Starting an online business or e-commerce store can be tough. You have to somehow create a central hub in which to display your products, prices, and be able to provide support for your customers, all while revealing information about all products and services pertaining to your business.
When it comes to prices of items on any online store, they will commonly be lower as they do not have to incur the enormous cost of renting retail space and hiring additional service staff. This is often the key deciding factor when choosing a new online retailer. Another reason influencing the decision to launch an online store or company is the fact that the ability to purchase goods over the Internet safely and effectively can raise the credibility of the company while providing fast and easy service.
Before jumping into creating an online business, you should consider investing time into researching the demand for your product. This is not as difficult as you may think, especially with the help of the trusty Internet and search engines like Google. This service is available through Google’s ‘Keyword Tool’ found in its Adwords service. Simply enter the name of your product, specify the region, and watch the results roll in. The results will indicate the number of searches of this word or product based on your criteria. To determine real demand, be sure keep an eye out for local monthly search results of over 15,000. But, if your products are rather exclusive, a number of 5,000 searches can also be considered “in demand”.
You should also undertake an analysis of online stores offering similar goods on the following parameters: the number of direct competitors, how long they have been in the market, their design, as well as customer feedback.
Creating a successful and "selling" online business can be divided into three major stages.
1. Choosing a domain name and branding. In best practices, your site name and domain should normally be short and relevant to your business. With how large the Internet is these days, it can be hard to pick a memorable name, so be sure to choose wisely!
2. Developing a stylish, eye-catching and functional design. Web site design can be a daunting task, especially if you've never gone into the field. The same applies to the system administration side of things. Choosing a professional firm to assist you with these is highly recommended. You can try to use an open source CMS (Content Management System), which is currently popular with those on a tight start up budget, or you can seek to a firm to develop a custom management system. The difference between free and paid services should already be obvious. A custom management system is usually better for the reason that it was developed according to individual specifications and contains only the necessary functionality to make managing your business easier. Free CMS’ can consume many resources, which can also lead to increased costs for maintenance and support.
3. Creating Content Arguably the most important step towards establishing your business online is creating content. Everyone loves to be able to read and have access to full descriptive information about the products they are about to buy without having to jump through hoops, which in a nutshell should describe your business. Informative, Trustworthy, and Memorable. Sufficient availability of information also plays an important role in the positioning of any online stores ranking in search engine results. All product pages should not only contain technical information, but also a detailed description, instructions for use, background information, and more. Particular attention should be given to the quality of images for the product. In some cases, quantity may actually mean quality.
Customers should have a direct means to contact your business, whether for inquires or even just a simply “hello”. It’s best to have a proper email (sorry, hotmail.com just won’t cut it anymore!) as well as a proper local and toll-free number available. Having a mobile number may be fine for local business, but for outside the city or country, a mobile number could raise suspicion about the reliability and credibility of the site and of the company itself.
For Your Customers Good marketing, and a clean, easy to navigate site is key to attracting new prospects. Your site should not contain too much information and be simple to navigate. Information relating to your products and services should be clear and concise. Ordering should be simple and fast, giving customers options for payment and delivery. Asking for and gathering customer feedback will help to evaluate what areas may need slight adjustments on. Remember, you are here for your customers, NOT the other way around!
In conclusion, starting up an online business may seem frightening at first. But, with the right tools and with proper research, you can be assured that your business will stand out from the competition. If you are looking for help getting started, expanding your online presence or get an affordable SEO company, feel free to drop us a line, we’d love to help!