Take an inventory- No, not your products. The very first thing you need to do is lay out all the facts on paper in front of you. Inspect each piece and find out where the problems exist. (If you aren’t making sales, problems do exist.) Write down the following:
Website Platform: Are other sites on this platform successful? If not, you may need to look at migrating to a better platform. If so, what are they doing differently than you?
Product Sourcing:Are your products desirable? Is the market saturated? How are you priced compared to your competition? Do you have a “good” number of products?
eCommerce Marketing: How are you finding your customers? Better yet, how are your customers finding you? Are you pouring money down the drain with PPC? Are you “funneling” customers to your site with Web 2.0 Marketing?
Search Engine Optimization: What keywords are you focusing on? Are you tracking your website’s rankings in search engines? Are there errors on the site keeping it from ranking highly? Is your content unique?
Conversion: When customers make it to your site, are they buying or leaving right away? Have you A/B tested different layouts for optimal conversion?
Create a Plan- Now that you’ve identified any areas that your business is lacking in, develop your updated business plan to include the solution to each of the problems identified. It’s important that you take the time to write out each piece of this before you begin to act. You may need improvement in just one of the areas listed in step 1 or you may need help in all 5. If you don’t understand where your problems lie, seek assistance before moving forward. Trying to fix problems that you still don’t understand will only equal more money spent without addressing the issue.
Prioritize your Plan- Assuming you have multiple areas to improve on, you will want to determine what order to fix your problems. For instance, if your problems include your website platform and search engine optimization, you don’t want to optimize your current site only to need to redo the work on the new platform. This principle may seem obvious but it is all too common to see people working themselves to death doing the same work multiple times unnecessarily.
Get to Work- When your website is working properly and generating revenue, you’ll wish that you had fixed your issues sooner so do not delay in executing your plan. As a side note, it can also be helpful to give yourself a timeline and deadlines for each phase in order to keep yourself on track.
Monitor your Progress- While most eCommerce platforms include some stats, you should also set up Google Analytics. Monitoring your traffic, ranking, and bounce rate will allow you to understand how your site is performing, and what effects any changes are making.