The consumer shift to shopping online during the pandemic has prompted many merchants to focus on e-commerce business. Without the need of finding a place, paying high rents, and worrying about inventory, opening an online store seems less troublesome than a physical store. However, it is still a challenging lesson for new entrants. What are the steps of establishing your own online shop? What are the possible precautions?
Step 1: Determine your target market
The very first step is to choose the direction and target market of your shop: what kinds of products or services you are going to sell? Are customers going to be interested in your business? Remember, following the mainstream of the market blindly is not a wise manner. Doing market research before you decide on selling what, while considering the needs of different customer groups and the situation of market saturation. The difficulty of obtaining product sources is also an important element to consider.
If you decide to serve the mass market, you should consider how to differentiate yourself and stand out from all other similar competitors. If the niche market is your final choice, promoting your products to more people and increasing their buying intentions are the challenges you need to overcome.
Step 2: Pick a suitable E-commerce Platform
As we can witness, more and more E-commerce platforms have emerged on the markets, including Shopify, Boutir and Woocommerce. Even an ecommerce rookie can now easily set up a fabulous online shop by using different functions on the platform, without the need of acquiring knowledge of website development and design.
Social media giants Facebook and Instagram also introduced online shopping to their platforms. Any Facebook or Instagram user can switch hir or her account to “Business Account” and start selling products. Utilizing social networking sites to attract and interact with customers is also a good approach for new online shop owners to start their own businesses.
However, it is not easy to find the most suitable online store platform. Online store owners need to consider the following questions in combination with their core business before making their decision:
1. How are the security and payment functions of this platform?
Since all purchases made by customers in the store will be converted into online purchases, you should ensure that the selected platform uses an internationally recognized data center, provides a variety of consumption methods, and uses SSL certificates to ensure the security of consumers' personal information and online transactions , to ensure a safe, convenient and reliable shopping experience for guests.
2. How can this platform assist me to achieve better customer experience?
You should always be aware of the platform functions, do they provide a professional order management system? Do they have a well-established intercom setting to provide consumers with a satisfying purchasing experience? If you are selling physical products, it is even more important for you to check if this e-commerce platform offers an inventory management system. Make sure the platform also provides assistance for you to handle delivery procedures for return and exchange.
Step 3: Promoting Your Online Store
After choosing the appropriate online store platform, you should think about how to utilize the platform to formulate promotion strategies.
First, setting up a social media account for your online shop would be an effective approach. Take great photos for your product and update your social account frequently to maintain close interaction with your followers and potential customers, this will help you enhance good relationships with consumers and increase their purchase intentions.
How to Drive Sales with Instagram Product Tag4 Instagram Story Features You Should KnowHow to Attract Customers with Digital Promotional Codes
You can also cooperate with KOLs and invite them to post your products to their account to increase the reach of your website and products. If you are interested in learning more about tips for managing your online store, you can read our past articles:
Second, you should also expand your promotional channels as much as possible, such as using SEO (Search Engine Optimization), online advertising, or email marketing. You should also consider participating in offline promotions to attract new customers, including attending trade fairs, creative clusters, etc.
Step 4: Selling and Delivering
Many online merchants choose to cooperate with a reliable third-party logistics provider to settle down their product delivery process, instead of tackling complicated logistics issues by themselves. Cooperating with a reliable logistics company means that your product delivery process will be guaranteed, so you can focus on your core business and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your business. You can still provide high-quality services to your customers even in the peak season.
Pickupp has provided smart logistics services for more than 24,000 merchants, helping them to achieve fast, reliable and highly transparent delivery experiences. This allows our merchants to deliver their products to customers more punctually and manage their orders more professionally.
Pickupp has also launched a new one-stop fulfilment service recently. With our service, you are able to manage your orders and inventory with simple clicks. We also serve as your appointed return points and make customer returns painless. Interested in our service? Sign up as a business account now!