The impact of the coronavirus is having a profound impact on the global economy and has been forcing many businesses to close their brick-and-mortar stores leading to a loss of income. The silver lining? People are turning to online shopping and home deliveries now more than ever before, which means that if you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to build an eCommerce website and cash in on the millions of dollars to be made in online shopping.
If you want to know how to create an online shop that is successful, here are seven simple steps to start making money online.
1. Create a Business Plan
Running an eCommerce business that is profitable starts with a basic business plan as it can save you a lot of time and money in the long run and prepare you for potential challenges and opportunities as a new online entrepreneur. A typical online business plan includes competitive market analyses, considering products and offers and, of course, a marketing- and financial plan. Some other things you will need to consider are web-hosting costs, merchant account costs, shipping fees, taxes, marketing expenses and employee wages. You will also need to think of the domain name you’re going to use. Once you have a well laid out business plan, you will have a clearer vision of how to start an online store and will be able to hit your targets more easily without going over budget.
2. Set Yourself Apart
When creating an eCommerce business, chances are there are plenty of competitors out there selling similar products to you. Therefore, one of the best eCommerce business tips involves creating a distinct brand identity for yourself. This will let you stand apart from your competitors and give customers a reason to buy from you instead. There's no harm in checking out the competition to see what they are doing. This will enable you to find that gap in the market and create a unique offering.
3. Build an Online Shop or Choose an eCommerce Platform to Integrate with Your Site
If you don’t have an existing website yet, you will benefit from choosing an eCommerce platform that allows you to build a site from scratch. A digital marketing agency that specialises in eCommerce websites can help you determine whether a site with a shopping cart is right for you or a streamlined online shop. It’s important that the site is built using the latest platforms, technology and methodologies to ensure that your site is reliable, optimised for conversions and sales and tailored to your unique business needs and requirements.
Alternatively, if you already have a website, you can implement a simple checkout solution that you can easily integrate with your existing site. eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, SnipCart and E-Junkie enable you to transform an existing website to a fully-fledged online store. When choosing an eCommerce platform, storage space, safety protocols and customisability for site design are the most important elements to consider.
4. Invest in a Good PIM Software Solution
Running a successful eCommerce business is hugely dependent on the technology that powers it. Aside from the convenience of not needing to leave one’s home, shopping online offers the benefit of accessing useful product information, which, most of the time, is way more informative that what one would find in a brick-and-mortar shop. This is where a good Product Information Management (PIM) software solution comes in. PIM software offers e-shoppers an easily accessible user interface that enables them to find the desired product easily and provides everything they need about product availability, specifications and prices. This improves customer experience, increases conversion rates and significantly reduces cart abandonment and returns. The software can also improve search engine optimisation through enhanced data for meta titles and descriptions, which are important on-page ranking signals for Google.
On top of this, PIM software also boosts time efficiency by helping you update the inventory, replace out of stock items before customers start complaining and access real-time data and relevant product reports. A good PIM system is truly considered to be an indispensable component making money in eCommerce.
5. Set up a Merchant Account
To be able to process and receive credit card payments, you need to open a merchant account. The first step is getting a merchant account at a bank, preferably one you already have an account at. Next, you’ll need to choose credit card brands to work with. While Visa and MasterCard are the most widely used, you might consider offering payments with other cards as well if your clients are from countries with their own unique credit card brands. Other things to consider are payment models – whether you are going to offer recurring billing or one-time payments. You’ll also want to analyse your turnover since this will determine the rates charged by the bank. Be prepared to provide the financial institution with all the essential documents that display your financial state and card turnover within the last year or so. The bank will also need a detailed list of all the business activities as well as tax returns with your application. Finally, it’s important to ensure the checkout is secure and product and delivery options descriptions are clear.
6. Get Your Products on as Many Channels as Possible
As far as eCommerce tips and tricks go, it’s a fact that being in more than one location online is a sure way of propelling your growth; and this means listing your products on multiple channels such as Amazon and eBay. Keep in mind that products sold through an authorised reseller need a good warranty. You also need to have clear distribution agreements with any distributors or retailers specifying where they can and cannot sell the products. Additionally, it might be a good idea to do research on how to create an online shop on Facebook and leverage the huge exposure of this powerful platform.
7. Advertise Online
The professionals who know how to make money selling products online also know how important online marketing is. Using targeted paid ads such as Google shopping ads, as well as product-specific remarketing ads is a great way of driving quality traffic to your online store. Another great marketing channel is video, consumers’ favourite way to view content, according to studies. If you don’t know the first thing about online marketing, don’t panic. There are many industry experts who can provide a comprehensive online marketing strategy specific to your products and industry keywords.