Establishing an online presence is very much on the radar for most business owners today. With E-commerce growth being spurred by more and more people shopping online it definitely makes business sense. If you are thinking about starting an online shop then read on for some practical tips on the topic.
1. Choose the “right” niche
Before you start an online store think about what sort of products or services people are looking for and build your business around that niche. Focusing on single products might make better business sense. For instance, setting up an online store that sells a range of socks for all age groups might prove to be a very profitable niche. Other ideas are wedding gowns, bouquets, groceries, green foods, etc.
This can be applied to services also. You can set up a virtual assistant service, writing services, photography, sell art prints, etc.
Focusing on a niche that services a niche that is different will make you stand out. Take some time off to research and select a product or service that people are looking for but not many sellers/service providers offer.
2. Explore Online Marketplaces
Setting up a website to sell your products might not be something you can afford to do right away. Opt for online marketplaces instead. This will help you to test the waters first and if you do well and think its financially viable then you can go ahead and set up an independent web store later on. Etsy is a good example of a marketplace for makers of handmade goods and artists across genres.
The good thing about such marketplaces is that they take care of payments and many offer shipping support at a price. Amazon is one such E-commerce company that gives sellers the option to establish a web presence.
3. Set up a Merchant Account
Choose an option like PayPal’s business features to receive and pay money with ease. It is cheaper than a bank. However, in order to satisfy various customer needs you will need to set up an account with a bank so people can pay with credit cards. Think of Paypal as one of the payment alternatives for your online store.
4. Use Social Media to Promote Your Store
Most people spend a lot of time on social networks. Using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram to promote your business is necessary because that’s where most buyers are. Social media is an important tool to connect and engage with customers.
You can use pictures and words to build hype and get people interested in your products and services. Viral marketing is powered by social media and social networks besides it is something you can do on a budget. Organizing contests that are topical or event based is something you can do using web and mobile apps.
5. Last but probably the most important one: Consider Web Security
Web security is of prime importance when you decide to do business online. When you choose to set up a web store or do business on an online platform security of information and transactions is critical.
Did you know that when your customers feel secure, they are more likely to buy from your online store? Buying a SSL cert from a popular SSL certificate provider like Thawte can help securing your online store, as well as shouting “trust” to your online customers.
Establishing an online store is the way to go today. If you want to capture markets without having to deal with geographical boundaries and limitations it is definitely a route you must take. A little thought, some research and good preparation is all you need to succeed.