There are many reasons why you may wish to create your own online shop; these can range from a need to undertake flexible work from home, to a desire to show the world something new. The internet has certainly made it easier than ever to sell items; an online shop can easily reach customers round the world. This makes it possible for almost anyone to create their own shop and start selling; you do not need to have huge financial reserves to make this possible!
It is very easy to create an online store; as the following tips will demonstrate. However, it is more difficult to become a successful one. If you really want to be successful then it is essential to read the following tricks; they will make you think and can be the difference between success and Failure.
Steps to Create Your Online Shop
You have several options when first setting up your online store:
- Use Ebay or Etsy. There are several other sites like these ones but they all operate on the same basis. You simply create and account with the site and select ‘trade seller’. You can then choose to have an online store. This is a basic store; all your products will be listed on Ebay but customers will have the potential to look at everything you have to offer; not just the listing they have enquired about. This type of shop is very quick and easy to set up, you will need a payment method to access any profits you generate but the rest of the process is sorted by Ebay, Etsy or another main player you have chosen.
- Ready Made Site. It is possible to register with one of the site providers which give you a domain name for free for a certain period. These sites are usually identified by the generic name of your website. If your business is called ‘Custard’ you would hope your web address is custard.com. However, with this type of site it is more likely to be custard.freesite.com. Whilst this site can provide a free site for your business it is not the best option to ensure your success. Customers tend to prefer a shop which uses it own brand website as this inspires confidence.
- Build your own. The best option to ensure you are taken seriously as a retailer and you are able to set your own parameters is to build your own website from scratch. There will be a small monthly charge to host the website and you will either need some web design experience or be a fast learner. These sites are more complex to establish but allow you a much greater depth of control.
Before you even consider which type of shop creation is right for you at this stage, you must consider a few planning points. This will ensure you have covered every possible scenario and are ready to make a success of your business:
- Just as with a physical shop, you need to understand the market available and whether your product will be occupying a niche or competing with a range of established ones. It is important to identify your niche before you start creating a website.
- Knowing that there is a market for your particular product is a good first step. However, you also need to confirm that the price people will be looking to pay is achievable and will still grant you a reasonable profit.
- This is a separate issue to marketing and involves you becoming known as a brand. You may produce several different items but if they are all branded people will immediately know who you are and the values your company operates by. This can be enough by itself to persuade people to use your services! Branding includes items such as what color should your product be or how your logo should appear.
- You cannot sell anything unless you understand the importance of marketing. This is the process of advertizing your product (s) so that people will, purchase them. Marketing generally needs to be targeted to ensure it meets the right group of people; your campaign should reflect the target group. Alongside this you will need to look at the social media accounts. This is an essential part of your marketing strategy. Social media allows your customers to express their views on your products and liaise with you directly. You can use these occurrences to improve the service and the product you provide.
- Just as with a physical business it is important to know where you hope to be in the coming months and years. Setting yourself small but achievable goals will ensure you have something to aim for and a means of checking your progress.
- Many people worry about getting everything perfect before they start trading. However, if you wait for it to be perfect before you open the doors you are likely to never open your doors! This is the reason that many online shops become little more than a concept in someone’s head. Instead launch the site as it is, improve it as and when you can and concentrate on connecting with your clientele. Interaction is actually more important than perfection when it comes to selling products. If you interact with your customer base you will build a following who will buy something because you say they should; not because they actually need it!
- Not everyone wants to use PayPal to pay for their items. In fact, a surprising number of people do not even have a PayPal account. You need to consider your entire customer base and enroll with the card processor firm to allow you to handle a range of transactions. This will increase your potential customer base and allow you to supply your product to almost anyone.
- Customer Service. When you first start up you will not be able to afford or justify a customer service team. However, you do need to consider how you will deal with customer issues and create a set of guidelines so that everyone knows where they stand. This will inspire confidence in your customers and allow you to resolve most issues seamlessly.
- Get the Photo Right. Your customer will be relying on a good quality image of your products to help them decide whether to purchase with you or not. Make sure all your pictures are a reasonable size and of the best quality possible.
Despite what you may have been told, running an online store is a challenging and difficult venture. By utilizing the above tips you will dramatically improve your chance of becoming a successful online shop.