The decision to start an online store is no small decision. It involves multiple sacrifices and challenges which every business owner faces whether it is a small business or a big business. With the increase in the number of online shoppers, the opportunities for expansion are limitless. Because of the sudden surge in the number of online buyers, the number of online retailers has also increased. With so much competition these days, establishing an online retail brand has become even more challenging than before. However, if you have taken the decision to start your own online business, let us analyse some points which you should keep in mind before taking the next step.
A business plan is important to start but it is not necessary to have a professionally documented and formal business plan. If you are planning to start an online store, do make sure that you have a proper plan of action. You need to know exactly who your target customers are, what kind of products you want to sell and what prices will your customers be willing to pay. Doing some market research and properly planning your business model in advance will help you save a lot of time and efforts at a later date.
What Products to Sell
Before you start an online store, it is necessary to decide what type of products to sell. Select the kind of products that you are passionate about. You will be working with those products day in and day out so selects the kind of products that will not bore you easily. Select the niche you are passionate about. It is very likely that your customers will have multiple questions about the products you sell. If you are passionate about any product, you will also be able to answer all your customer queries easily.
Plan for Finances
It is always advisable to do some market research before starting an online retail business. Understand your customers, analyse all the sale price points of your products and plan your finances properly. Fund management is very important in every business and this is a crucial step that you should never forget. Planning in advance for all the financial ups and downs of the business before you start an online store can save you a lot of trouble at later stages.
Get all Required Government Licenses
Based on the category of products that you want to sell, you might require some licenses and approvals from government. Before starting your business, discuss all the legal aspects involved, with a professional legal consultant. It is advised to attain all the government licenses required before starting an online retail business. Government licensing and permissions are very important and should always be considered as a priority before starting any business.
Based on your budget and expertise, decide what kind of e-commerce solution will be best for your business. There are multiple types of e-commerce solutions available these days both for small and big businesses. Depending on your inventory requirements, the exact solution can differ from person to person. Make sure to analyse all the available options and then decide upon the best solution before you start an online store.
Basically, an e-commerce solution is a bundle of some very specific features and services which include “product listing module”, “shopping cart”, “order processing”, “payment collection” and “shipping and logistics”.
Selection of a perfect solution for your “e-commerce venture”, is very important. Some major points to consider before selecting an appropriate e-commerce solution provider are:–
- Optimized Pricing Structure
- Features & Services Offered
- Technology & Scalability
- Online Security
- Flexibility & Ease of Use
- Proper Customer Support
Your online store will be the major point of sale for your business so make sure to consider all the above-mentioned points before selecting an appropriate e-commerce solution to start an online store.
Select a Domain Name
A domain name is where your website will run; it is like an internet address. Select a domain name which is related to the category of your products and launches a website on that name. A domain name will be your online identity so spend some time
- Make it easy to type
- Keep it short
- Use keywords
- Target your niche
- Avoid numbers and hyphens
Use an appropriate domain name extension
Research upon an appropriate domain name (consider all points mentioned above) and buy it from the domain registrar. A lot of online websites provide domain name related services and almost all are priced quite reasonably.
We all do business for making money. Before you plan to start an online store it is mandatory to understand and decide how you would like to get paid. There
Marketing an e-commerce store can be interesting and fun but at the same time, it can also be very difficult due to the ever-increasing competition. Have a proper marketing strategy in place before taking the final step to start an online store. If possible hire a professional digital marketing consultant or outsource your marketing to an internet marketing agency. Plan and strategize everything well in advance to avoid loss of time and efforts in future. Proper marketing will not only increase your sale stats but it will also improve your brand value and help you build trust with your customers.
Never Ignore Customer Service
Once your business has taken off, there will be multiple business transactions happening daily. In such a scenario, it is easy to forget about customer service. Hence, you should always plan in advance for proper customer service. You can either outsource the process to a professional agency working in this domain or integrate a CRM within your website to manage your customer service properly. Always remember, a good customer support will increase the chances of repeat sales.
Stay Focussed On Your Goals
New business owners generally get side kicked by focusing on things that are less important. It is advised that you should focus on the business goals rather than focussing too much on the minor details. You should always concentrate on things that will help propel your business and take it to the next level.
An online sales channel can take your retail business to the next level and open doors to multiple opportunities. However, proper planning and strategic implementation are necessary. Do your research, talk to experts and make an informed decision. On the surface, an e-commerce platform is just the use of technology to sell products or services. But with proper implementation, an e-commerce platform can help your business grow both in profits and credibility.
Connect with one of our consultants for a detailed insight into the e-commerce technology and how Store Hippo can help you with an online e-commerce solution.