More and more people are establishing their own online businesses, either as primary jobs or side gigs. Regardless of the reason why you’re considering opening an online store though, consider that it can be challenging –– especially if this is the first time you’ve tried!
In order to make the process smoother and the venture more successful, here are a few setup tips to keep in mind.
Use a keyword research tool
The key to a successful business is finding the balance between selling a product or service that meets market demand and not having too much competition –– especially if it’s with huge companies. You can strike this balance by gauging your competition however, and that begins with keyword research.
WNIP explains that there are four types of keyword research, but the one you’ll want to focus on is SEO/PPC. Through this research, you’ll be able to find how many people in a specific area are searching for a word, term, or phrase. If there are a lot of search queries for a specific product, but there aren’t many stores in the area that sell that specific product, you may have found a good niche to work in! If not, it may be worth tweaking your store or its target audience as needed.
Take advantage of social media
We’ve mentioned Instagram and Facebook in previous conversations about how to make money online, and it’s important to realize that social media can also work hand-in-hand with your online store. While buying ads for social media isn’t always cost-effective for a new and/or small business, creating marketing material yourself and posting it to your business page is completely free! Take the time to hone your social media skills, and interact with potential customers in order to increase engagement. Depending on your preferred platforms, you may even be able to set up direct purchasing options on your social pages –– effectively extending your store into social space.
It’s also a good idea to keep a consistent schedule for uploading content. If potential customers see that you haven’t posted anything new in weeks or even months, they may assume that the store is no longer working.
Integrate Shopify into your store
While it’s not strictly necessary to use this platform, Shopify can be a good addition to your new online store. AskMoney explains that Shopify gives online entrepreneurs a number of appealing benefits, including ease-of-use, transparency regarding orders, and access to analytics. Users can also access free features like website templates that can help make the store more appealing.
Many tend to look at Shopify strictly as its own standalone platform, but it’s worth remembering that the above-listed features can be integrated with your own store as well.
Focus on customer service
Customers are the lifeblood of your business. For this simple reason, any questions, doubts, or concerns that current or past customers have need to be taken care of quickly and in a professional manner.
If you hire someone to take care of customer service queries, make sure that they’re well trained and/or reskilled. On the other hand, if you’re taking on customer service yourself, consider looking into some of the automated options you may have at your disposal. For instance, a lot of the “chatbot” tools that can be installed on websites today are quite sophisticated. They don’t replace the human touch, but they can make it easier for visitors to navigate your online business and get simple questions answered. Plus, consumers seem to be warming up to them! Entrepreneur noted that in some cases people may even be friendlier to chatbots than to human representatives….
Source products locally
Last but not least, if you’re selling products look to source them locally. This way, you may be able to avoid high tariffs or other taxes on imported goods. Plus, you are supporting the local economy (which you can promote as a positive aspect of your business that consumers will appreciate). For countries like India, which tend to export most of their goods, selling locally can help local businesses that aren’t in the international market yet.
If it’s absolutely impossible to source locally, you can still help out other small businesses by buying and importing from them rather than focusing on larger, established companies.
Opening up an online store doesn’t have to be difficult. With the right tools, strategies, and mindset, it’s quite easy to get started and make sure that you’ve set yourself up for success. Just be ready to put in the work!