When setting up an online store, you have to make many decisions about what you will sell, how you will find customers and how you will deliver orders.
In addition, you need to consider aspects such as the design and features your site will have.
An online store is characterized by certain operating principles that you need to learn. You also need to remember that not all solutions dedicated to online stores will work perfectly in your case.
The success of your site will be determined not only by what you sell, but also by what function you choose.
Online store – product selection
Surely you already know what industry you are going to be in, and you are slowly starting to look for the products you intend to offer in your online store. A voice in the back of your head tells you that you should have enough products on offer to attract as many potential customers as possible.
However, think again. To sell a lot, you need to own and store these goods. This means that one of the more serious costs you will have to incur are those associated with storing them in a designated place.
In addition, the increased number of goods offered may also result in the need to spend more on expanding your site and making it more readable.
It’s better to take an example from e-commerce giants. When you look at the websites of the most popular online stores, you will see that they sell a small number of goods: a dozen or so, a few dozen at most.
So it’s not a matter of having everything in stock. Bet on what seems to be the best choice and what your customers are sure to buy.
What platform for an online store?
You will definitely have to make a decision based on what type of website you will be running. Will you find a platform or a dedicated store more helpful in serving your customers?
A dedicated store is a special type of website that allows the owner to launch his online store at a professional level or to transfer an existing store to a new platform.
It gives us the opportunity to maximize website customization to meet specific customer requirements and create a system that is integrated with other applications it supports.
In turn, platforms for implementing an online store can be divided into paid and free ones. The ones you have to pay for may be a ready-made license, based on which you can launch the site, but no changes can be made.
The same is true of other types of paid platforms, where the user can make only minor changes, sometimes even cosmetic ones.
But the truth is that with both a dedicated store and a platform, you have expensive tools at your disposal, the features of which you may or may not use.
In exchange for preparing your store, you will only pay for a lot of features and customization of the store’s appearance. A nice website or gadgets placed on it will not bring customers to your store.
So consider whether it’s better to look for a free platform to put up an online store, and spend the money you save on SEO or buying banners.
Customers come first
You probably already know this, but it needs to be made clear: buyers are the backbone of the business. It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling online or face-to-face.
No business or online store can survive without people ordering products and services. There must always be someone who buys and someone who sells.
For you as an online store seller, this means, among other things, that you should wisely divide your store budget between store performance and marketing campaigns.
Remember that the store must perform well. If the website loads endlessly because it contains so many elements, it will discourage any customer. That’s why it’s a good idea to use the services of specialists.
There is one more thing to remember when running an online store. The customer is the value you need to focus on. Put your service at the right level and try to complete each transaction in a way that will leave a good impression with him.
It is known, sometimes there are problems, complaints. However, you must treat them as an integral part of your business. Imagine that the person who sent you another email about a broken product is as frustrated with the situation as you are.
Only your attitude will determine whether the buyer will come back to you or move to a competitor.
Did you know that 95% of online stores die in their first year of business? Think about it and remember that every customer is at a premium. Without it, you can’t survive.
The online store and its logistics
Your business will revolve around getting orders and buyers. Don’t get ahead of your competitors just because they offer a faster and easier delivery method.
Now that there are many online stores, most of them have products at the same or similar prices. Since these amounts can’t be lowered indefinitely, you must try to fight for the customer in other ways.
Many sellers try to add freebies to their orders, low-priced products that the buyer considers a nice addition and thanks them for shopping. You can try the same thing, but you must remember that these freebies are not free for you. Even if their price is low, if you order a thousand items, you won’t get anything out of it.
However, you can offer something else. Bet on the speed of order fulfillment. Your online store won’t have a lot of features, which means ordering time should be short.
Add to that fast delivery. Don’t skimp on gaining your customer’s satisfaction, and they will definitely come back to you. Express delivery of ordered products will be one of the things that will make their desire to buy from you stay.
Fast order processing can become your trademark, and thus something that will make your website recognizable on the web, and your online store will gain recognition and reputation as an outlet. Sometimes good reviews are enough to attract more buyers.
How to run an online store?
The first and most important thing – a clear website. It must be designed according to the latest standards. It’s a good idea to give the finished design to experts for testing to assess whether it is convenient to use.
The website of an online store must not be full of embellishments, videos and other extras – here simplicity and clarity are valued. Take care of a logical division into categories and a convenient product search engine.
The customer must not have problems with the transaction. Internet users often abandon the purchase if they do not understand its rules or do not cope with the forms on the site.
Above all, simplicity – it will make the online store customer-friendly.
Bet on search engine optimization. Optimize the site for SEO – take care of good product and image descriptions, tags and headings. Consider using the so-called long tail.
Make your brand everywhere. Take care to add your online store to directories and online sales agents. If you have the funds, bet on promotion using Google ads. Your company logo should be distinctive and nice to remember – try to display it in many places.
Set up accounts on popular social networks – preferably on several at the same time. You can use them both to promote your store and to communicate with customers.
In social media, building and strengthening relationships with your audience is key. Hold interesting contests, showcase products, fuel discussions. Interacting with Internet users can bring great benefits to your business – you will learn more about their preferences, behaviors and habits. Take advantage of this invaluable knowledge.
Content marketing for an online store
Consider implementing content marketing. Internet users can be attracted to your online store with interesting content – this is what many companies do. By adding valuable texts and multimedia regularly, you will build trust in your brand.
Conduct an interesting newsletter for your customers, in which they will be informed about new promotions, changes in the store, valuable products, etc.
The Internet allows you to conduct remarketing – take advantage of this opportunity. It involves persuading people who have previously looked at the store, but did not buy anything, to return.
Many people give up even at the last minute, having already selected products in the shopping cart. With so-called cookies and Google ads, you can attract a large portion of them back to complete the transaction.
Offer customers a wide choice of payment methods – Paypal, quick transfer, credit card. Customers often abandon purchases when they don’t get the method they usually use.
Shipping goods from an online store
Establish partnerships with courier companies that offer fast and convenient package delivery. Customers almost always care about short delivery times. Permanent cooperation with suppliers can reduce shipping costs on the buyer’s side.
You can attract customers not only with price, but also with assortment. Take advantage of the long tail principle of commerce, which says that more profit than bestsellers is generated by a large number of less sought-after products. Your online store will certainly benefit from this.
Finally, you must remember one of the most important rules – an online store is a partnership with buyers: one satisfied customer will tell you about three, one dissatisfied one will tell you about ten.
The calculus seems clear. The more you apply to serving your customers, the more you will gain. Don’t limit the resources you allocate to all marketing activities, because they are the foundation of your business.