We all know Amazon. This is one of the largest online stores in the world. Another name in the category of online stores is alibaba, owned by a Chinese man, Jack Ma. Most of the time we see these two names in the search results when looking for a consumer product on the Internet. Gone are the days when we had to go shopping. Now almost all types of consumer products are available online, also globally. People can have their required things while sitting at home or in the office.
The concept of online stores started in the West and is now a growing trend in Asian countries. Seeing its popularity, many brands and companies went online. All the big corporate names now have an online presence. Social networks have played a great role in this. Brands and individuals also own online stores. Individuals along with their teams or families are also inclined to open online stores with a wide range of products. It includes books and magazines, garments, furniture, cosmetics and handbags, herbal products and medicines, construction material, electronics and jewelry, etc. The sole purpose of opening an online store is to expand the reach and take advantage of the maximum number of potential customers. An online store can give us a huge fortune as a long-term business even if it has started on a small or medium scale.
Let’s take a look at how an online store is different from brick-and-mortar stores and what benefits there are for you that aren’t available otherwise.
No physical space requirement:
Your presence will be web-based so you don’t have to worry about hiring or buying physical space, buying large shipments of items or goods at once, and storing them. However, you must pay for a domain name and the associated fees.
Without intermediary problems:
You can pick up the items/goods directly from a factory or manufacturer and transport them to the customer at retail price. Your earning ratio will also be high because there are no middlemen. A very useful tip for small and medium industries and home crafts is that they can reach potential customers and get orders directly. But for this they will have to spend reasonably on advertising.
Work according to capacity and resources:
Do you need to run the store on your own or is there a team or family there to help you? Make a work plan accordingly. If you are the sole manager, you can do this part-time alongside your job. You can extend it according to the available resources and when it starts to give you a reasonable monthly or annual income, you can leave your job or another job.
Manage it on the go:
You can manage your online store on the go with the help of a tablet, laptop, or smartphone. Without the hassle of being forced to sit in one place.
Long-term benefits and safe investment:
You invest a small or reasonable amount depending on the circumstances in an online store at the beginning. So the investment is safer than other business. At first it is slow but over time it gains customers and great benefits. You will reap long-term benefits if you continue to work ‘slow and steady’.
Work distribution by product:
If a team or family is helping you run and maintain your online store, you can spread the work out by product. For example, women may handle cosmetics, bags, women’s clothing, etc., while men may handle technical and electronic items. This distribution of work can make things easier.
Now take a look at some requirements too to maintain a great online store and reap the benefits.
Striking, user-friendly design:
Hire designers and inventory experts to design the store who already have experience in this field. For various types of items in the store, you will need to create sections. Links, buttons for easy navigation, ordering and cart, newsletter subscription and other necessary things should be there. Keep revising the design every two years or so.
Advertising and presence in social networks:
We all use social media these days, so it’s a great way to catch up with customers and the market. Create social media pages/profiles of your online store and available products and properly advertise to targeted audience.
High quality products and customer service:
Don’t compromise on quality and customer service! Sometimes customers complain that they receive a different item than the one they ordered or selected. This gives customers a bad impression and the online store’s reputation suffers. Give customers what you intend to give. Only good customer service can earn you a big name. The better the customer service, the more positive the result.
Response and delivery on time:
Check orders regularly and deliver items on time. Set a specific period for delivery, such as 24 hours for local orders and 48 or 72 hours for out of town and far away places. Delay in response and delivery will damage your business and reputation. Also organize a live chat with customers.
Clearly specified product description and charges:
Specify charges, including product price and shipping fee, clearly with each product. There should be no confusion between the price mentioned online and the price demanded at the time of delivery or purchase.
Hire a financial advisor who can guide you on how to spend the money and on what things. Research and study about the operations and functioning of online stores. Your financial advisor should have knowledge and experience in managing online stores as well as inventory.
Storage space for expansion:
In case you need a new storage space, you will have to organize it as soon as possible. The Internet is the largest source of knowledge about online store management, inventory, and storage. Study the way it works. You may need to do things like that in the future for your own store. Be aware of everything that happens and be ready to act according to new situations.
Hard work for reputation:
You need to spend a reasonable amount of time to make your online store a success. At first, you may not need to put in a lot of hours, but once your store is up and running successfully, you’ll need to put your full time and attention into it.
With dedication and hard work, you will surely get the result of your efforts.