Online stores have become increasingly popular and successful in the last decade. All you need today to open a store is a laptop and some time. This is why all kinds of people are gravitating towards this wonderful e-commerce platform. Existing real-life store owners, as well as celebrities, are expanding their portfolio by launching successful websites that cater to their merchandise. Maybe it's time you got into it as well? Here's how you get started.
Decide Which Products to Sell
The products that you choose to sell online is completely up to you. Almost anything can be purchased online today. However, you should still do the necessary research related to products that you may have an interest in. If things don't work out, you wouldn't want to get stuck with tons of items that you have little to no interest in.
If you do decide to opt for a clothing store, then you will have to stick to this idea. Choosing to market a full-on clothing store only to change it into an electronics store can cause you a major setback. Not only will you have to throw away a year of hard work, but this decision will cause confusion with your customers.
Also, consider the packaging and shipping options available for your product. Are the expenses involved reasonable for you to offer free shipping coupons? The country and geographical location also play a huge role in the products you decide to sell. Some products just don't work in certain markets. Try to stay away from items that could possibly bring a negative vibe to your store.
Choose Your Platform Carefully
The e-commerce platform that you choose will be the platform that you will be required to log in on a daily basis. This is a decision that you will have to stick to. Changing platforms after just a few months can prove to be a hassle as stores tend to get locked in for various reasons.
There are plenty of e-commerce platforms available today. Not all are created equal as some may suit your store’s needs better than others. If you are currently a physical store owner with not much experience in web design, then choose a hosted platform such as Shopify. Shopify is an all in one solution that will host your online store while providing tailor made store themes.
If you are looking for more control in your online store, then it is advised that you work on a platform such as Wordpress. With Wordpress, you will be able to add extra layers of customization to your store. Wordpress is also a tried and tested platform when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation. However, the learning curve is a bit steep here. Getting the store started means installing specific themes and plugins. You will most likely require further assistance here.
Build the Store
Once the store's domain and website are up, it is now time to start building up the store. The design and website style depends on the products that you wish to sell, as well as your marketing strategy. You can go the traditional route that just has an entire catalog of items ranging from electronics to home decor. These websites have simple designs and are optimized for fast page loads.
Modern online stores now offer a variety of design choices. Apart from the basic store layout, they now include static front pages that highlight only current specials that the store is hosting as well as sections for blog posts and announcements. These dynamic designs are perfect for niche stores with a focus on design.
NET-A-PORTER is one of the biggest British luxury fashion retailers. Their home page consists of just a few items that feature banners which highlight the store's sales and new clothing lines. The menu at the top will redirect you to the various departments of the actual store as well as the blog. This modern and attractive design is popular with online shoppers.
Source: Landing Page@Net-a-porter
Source: Product Page@Net-a-porter
The traditional store will require you to upload pictures and information on all of your products. This will create an online catalog that can be updated whenever there are new stock arrivals. The same goes for modern stores, except, these stores will have to focus on an innovative landing page to host their special as well as consistent blog posts.
Online shoppers have seen it all. There is little left in terms of innovation as far as they are concerned. This doesn't mean that you can't be different. Simple tweaks to content, design, and blog topics can make a world of a difference. Featuring exclusive content and influencers on your website can set your store apart from others.
However, all of this should be done while still maintaining a familiar look for the actual store and product pages. You wouldn't want to confuse your customers with unfriendly menus and descriptions. It's best to offer a unique, yet satisfying experience in terms of content and products.
Market the Store
Once you are satisfied with the way your store looks, you can then begin to drive eager customers to your website. The quickest way to do this is through paid traffic from social media and search engines. These traffic sources offer targeted traffic that consists of people with interests suited towards your niche or product. The investment in advertising with these platforms is relatively low and is recommended especially for new stores.
More effective marketing options for online stores are social media, blog posts, and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Successfully engaging with people online through social media will allow you to create brand awareness for the store while redirecting traffic there as well.
Constantly adding fresh and unique content to your website in the form of blog posts can help boost your website's SEO. More unique content makes it easier for search engines to index your website. This is great news for people using search engines to find the products that your store sells.
Managing an online store will require plenty of hard work and dedication. The road to success is a long one, as it will take time for a website to increase in popularity. However, everything is totally worth it as the payoff is huge. It is also important to remember that there is a chance that your new store may not work out. Especially if you don't pay close attention to important aspects such as the design and marketing of the website. When starting out, try your best to implement and maintain those important factors listed above. Hopefully, your store will be the next big thing!