Wish to start an online store? First of all let me congratulate for your attempt to go online and make a decision to cut the barriers, to reach out your products and services across the globe by starting your first online store.
In the following rows, I would like to explain, step by step, what you exactly need to do to start an online store. Your intention is very clear. You wish to increase your customer base by offering your products online to customers located in various corners of the globe. Here, you are required to host your products, attract people to buy them from you, receive their payments online, and deliver your offerings in time. Though it is possible to outsource processes involved, let us figure out what needs to be done exactly.
To begin with, in order to start an online store, you will need your website where you are going to promote your products. Creating a new website was a time-consuming task once upon a time, and required sufficient technical know-how. However, to get a good e-commerce website is not very difficult now. There are plenty of service providers, who can do it for you at affordable prices. Initially, you may need some clearances to get the web space required. You need to focus on graphics and other features to make your website look more attractive and user friendly. Keep in mind that you may need to update the information on a regular basis – to include new arrivals and special offers for your customers. It is always better to have an interactive website, where customers can have their inputs easily, rather than a Read Only kind of web page. You must also consider implementing an appropriate payment system, as you are supposed to get the customers’ payments online. Remember the customers may have accounts and cards with various banks and you need to allow them to pay through credit and debit cards or by other payment methods such as PayPal.
An online store is a platform where you sell something that you manufacture on your own. That is what most of us think when we consider starting an online store. And there is nothing wrong in that. However, practically, your online store could be a platform to promote attractively what others manufacture and wish to sell online. It’s called affiliate system. What I mean to say is… In this case, you don’t need to manufacture anything. You will not keep the stocks either. You will provide a platform to display products that others sell, having a tie up with you. Once you get an order for a particular product, that order will be forwarded to the manufacturer or the dealer who will deliver the product to the customer who has ordered it. Here, you will keep a small margin as you promoted and sold the product through your online store. However, to run this idea practically, cost effectively, and efficiently you need to have a good contact with these manufacturers, dealers, brand owners, etc. who are interested in selling their products and services through your online store. Ensure that they keep proper stocks to deliver the orders.
At the same time, shipping these orders or sending couriers and deliveries in time in different locations requires a strong logistics network. Apart from this, ensuring the quality of products being delivered, answering queries of customers, whether or not to provide Cash On Delivery privilege, facing customer complaints, getting feedback regarding satisfaction of customers, respecting customer’s opinions and protecting overall consumer rights are some other important factors to consider when you are going to start an online store.
My intention is not at all to discourage you in your attempt; however I wish to open your eyes regarding key factors that are going to affect your overall business and I wish to ask you to be prepared with solutions, as and when you are planning to launch your new venture.
To summarize, get a catching website prepared with all necessary approvals and technicalities involved. Promote your products and services online smartly to attract people to buy them. Get proper website hosting. Encourage more and more brand owners to be your partners and display their products through your website. Get a proper channel to ship the orders in time to different locations. Create a safe and trustworthy path to receive your payments from your customers online. Promote your website through advertising and some other innovative ways like affiliate marketing, where your affiliates will promote products in your online store through their blogs, forums, etc. for a commission. Keep on adding new things to your online store regularly.
I wish you all the success in your endeavor to start your own online store!