I believe that the online stores are setting the lifestyle of the people.
These stores can help people to get the products of their choice and get them delivered at their doorsteps.
If you are thinking of starting an online store in 2020 for your business then you are at the right place.
I’ll discuss everything that requires to start an online store and make it a successful venture.
Factors that accelerated the growth
The growth of internet users led to the acceleration in the e-commerce industry.
The other segments which grew with the internet and accelerated the growth of e-commerce sector were:
Friends! you have enough reasons to start your online store in 2020
And the good news is that you too can start your online store easily which don't require much of your time and money.
Let's see the first step for starting your online store:
Choose the product
The first step towards the journey of starting the online store is choose the product.
Ask yourself,” What I want to sell?”
My friend you need to have a product to start your online store.
If you’re confused over the product idea, I’ll tell you 3 possible ways of choosing the product to sell.
Analyse environment, people and their product behavior around you. This analysis could give you the new product idea.
People in your locality might be using hair products that are chemical based and are looking for something new and natural which is chemical free and easy to use.
"Human mind always look for something new to experience it"
You can come up with your own natural and chemical free hair products. Thus, fulfilling their need for something natural and environment friendly.
The point is to offer it in an innovative way.
You know everyone sells food but some have very good sales while others don't even reach near to it.
It is their art of presenting and combing different food products together that keep them above from all.
"McDonald has expertise in combining different snacks with versatile beverages that offer unique experience to its customers"
"Boredom has no place when you convert your hobby into business"
The following are the few ideas that can be converted into online business:
Think about your hobby that you can showcase to the world by making product out of it.
I'm sure you can find one.
Above are the 3 most effective ways of choosing the product.
Which one you take on is your personal choice.
However, the following points are applicable to all irrespective of the path chosen:
These step will help in creating your unique market.
Is your product going to sell?
After deciding on the product, it is the time to know whether your idea going is to sell in the market or not.
Take the following steps to get a fair idea about its sale-ability:
However, there is no sure shot strategy that your product idea will work but these steps will give you the fair idea about the feasibility of the product.
Know the cost of the product
It is very important that the cost should be within your budget.
You have an excellent product idea which is going to create ripples in the market but the cost of making is beyond your limits.
Then it is of no use making the product.
You might consider to borrow the amount but borrowing beyond certain limits can create unnecessary pressure, affecting your decision making in running the business properly.
Therefore, you need to strike the balance between the debt and equity in the business.
"As an entrepreneur, you should strike right balance between debt and equity"
coming back to the costing;
The cost has the 2 main components:
Assuming that you are starting an online store of pickles.
In order to upload the photographs of different pickles on your online store, you need a smart phone or a camera.
This is a fixed cost because whether you click one picture or 100 pictures, their cost is not going to change.
Similarly, getting an online store is also a fixed cost whether you upload one picture or 100 pictures, it’s annual charges will be the same.
Therefore, you should utilize these components to the maximum extent.
While on the other hand, the variable cost is something which is largely dependent on the demand of the product.
For example, if the monthly demand is 100 jars of pickles then you will buy the raw material for making and packaging in that proportion only.
There is no point purchasing raw material for 1000 pickle jars when the monthly demand is 100 only.
Therefore, decide judiciously the fixed and variable components in the making of the product.
Decide the price of the product
The right pricing can drive the sales of your online store whereas an inappropriate one can be detrimental for your online business.
Remember, the pricing is based on 2 main components:
First, the market price of the similar product
Second, the cost in making your product
For example, the price of XYZ product in the market is $20.
You’re planning to make and launch the similar product under your brand.
The cost of making it is $22.
You priced the product at $25 (keeping $3 as your profit margin)
Result: Hardly anyone will buy your product because the similar and already established product is available at much cheaper rate.
You can't hold the inventory for longer as the product is perishable.
Now you decide to sell at the market price.
Result: The product will sell but you will be at loss of $2 per unit sold in the market.
Also, this loss in the initial stage could give a major setback to your business.
Therefore, it is very important to control the cost component by
by taking some simple common-sense steps:
The growth plan
Without planning you can't lead your business in the right direction.
The growth plan is simply your plan where you want to see your online store in the next 3 to 5 years.
Devise a simple 5 year growth plan that includes:
Keep the balance of both (qualitative and quantitative) while designing the growth plan.
Choosing the name
After choosing the product for your online store, it’s time to decide its name.
The right name can tell everything about your business and has the power to attract potential buyers for your online store.
Whereas a wrong name could repel them, affecting your income and brand name.
Therefore, it is very important to research the right name for your business.
Let me give you hints for naming your online store:
Keep this in mind and search a unique domain name for your online store.
The SEO power
When you enter into the digital world then knowing about Search Engine Optimization is considered a prerequisite for the online success.
You should structure your website or the online store in such way that it is easily found by Google and other search engines.
SEO tells you the format for finding the right keywords for your stores so that the products can be found on the first page of the search engine upon querying by the people.
SEMrush is a SEO tool that is used for keyword research.
Choose the right platform
You need an e-commerce builder (an online software) to set-up your online store.
This builder helps you to start your store within few minutes, without the need of coding or technical knowledge.
But the e-commerce builder must be reliable and full of features that not only can meet your store demands but also helps in growing your online business.
There are plenty of options to choose from, so I thought to make it easier for you by listing the top 2 online store builders:
Make your online store lively
After choosing the product and naming the online store it's time to bring life to your online store.
The following components will add life to your online store and visitors will be attracted towards it.
1) A great design:
Design is a combination of colors, pictures and font designs that reflect the nature of the store like:
This will make your store stand out from others.
2) Upload great photos:
You must click amazing photos of your product from different angles to showcase in your online store.
The uploaded pictures give idea about the dimensions, color and size of the product
The photographs should give viewer the feeling of the product.
In addition to this, you should write a great product description that attracts visitor and compels him in buying it.
Keep the following points in mind while writing the product description:
This a static page.
The fresh and an informative content makes your online store lively and the visitors will be compelled to visit your BLOG more often which divert them to your online store.
A regularly updated BLOG also helps in promoting your online business in various ways:
Keep your store running
The online store must have all the features in one place that helps in making and maintaining the business.
1) Product search:
The site search feature helps the visitors to find the items of their choice easy and fast.
It is found that people are more likely to use product search feature, if it is available, than just navigating up and down.
Therefore, the product search feature should be seamless and lead to the desired item when search by the visitor.
Also, make your product search box open and it should be clearly visible.
You can see that the product search box of "the modern shop" is just placed next to its name and it is at the top, making it clearly visible.
Similarly, TATTLY is another online store that make tattoos and sell online has its product search at the top of the store.
Moreover, the filtered product search on the basis of attributes like price, color, brand etc give shoppers the quick way to find what they want and hence creating more buying opportunities.
2) Invoicing and shipping tools:
The shoppers from different locations around the globe are visiting your online store.
The shipping rates vary widely, depending on where you are sending the packaged item.
Your online store should be able to calculate and display the correct shipping rates based on weight, distance and the courier service selected by the customers.
In addition to this, the proper tax rate must be added automatically to the cost of the item.
And when they buy it, the invoice should be send to their e-mail box immediately, giving them a proof of the item purchased.
These features enable you to focus more on your business rather than calculating rates for different locations.
3) Inventory management:
The online store should have feature, letting you manage the items of the store.
It makes easy to keep track of the number of items are in the stock.
The inventory management system displays the number of items remaining to the visitors, creating a sense of urgency and you see the spike in the sales.
When all the items are sold out, the shoppers are automatically updated by displaying "out of stock".
4) Create coupons and gifts to drive sales:
Coupons and the gifts are the great tools and are use to make your product more attractive by giving discounts.
Set the discount value in percentage (10% or 20% off) or in amount ($10 off) for your customers when they redeem the coupons.
The shoppers can get the discount once they enter the coupon code in the checkout screen.
Offering free shipping through coupons is a great way to motivate shoppers to buy your products.
5) Easy payment processing:
How does it feel when you are making payment through your card and the next moment;
the message displayed
What if when you finally have chosen the item and are going to buy but your card is accepted.
These types of bad experiences repel the potential buyers and affects your brand in the long run.
Therefore, you must offer a seamless checkout operation to your shoppers.
The top payment gateways like paypal, stripe, etc can be integrated directly to your online store. And all the major credit and debit cards are accepted by it.
6) Customer reviews:
More the two-thirds of the visitors see the customers reviews before making a buying decision.
In a way, the customer reviews improves conversion rate and hence is a great sales driver.
Grow your online store with marketing tools
E-mail is a great marketing tool that grows your online business.
Every pound you spend on marketing you can expect a return just over 42 pounds.
It is one of most cost effective strategies for marketing and growing your business.
People want better experience and expect personalisation.
E-mail automation and segmentation is the solution.
You can send and schedule customize e-mails to all your visitors in one time through e-mail marketing tools.
When a visitor comes to your stores, reaches the checkout but doesn't make a purchase, the e-mail marketing tool will send the e-mail automatically after regular interval of times to make his mind for the purchase.
Social media is another channel to market your online store.
But you need to choose which social media platform is right for the growth of your online store.
Choosing the product, naming it, devising the growth plan, building your store, managing and marketing it is just a beginning of the exciting online journey.
This guide is a road-map which gives you the direction and the only way to get success in this is to keep going and experimenting.