Businesses have migrated to the digital world to sell their products and services. Because of this, online retail is booming, and it’s in large part because of the effects of COVID-19. If you are thinking of taking advantage of this, here are ten things you need to get started:
1. Lots of research
First of all, what business model do you want to work with? This usually depends on what you want to sell. Are you offering a product or a service? If it’s a product, is it physical or digital? For physical products, drop shipping, where a third-party stocks the item, is a smart choice for startups who haven’t built a client base yet as it will save on storage costs. When the business begins to upscale, then you can consider wholesaling or warehousing. As for digital products and services, you can offer a subscription model or a free version with an option to go premium.
Next, you need to know what niche your business falls under. Again, this depends on what you’re offering. Let’s say you’re selling stuffed toys, then your business falls under the general niche for toys. Follow your competition. How are the successful e-commerce toy sellers promoting their product? Is there a good level of competition or too much? Don’t bother selling in that niche if there isn’t any competition. That means there’s no market either.
Speaking of the market, you’ll also need to know the kinds of clients you’re targeting. Are you looking to sell to parents who want to get something nice for their kids or for teenagers who wish to give their partner a gift? Figuring this out early on makes it easier to promote your business.
2. A fitting name
With the research phase done, the creation and execution phase begins. There’s a lot of competition in the online retail industry, so you need to stand out. The best way to do that from the get-go is by thinking of a unique business name — one that’s hard to forget.
3. A formal business registration
Now comes the complicated part. Formally registering your business helps you figure out how you’ll be taxed, personal liabilities, and administrative requirements that need to be set up. Plus, you must ensure that your business complies with state and federal laws. A common business structure many new businesses file as is the limited liability company (LLC). Aside from establishing your business as official, registering as an LLC lets you set up a corporate veil that protects your personal assets should anything go wrong in your business. It also lets you avoid double taxation and maintain a flexible management structure — without the hassle of setting up a corporation. Sound like something you’d want? Check with your Secretary of State’s office to learn about the procedures and requirements.
4. A solid business plan
Now you’ve got a formal business set up. Next thing to do is finalize your business plan. Write down all the specifics, paying close attention to your finances. How much are you going to invest in your business? How much do you expect to earn? This is the time to work out all the logistics and budget allocations, so don’t rush it.
5. An e-store that suits your vision
Time to set up shop (digitally)! When choosing a platform, consider the fees, unique features, customer service, accessibility, and overall performance. You have to pick a platform that suits your needs the most. Otherwise, you might have to deal with complications and limitations further down the line.
6. Marketable branding
Put that creative brain to use! Another thing you need to run a good e-commerce business is an eye for design. Your branding includes your business’s writing voice, color palette, visual designs, and anything else that makes your brand, your brand. This is vital, as a visually pleasing website is more appealing to buyers. So work on your branding, and stick to it.
7. Engaging social media content
Where are your customers? Many will be on social media. So, the best way to funnel clients into your e-commerce platform is through a strong social media presence. It’s also a direct way to engage with potential customers and create a community.
8. An effective marketing strategy
Just being on social media isn’t enough. With a business strategy comes a marketing strategy. This can be as simple as incorporating your branding to your business’s social media outlets, to other options like paid ads or sponsorships. You can even hire brand ambassadors to promote your business on their social media. Whatever gets the word out there effectively is a good marketing strategy!
9. A great network
Struggling to make sales? Then make sure you have a network that can help you out. Apart from the camaraderie, networking is an avenue to form business relations that are mutually beneficial. A shout-out from one of your friends might be just the pick-me-up your business needs to get the sales rolling. Just make sure you do the same back.
It’s not easy to run a business, especially one that’s wholly online. Don’t expect it to become a big hit in one night (or in one month, for that matter). It takes hard work, skill, and dedication to build a successful e-commerce business. You’ll get there. You just have to keep going.
It seems like a lot of preliminary work, but if you really want your business idea to take flight, you have to take the plunge. We never said it’d be easy!
Besides, there’s something appealing about being your own boss. You have control over your time, your ideas, and your business.
So, what are you waiting for? Get to it, and good luck!
Top Tips for Simplifying the Checkout Process for Your E-Commerce Store
The checkout is the last step a customer has to take in a sale. You would be surprised at the number of people who click away from their basket simply because there are too many steps to the checkout, or it is too overly complicated. Checkout needs to be straightforward and easy to navigate, whether it uses a simple payment scheme or offers something like buy now pay later. Here are some tips to help you simplify yours.
Settle on Your Payment Methods
Offering a lot of payment methods can be good if it truly gives your customers variation. Not everyone might have a credit card or could not want to use their bank cards for shopping online. Some might want to take advantage of a buy now pay later scheme you might offer. Others might want to use an e-wallet system like PayPal.
You need to settle on the payment methods that you want to offer in your business so you are then able to focus on improving the checkout process. Some methods will need extra support, others might need you to pick a certain widget. Before you even begin to simplify the overall checkout process, make sure you know which payment methods you want to use.
Remove the Need for Registration
You should certainly offer the option for registration. A customer might be very impressed with your brand and will want to come back again. Allowing them to register an account means that they can store certain pieces of data and make the next checkout process a bit easier for them to manage. However, there are many customers who will not want to go through this process.
For this reason, you should make sure to offer a guest checkout. A signup process can be quite lengthy, and you don’t want a customer to abandon their cart simply because they are faced with filling out this form. Guest checkout allows them to quickly purchase whatever they might choose, and they can then decide to make an account later if they so wish to.
Put in a Back Function
Nothing can be more frustrating than being hit with a “form resubmission” request when you are just trying to click backward to check something out that you might have got wrong. Mistakes happen, we can accidentally enter the wrong address or use the wrong domain in an email address. It is important that someone is able to click backward on their basket without messing things up too much.
Therefore, it is important that they are able to navigate backward easily, through links provided on the page itself or by using the browser’s back button, and that they are able to do so without messing up the basket. Should they leave the checkout by accident or deliberately, you need to make sure that they are able to return to the checkout with their basket intact.
Keep the Checkout Interface Simple
You might have adverts scattered around other pages on your site, but the checkout is not the place for them. It can be a good idea to maybe throw in some last-minute tempting deals on the page where customers review their basket, but when they step beyond this point things need to be a little different.
You need to ensure that the checkout is as simple as possible. Try to get rid of any links that don’t relate to the purchase process directly. They should be put on tracks that will direct them through to a completed purchase and it should not deviate in any way. With a checkout that is as free as possible from distractions, you will hopefully see many more conversions and fewer abandoned baskets.
Add a Progress Indicator
Many checkouts will stretch across multiple pages. It is often convenient to separate things like shipping information from financial data. However, it can be frustrating to have to just click through page after page. Your checkout might not even be that long, but it can seem like an eternity of form-filling to a customer in the dark.
The easiest way to negate this is by adding a progress indicator to the top of the page. This will tell them exactly how many more steps they have to take to be able to finish the checkout process and can avoid them choosing to leave due to frustration. Try to keep this progress bar simple, and make sure it lists all the steps they will need to take.
These are just some of the things that you can do to properly simplify the checkout process for your e-commerce shop. Since this is where you will pull in revenue, you need to avoid actions and choices that will result in your customers choosing to click away instead of completing their purchases. Try to look at your current checkout through the eyes of a customer, and establish where some of those changes need to be made.
Top 3 Price Monitoring Challenges
Today, the world is highly commoditized and new products are being launched each day. Every business wants to get noticed not only for their products but also for their pricing. Besides, more and more customers have increased price awareness.
Hence, if you want to experience consistent growth in the e-commerce market, you need to focus on the continuous adaptation of your prices. This means that you need to keep an eye on your competitors so you can make the right pricing decisions.
Price monitoring is basically studying the competition to know which pricing decision to make that will make you stand out. Nevertheless, price monitoring has its downfalls.
Why is Price Monitoring Important?
Having a price monitoring strategy in place can give you a competitive advantage and help you meet your business goals. It can help you know competitors that are similarly positioned and those that are differently positioned in terms of pricing. Strategic price monitors are also helpful for identifying your most important competitors and give you insight into their competitive behavior in the marketplace.
Effectual price monitoring in the e-commerce space can be done using tools like web crawlers and web scrapers. When employed correctly, these tools can help you acquire accurate and relevant pricing information so you can set prices for your products that will make you stand out.
Challenges of Price Monitoring
Most of the challenges with price monitoring are posed by accessing and matching data. Some of these challenges include:
One way that a business can get competitive is by observing the marketplace prices. Price monitoring is a powerful tool that needs to take place hourly, weekly, or on a monthly basis. Frequent price monitoring will give you fresh and relevant data so you can gain maximum advantage.
However, the world of e-commerce is highly dynamic and is subjected to change in different seasons. For instance, the pricing during sale peak may not be the same during off-peak. Most businesses constantly change their pricing in a bid to stay competitive and be updated with the changes.
Therefore, it can be a challenge to acquire accurate pricing information. This is especially true you’re your company needs updated information in order to make informed decisions.
Nevertheless, the scalability issue can be solved by building a customized solution that can help you build exactly what you need. To ensure this, work with a proxy that lets you adjust the scale of scraping by describing the data, the matching algorithms for the product, and the frequency.
By building customized solutions that are highly accurate and flexible, you will be able to collect relevant pricing information to meet your needs.
2. Differences in Website Layouts
Usually, some e-commerce companies have website layouts that differ from one page to another. This makes it difficult to effectively employ price monitoring strategies. Also, some competitors store their pricing information in different product pages or some of their products can go out of stock.
This can lead to missing or inaccurate data when collecting data. If dropping such competitors is not an option, then you need to find a solution that will help you gather accurate data irrespective of the website layouts. You may also encounter issues during the matching of crawled data because the prices may vary for different products.
In such cases, you may need to develop parsers for each page that you want to retrieve data from. Nonetheless, this solution may not be very effective if the websites that you are targeting keep changing their layouts.
Thus, it is crucial to use a real-time crawler that includes an e-commerce parser. A good web crawler will gather pricing information on different pages using parsers that don’t require frequent maintenance on your part. Additionally, there are proxies that can help you collect the pricing data notwithstanding the website design.
The acquisition of data from websites in different geographical locations is another challenge. If your competitor is from a different location, accessing pricing and product information from their websites may be as easy as acquiring information from a company in the same location.
Besides, some websites have restrictions that make it difficult to access their information if you are out of a certain geographical location. This is where proxies come in handy. Proxies can bypass geographical blocks and give you access to websites all over the globe regardless of your IP address.
Over the years, the world of e-commerce has experienced a great transformation from manual competitor monitoring to automated price monitoring. Technology like crawlers has made it possible to get reliable data from websites throughout the world.
However, as we have seen above, there are challenges associated with the automated process. To overcome these challenges, you need to invest in the right proxy. The best UK proxy will let you perform web scraping and web crawling to effectively monitor and track prices. Follow the link here to get more information about the UK proxy.
Top 5 Tools to Integrate to Your Magento 2 Web Store
It takes much effort to start an online web store, but it takes even more effort to succeed. Unfortunately, over 70% of startup companies fail approximately ten years after their launch. And even if they are successful, there is always room for improvement. Alongside other mistakes, lack of necessary tools is one of the reasons for failure. The availability of a website is huge progress, but your business should have relevant tools to achieve better results. For example, how can you store and use customer data without a CRM system or manage the inventory without ERP? Here are five must-have solutions that should be integrated with your Magento 2 web store with the help of a Magento development company.
1. CRM Systems
The role of CRM solutions for eCommerce businesses shouldn’t be underestimated. They store lots of customer data – contact information, purchase history, products of interest, and interaction history. This information can be used by the marketing and sales teams of the company. They can plan targeted promotional campaigns, send marketing emails, and provide exceptional support.
2. ERP Systems
The second must-have tool is ERP software. Companies have different departments such as production, accounting, and human resources. Each of them uses its particular system because of which duplications often happen. ERP software eliminates these duplicates and the likelihood of mistakes by connecting all these systems used by different teams. As a result, businesses can monitor customer databases, stock, orders, and accounts payable in one place. It boosts productivity, eliminates mistakes, and automates the work.
However, it should be mentioned that ERP – Magento 2 integration isn’t an easy task. Make sure to contact a Magento development agency to connect your website to the system smoothly.
3. Inventory Management for Magento 2
Running an eCommerce web store is meaningless without the possibility of managing your inventory. It would help if you had a tool that handles order delivery, shipping methods, and returns. If you have warehouses in different locations, the system allows choosing the ones nearest to the delivery point. As a result, your business saves delivery costs and time. Moreover, the Magento 2 – inventory management tool integration can provide you with reports on best-selling products and most shipped destinations. It would help if you used this insight to improve your marketing campaigns.
4. Online Visibility Management Platform
You cannot ignore the need to optimize the Magento 2 web store for search engines on the Internet. All your financial investments and effort will go in vain if your website doesn’t appear in top results when someone searches for an item on Google. The optimization is an ongoing process. Online visibility management and analytical tools such as Google Analytics or SEMrush help businesses monitor the website performance. You can conduct a website audit, reveal its weaknesses and eliminate them. This way, your eCommerce website will stay on top of search results.
5. BI Tools
Customer data is a valuable resource that businesses possess. However, it’s useless if you don’t know how to utilize it. BI tools allow creating dashboards and reports to visualize the data. For example, if you provide coupons for the first purchase, you’ll see how many people claimed it and how many used it. In addition, you’ll be able to track which month or season is the most profitable one. Then, you can leverage these valuable insights and make data-driven decisions.
The mentioned tools are must-haves for running a successful Magento 2 webs store. The technology market offers different CRM and ERP solutions, BI tools, and inventory management systems. So, regardless of your business’s peculiarities, you can find a tool that suits you best.
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