Nowadays, businesses and startups, are latching onto opportunities that help them expand their operations and establish their presence in the industry. Most of them, especially emerging retailers believe in the power of e-commerce. The e-commerce industry is continuously growing and consumers nowadays want convenience, ease, and quality while online shopping. To meet these requirements, retailers are constantly improving customer experience and understanding consumer preferences better.
When creating a web store, following the footsteps of eBay and Amazon is the way to go. These platforms recognized the problem and created a solution. Creating a web store for your brand requires you to lay a solid foundation first. Let’s go through the basics of e-commerce to understand how to do so better.
Choose Your Product
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face is finding the right product to market. Coming up with profitable product ideas is tough and identifying a niche in the market for that product is even tougher. However, there are multiple ways to find a product to sell.
You can identify a customer’s pain point and solve it, look into customer’s hobby and investments, sell what you’re passionate about, capitalize on existing or upcoming trends, research on customer reviews on existing products, research on customer demands, research popular products in online marketplaces, browse products with high-profit margins or look for related products you’re interested in.
Remember, product validation is important for you to make a profit from what you sell, therefore, test the market first by promoting the product and minimum investment and ask for customer feedback.
Choose the Market
Defining your target market is a crucial aspect of your business. You cannot build a solid foundation for your business without identifying the type of audience you will be catering to. A target market helps you tailor your marketing strategies accordingly. If you don’t know who to sell to, there’s no point in opening up a web store then. Keeping that in mind, it’s impossible to cater to target everyone. No company or enterprise can openly afford it.
By targeting a niche market, small businesses can compete with big enterprises confidently. Instead of being too general, try to be more specific with your target market. Don’t handpick people who don’t fit your criteria, instead focus on creating a message that targets a specific market. It’s a more efficient, affordable, and effective way of reaching potential customers. If you want to be more specific, breakdown the target market into multiple niches.
For instance, if you’re targeting women for your makeup brand, you can target teenagers and young adults for your new trendy eyeliner collection. This way you’ll know how to market your product and to whom.
Choose the Platform
Once you know what you’re going to sell and to whom, it’s time to figure out where. Ecommerce platforms are in abundance in today’s time. Multiple software offer services of creating, designing, and managing a web store. You can either go for open source platforms like WooCommerce, Magento, and more or self-hosted solutions like Shopify, Square space, BigCommerce, etc.
Open source solutions allow you creative freedom while designing your site. You’ll need a team of professionals to design the site by customizing code and manage it as well. You’ll be in complete control of your web store. Out of the box solutions like Shopify and BigCommerce are perfect if you want to get your website up and running as soon as possible. They offer a variety of in-built themes you can choose and customize according to what you want. It’s a quick and reliable solution.
The kind of platform you go for, ultimately decides how much you’re going to spend on the management and maintenance of the web-store. Open source solutions are more expensive, yet controllable while out of the box solutions are cheaper yet less customizable.
Design the Web Store
Once you’ve chosen the platform you’re going to deploy the website on, it’s time to design it. The kind of platform you’ve selected decides the amount of work and design needed to be done. Since open source solutions allow you’re the creative freedom to design your site however you like, hiring a team of developers and designers will get the job done for you. But this will take time since every piece of code is written and customized.
If you’ve selected any out of the box solutions, you can get the website up and running in no time, since designing is a piece of cake with their tools. They offer a wide range of themes for you to choose from, which is faster and easier.
When designing your web store, it’s important to focus on 3 things:
- Brand image
Build an interactive, easy yet attractive website for users, all the while reflecting your brand’s vision and purpose.
Select a Payment Mode
An integral part of establishing an eCommerce store is offering a variety of payment methods. To accept transactions from your customers, you need a payment solution. First of all, every onboarding seller should be PCI compliant to protect customer’s card details. Make sure the payment solution you choose is integrated with your store and meets the CI standards. Some of the best and reliable payment solutions are PayPal, Google Wallet, Stripe, Amazon Payments, and Authorize.Net.
Research on the payment solution you’re comfortable with, and one you can afford before going all in.
Optimize Your Site
An attractive website isn’t enough to keep your customers interested. Your website should deliver an experience that keeps the customer coming back. You want to make sure that a potential customer on your site leaves as a committed customer. For that, your store should deliver quality content, easy navigation, responsive design for mobile, customer testimonials, fast checkout process, and quick product search features.
Deal With Returns
Online selling involves dealing with returns. It’s a crucial part of becoming a seller. Every merchant in your store should follow a clear-cut return policy to build trust with customers. Although dealing with returns is an overwhelming task, it pays off because it’s considered good customer service.
Developing an eCommerce store isn’t easy. Many people think running a business from home only requires a computer, cheap internet plans, and a camera. It takes more than that and now that you’re aware of the basics, it’s time to put your understanding to good use!