Create Your Online Store: Starting Off Simple
Starting Off Simple
As a business owner looking to create an online store, you’re probably tempted to think big, ambitious thoughts. When you’re starting out, a whole world of earning potential is right in front of you. Plus, it’s nice to imagine your brand ballooning into a beloved name for shoppers across the world, much like Amazon.
But hold up a second. Amazon didn’t get where it is today without a lot of hard work and development in the beginning. Having a vision of where you want to be down the road is one thing; trying to get there in a few months is a complete other thing. If you want to create your online store the right way, you need to have a little patience and start simple.
Starting simple means reflecting a simplistic mentality across the board. It means making things simple for your customer as well as yourself. Believe us: the simpler your business is in the beginning, the less headache you’ll have down the road.
Here are a few ideas for creating your online store with simplicity in mind.
Feature only a few products to get yourself off of the ground.
If you’re buying your products in advance, featuring only a few products means a lower initial investment. It’s also easier to make your mark as a brand name in your market if you focus on a niche. Think Starbucks or Coke—a brand name that started with a single product and expanded. These types of details are crucial when you create an online store.
Make your page simple for shoppers to get around.
Simplicity is good on the shopper side, too. You may be tempted to add a bunch of bells and whistles into your store design—but remember, the easier it is to get from point A to point B, the better the chances your customer will actually make a purchase. A simple navigation structure is always the way to go in ecommerce.
Roll out new functionality slowly so you don’t confuse or overwhelm customers (or yourself).
Let’s say you plan on doing daily or group deals on your front page to get more sales sometime after you create your online store. You wouldn’t want to launch this new feature at the same time as a new payment process. It could confuse the customer. Instead, remember to keep things simple and roll out new functionality gradually.
Simplify how your platforms interact with each other.
On the backend, you want to create an online store that really syncs all of your systems together. In order to do this, you need to have a very flexible shopping cart software solution.
Syncing is one of the most important things you can do to simplify your store. Consider how complex managing several different platforms gets, especially if you have to manually enter data as it changes. By syncing your stuff, you get a simpler life as a small business owner.
Five Tips for Selling Online
Selling face-to-face is an art—but selling online is a whole different animal. Building consumer confidence online isn’t as simple as a wink, a smile and a nod—or is it?
Your customer’s first impression might be as easy as that, but guiding the customer through the purchasing process is much, much more difficult. You have to inspire credibility early on and keep it. The barrage of online stimuli makes closing the deal online more difficult than ever before. Creating trust, confidence and loyalty for your brand relies on several factors. Below you’ll find some of the most important ones.
01: Differentiate Your Business from the Competition
Research is a part of every marketing campaign, but once the research is done, what do you do with the information? Your value proposition and brand message must include what makes your business unique. What does your product or store do differently than other stores on the market? Use that information to craft a compelling message.
02: Highlight Benefits First, Features Second
You know exactly what your product does—but have you translated your features into benefits? The first thing every customer asks before they make a purchase is “What can you and your product do for me?” For example, if you’re selling software that cuts administrative work in half for businesses, that should be the first thing communicated to the customer. Your customer may not understand that unique permission settings for every business user eliminates administrative confusion, but they will understand what “save time” means.
03: Test Your Site’s Functionality Often
Pretend you’re a customer and use your storefront from start to finish. Does everything work right? Are there any parts of the sales process where you could imagine a customer getting tripped up? How many different pages does the customer have to fill out before the sale is completed? Think about common online shopping pitfalls from the point of view of a customer. Then, tailor your storefront so you can avoid those pitfalls and make the shopping experience as convenient as possible.
04: Maximize Your Sales Channels
Leveraging affiliate and affinity partnerships are great ways to open up new sales channels. If you aren’t a reseller or distributor for other brands, consider selling your products through well-known online outlets like Amazon. Aligning your brand with other brands that consumers already trust is a great way to build credibility for your business, increase sales and collect more revenue.
05: Build Trust, Credibility and Brand Loyalty
How long is your attention span when you surf online? If you’re like us, you won’t last very long, and neither will your audience. Posts between Knowing your audience is the first step to communicating effectively. When you know whom you’re selling to, the language and message of your brand comes naturally. Simply put: customers trust a brand with the same interests and goals as them.
To counteract the prevalence of online fraud and identity theft in the media, inspire trust by wearing a badge. Displaying a brand of PCI compliance or other security software (like McAfee or TRUSTe) is a simple way to offer your customers the peace of mind that comes with the secure transmission of their personal data.
Five Tips for Starting Your Online Business
Today’s technology and online resources make selling online simpler than ever. A comprehensive shopping cart solution is a crucial step in the process—but starting a business requires more than just a sales channel. Check out these five tips on how to start your online retail business.
01: Select Your Products
The more you know about what you’re selling, the easier it is to sell. Your product should reflect a market you’re enthusiastic about; product knowledge translates to customer confidence in your brand, in turn leading to higher revenue.
Concentrate on a few products before you expand. In the beginning, testing customer response is crucial. That way, return customers can help you augment sales on new product lines. The products that you post on your site should be order-ready, or if customizable, have a short turn-around time to prevent customer frustration and give you positive merchant reviews and ratings.
02: Create Your Company
Based on your products, build a brand that reflects you, your goods and your style. You control your brand, and your brand controls the message your customers walk away with. Customers take notice of a well-developed brand. Focus on your company’s unique style, industry niche or selected products for inspiration.
03: Choose Your Domain Name
Think of your domain name as your business' first impression. Your web address should be well thought-out and should reflect your brand. Search engine optimization factors rely on your domain name. Choose an address that is easy to remember and describes your business. Many companies successfully use their company name for their domain.
04: Build Your Online Store
Sign-up with 3DCart for a free 15-day trail and start setting up your site and store. Our eCommerce shopping cart software has everything you need to design, market and sell your products. The platform is feature-rich, easy-to-use and ready to go right out of the box. To assist our customers, we offer 24/7/365 support, so if you have a question or need a suggestion, we’re here to help.
05: Set-Up Methods of Payment and Shipping
A business is about making money, right? Select your payment methods carefully; it could be the difference between gaining and losing a customer. PayPal, Google Checkout and Amazon are great options, but you’ll want to offer more forms of payment. Accepting all major credit cards gives every customer the peace-of-mind and convenience of using your store and increases your company’s credibility.
Security is always an issue; make sure your shopping cart software has credible backing, like Visa PCI Certification, for customer reassurance. Displaying this information is key to building shopper confidence in the safety of their data.