Setting up an online business is always a good idea if you do it the right way. With more and more people looking for a way to buy a product or a service from the comfort of their armchairs, you could run a highly successful online store if you play your cards right.
No online store can be successful without these fantastic tips, so take a good look before you set out into this adventure.
1. Find a market for your product
It’s necessary to do market research to make sure your product is something that people want.
The first thing you should do is to check popular marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, and Etsy. There you can check out how others selling a similar product go by.
Next, do a small trial run before you got through the whole process of creating an online store. If the product goes well on eBay, for example, and you are satisfied with the results, only then should you start working on your online store.
2. Choose the best E-commerce option
There are three types of e-commerce option for you to choose from, depending on your expertise and budget:
- Hosted – your website is put on their server, while you also get their software to build and utilize your online store. If you’re a beginner when it comes to site-building, opt for this one.
- Licensed – you get to install the platform on the computer but you need to find your own hosting and security protection.
- Open-source – these are free downloads that enable you to build your site from scratch, meaning there is some serious programming involved. If you don’t know how to do it, it’s best to hire someone.
3. Create an engaging web design
Web design is just as important as your product – people don’t care what’s being offered on a sloppy website. Visual appearance matters.
So, you either hire an experienced web designer for this or you take it on yourself and use a good e-commerce template. Some of those can be found on sites such as TonyTemplates, TemplateMonster, and Apollotheme – they follow the latest trends and are user-friendly and clear.
4. Find reliable collaborators
In many cases, an online store can’t fully function without the collaborators, such as a delivery company and a wholesale supplier. They also affect the overall impression that your online store makes. In other words, you need to make sure they are fast and reliable. For example, if running an online store for cosmetic products, search for trustworthy wholesale cosmetic suppliers that always have the products you need – you need to be able to respond to the demand at all times.
5. Make an effort with the photos
As the visual appearance of the website matters, so do the photos of the products you’re selling. Surprisingly, potential customers remember 80% of what they saw and only 20% of what they read on the website. Use that fact to your advantage by doing the following:
- use an all-white background to help your photos (products) stand out
- use zooming to show every detail to your customers
- provide several photos that show the product from all angles
- hire a professional photographer if necessary.
6. Partner with other brands
People are unwilling to spend their money on buying a product from a company they have never heard of. That’s why establishing a reputation is important, and an easy way to do it is to partner with other companies. They don’t have to be extremely popular but a level of recognition in your area at least will do you good. They will create a feeling of trust between you and the customers.
Just make sure you highlight them on your page for instant recognition and showcase every single partner that you have, no matter the number.
7. Offer quality online support
Your customers need to be sure they will have support in case they buy something on your website. Guaranteed assistance after the purchase and useful consulting could easily turn a satisfied first-time buyer into a loyal customer. A live chat feature is the best and most effective option, especially if it’s available 24/7. If you don’t have the means to offer this option to your customers throughout the whole day, at least have someone assist them during the working hours.
8. Promote yourself on social media
A social media strategy is a must no matter what type of online business you are about to start. Even having the right LinkedIn account can get you far and make you visible to the right people.
Social media is a powerful marketing and brand-awareness tool. There are even social sharing tools like AddThis to enable your visitors to spread your products and notifications more easily across their social network. Although Instagram and Pinterest may not be perfect for every niche in online business, Facebook, and Twitter cover everything. Set your business profile and be as active as possible but make sure you don’t spam your followers.
A successful online store takes time, just like any other business. However, some of the techniques and strategies are different so you better be well-prepared before you dive in.