There was a time when starting your own business required a lot of resources. You had to rent or buy a physical space, hire a sales team and worry about logistics. However, those days are long gone. Now, you can become an entrepreneur by starting your online selling business. With the rise of digitalization and online platforms, customers now prefer online solutions to brick and mortar stores.
If you are thinking of starting your online business, know that the process might not be as easy as you might think it is. This is because there are various online stores already in operation. To stand out, you must have a plan of action from the get-go. Here are the steps you must consider when launching your online store.
Find a pressing consumer need
Unless you find a need to satisfy, your online selling store will be doomed for failure. Many business owners make the mistake of having a product-centric approach. They develop a product and then think about how to sell it through their store. However, to stand out from the crowd, the first thing you need to do is detect the underlying need customers have.
Begin with analyzing your market. Decide who your target audience are once you have found a profitable customer segment, research on their behavior, concerns and purchasing patterns. This will allow you to identify gaps in the services provided to them. To succeed, you must target those gaps.
A great way to do your research before launching your online store is by:
- Researching online forums and communities to understand the concerns of your potential customers.
- Conducting keyword research to find the most searched topics in your industry. See how you can base a product on customer needs.
- Analyze your competitors to see how they are satisfying needs of customers and how you can differentiate your offering from them.
Think about your product descriptions and sales copy
One of the flaws of an online selling business model is that your customers can’t see the actual product. Instead, they have to rely on pictures and product descriptions. Therefore, you must create product descriptions and sales copy that doesn’t just trigger interest in customers but also reduce their concerns regarding the product.
To make sure that your description helps in converting traffic into customers, you must:
- Have a compelling and attention-grabbing headline
- Make sure to describe the problem your offering solves rather than merely mentioning the specifications of the product
- Relay facts about the quality and transparency of your online store to establish credibility
- Communicate product benefits rather than features
Think of your product description as the final sales pitch. It needs to be top notch to ensure that you attract customers. Without attracting customers, your business can’t last long. Therefore, spend considerable time in developing unique, compelling and relevant sales copy for each of the product in your portfolio.
Select a platform
Before you begin designing your website, you first need to pick a platform to base your online store on. Now, there are various Ecommerce platforms in the market. However, not all of them succeed to satisfy the needs of an online store.
You must make a point of selecting the best Ecommerce platform for your online selling store. Among the various platforms available, Shopify has managed to be praised by the masses. This is because of its inventory management, smooth website designing, payment options, and scalability. If you are uncertain about which platform to choose, you can conduct a platform comparison to make a decision.
Time to design your website
Once you have picked an Ecommerce platform, now you must begin by developing your online store. In the world of online businesses, your online store is your brick and mortar store. Just like you have to think about layout in a physical shop, you have to do the same for your website. The only difference here is that you must consider website templates, architecture, and design.
When designing the website for your online business, try to keep it as simple as possible. Visitors seldom interact with a complicated site. After all, in today’s age, few have the time and patience to deal with an overly complicated website. Not to mention that the more complex a site is, the more time it will take to load, further increase abandoning rates. Whenever you are making a design related decision, keep customer-friendliness at the crux of it.
Optimize and market your store
You will only manage to get customers if they can find you online. SEO plays a huge role in this. Therefore, never avoid the power of SEO for the success of your online business. Invest in SEO services to boost your search engine ranking. The higher you rank on search engines for the relevant keywords, the higher is the chance of your store being chosen by potential customers.
SEO optimization requites technical optimization, content optimization and off-site techniques like citation building and managing of Google my business pages. Use all these aspects to create a robust online presence.
However, don’t solely rely on SEO to market your online business. Instead, use a mix of traditional and digital marketing techniques to sell your offering to your target audience. This can include services like paid ads, email marketing, social media presence, and brochures. Do what you have to do to create high brand awareness to initiate a trial.
If you follow these five steps, you will manage to successful online business. Whether or not you will be able to sustain it, in the long run, depends on various aspects. For starters, you need a sound product offering that satisfies customers. You also need a sound reputation and an effective loyalty program to build long-term customer relationships.
Start your online store today. Sustain it in the future. Do so, and you too will become a force to be reckoned with in the future.