Starting an online store is not easy. Period!
Just like any business out there, there are certain protocols and processes one must follow to start and run an ecommerce store.
Step 1 : Choose the products you want to sell online
If you already have a retail store and want to start selling online to expand your business, then this is an easy step. But, if you are new to commerce altogether, the first step is to choose the products you want to sell.
The rule of thumb is to start simple and scale based on your demand. Also carving a niche for yourself and defining products according to your niche will help establish a brand for your business.
There are some online stores that only sell signature wallets or perfumes and there are other businesses that sell a bunch of different products under a variety of categories. Only when you decide on your products, you can design an approach that will best suit your business model.
Step 2: Register your business.
No matter where you live, the first step of starting an ecommerce business is registration. Each country has their own registration process. Do the necessary research and register your store to get all the tax benefits that comes along with it.
Step 3: Pick your store’s name
Your online store doesn’t need to have the same name as your registered business. Get creative and find a brand-able name with an available domain. With 360 million domains already registered, it can be a challenging task to find a unique, descriptive name.
Step 3: Design your logo
A logo symbolizes your business. Visualize your brand and decide on the basic imagery you want to associate your business with. That is where branding starts. In both the retail and ecommerce field, you must understand how branding plays an important role in your growth. It’s important that you communicate your brand’s vision to your designer and create the perfect logo that best describes your business.
Step 4: Invest in UX/UI
Taking a look at most profitable websites, they tend to invest a lot in design and customer experience. Even though there are plenty of free themes out there, it helps to apply your brand’s distinct touch. Pay attention to the color scheme of your website as well as the product page layout.
Step 5: Choose your ecommerce platform
The obvious next step is to build your website. By choosing Zoho Commerce as your ecommerce platform, it’s as simple as integrating your design, uploading products, setting up payment and shipment options, and you’re all set!
Zoho Commerce has all the necessary features to accept and fulfill orders.
Step 6: Categorize your product
To provide a good customer experience, it’s necessary that you segment products based on categories and sub-categories. This makes navigation and product discovery easy.
Step 7: Plan how to run and maintain your online store
It bears repeating: running an online store is not easy.
It’s not enough to just get your website online. To become successful, there is plenty of marketing involved, just like any retail business. Your online store should designate someone to perform each of the following functions:
- Manage inventory
- Fulfill orders
- Bring traffic to your website
Only when all these functionalities happen in parallel can you grow your online store efficiently.
Step 8: Understand your end audience
Your audience will differ based on the products you sell. Define an appropriate marketing strategy to target your audience effectively. By having a clear understanding of your audience, you can plan how to advertise your products online.
Step 9: Create a marketing plan
There are various strategies that play a part in increasing your online store traffic. Based on your audience, you can choose to run paid ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Google.
It’s also not wise to rely exclusively on paid ads as it can prove to be expensive in the long run. To run a profitable online business, it is essential to implement methods of growing your traffic organically.
Step 10: Build traffic and sales
The average conversion rate for a physical store is 22.5% whereas the conversion rate for an online store is just between 2 to 4%. The clear difference is that people don’t take the effort of traveling to a store to just window-shop, but websites are easy for them to land on and leave.
To improve sales, one must increase their traffic organically as well as inorganically. The following marketing techniques can help bring more people to your online store:
- Build an engaging social presence
- Promote in local events
- Write engaging blogs
- Run social campaigns
- Engage in forums and social media groups
Step 11: Build brand loyalty
The cost of acquiring new customers is 5 times more than retaining them. Keeping this enormous cost factor in mind, it’s essential to build a sound strategy to improve customer retention by instilling brand loyalty.
To build loyal customers, one should provide maximum value to customers in terms of quality as well as support. Create various touch points to connect with customers better to bring repeat customers such as email campaigns and seasonal sales.
Looking to take your business online? Build your ecommerce store in just a few days using Zoho Commerce. Sign up now and get a 14 day free trial to see if it’s your right fit.