Online stores are gaining a lot of traction thanks to easy-to-use eCommerce platforms and simple website design tools. If you’ve found a niche that you want to tackle, then there are plenty of tools and resources available to give you a hand. So if you fancy a career change, here are 10 tips that will help you start a successful online store.
- Build Your Brand
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When you sell online, it’s important to build your brand from the ground up. What do you want your brand to focus on and what is your unique selling proposition? This will largely depend on the type of company you want to run and the products you wish to sell. For instance, if you’re selling fashionable clothing then you need to build up your brand. Make good impressions on your audience, create quality products and get your name known for something. Perhaps you could specialise in budget fashion, maybe you could provide a niche or perhaps you’re known for your customer service. Whatever it is, you need to utilise every opportunity you can to build your brand.
- Attach a Blog
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Blogging is a great way to interact with your users. It’s also a fantastic way to get more people to look at your services and products because blog post pages can be linked to and indexed on search engines. This increases your online presence and helps with exposure. Of course, you’re going to need a decent writer to help you write blog posts. You may want to hire a freelancer and pay them on a per-job basis, but if you have some good writing skills then you could always write your own blog posts.
- Focus on Your Audience
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Your audience is the most important part of your business. Make sure that you’re listening to them and providing the best products you can to them. Your ideas will need to appeal to your audience, and there are two main ways to do this. First, you can specialise your products by paying close attention to their feedback and adjusting your products to fit their needs. The alternative is to try and grow your brand so that it attracts more customers and a wider audience. With the latter option, you risk losing your core audience, but the former option means your brand might alienate customers who are interested in your products.
- Build Unique Ideas
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Unique ideas are the core of any online store. Do you plan to sell services, physical products or even your knowledge? Without a unique selling proposition, you’re not going to make it far. Make sure your ideas are well planned out before you decide to start a business. Do plenty of market research to ensure your ideas will stick and that there’s an audience for the types of products you want to sell. Be creative with your products and try to introduce something new. If you’re lucky or manage to create something the world has never seen, your products will be sensationalised and your brand will surge in popularity.
- Take Plenty of Photos
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Photographs are fantastic for showing your customers what it is you’re actually selling. Whatever products you plan to sell, make sure you take many photographs from each angle, photographs of the product during its intended use, and also pictures of the box. You want your customers to know what they’re buying, so make sure your product descriptions match the pictures too.
- Use the Right Services
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It’s important to pick the right eCommerce hosting solution. If you aren’t experienced in web development, then you’ll want to pick something that is easy to use and can be expanded in the future should your business rapidly grow. You also want a service that is capable of providing you support at any hour of the day. Since your business is based on the internet, it’s important to keep your site up and running, so any host that continuously goes down should be replaced by a more reliable host.
- Don’t Neglect Social Media
Don’t forget that social media is one of the most important platforms to promote your business on. With enough attention, your business could explode on social media in a matter of weeks with a few well-placed posts. Going viral is difficult and is somewhat like winning the lottery, but if you can provide your audience with fantastic products, affordable prices and a great business personality, then internet denizens all over the world will accept you and spread your brand like wildfire. Make use of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even YouTube if you want to grow your business to new levels. Don’t neglect the importance of social media in your business plan, make sure you account for it by building an online presence on social media platforms well before your business launches.
- Remember Your Mobile Audience
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A large majority of internet users actually access the web with their phones. It’s important that, when designing your website, you don’t neglect the importance of catering to these mobile users. Make sure your site is made with responsive design in mind so that it automatically scales to whatever size your mobile viewers require. Ensure that buttons are large, links are easy to see and that your eCommerce solution is easy to use on mobile phones. An easy way to ensure that you’re providing for your mobile audience is to simply visit your website on your phone. Self-testing is a great way to ensure that the customer experience is flawless.
- Provide Support
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Aftermarket support is essential especially if you’re selling tech products that could be confusing to use. Make sure you have customer service options available. Be it email, a Twitter account dedicated to answering support questions or a trained team to help you respond to emails and answer phone calls, you need some kind of support to back up your business. If you’re just a single person taking care of dozens of orders, you’re going to get swamped and your business will suffer as a result. To prevent this from happening, ensure that you have open channels of communication so you can respond to queries, concerns and questions raised by your audience.
- Accept Feedback and Criticism
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There are times when you won’t be able to provide the customer with a product that meets their standards. You might also encounter people that just can’t agree with you and will do everything they can do to make your day horrible while slandering your products or services. It’s important to accept feedback and criticism when it’s constructive, but you also need to learn how to filter out negative comments that are thrown at you. If your audience is posting comments in public places to criticise your products or services, then make sure you respond in a calm and collected manner so you don’t hurt your own reputation. Remember that everything you say will have consequences, so it’s best not to put yourself in a negative position or be seen in a negative light.
Hopefully, these tips have given you some insight into how you can be successful with your online store. It’s important not to let failure discourage you. Online stores are difficult to operate because growing your brand can be a long process. However, if you’re willing to utilise every opportunity given to you, you’ll quickly be able to take advantage of niches in the market and grow your company to become the next great success story.