Post COVID-19 lockdowns, are people still shopping online? Perhaps more importantly, is it still financially viable for a business entrepreneur to start an online shopping eCommerce store?
In short, the answer is yes. While many of us discovered the convenience of online shopping during the COVID-19 lockdowns, these recently formed purchasing habits are admittedly here to stay. Indeed, where else can you shop from the comfort of your own home, dressed solely in your pajamas, dressing gown, and slippers, and even perhaps, armed with your favorite glass of wine?
These are behaviors that would be frowned upon in the outside world of traditional bricks and mortar shopping destinations. Shopping online can also be more affordable for price-conscious and budget-savvy consumers. With the overheads of traditional shopfronts being removed, consumers can shop for goods online at a reduced rate. Not to mention, these said goods are then conveniently delivered right to your doorstep, parcel locker, or post office box of choice!
As such – absolutely – starting an online retail store is still viable, even today. With consumers’ online shopping habits being here to stay – now and in the future – there is no better time than the present to start your very own eCommerce store.
Starting an Online eCommerce Business in Three Simple Steps
Step One: Secure the (eCommerce) Goods!
Naturally, the first step in starting a successful online retail store is choosing what to sell! Of course, you will also want to sell your goods at a profit. The good news: you can increase your profit margin and, as such, online store revenue by sourcing your eCommerce goods through a reliable and trustworthy wholesale distributor.
For instance, if your objective was to create an online store that sells predominantly giftware to the Australian market, it would be advisable to engage the services of giftware wholesalers in Australia. By doing this, you can ensure that you are procuring your eCommerce giftware products at a competitive wholesale rate. You can then resell these giftware items at a higher premium, thus increasing your profit margin.
It is important to note that by doing this, you are not really ‘ripping off’ your clientele. As you have already secured your eCommerce goods at the lowest possible rate, you can afford to sell your wares to your customers at cut-throat prices that traditional bricks and mortar stores could never even dream of! Also, you do not have the same overheads as traditional in-store shopfronts. For example, you do not need to rent your store from a landlord or even pay wages to shop assistant staff. You don’t even need to hire out inventory storage space! The beauty of using a wholesale distributor is that your eCommerce items are often delivered to you, already beautifully packaged and ready to sell straight to your customers. Your goods will be flying off the shelves!
Step Two: Create Your Website or Online Selling Platform
Next, of course, you need to create an online space in which to sell your wares. You may want to build a website or online shopfront. If doing this, it is advisable to engage the services of a professional website designer or digital agency. Alternatively, you may want to build out your online selling platform using a predetermined, pre-built interface such as Shopify. The most important element, however, is to remember that your online selling platform or website requires an in-built, internal payment gateway. This will enable and facilitate direct purchases through your website.
Of course, you need to be able to either integrate this payment gateway into your website yourself or engage the services of a web developer. It is important to note that building a payment gateway into your website can be complicated, as it requires certain web plug-ins to be integrated into the site. If you’re not 100% confident in doing this yourself, it is advisable to seek professional assistance. Needless to say, the most important part of an eCommerce store or online retail destination is its ability to take payments. As such, you will want to get this element of your website right!
Step Three: Promote Your Business’s Online Presence
Lastly, you will need to attract the attention of prospective customers to your website. This is done by promoting, advertising, and raising awareness of your business online. It is highly advisable to engage in some form of digital marketing here, for example, SEO. SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimisation, is the process of directing organic online traffic to a specific website. It is executed using several methods – including keyword optimization and digital content marketing. Importantly, if you are successfully engaging in SEO, you can increase the number of visitors to your website. And if your website’s user experience is engaging, appealing and interactive, you are likely to make sales!
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In our current economic climate, is it still financially viable to start yet another online business? The answer is yes! Despite impending economic recessions, consumers are still choosing to shop online. This is due in part to convenience but also affordability! Online stores simply do not have the same overheads as traditional shopfronts. As such, eCOmmerce business owners can afford to sell their wares at more competitive rates and still make a profit! So, if you are thinking about starting your very own online retail store, there’s no better time than the present.
Featured Photo by Karolina Grabowska: https://www.pexels.com/