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How to start a small independent online store

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The number of small independent stores creating an online presence is ever increasing. With a wide range of potential customers to reach and easy cost-effective ways to reach them, there has never been a better time to start an online store.

Although the thought of starting an online store may be daunting for some, the benefits for your business are worth the time. Whether you are selling arts and crafts or high-end trainers, an online store can help you promote your products, increase brand awareness and establish a loyal customer base. Online stores can also help in building customer profiles and creating a rapport, through emails and offers tailored to them. If you want to build a successful online store then read on!

Choose your Product or Speciality

You may already have an idea of the type of product you want to sell, or maybe you know exactly what your company specialises in. Either way, deciding on your product or speciality is a vital step in creating your online store. When deciding on your product is it important to think through the following points:

Supply chain – will this product be something you make yourself (and if so where will the materials come from?) Or are you selling something on from somewhere else? 

Price – the price of your products is central to how successful your product may be. The best way to scope out price is to take part in some market research, look up similar products and their prices. Alternatively ask people who you feel may use your product how much they would be prepared to spend.

Know your audience – it is key to know your target market. Does your product appeal to teenagers or avid sports fans? It is important to know who you need to market your product at so as to achieve the most sales. 

Gaps in the Market – with such high numbers of online stores selling an incredible range of products, how will you make your product stand out? Additionally, even if you can make your product stand out, is there a demand for it? There is little point investing time, energy and money into something which has no potential to develop a strong customer base.

Creating a Platform to Sell your Product

Once you have decided on what you are selling, it is now time to think about how you will sell it. The best way to do this is to create a website where customers can browse the range of products. It is also crucial for your website to have ecommerce features such as a shopping cart, pages for customers to view products and a method of securing payments. Many website builders will provide this if coding is not your speciality! 

When creating your website it is also important to think about how your website portrays your brand image and the products you are selling. Aspects such as photographs, colours, fonts, layout and logo can all have an impact on whether customers return to your website or continue browsing once they find the site. 

Think about how your Products are Displayed

In order to get the most out of your website, it is important to market your products correctly. Key aspects to consider are: 

Photographs – these should be clear, high-resolution pictures that clearly display your product from multiple angles. They should be bright images that are well composed in order to attract customers’ attention.

Product Description – having an accurate product description will help you promote your product and avoid any customer confusion. Consider including key specifications such as size and material of the product.

Policies – what is your returns policy? Ensure that you are clear with each product what the returns policy is and state the policy with every item.

Creating an Effective Marketing Strategy

Marketing can help improve how many visitors see your website and therefore how many products you sell. There are a few methods which your business can use to increase brand awareness and product sales. 

The first is utilising social media. By creating pages on sites such as Facebook and Instagram, you increase the range of people you can reach and communicate with. There are also features on these sites which allows you to link products to photos, creating an easy way for customers to find your products. 

Another way to increase brand awareness is to use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tools, which boost your product up the ranks in Google search results. Many website builders have this feature as part of their package to help you boost sales easily. 

These steps can help you build a successful online store with a wide customer base and high visitor numbers. 

If you are looking to build a website for your company, then look no further than Go Sitebuilder! Our simple design means you can have a professional-looking website up and running in minutes, and eCommerce features are included as standard. Try our 14-day free trial today.

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