More and more commerce is being carried out online than ever before. This is a great opportunity for small business owners who cannot afford to stock and sell goods, while also paying for a traditional bricks-and-mortar store. Establishing an online store, rather than a physical one, allows you to save money and reach a far wider market. Be aware: your website design will be crucial to online success, as will developing a solid, social media marketing plan.
Here are some more tips for moving your store online:
1. Research Potential
Not all stores can be fully converted to an online-only shop. There are some items that are just too impractical, too large, or too expensive, to ship to a customer. For instance, would you honestly buy a car online without physically going to check it out?
Based on what your existing store specialises in, you may only be able to convert some of your stock to online-only. Do your research on the practicality of selling your wares online, before venturing further.
2. Re-evaluate Supply Chain
Switching to an online-only store means that you are faced with a set of problems different from bricks-and-mortar stores. For instance, without a store, where are you going to keep all your merchandise?
Furthermore, some suppliers don’t cater to online businesses in the same way they do to physical shops. If you’re expecting a delivery, many trucking companies are not going to pull up to your apartment and unload. Therefore, consult various supply channels and distributors.
3. Invest in a Good Website
Just like you keep your physical shop in good condition – cleaning the floor, wiping the windows, and dusting the shelves –the same principle applies to your online store. Your website isthe first thing a customer will see, and it is certainly worthwhile to spend a little money in order to create a slick and solid design.
Investing in a little maintenance software is a good idea to keep all of your computer systems running smoothly.
4. Market Yourself
If you think the market is crowded when it comes to physical shops, try going online. Not only are there thousands of shops offering every conceivable project imaginable, but location has no influence. You’ll be competing against stores not only in the same city, but from all over the world.
Therefore, finding a niche and effectively marketing yourself is essential. Your business needs to stand out in an already crowded marketplace, so take any advantage you can.
5. Research Shipping and Prices
Online shopping is so different from traditional shopping that it comes with obstacles new to retailers. Consider price points. Online goods are generally discounted due to savings obtained from eliminating your store front.
Make sure you set your prices and shipping expenses at a suitable level, so they’re attractive to customers, but also provide you with income.
Setting up an online store can be a difficult proposition, but with the right know-how, you’ll have one up and running in no time.