So, you have come up with selling online but still, do not know where exactly to begin?
To start attracting customers and giving your brand more awareness and loyalty, here below we have put together five tips for building an online store.
Table of contents
1. Pick your niche
2. Decide on an e-commerce solution
3. Design your strategy and plan
4. Make the most of your e-commerce platform
5. Market your brand
Start off by choosing one of the options: whether you would build an online store for your already existing offline business or you are willing to start up a new idea.
In the first case, you do not need to answer the question of what to sell or produce. The task is relatively simple – create a virtual version of your real business. What really matters, in this case, is just pick the right e-solution that meets your business’s requirements, devise a plan and advertise your brand.
Starting up a new idea, you face a bundle of questions requiring full control ahead. A lot of people use Google.com to search for fresh ideas to start their business from scratch.
The first step to be done is to analyze the market, literally carry out extensive research on what other internet vendors are selling, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and what is more important, what you are going to offer, what your mission is expected to be.
Hence, add to the list above how you are going to get products where you are going to store them as well as the ways of shipping and human resources involved. If this idea does not work properly for you, you might come up with drop shipping as an option as it gives a range of considerable advantages, which can be crucial in making your final decision.
The profits you get from drop shipping are obvious: you are free to pick any niche for selling, no worries about a warehouse, either no need to think about packing or delivery processes. On the other hand, you take a good portion of the responsibilities of drop shipping companies. It is exactly you, who is going to deal with an upset customer in case the shipping time is too slow or a supplier’s refund policy is inconsistent.
Once you have dealt with that confusing question what to sell, your next step is obviously where you are going to settle down.
Depending on a business’s size budget and requirements, you will need to pick an internet platform to launch your online store.
This question is definitely not the easiest one to answer, as there is a huge variety of online platforms out there. To understand what solution is going to be the least painful and fuss-free for your company, you will have to compare existing e-solutions. The following criteria are essential:
● What e-platforms do your main and most successful competitors use? How long have they been stuck to a certain solution?
● How much is the fee? Are there free of charge variants?
● What kind of functionality does the platform provide? Does it suit your actual needs?
● Are you a techy? Will you be able to manage everything yourself or will there be a necessity to hire a team to do a developing job for you?
● Are there enough developer companies to support your e-software in future?
Seriously consider your planning. Put together the most critical values for your company that will influence your next steps.
Visualize your average client, whether customers still need your product. It is also worth thinking about how many products you are planning to sell and what technics to apply.
The majority of e-commerce platforms presented on market supply brands with standard functionality, such as an online catalog, payments, shipping, and after-sales management. It may seem enough if you are a complete beginner in business but as your company grows, you will feel the lack of some additional tools to give more effectiveness to your web store. So, think about such indispensable things as:
● what methods of payment you are going to accept;
● how easy and comfortable the payment process is to be if you are planning to ship worldwide. The more popular payment options you offer, the more potential clients you can grab;
● decide on a free shipping option. If an average user sees even the lowest additional price for delivery, it dissuades him from going to checkout in no time;
● provide the best 24/7 online support, which greatly affects your customers’ loyalty. A live-chat on your webstore is a must-have;
● embed only high-resolution images to describe products. It would be even more effective to have videos. Think over what resources you are going to use to get this sort of content;
● make sure your e-commerce solution is able to make your web-store mobile-friendly as the number of mobile phone users is extremely increasing worldwide.
All of the requirements above (and even a lot more) should be offered by the e-platform you pick.
Once you are ready to show your webstore to the world, consider what tools of online marketing to leverage. Whether it is going to be social media or email, you need a plan on how to keep in touch with your clients. The golden rule is to stay where your clients are hanging out. For example, if you decide to advertise on Instagram, come up with a content calendar and schedule posts on a regular basis paying special attention to holiday seasons.
It is good if your e-commerce platform allows you involving social media as it cannot be underestimated. You can use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as tools for promotion. Such things as a share or like buttons are powerful ways of driving traffic to the site and catch more potential customers. You can choose a Free Facebook extension or any other which you can install on your online store to integrate it with the most popular social networks. This integration will help you get more visitors from social networks and increase the overall popularity of your website.
After having your webstore launched, any merchant still needs to play many roles such as the business’s founder or marketing director. It is good to understand every little piece of how the company works but managing everything on your own is quite a feasible part. Instead of growing your business, you will do a lot of routine work that can be successfully outsourced. Think about a chance to rescue your business by outsourcing your content management role together with accounting or inventory maintaining. Concentrate on things that are more important, for example, changing the company’s strategy, rather than spending your life on scheduling posts on Instagram.