How to start an online store
I bet you find yourself straggling with financial issues regarding your business, with customer engagement problems being the problem in most of the times. You have probably come across articles and web pages on how taking your business to an online or virtual level could minimize your expenses. By following some steps, you can also optimize your incomes and trafficking as well.
When you finally take the big step and start an online store yourself you will surprised with the amount of options you have. So, lets take a look together to some basics.
Create a web page or choose an eCommerce platform
There is not necessary a right or wrong choice here. It depends on what you want and of course on your budget.
If you choose to go with your one web page you will have to buy the web hosting software and have money for webpages maintenance. If you are someone who has no idea from web pages you will need some help and of course pay for it. There are a lot of online sites or plugins which can give you all the informations you need to create a really good e-shop.
Now the best choice is to go with both platforms (there is no limitation on having your e-shop in mole than one platforms anyway). The first one should be an already a good established platform with an audience you will have the chance to engage but its more limited to handcrafts. This will add up to your marketing strategy for sure. Snatchu on other hand, is a brand new platform. This means that by the time it grows into a big, trusted e-store hosting platform (trust me it will) you will be one of the oldest and well-known vendors.
Pick your Niche
And here it comes. You are about to choose the nature of your work. What you want to deal with? What do you want to sell? Well, you will have to choose wisely, because you will have to work on every single day. At least you should be passionate about it. So what is your passion? It could be clothes, crafts, artwork, books, jewelry etc.
After choosing your niche you need to try to differ from all the other e-shops that are out there doing a great job. So if you choose to start a clothing e-shop, then it is important for you to be specific on which type of clothes you want to sell. In this way you will have a clear and specific target group which will help you reach success for your business. The same works for each type of niche you choose to go with.
You can buy an SSL certificate from your hosting firm to convert and protect your clients’ credit card information. This is provided from e-commerce platforms, if you choose to work with them, but if hosting your own site is the case then you should purchase and install it on your own.
There are many options out there. Some software providers only work with certain companies so you will have to check with them first. It’s usually best to offer two options, like credit card and PayPal. Most payment gateways require you to have a business or merchant account.
Now for this matter there are two cases. You are either selling digital products, for which you should provide instant download or you are providing physical goods. For physical products you should first decide how you will ship your items and you will charge for it. It would be a good idea to provide free shipping in some cases, for example if the order reach a certain amount.
Branding and website design
No matter what you niche you choose to work on or which software you use, you need to take a good care of the online-shops image. This includes the logo, social media, such as Facebook and Instagram and all types of images you will need.
A really big issue for all online-shop startups is that they do not really have the knowledge on how to boost their e-shops image and gain a place in the game of online shopping. Thy need to differentiate their business from the competition with a name that can be easily remembered and a logo quit unique to be identified with the glance of an eye.
But don’t get stuck on this first step of your business branding. After all the thing is to create a great shopping experience for your customers and make sure to pay attention on how they feel about the products and services you are offering.
Take a look on the steps listed below to gain your customers’ trust.
- At some point you, sooner or later you will make some profit. But in case you have not succeed in making a difference among your competitors, you will never be able to take this on step further and be in the top of the business. Put your goals higher and aim for a long-term gain by selling unique products, in order to be able to earn the most out of your business in the future.
Provide excellent customer service
One of the most significant dynamics that impacts both conventional and online business’s victory is customer service. Regardless of the customer’s needs or questions, regardless of the fact that they are new to your brand or not, each customer is special and they all need to be treated with excellent customer service. In this way you will be able to gain their trust and loyalty to your business.
Promote your shop
This is the time you need to do what you need to do to be noticed by bloggers or even Google. Creating a blog would be a good idea and have the chance to tell your readers about your shop, your products and increase your sales.
Other ways to promote your online-shop are buying advertisements for social media or google or buying advertising place on blogs.
You will need to put a lot of work on it, but once everything get started, things will get much easier.
Starting an online store will take your business to another level. As you have already realized it takes a lot of time and effort. However, following some easy and clear steps for branding, niches, coming up with effective marketing strategies and of course being passionate on what you do will definitely give your online-store a great success in the long term.