For the first time ever, US online retail sales surpassed 10% of the total retail sales. This is due to the impact of COVID-19. With the pandemic forcing establishments to temporarily close down, people are more compelled to buy online. If you’ve ever wanted to dab your feet in the world on eCommerce, there’s never been a better time to get started.
Online retail is here to stay and thrive. For customers, it provides better prices, convenience, and a variety of options. Businesses can extend their reach, target specific audiences, and lower overhead costs. For most entrepreneurs, starting and building an eCommerce business might seem daunting— but it isn’t. Building an online store requires a strategic approach and checking a few simple boxes.
However, before you get into that…
Build a strong online identity for your online store
What your brand really needs is an overarching retail identity, and one of its first touch point is your domain name. This serves as your business identity online.
But you already know that. In fact, you had thought of a killer business name only to find out that its domain name was taken. So, you had to settle for something else, something that you weren’t too keen on. Well, you are not alone.
This is where new domain extensions come into the picture. Picking a unique domain extension does the one thing that most businesses work hard for—establishes customer connection.
So,how do you do achieve that?
By opting for a more contextual and relevant .STORE domain extension. .STORE domains provide a relevant & robust domain name to online sellers; associating their site with eCommerce and retail.
Once you have secured your online identity, start working on checking these five boxes before establishing an online store.
If you want to sell products online, you’ll need to plan out everything.
You can get a better understanding of where your business stands and who your competitors are by conducting market research. Here are some fundamental questions that could also guide you:
- How does your product solve a problem or fulfill a need?
- Is there a demand for your product in the market?
- What are the latest trends in the industry?
- Who is your target audience?
- Are there other businesses that offer the same services/products you?
- How will you compete against them?
- What makes your business unique?
Answer these questions to get a good sense of where you are in your niche and build a plan around that.
Having an online store also helps you save more than your physical store. You don’t have to worry spending on rental space, office equipment, and bills.
After completing your market research, start by penning down the purpose, vision, and mission of your eCommerce business.
Before you launch your website, you need to create its product listings. To do this, you need two things – compelling product descriptions and high-quality product photos and videos.
When writing your product descriptions, avoid sharing generic information —that won’t increase sales. Write the benefits of your product and try to incorporate power words. Also, make sure that it has answers to all the usual questions; warranty, returns, shipping details, etc.
The quality of your photos needs to be top-notch, too. You can hire a professional photographer to take quality pictures of your product. And if you’ve got the skills, you can take them on your own. You could also post how-to videos on how your product solves a specific problem your customer might have.
When selling online, make sure you find the right target audience. You can target your ideal audience by creating a buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. While creating a buyer persona, think of their demographics, needs, interests, and other attributes.
You can also promote your business via social media advertising and install Facebook Pixel in to collect relevant customer information.
Also, research about your competitors and observe how they attract their audience. Look at the way they communicate with them.
Once you build a strong customer base, send out personalised surveys to understand what your customers do and don’t like about your store. You could reward them for their participation by sending a special coupon.
Product delivery and shipping have a significant impact on user experience. Avoid giving your customers a headache by providing the right information and process when it comes to shipping and delivery.
To avoid any delivery issues, you need to partner with a trusted shipping provider. You can research and list down potential providers that you think are reliable. If you believe you found the right one, make a call.
Do the same thing if you want to ship your products internationally. This will also entail more paperwork for you, as your products need to pass customs.
If you are planning to target the European audience, you need to abide the GDPR. All international companies, wherever they are based, need to comply with these regulations for them to sell online to customers based in the European Union. Similarly, your online store must be compliant with the data protection guidelines of other countries.
The Bottom Line
Building and starting your own online store can be difficult. But with proper planning, research, and execution, you’ll be running it in no time.
Ensure everything runs smoothly because whatever it is, customer experience should always be seamless and exhilarating.