Furnishings, shoes, socks and other gadgets – today almost everything can be sold online. Start an online shop on your own or join forces with others – and gain access to the market online.
E-commerce is growing at a record pace, and now has a turnover of over 10 billion dollars. Many small business owners can take advantage of the cake by starting e-commerce.
You can benefit from an online shop in your business in several ways:
- As a complement to your current business, to reach out to a new market.
- By merging with other companies and selling your products under a common brand directly to the end customer.
- By re-angling your business model and only selling online.
But an online store requires as much love, time and resources as a regular store.
Here I show you 9 tips on how to get started:
1. Do research and plan products
Before you start a webshop, it is always good to do research and plan your products a little more closely.
You probably have an idea of what you want to sell, how to sell and what the market for your products looks like.
With a proper market analysis, however, you get valuable information that will help you make better decisions and refine the approach.
Start your market analysis by choosing products or a product area with potential.
This means both that there should be a demand for your particular products and also that there should be margins on them so that you can actually make money.
One tool you can use to see trends on Google, ie what words or products people are searching for, is Google Trends. Enter potential products you intend to sell and compare them with each other.
The trends on Google are usually a good reflection of what the situation looks like in “reality” as well. What’s trending on Google says a lot about how many visitors and potential customers you might get.
You always need to stay one step ahead of your customers, so that you are there when they arrive in their purchase decision.
Then analyze your competitors, the companies that sell the same or similar products as you.
What do those who are good do? Take their best features and ideas and make them your own. Are there too many competitors selling the same thing?
Then maybe the market is full and you should think about another product or what you can do in the form of price, service or offer that makes people choose to shop in your webshop instead of everyone else.
Knowing your USPs (Unique Selling Point) before starting a webshop will help you in many situations.
Finally, you should also niche yourself. In the start-up phase when you start a webshop, it can be complicated and expensive to cover a very wide product area.
By niching yourself in a narrower area, you can capture the customers who want just those products, keep prices down, offer better service and knowledge.
In addition, it makes it easier to achieve good results on the search engines – you then have some very specific words and phrases to invest in instead of working with a wide range of keywords.
So, a good first research and product planning for your upcoming webshop is to choose products with potential, analyze your competitors and niche yourself in a narrower product area.
2. Keep the customer happy
Once the web shop is up and running, customer service is important. Visitors should feel confident in your company – then they dare to complete the purchase.
This includes important things such as telephone numbers and other contact information, that you are reachable and fast in your customer service.
3. MAKE A BUDGET
Although it is of course cheaper to create a webshop than to start a physical store, it is important not to underestimate start-up costs. Purchasing goods, web solutions and marketing are things that will all cost money in the beginning.
As long as you do not hold a unique market position from the outset, the risk is high that the costs will exceed the income in the beginning. Make sure there is capital available to survive the period it takes for the store to start making a profit.
4. Do not underestimate the time
Technically, you can set up a store in a couple of days, but it takes time to put in all the products, get a clear agreement on card payment and speed up marketing.
The online store requires as much love, resources and commitment as a regular store. If you are going to invest in e-commerce, it must be a central part of your business.
The store must live all the time, so work with the range and focus on measuring and following up, just like in a physical store.
5. Decide for the right technical solution
This is really about how much time you yourself want to spend on the actual operation of the site.
There are players who offer everything from design to connection to payment systems for a fairly affordable amount.
Such a solution frees up a large part of your time to instead concentrate on marketing your site.
If you do not want a ready-made solution, it is of course entirely possible to do everything yourself from scratch.
Here it is important that you think about what you want to spend time on and what your limitations are.
6. Offer secure payment
A webshop must offer several different payment options. The key word here is security.
Make sure you offer at least one secure credit card payment solution. Several different players in the market can help you with this.
The most popular is Paypal, which offers a secure payment solution for you and your customers.
Paypal is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is considered by many to be the most reliable provider of payment solutions on the internet.
7. Optimize for mobile shoppers
many consumers cancel their purchases because the online store they would shop in was not mobile-friendly.
With a so-called responsive webshop, the design is automatically adapted to the visitor’s screen size so that they get a good shopping experience both in the computer, tablet and mobile phone.
Check that the flow flows well even on mobile, so that the visitor does not experience obstacles in their shopping trip.
8. No traffic, no sales
When your webshop is finally ready and you have added your first products, think about how to attract traffic to it. There are three different types of traffic you can invest in: direct traffic, organic traffic and paid traffic.
Direct traffic is visitors who enter your www address in the address field and thus go directly to your webshop, without any intermediaries such as a search on Google.
Since your webshop is completely new, it is difficult to get direct traffic, as not many people know you yet.
Organic traffic is unpaid traffic that comes through searches on Google and the other search engines.
To get this traffic, your webshop needs to be well search engine optimized. With a keyword analysis basically, you know which products and terms you should invest in optimizing.
Then work actively with new products, product categories, information about your product areas and seek collaborations with, for example, blogs in your area to constantly improve your results on the search engines.
Paid traffic is traffic that you get through ads on search engines, social media or other websites. For example, through Google’s advertising program Google Ads to buy advertising space in the search results.
You pay per click (ie per visit) and you set your own budget and choose which words you want to be seen on. It is a good way to get traffic to the store in the startup and show that you exist.
To then remind these visitors that you exist and encourage them to complete their purchases, you can use so-called re-marketing advertising, where you advertise specifically to those who have already visited the site.
9. Utilize social media
Create dedicated accounts for your webshop and use them to communicate directly with your customers.
Be active and create engagement by contributing content that they want to share.
You can also advertise on most social media, a great complement to search engine advertising – especially if you sell visually appealing products.
As with anything this is going to take blood, sweat and tears but if you put your heart to it and have a clear vision in mind then of course you will succed.