7 Steps to Starting an Online Store

June 22, 2016

Shopping is one of America’s favorite pastimes, so is surfing the Internet! It’s no surprise that statistics show that there are 205 million online shoppers in the United States alone. By having an online store, you can attract customers who would not visit your brick and mortar store otherwise, but will make a purchase online.

Here are 7 steps to get your online store started:

Pulse - Starting an Online Store

  1. Figure out what you need. When it comes to selling items online, you have many options. For example, you could use an online marketplace site like Etsy. However, these sites charge fees for their services. Depending on your budget, a more cost effective solution may be to develop your own ecommerce website. Ultimately, your budget, skills, and abilities with technology will determine this decision. If you need help in this area, we offer web design services that include ecommerce options and our first consultation is free of charge!
  1. Be your brand. Like any other part of your website, your online store should reflect your brand. Colors, fonts, logos, and other images used in your online store should be part of a consistent look shared by your other marketing materials. Also, be mindful of your brand’s tone and voice when creating content to make sure your product descriptions are accurate. If you are starting your business from scratch and do not have a brand yet, you should begin with that so your ecommerce website can represent your brand well by following the look and feel you wish to communicate to your customers.
  1. Talk money. Although running an online store is cheaper than a brick-and-mortar store, there will still be costs you need to cover. Along with paying the credit card companies or other systems that process payments, you will have to pay to ship your product to the customer, even if they pay for shipping. In order to make the most profit from your online store, be mindful of your budget and choose the most cost-effective options for your business.
  1. Serve your customers. Even though you may never actually meet your customers, customer service still matters, it just must be handled differently. Customer relationship management (CRM) tools can be helpful in managing orders, returns, and customer contact information. To keep in contact with your customers, consider setting up a live chat in your online store. Just be sure that someone will be able to respond to the chat so that customers can interact with an actual person. To thank your customers, send a follow up email or message included in the package you send them with a discount for a future purchase.
  1. Ask for feedback. Your customers’ opinions matter and they can help you sell more and attract new customers. In fact, 90% of customers read online reviews before they even visit a business. With that in mind, it may be helpful to have the option to allow reviews on your product pages as well as your social media profiles. These reviews can also help your local search engine optimization (local SEO).
  1. Be social. Your customers want you to engage with them on social media. Maintaining a strong social media presence is essential to your success. Any photos, specials, or events can be shared by your followers with their contacts to expand your audience. If you’d like to learn how to reach your customers on social media, download our Social Media eBook.
  1. Track your success. Using tools like Google Analytics can help you track your store’s performance over time. Information gathered by these tools can tell you who your customers are, where they’re from, and which products they are purchasing. From there, you can use this data to inform your sales and marketing strategies.

Starting an online store may be challenging, but the rewards are great. Especially if this store co-exists with a brick-and-mortar version. If you would like to create an online store or improve an existing one, give Pulse Marketing Agency a call for a free 30-minute consultation today.

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