Collaborative Post¦ If you’re looking for a fantastic way to start your own business, work from home and earn a great living, then selling online could be the perfect venture for you. As far as home-based businesses go, an ecommerce store can be simple to get started, and easy to run too.
But as there’s a lot of competition for online stores, so if you want to make a success of your venture, you’ll need to work hard to make it stand out.
Explore some top tips for making a success of selling online and get your new business off to a great start.
Image Credit: Unsplash under Creative Commons
There’s an online store for everything these days, so whatever you’re deciding to sell, you could be faced with a lot of competition. You’ll need to conduct a lot of market research for your online store, which can help you identify who your competition are, where there are gaps in the market, and give you a clearer idea of who your target audience is.
By conducting this research, you’ll be able to refine your idea so that you offer something that has potential, allowing you to feel more confident in launching your business.
There are multiple ways you can run an ecommerce business. Many people, especially at the beginning, choose to host their online store via a platform like Etsy, Amazon or eBay, which can be fantastic websites to expose your store to an audience that already shops and searches for products in these marketplaces.
However, if you’d prefer to setup your own store on a dedicated website (or choose to do this further down the line), you’ll need a platform that can support you. Some of the most popular ecommerce platforms include Wix, Shopify and BigCommerce, which make light work of building the store, while making it easy to run.
Having the right platform is a must for a smooth experience for you and the shopper, and means you won’t have to worry about being a coding or web design expert to create an attractive, intuitive online store.
With your website setup and good to go, your next steps will be making sure your online store provides an amazing user experience. You want customers to enjoy shopping on your website, while also making it easy to use and make it to the checkout. Some of the things you can do to help provide the best user experience include:
There are all kinds of benefits to an attractive website design. Not only will your website look more professional and modern, but it will also help you hold your own against more established shops.
Explore popular ecommerce site designs to give you a clearer idea of what works.
An ecommerce store needs to be easy to navigate. When you shop online, the chances are that you are used to looking for things in certain places – no matter where you’re shopping. Key menu items you’ll want to include are:
There are many others that you’ll want to include, and you should spend time browsing different websites to see how things are laid out and try to determine what the typical user journey should be. You should get some trusted people to test your website before you launch to make sure any navigational problems are dealt with before you go public.
63% of online retailer traffic comes from phones, while more than 50% of sales come from mobile sources. This is a significant amount of traffic, which means your mobile interface needs to be given just as much consideration as your typical web browser design. Most ecommerce platforms have this built in to allow customers to shop however they want, but it’s something you’ll need to consider in great detail when designing your store or making any updates.
Everything from the images you use to the amount of text can have an impact on mobile, so always keep your mobile audience in mind when adding new content to your store.
As your customers won’t be able to experience the goods in-person, it’s important that you show them off as much as possible to provide enough information to encourage someone to make a purchase. Some of the things you can do to display your products effectively include:
You’ll also need to ensure that your product descriptions contain enough informaton. Make them informative and avoid generic, dull descriptions – you want people to get excited about your products!
Could you provide some interactive features for your store? From interactive product pages to quizzes that help customers receive personal recommendations (such as a gift finder), you can really make a difference to a customer’s shopping experience.
Customers can have all kinds of questions about your products, as well as have questions and queries after they have made a purchase. It’s important to provide them with a range of contact options so that they can get the answers they need. Email, phone and post are the obvious choices, but you can also add chat to website as a way for people to get in touch with you quickly. Make sure you respond to queries quickly to help customers get fast resolutions and prevent negative reviews that can accompany a long wait for a reply.
People like to be able to track their purchases, and it helps provide a positive user experience if you can include tracking information on your website. Many carriers provide this information, and you can integrate tools into your website that will gather this information automatically.
Your marketing strategy will play a big part in the success of your online store. You will need to consider ways you can use social media to spread the word about your business, as well as using tools such as newsletters, blog posts and online advertising. There are a lot of things you can include in your ecommerce social media strategy that can help drive traffic to your website. If this is uncharted territory for you, you might want to consider outsourcing your marketing activities to a freelancer or an agency who can help put you on the right path.
Promotions are an excellent tool to lure people in to make a purchase. But any promotion needs to be considered carefully to make sure it doesn’t end up costing you money! A discount here and there can be a great way of boosting your sales, but it shouldn’t be done so frequently that people may not purchase from you any other time.
Make your terms clear and sense-check your terms and conditions to make sure any deals or promotions can be manipulated.
Asking for feedback is vital for any online business. The reviews you receive can help influence others’ purchase decisions, but they can also help you make some much-needed improvements to your business – identifying issues you didn’t even know existed.
Having reviews can also build trust in your store for people coming across it for the first time. It can improve your SEO and can help with that all-important word of mouth that can help someone decide whether or not to make a purchase.
To increase your feedback completion rates, you could provide an incentive such as a discount or a prize draw.
To ensure your online store stays successful, you need to keep reviewing your products and your website to make sure you’re providing what your customers want. Analysing search queries is a great way to see the types of products people are looking for, which can help you make some important purchase decisions. Regular analysis of your visitor stats can identify where there’s room for improvement so that you can continue to increase sales and turn your online store into a successful business.
Finally, if you’re running your online shop from home and you’re trying to do it around juggling a family, and even other work, it’s important to find the right balance. Having set hours to do your work will help you establish a routine, allowing you to enjoy your time after work and avoid doing too much. There’ll be a lot of excitement at the beginning, but slow and steady wins the race here. Take care of your mental health and bring more people on board when you are able to help lighten the load so you can continue to grow and develop your business.
Starting an ecommerce store is a great way to run a business from home. Using the tips above, you could make a success of selling online and who knows, your store could be the next big thing online!
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.
Welcome to my blog! I'm Laura, a mum of two. I live in Kent with my high school sweetheart husband Dave, our 5 year old daughter Autumn and 1 year old son Reuben.
I write about my experiences of parenting, as well as my plethora of interests including fashion, beauty, cars, weddings, mental health and the home.