly start ups run by one person looking to supplement their income or having been made redundant and looking to invest in a new business venture instead of looking for a new job.
Getting a store up and running to sell any product is easier than ever and costs less than £2000 in a majority of cases. This means you don’t need to spend a fortune to test your business idea and has led to a sharp increase in new stores in small niche markets. We are constantly being approached by new customers wanting to “have a site like……” which is great but the market is filling up fast with lots of sites selling the same products and cutting their prices to gain an edge. Great for consumers but no so great for people running online businesses.
The way to t an edge is to ensure there is sufficient budget put aside to get a PPC campaign setup to drive traffic to the new website immediately on launch. This allows new businesses on the web to test the market quickly by paying for instant traffic. Before ploughing £1000′s into SEO campaigns to get long term traffic it’s important to make sure there is room in the market for your store.
This brings us nicely onto the other trend we have noticed a lot of in 2012. Sites disappearing after a year in operation.
The most difficult and under-estimated part of setting up an ecommerce store is the search engine optimisation and marketing costs. We, like most web design companies invoice annually for our hosting services and we’ve seen a large number of people cancel their hosting and take their stores down after just 1 year trading. The main reason we get when asked is not to do with the products, the site or anything related to what we have built but the number of sales! “I didn’t sell very much” is the unusual reason and when pushed as to the marketing and search engine optimisation tactics used we usually get an ” I couldn’t afford that” answer back.
It’s important to have a budget put aside for any new ecommerce store that is setup and we recommend to all our clients from day one they allow £3000 for Google Adwords and PPC as a minimum in the first 3-6 months. Also we make sure they are aware that £500 a month is really the minimum they need to spend on SEO work and more if possible. Also that SEO will take anything up to 6 months to be truly effective so £3000 really needs to be allocated for that.
Ending on a positive the sites that have budgets available of £5000 – £10,000 for the site and all marketing in year one online have flourished and are doing very well. So the trend it up overall so far in 2012 for ecommerce but only if you have the budget to do it right. Treat any website like a business and you will succeed online!