Online shopping has become a common practice. In fact, 1.66 billion people made online purchases in 2017. Ecommerce is an industry that is expected to grow even more in the following years. It is easy to see why— online businesses have several obvious advantages over physical stores, such as a wider market and increased accessibility.
However, opening an online business does not immediately guarantee success. You must know how to set it up in a way that is appealing to would-be customers. The following are steps you should follow on how to launch your store:
- Brainstorm on the product.
The first step is to decide on the service and product you want to sell. It is great to have a focus because it will serve as the foundation of your brand. Make sure that there is an existing target market for your product and adjust your expectations accordingly. This part also includes settling the pricing system. Aside from your profit, you also have to make even on the costs of the material, marketing, taxes and shipping. It would be useful to check your competitors’ websites to get a feel for the market.
- Finalize the shipping options.
The main advantage of online shopping for consumers is that purchases will arrive straight on their doorstep. As the entrepreneur, it is your duty to figure out how to make that happen. You will have to look for a trusted delivery company, but you will also need to consider the costs. A popular method to settle delivery fees is to offer free shipping after a certain amount of spending. You might also offer free shipping, but mark up the prices to balance out the fees. Consumers are more willing to spend more on products than on the delivery charge. When considering the shipping fee, remember that it is easy to alienate clients if it is too high.
- Find a web hosting platform.
You have several options when finally setting up your website. You can either use popular online platforms or create a website from scratch. The latter is harder to accomplish but it has the advantage of being more customizable and less generic. There are plenty of software you can use to make the process of setting one up easier for you. Make sure to find a professional domain name to increase your legitimacy.
You can also use an ecommerce store marketplace that buys and sells businesses, such as Exchange by Shopify. This will simplify the process for you because there is already an established website and business that you can purchase. If you would prefer not to work from scratch, it is an option worthy of your consideration.
- Create your website.
There are plenty of site builder applications that you can use if you are unfamiliar with coding. Take your time with this step so that you can create a website that looks professional and credible. Use photos and videos, but avoid making the layout messy and cluttered because it make the store harder to navigate. Don’t forget to include essential sections like an about page, FAQs and contact information.
This step also involves copywriting so that you can convince consumers of the product’s quality. If you have the time, you can even create a blog where you can place updates, reviews and guides. Not only will this encourage interaction, it will also be useful for your search engine optimization, as you can start to use the blog rank for keywords relevant to your business.
- Set up the payment methods.
Now that you are done with designing the store, you must find a way to complete transactions. This usually involves using a third party company to process the payments. Using these companies will cost you some money but it is essential to provide a secure means of transferring money. Among the most popular brands are PayPal and Chase, but you may also consider using cryptocurrency if you wish.
You now have everything you need to launch your business. However, don’t forget to do a test run of the in-store processes before you proceed to roll it out. It might even be a good idea to do a beta testing phase to sort out any potential issues. Once it runs perfectly, it should go hand in hand with a great promotion strategy to increase the amount of purchases.
The internet has certainly made it easier to conduct businesses and transactions. Opening your ecommerce website makes it accessible to people who would never have heard about it otherwise. All you need to do now is to deliver your services, attract more attention, and increase your sales.
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