The era we live in is the digital era that has been powered by technology. Technological advancements have improved the living conditions of the people and introduced better solutions for every problem. Ease, convenience, and satisfaction are the three factors technology bring to people. And a result of this is the facility of online shopping.
E-commerce or online shopping has revolutionized the shopping experience for people today. It is one of the greatest outcomes of technology and is on its way to replacing brick-and-mortar stores completely!
Who would want to get out of their homes, waste their fuel and time to go out and stroll through the malls when they can go through the shops using their smartphones? Shopping has never been this comfortable as it is now with e-stores!
People who have their brick-and-mortar stores and have observed a drop in their customers need to revisit their strategy. With everything going digital, why are they not working for a digital shift-over?
Here is a comprehensive guide to starting an e-store for retailers who wish to launch their online stores. Also, the people who want to try their luck with e-stores can follow this guide to establish for themselves a digital presence.
Step 1: Defining the product and the business plan
Planning is the first and the foremost step in building an e-store, and it begins with defining the niche.
(i) Identifying the niche:
Before one starts an e-store, it is best to identify a niche. What products will the store offer its customers? What will be the category of its products? These are the most critical questions that need to be answered before proceeding with an e-store.
(ii) Try selling on a small scale:
After the category has been decided and the products are listed, it is a smart approach to selling it on a small scale. It can either be done by selling it among friends or from one’s social media profile. Selling the products on a small scale helps analyze whether the products will attract the customers’? Will they spend their money on purchasing the products? It lays down the foundation for the decision of whether to start an e-store or not.
Once the analysis has been done, it is time to draw up a detailed plan. A business plan needs to include the name of the e-store, list of products, whether one is creating the product or getting it supplied from the manufacturer. Also, it must consist of all the costs involved in the whole setup, whether the customer will have to pay through online payment methods or cash on delivery. Even the most minor aspects must be taken into consideration while coming up with a plan.
(iv) Registration of the business:
After the plan has been drawn up, the next step is to make it official. The first step of execution includes the registration of the business with the state. The business will have to be registered with its name, and all the necessary paperwork will have to be filled out.
Step 2: Building the store
Completion of the paperwork leads to the next step, which is to set up the e-store. This phase includes the following steps.
(i) Domain name:
The first step in the execution phase is to register a domain name. The domain name must be catchy, unique, and short. There are some cases where the name is already taken. The registration service does provide alternatives. If one does not like the other options, one can be creative with the name.
(ii) Web hosting service:
The website must be fast, efficient, and user-friendly, else it does not generate traffic. Therefore, choosing the right hosting service is essential. There are free services available, but it is best to pay and get the best one possible. The ideal hosting service is the one that has an option of customization.
(iii) Design of website:
The design of a website must not be too vibrant. It must be relevant to the products being sold. It must have an easy call-to-action interface with an easily navigable structure. Choose the themes and the colors that reflect the products. It should be designed in a way that a customer gets to the required page within two clicks. There must also be a way through which email addresses can be collected to send promotional emails.
(iv) E-commerce software:
The e-commerce software is a significant step while setting up an online store. It is what provides security when a customer makes a purchase. It also contributes to the overall customer experience; therefore, it is advised to choose the software wisely.
(v) Merchant account:
To add the feature of online payments, one must set up an account in a bank. With this feature, the customers can pay through their credit cards. For small e-stores, it is not very practical to use a bank, as it will be costly. Many e-stores use online payment apps such as PayPal, as it is cheaper than a bank.
Step 3: Marketing
The next phase after an e-commerce website has been created is to start with the marketing work. The marketing strategy must be strong. Marketing helps in not only attracting customers, but it is what helps in retaining customers.
(i) Digital marketing strategies:
There are two ways to carry out the marketing of a store; traditional and digital. As we live in a digitalized world, going digital is the right way to proceed. Many digital marketing strategies can be used. The most important is Search Engine Optimization or SEO. It helps in raising the ranking of an e-store, thus, being visible to a broader audience. PPC, Social Media Marketing, Influencer marketing are the top ways to get further with the store.
A smart way to generate traffic is by adding a blog to an e-store. There is not much content on an online store. This means that the power of keywords cannot be effectively used. A blog section can be added to include the keywords, which will, in the result, contribute to a raised search engine ranking.
Starting an e-store is not particularly challenging. By following this comprehensive guide, one can set up an e-store. The real game is the marketing and the way one spreads the word about their e-store. The first phase, an e-store setup, is complete with these simple steps, and one may proceed to the next step!About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.