Launching and running an online store has become increasingly demanding in the last few years. Online businesses do not take much investment to start, save time, and allow the sellers to sell their goods across the globe.
If you are planning to start your online business, then we would highly recommend you to read the entire article. It will help you to take into consideration the things that are important for running a successful online business.
Things to Consider When Starting an Online Business
1. Develop an Appropriate Business Plan
The first important thing to consider when starting your online store is to develop a strong business plan.
Clearly explain what your business idea is. Next, try to answer the following questions as explicitly as you can:
- What do I intend to sell?
- Why would people buy my products or services?
- How much profit do I want to earn?
- What are my resources?
- How much can I invest in my business?
- What is the unique selling point of my business?
- What would be the scope of my business?
- Will it grow in the future?
Try to answer each question after thoroughly thinking from each angle. By having a business plan you’ll put your energy, resources, time, and effort, in the right direction. Moreover, this plan will help as a yardstick to measure your performance.
2. Develop Your Buyers Profile
After you have selected the products that you want to sell, your next step is to take into consideration your customers.
Not all the people in the market will be interested in your products. Therefore, as an entrepreneur, you must know who your customers will be.
For instance, if you have decided to sell makeup products in your online store, then who will be your buyers? Your buyers will be makeup enthusiasts, or makeup artists, etc. Similarly, identify who will be your potential customers.
3. Selecting Your Products or Services
The next thing to consider is the products or services that you plan on selling in your online store. This is a very important step for all the new businesses.
The majority of the entrepreneurs make the mistake of selecting the items that other successful stores sell.
It could prove to be extremely fatal for your business, and it might collapse before you even establish it properly. Instead of joining the bandwagon of selling the articles sold by the majority of other stores, try to come up with a unique and innovative eCommerce business idea.
Think of how you can solve a customer’s problem creatively? For instance, a customer wants to order flowers from a famous florist. The florist doesn’t offer the service of home delivery. So, by simply collecting the flowers and delivering them to a customer, you can solve his problem and earn something for yourself.
4. Setting the Price
The ultimate goal of your business is to earn a profit, isn’t it? Once you have selected the product that you wish to sell, the next thing that you have to consider is setting an appropriate price that will cover the cost of the product and overhead expenses, and leave you with an adequate profit.
Many people think of setting a lower price for their products than their competitors to attract more customers. We cannot stress enough the fact that it is one of the most detrimental moves that you can take in your business.
Do not keep a price that won’t even your expenses. It will put a burden on your resources to meet the expenses of the business. Don’t forget that running an online business is not free. Take into consideration all the expenses, the cost of the product, and the amount of the profit you wish to earn on each article.
5. Identifying Your Competitors
Look for the online stores that sell the same commodity as yours. After you have identified your competitors, it’s time to observe how they conduct their business activities.
Go to their website and check its design and layout. Observe how they have displayed their products. Furthermore, understand why people shop from them? What benefits do they provide to their customers that others do not provide? By observing all their practices, you’ll be able to adopt the same practices for running your online business successfully.
Moreover, also make note of their weak points. Identify the areas where they fail to satisfy their customers. It will give you an insight into which practices to avoid to have a successful online business.
6. Selecting A Domain Name
After developing your business plan, selecting the products, identifying your customers, and competitors. It’s time for you to consider setting up your online store.
Consider the different platforms that are available in the market to run and manage your business activities without any hassle.
For your eCommerce store’s name, choose something that tells your customer what the business is about. Your business name will also impact your marketing activities. Select a name that is interesting but easy to remember and pronounce. Register a domain name of your business’s online presence.
7. Designing Your Website
Your eCommerce website will be the place where your customers will come and decide if they want to buy something from you or not. Do not let them go empty-handed.
Visit a few successful online stores and take into account the features they have provided on their site to provide the best shopping experience to their buyers. Try to create a website that includes the same features as theirs to please your customers.
Do not be tempted to select a design that is too fancy or cluttered. It will irritate your audience and as a result, they won’t stay long on your website. Similarly, select a simple navigational menu and CTAs to make it easy for your customers to move around and explore your store.
8. Marketing Strategy
Marketing is as important for your business as oxygen is to the human body. Without proper marketing, your business will fail to capture the attention of its targeted audience.
When you are ready to officially launch your store, make sure you think about your marketing strategies. Think about how you will market your products, which channels will you use. Will it be on social media, paid ads, blogging, or simply word of mouth?
9. Social Media Strategy
You must consider bringing your business’s presence on social media and aware of the abundance of people about who you are and what you do.
Start by Planning on which social media websites you wish to make your business’s profile. Moreover, think about how you will catch the attention of your users and keep them engaged with your content.
If you have a small team and cannot manage numerous social media accounts, then start with just 2 accounts. Make your business page on Facebook and Instagram as these are the most popular social media platforms.
10. Shipping Management
Customers eagerly wait for the ordered goods. If they get them early, they’ll be delighted by the business and will return to it for future shopping sprees.
Do consider how you will manage the shipping of orders. Will you hire a rider, or take the services of a courier company to dispatch the parcels of your customers.
11. Managing Returns
Many online stores offer the facility of return and exchange of goods to facilitate the customers. If you plan on offering this facility, then don’t forget to consider how you will manage the returned goods.
Plan the return and exchange policy, and communicate it to your customers to avoid any problem. Be firm about your policies.
12. Payment Methods
Instead of keeping one payment option of PayPal, keep other channels such as Stripe, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, Square, etc.
Having multiple channels allows your customer to transfer the amount through the channel which they trust and are comfortable in using.
13. Maintaining Your Business
Lastly, don’t forget to figure out the methods and means to maintain your business. Launching your business is simply not enough. Running an online store effectively is important for its growth and expansion.
You must continue to work for the betterment of your business. Enlist the methods of how you will maintain your business and provide the best experience to your customers.
Moreover, think about all the technical aspects of your website, sales promotion strategy, maintaining the quality of your goods, improving delivery timings, etc.
Establishing an online store is not a problem these days. Anybody can launch their online store with just a few clicks. However, when it comes to growing and making the business successful, clicks are not enough.
The majority of the online startups fail because of a lack of planning and consideration of some important things.
Don’t be an entrepreneur who fails to plan and makes his business suffer.
The above-mentioned 13 important things will improve and increase the chances of success for your startup.
All the Best!