If you haven’t already, now’s the time to establish an online retail business presence in addition to your brick and mortar store. E-commerce is the fastest growing channel for retail sales, growing at an exponentially higher rate than traditional storefront sales.
Setting up an online store can be especially advantageous for a new small business, since it immediately expands your potential customer base worldwide. Setting up shop online may appear challenging, but with just a few simple steps, you can be generating e-commerce revenue.
Getting Started Selling Online
The main move to an online presence is the creation of your business website, an online storefront. However, you can get started selling online even before your website is created. Consider listing products on Amazon.com. You’ll have to share a percentage of the revenue, but in return you get immediate exposure to hundreds of millions of potential customers. You can also sell through sites such as Ebay.com or Etsy.com.
In creating your storefront website, work carefully to design your site to make it easy for visitors to navigate. Make buying from your store as easy as possible. For example, since many consumers shop using their smartphone, make sure your website is designed to be mobile-friendly.
Give your site a memorable look. Use professional, high-quality images, and choose colors and fonts to create a consistent brand image for your store.When people visit your site, you want to get their contact information for use in email marketing campaigns or to help you connect with them on social media. An easy way to build an email list is by offering a free product – such as an ebook – or service in return for customers’ email address.
Consider using Shopify, an e-commerce platform for the creation of online storefronts. Besides offering integration of multiple sales channels, marketing and shipping services, Shopify is in partnership with QuickBooks Online, which means you can integrate sales and customer data into your online accounting software.
Once you have an online store, your major task is attracting potential customers. For openers, take advantage of all available free online listing services, such as Google Places, and local and internet directories.
Create profiles for your business on social media outlets. It may take awhile to create a sizeable following on Facebook or Twitter, but it’s well worth the effort. Social media provides a low-cost marketing channel, and the opportunity to leverage your exposure by encouraging connections to share posts or recommendations about your business.
To motivate friends and customers to share your store with others, frequently offer rewards, such as discounts or a free product or service, in return for referring new customers. This expands your marketing reach and also increases customer loyalty.
One attention getting tool for transitioning existing real-world customers to being online customers, too, is QR codes – barcodes consumers scan with their smartphone that connects them with a specific website. QR codes are a fun way for people to connect with your business, since they have to scan the code to find out what your message is.