Selling Your Wares on the Web: The Pros and Cons of Owning an Online Store
The beauty of the internet is that these days anyone can set up their own store and start selling from anywhere with very little investment required. Sites like eBay even allow you to set up a store without even having a website.
But if you are serious about selling online, you will want your own online store on your own domain.
Here’s a look at the pros and cons of setting up an online store, as well as what you need to know to make a real success of your store.
Pros of Running an Online Store
- It’s quick to launch (sometimes as quick as one day)
- An e-store is typically less expensive to run (although there are still costs involved)
- You can make it as small or large as you want, so you could even run a store as a hobby
- Professional tools provide you with a full range of features to use
- You can sell to customers all over the world
- You can make sales 24/7
- You don’t need a large amount of stock to get started
- You can operate your store from anywhere
Cons of Running an Online Store
However, there are a few cons to be aware of when launching an e-store:
- Some technical knowledge will be required because problems can occur with the website
- You will need to set up a good system for returning products
- Data protection measures are required to protect the personal details of your customers from threats like hacking
- It can be difficult to stand out and get noticed from your competition
How to Get the Most from Your Online Store
One of the most important things you will need to do is generate traffic to your online store. Without traffic, you have no business. Many websites focus on SEO, which involves getting their websites to rank high in the search engines for important keywords, and this is considered essential by many ecommerce stores.
You can improve your SEO using various techniques, such as publishing high-quality content on a regular basis, sharing content over your social networks, connecting with bloggers, writing guest posts on other sites, and building links on multiple sites. If that all sounds like a lot of work, you may consider hiring an SEO firm to help you.
Alternatively, you could use paid traffic, which will get you right to the top of the search engine results instantly so there is no need to wait to rank for keywords. You have to pay for your clicks, but you can work out how much you can afford and how many clicks lead to a sale so you can budget effectively. With careful management, this can be a highly effective way to sell products.
Facebook Advertising is another option to reach out to potential customers. You can target the perfect customers for your store and generate targeted traffic instantly.
However you generate traffic to your store, you will need to convert it. This will usually mean getting a sale, so you should optimize your pages for conversions. Make sure it is easy to navigate, and include a search feature so visitors can find the products they are looking for. You should also direct your paid traffic to specific categories rather than just to your home page.
Make sure your customer service is fantastic. Follow the conversation on social media and respond to comments and reviews. Use a tool like www.chatmeter.com to ensure you find mentions of your brand as soon as they appear anywhere online, and respond to them appropriately.
You will also want to set up an email list, Encourage people to sign up to your list by offering them a discount or something else that tempts them to sign up, then you can then reach out to them with details of the latest offers you are running, your latest products, news, and more to stay top of mind.
You can also remarket to them. Many people will not purchase from you the first time they visit your store, so use a remarketing program. You can then target them with ads on other websites and their social media accounts once they have visited your store, and you can tempt them back with a special offer.
Enjoy the Benefits of Running Your Online Store
Running an e-store has many benefits. If you have always wanted to run a store, but you have never had the time or funds to open a physical store, an online store could be ideal. Just make sure you are aware of the pros and cons, and follow these tips to make your store a success.
Collin Holmes, founded Chatmeter, Inc in 2009 and serves as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Holmes is a graduate of the University of California, Riverside and graduated with an MBA from San Diego State University. Prior to Chatmeter, Mr. Holmes served as Vice President of Product Management and Director of Product Marketing for xAD, Inc. (LocalAdXchange) (also known as V-enable). Mr. Holmes comes with a couple decades of overseeing and developing product roadmaps, business development and managing the process of driving applications to market.