Whether it’s tirelessly job hunting or riding out that painful, never-ending week before payday, we’ve all been there: frantically racking our brains for ways to make some extra cash.
After devising some pretty outlandish schemes, it’s usually just a matter of time before we come back down to earth and accept our cashless fate, having written most of them off as unfeasible (or illegal).
However, if you are seriously thinking about starting your own project, there are some very credible – and achievable – solutions to consider.
How to Launch Your Own E-commerce Site
With more and more people opting to shop online, the e-commerce market is booming, and there has never been a better time to set up your own online shop.
Naturally, the market is also highly competitive, but with enough passion and the right tools, there’s nothing to stop you being up there with the best of them.
If you fancy yourself as an entrepreneur in the making, take a look at our preliminary guide to launching a successful e-commerce site.
1. Find Your Niche
Find something cool to sell, and sell it. Easy, right? Whilst this is, essentially, e-commerce in a nutshell, it’s important to sell not only something that enough people want, but also something that you are passionate about.
It may sound clichéd, but unless you really believe in your product, you’ll have a tough job convincing others to buy it; it is much, much easier to write persuasive copy and create a dynamic website based on something you love.
Perhaps you make jewelry in your spare time, or have dreams of revolutionizing the sport industry – whatever your “thing” is, use it as inspiration for your online store. Some more useful product tips can be found here.
2. Create a Professional Website
Some of us may have dabbled in web design in one way or another (remember Piczo, anyone?), but a legitimate online business calls for something a little more serious.
An e-commerce hosting package, available from companies like www.1and1.co.uk, makes it easy to design and edit a professional-looking, fully functional website that boasts all the core features of an e-shop, including shopping cart software and the integration of price comparison sites.
Optimizing your site for mobile is also crucial for gaining a competitive edge, and this is something that the right e-commerce hosting package will also take care of.
3. Showcase Your Goods
You might have the most life-changing gadgets or sought-after fashion items in your stock room, but the fact remains that products cannot sell themselves.
Given that consumers are unable to see them in the flesh prior to purchase, e-commerce goods are nothing without a compelling product description and quality images to back it up.
Aim for a concise text that both informs and persuades, detailing all technical features and materials, as well as suggestions for when the product might be useful.
Complement the description with plenty of photographs from a variety of angles, and provide a zoom-in option where possible.
4. Set up a Merchant Account
A good eCommerce site ensures that the shopping experience is as smooth as possible, and this includes making it easy for customers to pay. In order to receive credit card payments, you will need to set up a merchant account.
This is effectively an agreement between the seller (you), the bank where the merchant account is held, and the payment processor, enabling you to process online purchases made via credit or debit card.
A good tip for attracting and retaining customers is to also cover a wide range of payment options and card types, reducing the likelihood of that oh-so-frustrating abandoned shopping cart scenario.
5. Devise a Shipping Strategy
When it comes to selling online, an effective shipping strategy is not only logistically necessary but also instrumental in winning sales.
Before you start selling, decide which shipping provider you will use and familiarize yourself with the costs. Offering free shipping is a great way to incentivize customers and can help to give you a competitive edge, especially for new businesses entering the market.
If all-out free shipping is a no-go for your profit margins, you could offer free shipping after a minimum spend instead. Whichever strategy you go for, it’s important to find a system that appeals to your customers whilst allowing you to make a profit in the long run.
6. Secure Your Store
This might sound like the boring part (ok, it is), but it must be done. Before unleashing your site, it is absolutely crucial to ensure that customers can safely browse and buy from your store without putting theirdata at risk.
What’s more, most people will be reluctant to enter any payment details unless they see that your site is secure, so it’s in everyone’s best interest.
From using order tracking numbers to implementing strong SSL protection, there are many ways to safeguard both you and your customers against fraud and cyber threats. Prior to launch, be sure to browse this list of necessary security measures.
7. Spread the Word
Having created a professional and secure site, it’s time to open the (virtual) doors to your online store. Thanks to social media, you can effectively run your own marketing campaign, so use every platform withinyour power to promote your business.
Following relevant profiles on Twitter and Instagram is an effective way to spread the news of your product to the right ears, while posting industry-relevant content will help to create a buzz around your site.
Whether it’s likes, follows or shares, never underestimate the power of social when it comes to getting your website known. Good luck!
Lastly, here are some quick tips on what to avoid if you’re interested in setting up your own business.
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