One thing that discourages people from attempting to launch an online store is how crowded the market is. Looking at all the options consumers have available today, it’s easy to feel like your online store will never see enough purchases to generate significant traffic. However, that defeatist attitude doesn’t have a basis in reality. Here are some tips that will help guarantee your online store will turn a profit within the first couple of years, if not within the first couple of months.
- Learn Business Basics
- Study Some Marketing
- Get A Solid Website
- Send Out Trust Signals
- Get To Know Your Customers
Yes, there are a lot of online stores out there. But because creating a store is so easy these days, most of those competitors aren’t willing to put in the time and effort needed to get an online brand off the ground. By simply preparing yourself properly and putting together a strong business plan, you’ll already be starting ahead of at least 70% of all other store owners.
You can get ready by reading books, taking classes, joining online workshops, reading the experiences and case studies of other web entrepreneurs, and more. Just be careful not to use preparation as an excuse to procrastinate. You don’t need to be 100% ready before launching the store, just make sure you go over the basics.
During your prep phase, it’s also a good idea to learn marketing fundamentals so you’ll know how to get started once the store is live. There are even some types of marketing and community building you can get started before launching the store.
Marketing courses can be costly, but there is plenty of free information out there. Social media agency websites like this one are a good place to start your readings since you can learn a lot by checking what the pros are doing.
It can be tempting to splurge on a professionally-designed website right away but don’t be hasty. For at least the first year you’ll still be adapting your brand identity and business plan based on customer behaviour and feedback, so there is no point in spending a lot on a website that may not reflect your business’s identity a year from now.
Start with a free template or buy an affordable one. There are many ways to make a website eye-catching and unique without having to spend a lot. Just make sure the website is solid and responsive across multiple platforms.
Earning customer trust is the biggest hurdle you’ll have to deal with. After all, there are scam websites out there, and until you build a reputation it can be hard for consumers to know you’re not one of them. Trust signals like customer reviews, testimonials, photos of customers with the products, and accurate contact information can all help ease your customer’s concerns.
Customer feedback is a great way to find ways to make your online store more appealing and profitable. You can leverage email and social media to learn more about individual customers, how they found your store, what they thought of the products, etc.
Just resist the urge to send out a survey. One of the advantages of having a small customer base is that you can actually deal with them 1 on 1, so whether it be via email or in their DMs, just strike up a conversation and build some rapport before getting into the feedback collection.
Building rapport this way is also a great way to gain regular customers and brand ambassadors who’ll tell their friends about your brand.
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