The simple answer is “Everywhere.” Seriously, if you are reading this, you probably already know that what you enjoy about online marketing is that you can be reachable by consumers in almost every city and state in the country. That’s pretty much impossible to do with a traditional marketing method.
When thinking about ecommerce marketing and what that means, the first thing that comes to mind is that you are selling products to individuals and businesses across the country. This means that you should have an established web presence in many locations because you know that someone, somewhere is going to want to purchase your product.
So, if your store is not yet live in one of the 50 states, you have some serious pondering to do. Before you get started, you should ask yourself a few questions about where you are currently located and where you see yourself fitting in on the map.
Here are a few to get you started…
The first thing you need to consider is what type of physical plant you have. Are you currently operating from a home office or a small retail space? If you are in the later, you will need to rent a commercial kitchen to properly run your business. If you are in the former, you can use your own resources to the fullest.
What is your current internet bandwidth? This will determine how much traffic you can handle before your customers start complaining. Most broadband providers offer a dynamic range of speeds that improve as you go up in tiers. The top level packages are perfect for online shopping malls because you can usually reach users anywhere in the country. Even those at the bottom of the package can still access the internet quickly and without too much difficulty. Smaller ISPs usually have much more restricted bandwidth and users at the lower end of the scale will have a much harder time shopping at your store. This kind of situation is often referred to as “throttling”. Fortunately, you can get around this with advanced planning. Most ISPs offer a tiered approach to their service, so you can have slower speeds during certain times of day and evening when there is little to no demand for your product. This can help eliminate problems with sluggish site performance and overloaded servers that happen during peak periods. It also helps keep your costs down because you are not billed for the extra bits when there is little to no activity on your site.
Where do you see yourself existing on the map? Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you have decided to base your ecommerce store in Atlanta, Georgia. Before you set up shop, you should first ask yourself a few questions about the region.
Is there enough demand for your product in Atlanta? Some ecommerce marketing experts suggest that you should always look at the marketplace in your target city before you start selling your product online. There are several tools online that can help you find this out easily. For example, you can use Google Trends to easily compare interest levels in your target area. You can also use Google Search to look up specific products or services and see how popular they are across different regions. Keep in mind, though, that the popularity of a product is highly subjective and does not necessarily translate to strong sales.
What is the climate like in your target area? The same way you need to consider your physical plant and your internet bandwidth, you also need to think about the weather. Atlanta is a humid city and, depending on the season, can go from hot and humid to chilly and damp. The best time of year to establish yourself in Atlanta is Spring or Summer and you will need to make sure that your clothes are appropriate for the climate. Depending on what kind of product you are selling, you may need to have different seasonal variations. For example, if you are selling beachwear in the spring, you will need to make sure that your site is well equipped to handle the heat. Similarly, if you are selling children’s clothing in the winter, you will need to make sure that your site is warm enough for the little ones.
What is the population like in your target area? This is one of the essential questions you must answer before you start your ecommerce business. There are several ways to find this information, but the best and the most reliable way is to use the census site, US Census Bureau. This will provide you with reliable and up-to-date information about the population and the demographics of your target area. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to accurately gauge the size of the market and the likelihood of your product being accepted by the local community.
How many people are online? One of the first things you should do before you open your online store is to determine how many users are online in your target area. There are plenty of tools online that can help you find this information. For example, you can use Google Trends to compare the interest levels in your target area. Or, you can use Google Search to look up specific products or services and see how many users there are online. Remember that these numbers are somewhat subjective and can be influenced by a variety of factors. However, they can still provide you with a general idea of the online community in your area.
Once you know how many users there are in your target area, you can start to think about how you will attract them to your store. If you are selling children’s clothing, you will want to make sure that your site is equipped for younger visitors. Kids can be very influential in their families’ buying decisions, so you want your website to be as user-friendly and entertaining as possible. Some experts even suggest that you should market to adults first and then introduce children to the site once they are old enough to understand what is going on.
What is the cultural makeup of your target area? This is one of the issues that many new businesses have trouble with. The first question you should ask yourself is “Am I going to fit in here?” As you would expect, there are numerous ways to answer this question. One of the best and simplest ways is to look at your city’s demographics and see how many people there are who are similar to you. For example, if your city is largely made up of white people, there is a pretty good chance that you are going to fit in well there. The same goes for black and Hispanic communities as well. Sometimes, the answer is simply to be yourself. Just be sure that you do not appear too aggressive or insulting.
What is the social environment like in your area? Are people willing to go on online dates with strangers or do they prefer to stick to their friends? You need to consider the cultural factors when marketing your ecommerce store. More and more people are turning to the internet for help when it comes to social activities and dates. If you are looking to attract people from different backgrounds, you can use culturally appropriate dating sites or apps to the fullest.
How much money is there in the economy in your target area? Once you know the answer to this question, you can start to think about whether or not you will be able to make a profit from your product. There are numerous ways to answer this question, but one of the best and simplest is to use US Census Bureau. This will provide you with the unemployment rate, median income level, and access to a good portion of economic data for your target area. You can use this data to come up with an estimated sales budget for your company. Remember, though that these numbers can vary from region to region, so you will need to look at the overall area before you make any sort of accurate guess.
Are you going to have to register with the government? The short answer is “yes”. The US federal government requires businesses that gross more than $500,000 per year to register with the Federal Bureau of Economic Analysis (FEIC). This is a one-time legal obligation that will make you fill out some paperwork and verify your business’ existence. The good news is that this is a fairly painless process and the government wants to make sure that their citizens are being taken care of. This applies to all businesses, regardless of whether or not you are going to sell your product online. Some experts suggest that you should look into the legal requirements for your target area before you open your online store.
At this point, you may be thinking that opening an online store sounds like a great idea. You may even already have one in mind. Before you begin running around proclaiming your newfound freedom, you should first consult with a lawyer and get some expert legal advice. Be sure to have a look at the legal factors mentioned above and make sure that you are doing everything legally.