ChannelAdvisor just published a great ebook titled “16 Things you wish you’d known when you started selling online”, and after a detailed review we couldn’t agree more!

Let’s first quickly go through their list and then we will discuss each one in a bit more detail.

  1. Get Navigation Right Before You Bring the Traffic
  2. Paid search is like a cheetah
  3. List inventory in more than one place
  4. Don’t ignore the “Other” Engines
  5. Promotions don’t go out of style
  6. Customer service could make or break you
  7. The price is (not) right for every channel you sell
  8. You’ll need grit to go international
  9. Trend analysis is noisy
  10. Search queries are your best friend
  11. Say hello to Europe from a single Amazon Account
  12. Responsive design is the future
  13. Get back to the basics with marketplaces
  14. Fine tuning your website won’t be a one-off project
  15. Be a human selling to humans
  16. Seek opportunities like gold.

So I said I would review the whole list in detail… well let’s call it a 5th grader’s level of detail.

Get the traffic right – Seems simple, but it never is. You have to think like a novice not an expert (read more). Make it simple, and talk to potential clients to see what they think, or how they use it

Paid search is like a cheetah – It is always changing. Be prepared to spend some time watching what is happening with your campaigns and make changes accordingly

List inventory in more than one place – Of course!  Use tools for your eCommerce platform to make it simple, and easy. There may be some costs to do this but it is like having an instant store in 5 states

Don’t ignore the “other” engines – Simply put… read this

Promotions don’t go out of style – Think about it… you get bombarded with sales from your favorite stores… if you aren’t doing it you are missing out

Customer Service could make or break you – Make sure your site allows them to track their order, communicate to customers when there is a problem, read the posts they make to Facebook, Yelp, anywhere really and address them ASAP! Look into instant chat features as well to make their ability to contact you easy. You can even get free phone numbers through Google!

The price is not right for every channel you sell – If you are selling on multiple places, price accordingly. Remember even you shop differently on Amazon then you do on a brand site like J.Crew

You’ll need grit to go international – Look into fulfillment companies to do some of the heavy lifting, but also talk to your accountant too… Watch out for some pitfalls regarding legality etc before you make the jump. Start small, grow slow

Trend analysis is noisy – Looking at Google Analytics takes time to master. Everyone wants to focus on different things… so pick the most meaningful metrics to track, and stick to them for 1 year (in my opinion) before changing them. Stars aren’t born overnight

Search queries are your best friend – “There is no crystal ball for search engine marketing” – AMEN! But there are tools that can help. Use the Google AdWords Keywords Planner to see what people are really looking for… Put that in title’s, descriptions, keywords and your site will get better!

Say hello to Europe from a single Amazon account – to me a bit of a filler… see the item above about selling internationally

Responsive website design is the future – Amen again!!! Get your site working on all of the devices available. This is best done using Responsive Design so that the look and feel is consistent. Remember this year there will be more wireless devices on the planet than people!

Get back to the basics with marketplaces – Yes every site you list on needs different info. Keep the main things (Titles, images, descriptions) consistent. Remember these are the most important things

Fine tuning your website won’t be a one-off project – Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. With all of the data you can get from your customers you can find out what they like, but more importantly where things went wrong. Fix it. You will need to modify your site often to stay on top of trends. Think about “cart abandonment” apps to help bring people that didn’t order back easily

Be a human, selling to humans – People are missing human contact! With the onset of social media people are pleasantly surprised when you ask them to call you when you see a negative review online. Have the owner of the company answer the phone and address the situation head on. Keep your “voice” fun and human when you are writing blogs and people will know you are a real human too!

Seek opportunities like gold – Try out new things, Remember you will have to change to stay in the game. New rules, new ideas, new “hip” things are coming out all the time, and others are dying. Stay connected to what is happening. For those of you with teenagers… ask them what they are using and see how you can use that for your store!

There you have it. A quick rundown of a good eBook worth the read!