So, you’re finally taking the plunge and starting your own online store? Even if you have plenty of retail experience in the brick-and-mortar world, it may not be enough. Getting all of your ducks in a row online is a little bit different.
So, what do you need to do before you start an online store?
1. Create a business plan
Similar to any traditional store, your online store will need a solid business plan. After all, you can’t just open up a store and fly by the seat of your pants! You will need a strategy in place, long before your virtual doors open.
First, you’ll have to figure out where your start-up capital will come from. Sure, you’re not renting a building or buying office space, but you will need money for web hosting, design, and software.
You’ll also need to evaluate the existing market, and figure out what will set you apart from the competition. You may choose to offer something like free shipping, 24/7 customer service, bulk pricing, or discount prices.
2. Come up with a marketing strategy
Before you can open up any business, you need to figure out who your target audience is, and what they need from you. What are they looking for? What questions do they need answered?
You will also need to look at how your future competitors are marketing themselves. What techniques are they using? What platforms could you beat them to? Are they taking full advantage of newer trends, like Facebook and Twitter?
You will also need to determine whether or not you will have enough money to advertise. Things like PPC and banner ads can give you instant results, but they are also expensive. If you don’t have enough money to advertise, the world wide web is full of cheaper alternatives. You’ll need to figure out which ones are best for you.
3. Pick the right technology
At an online store, the technology you have will make or break your success. You will need software that is easy to use, secure, and fast.
Online, people are impatient. They do not want to spend time trying to figure out how to navigate your website or how to place an order. They also do not want to waste time while your slow pages load. A hosted solution such as Volusion can look after served speed and performance issues for you.
But speed isn’t everything. Online shoppers also want software that’s secure. After all, people do not hand over their credit card information to just anyone! You will need a shopping card processor that they can feel comfortable with.
4. Be prepared to wait
It takes time to build up traffic and sales online. You need to understand that you will not be successful overnight. In fact, your start-up capital should include enough money to keep you afloat for awhile, until you can turn a profit.
Kirsty LaVier is editor for Shopping Cart Reviews, the leading site dedicated to helping you find the Best Shopping Cart.
No related posts.
Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.