How to open an online business
by Diana Serban
Congratulations, you are opening your own online shop!
Selling online can be such an opportunity for you to express your entrepreneurial spirit and all you have to consider is a great product, a user-friendly website and a solid marketing plan.
Owning an online store has the following major benefit rather than having a physical store: there is no rent to pay and you can reach so many customers from the comfort of your own home.
Once you are ready to start this adventure, these simple steps will help you understand what it takes to run a successful online business.
Choose your Product and Create a Business Plan
- What products do you want to sell?
While you can sell certain things so well online, you have to consider that other items may be more difficult to sell when they can’t be viewed in person. The main advice is to believe in the value of your product – otherwise, it will be hard to connect with potential customers. Things to consider before you launch your business:
- If your product is physical, then it will need to be shipped.
- Decide whether you will have more than one piece of each product, or if they will be one-of-a-kind items such as artwork.
- Think if you are going to sell a wide variety of products, or if you plan to sell only one category of products
- Set your target customers and outline their needs. You have to know what differentiates your services from others on the market.
- Analyze the competition and find out about other products you will be competing with.
- Know your products by heart.
- Provide a user-friendly shopping experience. Your website should be easy to navigate, so that customers would want to share it on popular platforms like Facebook.
- Consider selling your items on a small scale, to test if people are really interested in what you have to offer. Here is what you have to keep in mind:
- Find out who is buying your items and where they usually shop online.
- Are they willing to pay a large amount on things they truly want? A good idea would be to test different prices.
- Value your customers satisfaction.
- Make a business plan. Before starting your online business, take the time to create a detailed business plan. This will prepare you with all the steps you will need to take to pave your way to success. You first need to figure out all your costs and have a marketing strategy. Take the following expenses into account:
- Production costs
- Shipping costs.
- Employee wages, if applicable
- Fees for reserving your domain name and web hosting service.
- Fill out the necessary legal and tax paperwork to register your business.
Build Your Online Store
- Choose a domain name.
Your domain name is the web address (URL) that customers type to find your online store. Choose a unique name, that is short, easy to remember, that best describes your business, set your extension (.com, .biz, .net) and register it with a domain name provider.
- Choose a web hosting service (your website’s house on the Internet). There are several free web hosting services, but it is wiser to pay for a service that offers the options you need.
- Design your website. You have the option to design the website on your own or hire a web designer to create it for you. Your main purpose is to showcase your product and make it as easy as possible for customers to buy it, so it is better to have a simple website, in terms of online shopping. You should also consider a way to collect email addresses, to send special offers or to simply promote future products.
- Choose specific e-commerce software. This allows customers to view products and make a secure purchase. The software stores customer and financial information. In some cases, e-commerce software factors into marketing, since it can be used to send emails to customers.
- Set up a merchant account. You will need to set up an account with a financial institution so that your customers can pay with credit cards. Twispay can help you set up the option to accept credit cards directly on your site, which is the preferred and more professional route.
Once you take all these steps, we are safe to say that you are all set!
You e-shop is up and running and you are ready for phase 2 – creating your brand and advertising it in every relevant channel and through exciting campaigns that engage strategic audiences.
But this is another story, stay in touch to discover it very soon!