With global e-commerce in 2012 reaching US$1trillion according to digital marketing firm, eMarketer, this sector is still very much growing. If you have that million dollar idea or want to have some extra monthly income flowing into your account, setting up an online business is the perfect way to do so. The following steps will help you along the way to online success.
The Business Plan
The essentials for making a business plan is to know your target market, your competition both locally and internationally, and attract funding to help you make a name for yourself and build consumer loyalty. The importance of consumer loyalty is essential especially with social media giving a voice to consumers; your success will depend on how your consumers view your business. Blog coverage will help to engage your business with your consumers and other strategic partners. Don’t forget to legally register your company for tax and to get a trading license as the same rules apply to online businesses as they do to having a physical shop.
You will need a domain name which will attract consumers and make them begin to form a relationship with your new company. Domain name trade websites such as, dtrade.com/domain-names-for-sale allow you to buy and register your perfect and unique domain name. The design of your website is extremely important; too simple and the consumer will need more information, too much information and it can be confusing and offer seem overwhelming. Your website should be visually attractive and easy to navigate and should make it simple for consumers to buy your products. Be sure to regularly update and improve your content as innovation, invention and imagination are key to consumer retention and your future success.
One area where many online businesses fail is by not having an online ‘shop window’ to promote yourself. Not having the right “signs” means that consumers will not be able to find you or your products. SEO (search engine optimisation) is essential for you to ensure that you catch any potential customers searching for products related to your business on search engines such as, Yahoo! and Google. Interaction with your customers especially via social media outlets such as, Facebook and Twitter can offer essential information on how to improve your business and the service you are providing.
Once the customer is on your website your main aim is to add to your bottom line and therefore you need to make it easy for customers to order. A site with a difficult sales process often results in customers simply choosing a different seller. Security is also a vital part of customer transactions and should be your priority, assuring that customer details will be kept safe. This can be assured through a payment gateway, an e-commerce application service that authorises payments for online businesses. As is the case with a physical shop on the high-street, customer interaction and how you treat them is vital if you want to build a successful business built on customer satisfaction and confidence in the service you provide.
You need to be patient as a return on investment can be slow, it is therefore important to create an online hype as a new store opening on the high-street does. Make sure to offer something your completion doesn’t and concentrate on marketing your unique selling point to your customers. Online competition is fierce and your consumers have a stronger say in your success and reputation. But, unlike a local store, your consumer base is international and therefore the rewards from an online business can be massive.