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Online business is booming the market and it has created a buzz among users on the internet.
If you’re one of those who want to start an online business?
Then, keep yourself focused as this article is for you, yes my friend you’ve landed on the right page.
We know that developing an online store can be hectic thought especially when you’re not a tech guy.
After helping millions of users for starting online businesses we have decided to jot down a complete guide on starting an online store.
As per the studies, the success of an E-commerce site was stated on a simple blueprint:
- Opt for a safe and profitable location for your starting a cart.
- Act like a bigger speaker and tell your audience about your business.
- Sell at the lowest price to make profits.
In the past, these tactics were useful but in the 21st century, everything has changed and is no longer useful for modern online businesses. Here, physical location is more like a burden than convenience and a small-budget store runs successfully with no inventory at all.
Hence, due to the heavy hit of the pandemic businesses and markets are facing a slowdown in the business flow. There is vast growth in digital retail – and those opportunities are diversifying.
Looking at the market condition starting an online store is challenging, so to overcome such challenges and obstacles. Read this article and launch your own online store.
1. Develop a business plan and opt for the proper niche
The eCommerce market is a huge market that is expanding widely. There are various market leaders in online business which operate globally. Therefore, it’s mandatory to study the market or competitors.
a) Opt for SWOT analysis
SWOT analysis is an effective strategy that any organization can perform to reach a goal. Likewise, you can also perform the SWOT analysis: SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It’s a simple and useful strategy to assess the different niche and product ideas.
b) Research industry gaps
While doing research, you can search for the demands irrespective of famous product categories. To get an exact target market; tap into the following aspects:
- Check review sites: Search positive reviews of customers related to products, or check out tutorials and monitor what others are missing.
- Google Trends: compare and contrast the search volume for various product types.
- Social media: Study the target audience’s concerns, complaints, and recommendation requests.
c) Study your customer’s anima
An ultimate idea related to an eCommerce solution is essential at the stage of the intersection of needs, preferences, and interests among the target audience. Develop a set of ideal buyer anima consisting of:
- Demographic data: Age, location, occupation, income.
- Psychographic data: Interests, values, beliefs, struggles, and aspirations.
d) Opt for the right business model
At the time of research, you should study the buying habits of your audience and look for a solution to reach the goal of customer satisfaction.
B2B eCommerce: You can also target wholesalers, retailers, and business buyers.
B2C eCommerce: You can opt for marketing your products directly to consumers. In short, selling on online marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, etc.
DTC: A direct-to-customer business model skips the intermediary.
Dropshipping: This type of model passes includes order fulfillment tasks of a third party, so you don’t hold any inventory yourself.
2. Search your E-commerce Platform
An eCommerce platform is a big box that includes various vernacular features and extensions. It may be appealing to start with the best website builder. Later, you need to migrate your eCommerce website, which adds complexity. It’s suggested to opt for long-term alternatives, even if you’re developing the first emphasis.
a) Highlight the range of products you planned on selling
The very foremost step is to understand which products you’re planning to sell and what will be the range of products. In the case of small businesses, you can start with a lower-cost platform without comprehensive features.
Hence, as you scale your business, your website complexity also increases. If your business is large or constantly growing, then selecting the best version of the platform could be in your favor.
b) List the features as per your need
It’s necessary to check whether your platform offers all essential features or what you’re required to invest in as an extension or required to develop a missing feature for your business.
c) Make a list of available eCommerce platforms
E-commerce website builders provide simplified store setup and management. Take into consideration your business goals, operational model, and technical aspects of your business. The next step is to monitor the famous online store builders including:
3. Select the right products
For starting an online business, it’s necessary to select the right products to reach the ultimate success of your online store. However, selecting the niche for product selection is important to search for something unique and in limited supply elsewhere.
4. Develop your online store
Website design is quite difficult and has a complex aspect of launching the online store. A wrong website design or template will hamper your sales by diverting potential customers from the website; also affect the sales, and limit the store growth. Take a look at the following questions that can help you to determine how a website will look like:
a) Style of the website
While manifesting the style for your online store, there are two things to consider:
1) Define the style that matches your business.
2) Customers should identify your business based on your style. In short, your style will speak on behalf of you and your business.
3) If you’re planning to set up a physical business then this strategy will not work in that scenario.
b) Easy Navigation of the website
As per the study, it’s noticed that the average time spent on a page across all industries was nearly 54 seconds, and more than 50% of users switch to a new website due to tricky navigation after browsing the website.
That is why, it’s important to design easy navigation of the website for easy customer browsing. It should be simple and user-friendly to maintain your customers and hold them on the website.
c) List of features that you want on your store
Adding features to your online store is yet another important parameter that customers want to see. Question yourself about what is crucial to display on your online store and what is relevant to your business.
For example, having videos of products on the about us page will be an added advantage on the website. Additionally, designing an online store includes adding features, add – ons and plugins. Try to make a world unique between a bare site and one that customers are drawn to.
5. Listing of Products
Listing products and crafting product pages are important for an effective and successful online store. Check out these pointers before listing the products:
a) Product Images
It’s very important to highlight the picture of the products which you’re planning to sell. You can hire a professional photographer for shooting the products.
If this is not possible then you can consider a homemade photography setup for shooting an attractive eCommerce photo.
You can consider 360 – degrees photos for heavy items such as furniture, equipment, or certain types of garments. However, it’s believed that photography taken via 360 degrees gives maximum views and also boosts the conversion rates by 13%.
b) Product Categories
Website structure leads you to manage and establish the relationship between different product pages. Product categories are compulsory to showcase the catalog and make your backlog more noticeable.
6. Set down payment options
“Payment done successfully” this line indicates that your product is sold profitably. Hence, you have to introduce a wide range of payment options that will drive maximum potential customers. If a used payment mode is available while making a payment (POS) will determine how large your customer base will be and hence, it will save you from future wrangling.
Most eCommerce website builder offers a schema of connecting to various payment options including processors like Paypal, Gpay, Razorpay, Paytm, etc.
You can follow most trending ways to include payments to your online store such as:
- Payment gateway plans
- Credit card payment processing
- Payment gateways and merchant accounts
Also, focus on potential transaction fees that occur during transactions.
7. Study shipping strategies and policies
Here, you need to point out how you’ll deliver your products to your customers. Plus, utilizing a worthwhile eCommerce shipping strategy is important as it’s shown in the research that 56% of customers will not entertain your product after a bad delivery experience.
Moreover, the right shipping policy will help to gain the trust of new customers and maintain them for a longer time as loyal customers. You need to cater to parameters like step-to-step costs, terms, and any limitations of your delivery.
a) List of carriers
You can list down carriers’ options which you want to ship with for example; shipping rates, timings, and restrictions that vary from one carrier to another. Don’t neglect any options try to utilize all the offerings and aim to deliver best the price value ratio.
b) Do you aim to offer internationally?
Selling internationally is completely your choice and it relays upon many other parameters that you need to consider for international shipping.
c) Do you plan to provide BOPIS options?
BOPIS indicates Buy Online, Pickup in Store (BOPIS) rapidly growing alternatives for retailers. If you’re having a physical storefront, BOPIS is the best option that will increase the value of your physical store and life becomes easy for your customers.
8. Last is promotion and publishing an online store
Every businessman aims to drive maximum traffic on the website or online eCommerce site. If your website is not receiving the potential traffic then it will take away your sleep as well.
Yes, it’s true.
In Google Analytics, if there are zero active users then you need to worry about the situation and should look for solutions that are:
- Select various eCommerce marketing channels
- Design a pre-launch promotion technique for them
For gaining maximum traffic on the website or online store, most marketers depend upon:
a) Social Media
Promote your business on social media platforms to get visitors to your website. Simultaneously, promote product previews and teasers and behind scene previews to develop anticipation.
You can also launch your business during the festive season or any special day. Give attractive offers to users and start selling online in no time.
In the case of niche products, you need to target those types of audiences by pitching your deal on online communities and forums.
b) Paid Promotion
Next is paid promotion, you can use various social media platforms for paid promotions. Another advantage is you only pay for meaningful action for example clicks, visits, inquiries, and sales.
To impress search engines you can start with SEO – Search Engine Optimization and Email marketing. These two techniques require an investment of time and patience for the results. Sooner or later, if you begin early then you can expect positive traction.
The journey of starting a business together is a different aspect for any business owner. Starting an online business is an unbeatable experience. Some opt for retail operations or some consider other ventures out as hobbyists and then expand via self-funding or look for external investment options.
You can move in any direction but make sure you’re moving in the right direction that gives a profit to your business. Else, one wrong step will collapse your business too.