More and more products are bought and sold online every day. It started with books in the ’90s and it has moved to almost every market and sector of the industry. Ecommerce is the fastest-growing area of business, coupled with innovations in technology and changing consumer behaviour. At IronbellyTech, we have taken advantage of this technological progress. Looking at it from the physical retailer’s perspective, the market forces of supply and demand are no different for eCommerce. If there is demand, and you can supply it, the Internet creates an ever-expanding opportunity. Anyone can sell anything to anyone online.
Ecommerce offers many benefits over traditional retail, including exposure to new geographical and international markets, a better and more interactive buyer-seller relationship, and unlimited growth potential. Whether you are a start-up retailer, an established or growing business considering targeting a particular niche, you will need to create, implement, measure and manage your online project constantly. At the core of your online business will be the construction, gradual improvement and evolution of your eCommerce website based on your customer’s needs. This will ideally be tied into your retail operation – from in-house stock control to managing the systems.
Now that we have identified the benefits of e-commerce, let’s take a look at how we can start an eCommerce online shop:
Determine What You Want to Sell, and Find a Supplier
Or you may do it the other way around. Find a supplier and sell the goods that they have. You can ship any product to anywhere in the world these days. Where do you choose – offshore, onshore or dropship? Make sure to find trustworthy suppliers. Whether you’ve got a warehouse full of products somewhere or your inventory lives in your garage, make sure you’ve got enough to launch. It can be tricky, not knowing how much you’ll need, but in general, it’s better to have too much inventory than not enough. Pay attention to how your sales increase so you can be smart with future orders.
Choose Your Ecommerce Platform
Next, you have to choose which eCommerce solution is your go-to tool. This is the point where you’ll decide which platform will power your store. Your eCommerce platform is the most important technological component of your store. Your eCommerce solution can make or break your business. So take the time to find, research, and choose your platform. Here at IronbellyTech, we usually get clients who like to have their stores established on Shopify and Wix. They provide us with their products, then we build their shop for them. It can range from health products, skin and beauty care, to books, gadgets, and electronic accessories.
Setup Your Payment Options
A good start would be through a merchant account. A merchant account accepts credit card payments and you may deposit the funds to your bank account for a fee. Some examples are Authorize.net, Quickbooks and Paypal. Research about what fits your needs and security requirements. Each provider will vary depending on your business’ exact payment processing needs. With that said, merchant services should always be affordable, transparent, and easy to use.
Promote Your Business through Social Media
No matter what type of online store you have, there’s a huge chance that your prospective customers will be on social media. The question is, what social networks are they using? Here at IronbellyTech, we have drilled it down to a few mainstream ones – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There should be more out there. Do a bit of research on the social media habits of your customers and then figure out where to focus your efforts.
Utilize Email Marketing
While strong social media presence is useful and can certainly help you get in front of the right people, there’s one big problem: you are not the only company viewed by your audience on social media. The visibility of your content on social networks is controlled by the algorithms and policies of each site or app. So if a social media platform decides to tweak how it delivers or displays your content, your marketing might get affected. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have an audience that can view you exclusively. That’s where email marketing comes in. When you have an email list, you have full control over how and when your messages are delivered, making email marketing a powerful mode of communication and promotion. Here at IronbellyTech, we have a mailing list of prospective customers that serves as our leads. We make sure to send them updates of our services and gladly interact with them through their feedback and suggestions.
Provide a Strong after Sales Support
The needs and demands of the customers must be fulfilled for them to spread a positive word of mouth. In the current scenario, positive word of mouth plays an important role in promoting brands and products. After-sales service makes sure products and services meet or surpass the expectations of the customers. After-sales service includes various activities to find out whether the customer is happy with the products or not. This is also a good opportunity to interact with them and turn a negative experience into a positive one.
There you have it. These are the basics of eCommerce – the benefits and some of the steps that you can take to establish your own online store. We take our clients’ business seriously here in IronbellyTech so we make sure that we make the most effective steps to give them the best experience.
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