It’s no secret that the online retail market is booming, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. Online shopping is perceived as safe and convenient, and you can get virtually any kind of product delivered to your door. If lockdowns continue far into the future, it’s a secure opportunity for fledgling entrepreneurs, too.
Whether you’re thinking about starting an online store from scratch or adding one to supplement your existing business, here is what you need to know:
THE BENEFITS OF OPENING AN E-COMMERCE STORE
One of the most appealing parts of opening an e-commerce store is that the overhead is much lower than a brick and mortar. You do have costs, but it’s much cheaper to operate an e-commerce store than it is to run a physical store. You also have the opportunity to have a much broader customer base since you are not geographically limited when selling online. And you’re not limited by time either, since customers can purchase items 24/7.
Then there are the products themselves. When it comes to e-commerce, almost anything goes. Whether you specialize in physical products, digital products, services, and/or consultations, you can sell it. E-commerce is especially beneficial for those who offer a niche product or service.
QUICK TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED
Now that you know some of the benefits, let’s touch on a few ways to get started with your e-commerce store:
Prioritize data protection.
Before you do anything else, consider your customers’ information. We live in an age of constant technological innovation, which means that our data is constantly under attack. For both you and your customers, one of your biggest priorities should be to protect all personal and financial data.
The more customers you serve, the more names, residential addresses, email addresses, credit card numbers, and other vital information you will have in your system. TechRadar points out that it’s essential to incorporate anti-virus software, regularly update your operating systems, keep your data backed up, and take any other necessary precautions to ensure information is secure.
Choose the right platform.
The platform you choose should depend on your needs and budget. For instance, Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion, and other platforms offer off-the-shelf solutions for a nominal monthly fee. This means that you get to choose from a selection of clean, attractive templates for your store, as well as plenty of other features. However, if you plan to sell hundreds of different products at a high volume, and/or if you don’t want to risk your site looking exactly like some other company’s site, then you might want to consider a custom platform.
Invest in your web presence.
The last thing you want to do is put out a website that is clunky, poorly designed, or ineffective. Hiring a professional web designer ensures that your new e-commerce site is user friendly, attractive, and works well on all sorts of devices. What’s more, professionals understand things like the power of typography, images, and layout on your page and how it influences customers.
If you already have a great website, or once you have one, the next step is to add an app. An app funnels your clients straight to your page whenever they jump on their smartphones, and you can hire top-notch app developers to ensure you get all the bells and whistles that your business needs.
Finally, you will want to determine how you will market your business. Factor in your sales and marketing goals, current marketing position, and your target audience. Then, strategize which of these marketing avenues you will implement:
- Content marketing
- Social media marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Pay-per-click (PPC)
- Email marketing
If you don’t already have one, now is the time to invest in an e-commerce store. Consider the benefits and continue to research to determine whether it’s right for you. If you decide to start an online store, be sure to prioritize data protection, pick a store platform that meets your needs and budget, and decide which marketing tactics to incorporate to move your brand, products, and/or service forward. It’s a lot of work, but the benefits of running an e-commerce store can make for a rewarding experience.