The business world has completely transformed over time, with e-commerce becoming the in thing. People have grown so busy they hardly have the time to visit malls anymore and prefer to spare some 15 minutes on their personal computer to shop online. If you are an upcoming entrepreneur or an already existing one that wants to take a leap into real business proceeds, here is exactly what you need; tips on starting an online business.
Identify a market gap.
Look around you and identify a need that hasn’t been filled well. Assess your market and see what people want and haven’t gotten. Preferably, scout around something you love doing. It’s easier to work with something you enjoy. A market study ensures that you have some guaranteed ready customers that can start you up and help get other customers too. You can choose to;
Ask from your friends and family what they would like introduced into the market.
Visit competitors’ websites and try to identify any gaps and critics so that you can design your business to serve these.
Most beginners flop as they look for the product first before they can identify the market. They end up with an expensive dead stock and frustrations, pointing fingers to the inventors of ecommerce.
Design a customized easy to use website.
In this website you can post all your products and update as you get more. Talk about these products and why clients should buy them. As people can also reach you directly to give their feedback, it’s this that you will rely on to improve your business by taking the critics positively and keeping up the commended work. Make sure you arouse interest by using compelling and catchy headlines. Make offers, everybody loves free things. Or don’t you? You could do a buy two get one free offer on some items. As you get feedback, tag testimonials of satisfied customers. This gives a reassurance to future buyers. Most importantly, establish credibility as a service provider. Always make your clients feel safe working with you. All these things need to show in your website as its now your ‘online shop’.
Use search engines to drive traffic to your site.
Simply having a website will not create awareness of its existence. You will need to find search engines that can direct people there. Create links that you can share to other groups to lead people back to your website. Write free helpful content and share it to all other groups you visit with your link provided. As viewers continue to realize how helpful the content you share is, they will begin using the link to get more and then you can now maximize on their visits to sell your product to them. This step not only pulls clients from all directions, it also passes you as an expert and people trust you even before you sell to them. So create that content and links then share, share, share.
Provide an email address and follow up on customers that respond.
An address will make you available anytime a client has a query they can’t post on the wall. Make sure you respond to each of these questions or concerns in the shortest time possible. Follow up with the customer to make sure they are satisfied. Once you have transacted business with a few customers, you can save up their addresses to be updating them on any new arrivals and sending them good wishes. Customers like to be recognized.
Maximize on back-end sales and upselling.
By now you have created a network of customers and saved their addresses. Provide items that compliment their previous purchases and reach out to them. Let them know that you are now offering these items and chances are 60% that they will come back. Send them emails with a ‘share’ option so that they may refer their friends to you and grow your network. Once in awhile, ask them of their opinion on certain products you have in stock or intend to bring on board. Let these people know that their opinion matters. Keeping a loyal client loyal works every time, all the time.
Diversify on your payment mode.
Customers that shop online never really have the time to spend in long complicated transactions. The easier you make the payment and acquiring of your product easier the better. Diversify, step by step, until you have several payment modes available. Kindly note that if you introduce all of them at a go you may not have enough time to plan your financial collections and keep record. Out of the many payment methods available, you can be able to choose the most used by looking at your target market. What do they find easiest to use? How affordable are the transaction costs? How easily available is this option in the targeted area?
Remember the problems you pointed out at the beginning of your website and the solutions you promised? Don’t lose focus. Stick to these objectives and deliver fully. It pays to have people know that you are one to keep your word. It also creates a very professional and credible image of you and your business. Your customers need to know you are reliable.
Don’t lose the oomph.
Finally, an online business is something you have to work on everyday like you just began. It never gets to a point that it can now run on its own. The moment you stop managing your website and growing your business relations, your competitors overtake you and you have to start from scratch. Wake up every day to keep your prospective clients hooked.
While many people may have different ways of starting businesses, the sequence above provides a tested and tried guideline that once used and followed to the latter won’t disappoint. After your website is up and running, remember that a business depends primarily on interpersonal relations. No matter how modern your website is and what a great collection of products you offer, you are not in business until you realize that the customer is always right. The customer is sovereign.
Author Bio : Keenan Belcher is a passionate technical writer and he writes on technology, online business, start-ups etc. You can visit his site SoundMoz