This is a contributor’s blogpost …
There’s no better time to move your market, or bricks and mortar retail store, online. Ecommerce and online sales are increasing monthly, and shoppers are checking out new styles and products through their smartphones and tablets more and more. Therefore, it’s the perfect time to start selling your goods through a website and save yourself the overheads associated with physical stalls and shops. There are some important steps to take and things to consider before you move into the online shopping world. The following should help to guide you on your new venture.
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To ensure that all your funding and finances are being distributed to the right place, you’ll need to sort out a detailed business plan. There are plenty of free business plan templates online that will help to get you started, so utilize them wisely. If you’re moving from a physical store, the chances are you’ve done a plan in the past. Try and remember what worked well for you and what failed to reach targets. This is your chance to edit your business and make it as successful as possible.
Although you won’t need to budget for rent or building mortgages. You’ll need to research into the cost of web hosting and domain names as your priority. Your annual online “rent” will be far less than a store’s. However, it will still be a chunk of cash that regularly leaves your income, so bear that in mind. You’ll want to give yourself a budget for marketing, web design, and an array of other things that you should call in the experts for, so it’s a smart idea to consider this.
You’ll need to set aside a contingency fund also. New businesses rarely cost the exact amount that you put in your business plan, and you will get bumps in the road every now and then. Therefore, having the comfort of a little extra cash to utilize and to fall back on is a wise idea.
Part of your new business will be creating the perfect office space for yourself. Wherever that may be, you’ll need to consider the costs of doing so. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed about your plan from the get-go, seek professional help and advice. It doesn’t always have to cost you money, as seasoned business women and men are often happy to pass on their knowledge and expertise to help mentor a newbie. Sign up to talks and networking events in your area, and pick the brains of your new acquaintances and move forward using the knowledge that you’ve learned.
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If you’ve been selling your products in a physical environment for a while, you’ll already be aware of what grabs attention and what doesn’t sell so well. Now is the time to use your best buying and editing skills to create a collection of items that will stand out on screen, making them an Ecommerce success, and sell to any visiting customers.
Think about how and where you’re going to store your products and make sure that you have a feasible space to work with. Solidify the relationships with your suppliers to ensure that stock is delivered on time, and so you have all items that are in demand at the ready to deliver to consumers. Do a little market research through your social media platforms (more on those later), and create some call to actions. You could ask which item people like better and give yourself more of an idea of what is likely to sell successfully online.
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Now that you’re set up with a sturdy plan, and you’ve chosen the products that you feel will sell well, you need to carefully think about your website and how it will look and function.
You want your new customers to turn up and be impressed with your site so that they return to buy from you in the future. Therefore, it’s worth investing in a digital creative agency to help to ensure that your site looks great and is easy to navigate. As an online retailer, you’ll want to attract the style savvy. Make sure they arrive at your website and want to stay and have a look around.
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Last, but certainly not least, you’ll want to push your new website through those social media platforms that were discussed earlier. Put plenty of links to your new site and products on your Twitter and Facebook to drive new and existing customers your way. There are plenty of cheap and free marketing ideas online. You can check some out here and begin implementing them and discovering what works for your brand. You’ve worked hard to get this far, so make sure you’re proud and letting people know about it!