Many of us have fantastic business ideas, and begin by sourcing or making stock to sell online to consumers. There are of course many websites out there such as Etsy, Ebay, and Folksy (to name a small proportion) that can help you sell your products online. However, these outlets will either charge you a commission, or have fees of some sort.
Why Do I need My Own Online Shop?
It makes sense to have your own website and own online shop, as it gives you full control and full profit. You can establish a brand and layout for your website which really suits the product you are selling and will give your customers something to identify with. If customers identify with you, you will get return custom, and they will also recommend you to others. With your own website and shop, they will have somewhere to go to find you.
You can still link to other sites you sell through, if you choose to, but having a main ‘base’ which you control will allow you to market yourself and control how consumers see your product and your brand. While Ebay and Etsy have fantastic marketing, it’s them, not you that controls who is reached and it is also their logo and branding associated with this marketing, not yours.
Firstly having established your brand, it is best to research your competitor’s websites. Make a list of what you like and dislike. Make a note of designs you like and why, and designs you don’t. This will really help you begin to pin point exactly what it is you are looking for from your online shop. Is there anything you feel is missing from these sites you visit? It is important you offer the best service, best presentation and best overall experience for your customers.
If you can offer you customers something better, then they will begin to shop with you, and you can draw customers away from your competitors. Perhaps you make it easier for customers to find matching products, or your photography is better. Or perhaps your payment system is clearer and easier to navigate. Either way critique your fellow competitors and continue to do so once established to stay ahead of the game.
Also see if you can find something that will make you stand out. Some websites are very memorable. What is it that you can do to make your website stick in your customers minds? ASOS for example remove all doubt from purchasing their products. Not only do they photograph their products, they have model photography, but they also have a catwalk video to show their product in action. This is very unique, and a memorable feature.
Website Developers and Website Designers…
Websites and E Commerce isn’t cheap, but as they say easy come easy go. So if you are investing in a good online shop and website research your designers and developers and spend time doing so. Make a note of who designs your favourite websites, gather quotes, and make lists of what you require. If something goes wrong with your website, how long will it take to fix? How much will future tweaks cost? Will the software the developer uses to build your website support SEO?
Going live can be stressful. There are always the last spelling mistakes to alter and also glitches which will no doubt occur. Once live, check your site thoroughly, and ask friends and family to do so too. They might spot something you can’t see, having looking at your website for months on end while it was being built. Once you are happy with it, shout from the roof tops- Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites to advertise you are there. You can always encourage people to visit your site and comment on photographs on your social media pages, by running competitions.
Make sure you continue to watch what others are doing around you. Keep up to date, and never assume you are successful and your work is done. You need to keep your customers interested, update your shop, and keep it fresh. Keep thinking of ways you can improve your service or make it more memorable and fun. Maybe add videos, a blog, behind the scenes photographs etc. Although you don’t want your site to be too busy and distract from your product, these extra features feed your customers interest in your brand.