Setting up an online store is far easier and far less costly than setting up a physical store on the high street. However, it still requires a fair bit of groundwork and planning in order to have a successful launch. Here are five steps to follow if you want to make a successful break at e-commerce.
Know your niche
The web is a very competitive place. Once you have an idea of the type of product you’d like to sell, think of a way of making your business stand out from the rest. This requires thorough research.
Check that your desired domain name isn’t in use and check other similar companies to ensure that you don’t steal their branding. Consider way of setting yourself apart such as promoting an exclusive product, undercutting other available deals online or simply have a vast selection of inventory to choose from.
Decide on a delivery method
People shopping online now expect a swift and professional delivery service. Half of the complaints that online e-commerce businesses receive aren’t related to the product but the delivery itself. This involves finding an efficient courier service, investing in good quality packaging and weighing up the costs of shipping. A good read is The Beginner’s Guide To Ecommerce Shipping And Fulfilment, which goes through all the options when it comes to packaging and delivery.
Pick a platform
Will you have your own website or will you go through a site like Amazon? Will you have your own app? How will you handle digital transactions? Using the right online platform is important. Guides such as the 18 Top Apps and Plugins for Your Online Store can give you a rundown on the types of platforms and add-ons that you can use. Provide as much information for your clients as you can and ensure that the buying process is easy – anything too complex could put off buyers.
Your online business could come under attack from cybercriminals if you’re not careful. You should make sure that you’re using a secure payment service. You should also consider adding extra security to your website to protect yourself from the threat of hackers. You may also want to take out various insurance schemes such as cyber-insurance that will cover you in the event that there is a hack and people’s personal details are compromised.
Build your brand
Once all of this is set up, you can then start marketing in order to get people to discover your website. Set up a Facebook page and consider paying a graphic designer to produce banners and logos for your online business. Consider paying for ads and SEO to make your business easier to find online. You should also make use of online reviews to help boost your reputation.
Don’t forget to network too – working with other businesses may allow you to form cross-promotion strategies. It may even pay to have a business card with your website address on for gathering new clientele at social events.