Tuesday, October 07, 2014
A lot of people have a desire to start their own business. If you are one of those people and have an idea that you believe will bring you a fortune, you may have already considered setting up an online store.
There is no doubt about the fact that online business is the best approach in today’s market as there are more consumers shopping online than ever before. Sure, anyone can throw up a website (or a blog) with some products/services on it but how do you actually get potential customers on your website?
Here is a list of things that you need to understand in order to start a successful online business:
What product you want to sell? Choose your product
This is the first and the most important step in building an e-commerce store. Some store owners go with the products that they are passionate about and some go with what’s in the demand. In this step, you need to look for an opportunity gap in the current market.
- Select a market you are interested in
- Identify the problem or deficiency that the market is experiencing currently
- Choose a product that will fill in this gap by solving the problem of the current market or providing an improved product
Select a market: Let’s say; you are interested in the smartphone industry.
Identify the problem: For an instance, let us say the camera of iPhone takes really bad pictures and you want to do something about it.
Choose a product to fill in the gap: You have decided to sell an add-on camera lens that anyone can attach on their iPhone and take better pictures.
Setting up your online store: You need a website
Once you have selected your market and product, it is time to create a website. Remember, you need to keep everything simple, relevant to your market/product and easy to use as you will only get a few seconds to grab someone’s attention or to keep your potential buyers on your website. There are several things that you will need in order to set up your online store.
Website domain name. Before you even start your online store, you will need to get a domain name that will be an online address of your store site (something like “www.YourBusinessName.com”). Majority of store owners choose a domain name that matches with their business name or the product.
Website hosting provider. In order to publish your website, you will need a hosting provider to host your site on a server (Arvixe, etc). The hosting service allows you to store your web files, database and information on the server so that it can be accessed over the web.
Build / design your website. Now, it is time to build a website i.e. a place where customers will be able to buy your product. You can develop a website yourself, hire a developer or use any e-commerce software like nopCommerce that comes will all the necessary features for an online store. Make sure you also focus on the design of your website as it is a very important factor in selling your product. A good design is easy to understand, navigate and help visitors find the product/information they are looking for.
Shopping cart software, receiving payments & shipping services
In order to sell anything on your website, you need shopping cart software or e-commerce functionality on your website. A good shopping cart software lets you manage inventory, products, categories, customers account, search products, create invoices and much more.
Since, you cannot accept cash for selling anything online; you may have to sign in for merchant payment services in order to receive money (like PayPal, Authorize.net etc.). These services will allow you to accept all major credit and debit cards since majority of online transactions are done by these payment methods.
Another important thing that you will need to take into consideration is how you are going to ship the item to the customer? You will have to offer different shipping options on your online store in order to allow your customers to choose shipping methods while checking out from the shopping cart.
You should have a good marketing strategy in order run a successful e-commerce business so that your online store is getting the proper exposure to showcase your product(s) to the target audience. As a business owner, your marketing strategy should include: focus on SEO (Search Engine Optimization), advertising your product(s) on major platforms and communication with your customers to provide better service and receive feedback.
To be successful in your online business, the most important thing is to believe in your product. Remember, if you do not feel motivated to sell your product, you are in the business for the wrong reasons.
nopCommerce has a wealth of features and capabilities designed to create online store. nopCommerce is the leading open source shopping cart, allowing people to set up an online store quickly and easily. The software contains both a catalog frontend and an administration tool backend.
Author: Lavish Kumar