*This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase I may receive a commission at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more info.
The shopping revolution has seemingly occurred without us even realizing it. Slowly, we found ourselves retreating from physical shops to the comfort of our own homes with a cup of coffee and the laptop open clicking on all the items we quite fancied purchasing. Two days later the items were with us, and we hadn’t ventured anywhere other than the kitchen to grab a snack mid-online shop.You now have an idea that you think would morph nicely into an online store. You quite fancy your chances in the world of e-commerce and want to set up your own online retail haven. Firstly, you need to think about what you are selling. If it’s something that the potential buyer may need to touch, smell or see working before they purchase it, an online store may not be the best avenue down which to go. It’s rare that people will take a chance on buying a new kitchen without having gone to the showroom to see it. If your product is elusive and offers something new to the market, then an online store may be for you.
It doesn’t matter which ecommerce store builder that you use, you will need to think of a great store name. You should use your product line and the vibe of your store to give you ideas for your brand name. If you’re selling baby bibs and booties, it pays to go with a short and cute name. Your logo might exude gentle pastel blues and pinks, and your design will remain simple. On the other hand, if you intend to sell belt buckles and plaid shirts to the hipster, you’ll want a design and name that is more urban, cool and trendy. Whatever your name and logo, it’s vital that they look professional and relevant to the market at which you are aiming your product range.
If you are only just beginning your online retail empire, you could consider employing the services of a company that will take care of your brand’s ecommerce solutions, search engine optimization and website design freeing up your time to be better spent sourcing new products, liaising with suppliers and implementing your business strategy. You can sleep well every night safe in the knowledge that you will have a fully managed, SEO primed and dynamic website that specialists are taking care of. Outsourcing functions that you have little or no expertise in can be money well spent and can allow you to tap into expertise that you would normally have no access to.
The marketing of your online store is vital to its success. You may have the best product on the market, but if no one knows about it, you’ll generate few leads and no sales. Ensure that you have a range of active social media channels to promote your business. Think about setting up a blog to provide your customer base with high-quality content detailing the benefits and value of the items that you sell.
The importance that you place on the customer experience can make or break your business. With review sites and social media becoming the platforms from which consumers can rant about poor customer service or sing the praises of exceptional customer service, it’s vital that you fall into the latter category.
Always try and over deliver. If you know that you can deliver an item in two days, state that you’ll deliver it in three. This way, the customer feels that their item has arrived early and you have overperformed. Think about the packaging you use and consider throwing in a free gift or voucher. If you sell retro computer games, add a small selection of retro candy with the purchase. This makes the customer smile as they open their package, it’s of little cost to you and your customer may feel inclined to leave you a lovely review on a highly visible website.
If you can build a reputation for outstanding customer service, the buyers will come. If your customer service is poor, you may find that your online store is closing before it’s had a chance to thrive.
Running an online store can be a stressful experience especially when the orders start flooding in, and you need to cope with demand. Never allow your standards to slip and take your time to find your feet. If you find yourself able to source high-quality products to sell, you foster a positive relationship with your buyers and provide a world class customer experience, then your online store has every chance of success.