Online shopping has become the new way to purchase items, and with more and more companies opening online stores every day, the numbers can only rise. More than 80% of the online population have shopped online, and it’s a multi-billion dollar business that’s worth getting involved in! People shop online for various reasons; it saves time, saves money, it’s easy to compare prices across several different businesses, there’s no crowds, no need to spend money on petrol or travel fares, taxes are generally lower on products and there’s a much, much bigger variety to choose from than what you would find in your average brick-and-mortar store.
So when you’re building your online shop, what should you be asking yourself?
How do I do this?
The first and most important question – how? There are two ways to go about it; you can either build your own online shop, which will take a lot of time and effort and very specific knowledge. You can also pay somebody else to do it for you. There are huge e-commerce shop building companies available with some fantastic reviews from happy customers who will do all the hard work for you for a fee, most often paid on a monthly basis. These fees can range from $10 right up to $700, and it usually largely depends on the amount of items you want in your online store. Some great companies to check out for this would be Bigcommerce, Shopify or Volusion.
How can I start to attract shoppers to my online store?
Basically, put links to your online store everywhere you possibly can! Your company website, Facebook page, Twitter profile, Tumblr profile, Pinterest profile, Youtube account, all of the various social media outlets. Put the link in your newsletters if you have an e-mail marketing campaign set up. Word of mouth is probably the most successful offline technique to use, but update your business cards and leaflets to include your online store. Get car decals and put your store URL on your car. Create a banner and fly it from a window in your house. The only thing that limits the effectiveness of your online store promotion is you, so get the word out everywhere!
What payments should I accept?
Personal security is a huge issue online, and customers simply will not buy from your online store if they do not believe their details are being transmitted in a secure way. The best way to gain confidence in your customers is to use Paypal. This allows them to pay for their purchases directly to you, without having to input any credit card details to your site. However, Paypal can be quite hard on the seller, especially if you’re a small business, charging a 2.9% total sale transaction fee and a further 30% fee per transaction. If you set up your site securely though, customers will happily pay using their debit or credit cards. You can obtain a merchant account with individual card companies, and they will then charge you a small percentage per transaction. Some also charge monthly or yearly fees for using the service as well.
Creating and building an online store can seem like a mammoth task, and it doesn’t end at simply creating it – you then have to promote it and market it. For further reading and for some more excellent tips, check out entrepreneur.com.
* * *
* * *