Opening a store in any industry is easy these days thanks to the Internet. But you still have to make an effort to stand out among thousands of projects. Startups usually have a small budget and their owners do most of the work on their own. If you are one of these entrepreneurs, follow the tips below to start making your first profit right after the start of the online shop.
Analyze the market
Novice always needs to know the giants and middle representatives of the industry in which he wants to deploy his project. Create a spreadsheet in Google Docs or Microsoft Excel and fill it with all potential competitors. What you will collect from them is the foundation of your future online store.
Find out about their prices, regions of operation, terms, and quality of order delivery, available payment methods, and other indicators. Analyze the features of sites and make a subjective assessment of their appearance and functionality. View daily sales data. Track which platforms are used for advertising. This part of the study may take the longest time. But in this way, you can also take note of successful promotion schemes.
Find out who your potential customers are. This is important and necessary to do right away to create a site based on the interests and needs of potential buyers. For example, your audience is young people from 16 to 30 years old. Prepare payment methods and delivery terms convenient for this group. Offer a subscription to updates with sending to email or WhatsApp / Viber to choose. Of course, work out a design and interface that is attractive and convenient for your customers.
If you have a small budget, photograph all the goods at home or in the office yourself. It is not difficult but responsible. Customers always look at the pictures first and only then read the description. Organize a studio with a solid background, multiple lights, a camera, and a tripod. It will be enough for a start. The scale of the workplace depends on the size of the goods.
Next, image editing. To do this, use Photoshop or Lightroom. You can buy both on the official website of Adobe. These programs have many functions, so learning may take several days. Alternatively, upload the images to the RetouchMe editor, which is also available on smartphones.
When analyzing competitors, pay attention to what and how they write about the items. Make a detailed description of the goods, divide the assortment into categories, and write a characterization of them as well.
Also, consider how to display only the current product in the catalog in advance. If the client spent 1 hour filling the basket with goods but during the order confirmation the manager says that one thing has already been sold out, he is unlikely to return to your store again. For a small assortment, use a manual catalog update. If you or your team can’t cope with the sizes, load the goods from XLS, XML, or CSV file.
An online store is not just a catalog of goods, but also a complete site with useful information. Your platform must have pages About, Order, Delivery, Payment, Return, Contact, etc. Make a separate section with current discounts. All texts must be unique and SEO optimized so hire a copywriter.
Find a manager
In the beginning, you can carry out the duties of this position yourself, but after a while, you will definitely want to hire another person. Responsibilities of an online store manager:
- answering to phone calls and emails;
- order processing, informing customers about order statuses;
- interaction with the technical support site;
- interaction with a warehouse or supplier;
- interaction with transport companies;
- preparation of photo, video content, and descriptions;
- filling the product catalog;
- management of pages in social networks.
This list of responsibilities may not be final. You can distribute this work between two people for faster execution.
Payment and delivery
After you set the prices, you must determine the payment methods. Choose what would be convenient for you if you were a customer in your store. Remember that the more options the easier it’s to choose the right one and make a purchase. Popular methods are cash on delivery, a bank card, money transfer services like PayPal, and e-wallets. Discuss this with the developers of the site to select a payment system aggregator, design Registration and Order pages.
Speaking of delivery, decide on sales regions. You can send orders around the city or country or provide worldwide shipping. Find out about transport companies that work in the regions you need and contact them. Think about a product return process. Decide how to notify a buyer of the order movement. Also, don’t forget about the appearance and safety measures of the package.