How to launch your own Online Store
E-commerce is known for scaring away potential entrepreneurs – it’s no surprise that some people just don’t want to deal with features too complicated to understand.
When it comes to an online store, people turn the other way – either they think it’s too unreliable, or simply impractical for their business. If they already have a stable “brick-and-mortar” business, then do they even need an online presence?
The answer to that is yes – in our tech-savvy age, a business has greater chances of excelling in every kind of environment if they open multiple channels of existence. A business gets tons of exposure online, as things like mobile technology, e-transactions, and online shopping gain popularity among the general people.
Lucky for you, setting your online presence is no longer a tough ordeal.
Follow these foolproof steps, and seamlessly set up your online store:
Step #1: Choose what you want to sell
This sounds like something that is often decided most swiftly – but in the case of setting an online channel, be sure to choose wisely.
It’s always good to sell something you’re passionate about, but you need to ask yourself some key questions:
Is there a healthy online market present for the niche you are targeting? Sometimes the product you want to sell may not be that popular. In that case, you need not abandon your idea entirely – you can either offer more services, or change the conversation slightly (such as, set a subscription box instead of a single item to sell.)
How are the profit margins for your product? Will selling it help you meet ends? No matter how innovative a product may be, there’s no point in selling something if it won’t generate profits.
Will you be making the product yourself, or getting it from a wholesaler? Both has its repercussions; getting stock from supplier(s) saves the trouble of inventory, but eats up a significant part of profits. On the other hand, making homemade products heavily demands quality to be maintained every time.
Step #2: Know your target market
After picking your choice of product to sell, you need to focus on the people buying it – i.e. your target market. Online competition can be fierce, so you need to strengthen your offence – and nothing is better than a good defence.
Analyse your top 10 competitors thoroughly; notice what they’re selling, how they are selling it, and what are their growth strategies. Notice any loopholes you see and take note of them as you formulate your own approach. What do they use to market themselves – social media, blog posts, or simply SEO? Go granular in your research, and see what works right for you.
You can also invest some time to search for popular keywords; these specific words act like fishing lines that reel in interested customers on the internet with ease.
Step #3: Plan your logistics
Once you are settled with your product, you need to create a logistical framework for yourself – one that’s essential for growth, but also manageable for your early business stages.
Sure, that sounds complicated – but it’s not impossible. The recipe for logistics only calls for logic. If you have trouble making a product yourself, you can invest in a supplier that will help you out. If you don’t have enough space to manage products at home, you can share larger warehouses with other businesses.
At this stage, investing in a point-of-sale (POS) system is a good idea.
Whether it’s your first store or one of many, such a system helps not only strengthen your logistical strategy but also eases workload for the future. POS software like Oscar offers a plethora of features at a reasonable price; this includes an inventory management software that automatically updates your stock levels in real-time, predicts inventory requirements, and even gives low-stock alerts.
Step #4: Create your brand
All previous steps only led you to create the foundation on which your online store will exist. Now comes the stage where you finally build your presence.
The more user-friendly you are, the better. Therefore, make sure your store’s persona has an approachable, friendly vibe to it. You need to value good, ethical customer service at the highest degree; this can start from small steps, like an awesome customer support system in times of need, or active interaction with customers on social media. A popular POS software in Lahore is Oscar, that even offers a Loyalty Program you can use to reward your loyal customers.
Other things you need to take care of are:
Colour scheme and layout
Your store does not have walls, therefore it’s website must be eye-catching. The colour scheme you choose must resonate with your product and tone of approach. This kind of artistic choice has no limitations – but make sure your layout is not confusing.
Be down-to-earth, genuine, ethical and simple when approaching your audience. Remember: to get loyal customers, you need their attention, not just their wallets!
Your store won’t get recognition on its own. Talk to other bloggers and content-creators, and let them feature your brand for their audience to see. There may be incentives you can give like a PR package or even a certain fee.
After you have tackled all the main beasts – product choice, market analysis, logistics, and business growth – you will have successfully established a strong foundation for your online store to stand tall and prosperous.