Start An Online Store
According to Forrester Research, Co., U.S. online retail sales grew 12.6% to 176 billion in 2010. That number is expected to reach $279 billion by 2016. Not in the online retail game yet? You're missing out. Dying to get into online retail but don't know how? Here are some simple steps to take.
1. Start building your online store : Don't know code? Don't worry. There are a ton of sites that will provide you with easy templates and help you with things like shopping cart setups. You can even create a link from your current website to your online store using one an available template option. Check out Shopify or Volusion for simplified online retail design needs.
2. Consider payment system options : Your shoppers need to know that shopping online at your store is secure. That's why you have to choose your payment system carefully.
3. A good beginner option is PayPal : but, be warned, PayPal does come with some hefty fees that can quickly add up. PayPal does work in the beginning when your store is on the smaller side, but you will likely have to set up merchant accounts with credit card companies in the future. Most shoppers like to pay with credit cards, so keep this in mind. Also, check out Square as credit card payment option.
4. Create good customer service : From the start, your site should include a customer service option. Most customer service management (CRM) tools will cost around $40 per month. Look for one that includes all aspects of customer service from questions to complaints. Another good option is online or live customer service, but this is only a wise idea if you can man those lines.
5. Learn how to describe your products : Online shoppers can't actually try something on, touch a product, or feel a product. So, you have to do the describing for them. How? First, hire a photographer to take excellent pictures of your products. Then, hire a copywriter to write up your product descriptions – make sure that any writer you choose has experience. You may also want to send that writer a few of your items, so that they can get a good hands-on feel for what you sell.
6. Allow customer comments and feedback : I know, this can backfire. All it takes is one customer with a bad experience to ruin the comment section of your site. But, these kinds of comments also provide you with a good opportunity to show great customer care. Example: angry customer writes a bad review, and you quickly respond to that review solving the problem. What usually happens? That angry customer writes another positive review thanking you for solving the issue. See how that can work in your favor?
Lastly, make sure that the host you choose is a reliable one. We have so much information about cheap hosting companies on this site that I won't go into more detail, but find one that you can trust.
Ready to sell online and snag a piece of that billion dollar pie? Go for it! And let me know how it goes!