Written by – Julie Morris firstname.lastname@example.org www.juliemorris.org
There is no single formula for success that can elevate every company to greatness. However, there are a few important things that you can do to give yourself a little boost. When you’re starting your first online shop, you have to do a little legwork to help you stand out from the crowd. Here are four tips that can get you on the right track.
Create an Office Space
Even though your storefront is online, there is lots of offline work that has to be done to keep your business operating smoothly. Your home office, for example, should include everything that a commercial office would have, including a desk and chair and plenty of workspace. You also need a reliable internet connection, phone outlets, and office equipment, such as a printer. Keep in mind that most of your equipment, including furniture and electronics, can work to your advantage at tax time. You might even be able to claim part of your home as a deduction.
Part of maintaining your office space is to ensure that your family understands that it is off limits during work hours. You need a quiet area to concentrate and, depending on how you ship out your items, you’ll also need plenty of space for inventory and package preparation.
Know the Market
It is not enough to simply want to start an online store. Get to know the market inside and out before launching your brand. You will need to know everything from the best website layout and shipping software to what similar businesses are doing to keep themselves high-ranking on Google. Complete a thorough competitor analysis by identifying your competitors. Take a mental note of how they operate, including how they engage online and which products they might be missing in their lineup.
Learn When and Where to Sell
If you don’t have a background in marketing, getting your business name out there can be a challenge. However, once you know what your competitors are doing, you will have an idea of what works and what doesn’t. In the early days, it pays to utilize social media, including, according to Entrepreneur, Instagram influencers. But before you start sending products off for people to pitch, take the time to get to know your target demographic.
The first few months of your business should be all about properly establishing your digital presence. Not only will this give you a chance to carve out a foothold online, but it will also ease you into the process so that you can refine how you operate along the way. You might find, for example, that targeted Facebook posts convert more customers when they go live on the weekends as opposed to the middle of the week.
Understand Your Shipping Options
All online stores have one thing in common: they ship products. How you ship your products is a personal decision, but it’s one that requires a great deal of thought. Your options are typically to pack and ship yourself, utilize a dropshipping model, or coordinate through third-party logistics. There are pros and cons to each one, so do your research before making a decision and know that you can always change things up down the road.
Starting your very first online store is an exciting time, but one that requires patience and persistence. Just as you did not begin your career as an expert, it’s going to take some experience to get this just right. Don’t be discouraged if you make mistakes along the way since that is part of the process, and the best way to learn.