The internet has made it much easier and affordable to launch a business. Instead of renting brick and mortar space, stocking your shelves, and holding traditional store hours, you can immediately start taking orders from your website and fulfill them on your own time. While getting started is easy, the competition is fierce. You now need to get noticed by shoppers across the country – if not the world. If you are starting your business online, keep these five things in mind.
1. You may not need a website at all.
One of the biggest expenses for online businesses is website management. You need to develop a webpage that has eCommerce functionality, uses Shopify, and is constantly updated and maintained. The fact is, you might not need a website at all. Consider listing your products on a third-party marketplace like Etsy, eBay, and Amazon. You can make money and reach more people because of the high levels of traffic.
Plus, these sites come with built-in tools that help you manage your business and make sure your clients are happy.
2. You will need a good bookkeeper.
Regardless of the type of business you run, you will need to keep your finances organized to make sure your company stays profitable. While a standard bookkeeper can help you with basic small business problems, consider working with a specific e-commerce accounting service to help with more niche issues, like charging sales tax and tracking your marketing ROI.
You need a bookkeeper that understands the nature of an eCommerce business and is available to help you.
3. Work with a lawyer on vendor agreements.
Along with keeping an accountant on-hand who can help, consider using a lawyer who can review your various contracts and protect you in the face of legal uncertainty. For example, globallegallawfirm.com works specifically with high-risk merchant processors. If you are operating your eCommerce business in a unique niche or marketplace, they can help you.
4. Develop a marketing plan to get noticed.
The internet is incredibly competitive, with vendors looking to sell their wares to millions of eager shoppers. You need a plan so people will notice you. Consider setting up social media pages on Facebook and Instagram to promote your products. This way your friends and family can promote the items you sell. Once people start buying, ask for customer reviews. This is particularly important for third-party sites and Amazon sellers. Reviews will encourage customers to try out your products (growing your sales) while also increasing the visibility of your brand.
Set goals to hit a certain number of followers and reviews each month so your business keeps expanding.
5. Set aside time to offer customer service.
Even if you are operating out of third-party websites or simply becoming an Amazon seller, you will need customer service policies in place. Develop guidelines for how you will handle returns and what items you will accept. For example, you may set up a 30-day return policy if customers aren’t happy or accept items that arrived damaged or broken.
Many third-party sites allow customers to communicate directly with the sellers. This means that on top of creating products and filling orders, you will also need to be available to answer questions and handle customer service issues. By creating a plan ahead of time to address these problems, you will be less stressed when they crop up.
Launching your eCommerce business will take time as you develop products and scale the work. However, once you get going, you will find that your online presence is a huge asset to your brand and income.