Simple Guide to Make your Offline Business go Online, Start E-Commerce Business Now
Simple Guide to Make your Offline Business go Online, Start E-Commerce Business Now
Much of being an entrepreneur, I always wanted to make my business reach the global market. I was nurturing this passion since my college days, and the internet helped me in moving closer to my dream by giving information on the subject. I took a long time to make use of the information gathered after doing extensive research on the subject. This clarity and understanding on the subject inspired me to share the learning based on my experiences. This article is a guide for startups and existing businesses for entering the global E-Commerce market using online platforms.
What is e-commerce business?
Before getting into the details of how and why of online business, let’s get a strong grip on the fundamentals of e-commerce.
E-commerce business is the buying and selling of goods and services using an electronic channel like the internet. Introduced in the early 1960s, it gained popularity only around the Year 2000. Amazon and eBay stand as the revolutionaries of 1990s. Over the years, e-commerce industry has seen phenomenal growth alongside its continuous evolution. The increasing use of smartphones has given humongous scope for the fast-growing mobile commerce market.
Some statistics on online searches
GE Capital Retail Bank conducted a study on online buying behavior. It revealed that online research has seen a rise of more than 20% over a year. The total number of shoppers doing online research before buying products has increased to 81 percent.
If we look at the shopping trends, smartphones have changed the way people think and behave. It reflects in their buying behavior too. Data reveals that more than 90% of consumers use their mobile devices for while doing impulsive buying. This holds true especially in the area of fashion, travel, movies, and music. A considerable number of online purchases occur without any need for visiting the brick and mortar store nearby.
Challenges faced by offline businesses
Businesses are largely relying on existing online information and their Social Media presence. This has become a virtual reality for businesses to ensure their survival. They do not want to miss a major chunk of business for the sake of their online negligence and absence.
Some of the major challenges are:
- Small businesses undoubtedly need to compete with their online competitors.
- They need to differentiate themselves with their USPs (Unique Selling Points). This aids in their successful survival in facing the business demands.
- You need attractive online and offline marketing and promotion plans to put them forward as their marketing strategy.
- The offline business operates with time constraint and a customer needs to visit the store as per the working hours.
- The fact is that handling several things at a time and all business problems together is exhausting. And this continues to be your daily routine. Yet, it demands high energy to represent the brand effectively.
- The cost of an offline store is much higher than the website development and maintenance cost. A store involves premises, utilities, stock etc. which makes the cost of business operations much higher.
Why start e-commerce business?
A customer is the heart of any business. With the boom in the digital economy, the customer has become more significant than ever before. Online presence helps in engaging customer in promotional activities. This helps business owners attract, retain and maximize their audience and customers.
Some of the key factors which help in making digital presence effective are:
1, The User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)
The website design and development play a significant role in the way your website will rank in online search results. At last, it is about how the user feels and experiences while visiting your website.
2, Satisfactory Customer Service
Your customer service has a direct impact on customer satisfaction. The way in which support staff help s the customers in making decisions about buying a particular product makes a difference. The same holds true while selecting the services.
3, Brand Positioning
No brand can get recognition without proper efforts. When you are talking to a customer in front of you, the communication is different. This has an impact on their relationship with customers. When doing business online, the face to face interaction is missing. So, it is important for the business owner to define their focus. With that clarity, they should position themselves to their customers. Brand positioning includes target audience, product representation, information about themselves, etc.
4, Customer Loyalty
A customer should feel the satisfaction of association with your brand to display loyalty for your brand. Customer satisfaction brings customer loyalty. When you attend to their online queries, they get satisfied with their experience. They feel good and display loyalty towards the brand.
Easy steps for successful E-Commerce presence
Define your Brand
Analyze your product and services and figure out the most popular ones. There are two possible approaches, and you can consider them as per your choice.
- You may want to promote everything that is present in your offline store.
- You may be interested in some specific products on your online platform.
Know your Target Audience
Your business promotion becomes effective when you focus on your target audience. The demographics, their buying patterns, behavior are also the influencing factors.
When you are working on the pricing model, conduct in-depth research of your competitors. Then introduce an effective pricing model which is profitable for your business.
Choosing the niche
With the rising competition, you may choose to expand your scope of business. You can go online promoting a particular niche-based service. This usually helps in catering to a specific category of audience or user. Another way can be to promote a special range of products which is popular with your online target customers.
The design should be in under your brand, the products and services offered and your target audience. It should offer ease of use to the customer, deliver quick results, provide complete information and be user-friendly. You can choose a popular website designing firm such as XakBoX to fulfill the ultimate goal of your growth driven E-Commerce website in a smart way. Using WordPress based WooCommerce system will be cost effective when compared to other available options.
Content writing activities help in representing your brand online. This includes blogs, newsletter, brand representation on the website, social media engagement etc.
Photography is usually ignored but it plays a big role in presenting yourself. One should share high-quality images of the products. Avoid use of low-quality images. This will help in showcasing yourself on social media and contribute big time in growing business. These photographs speak about your passion and commitment towards serving the customers better.
Timely Delivery and Communication
The success of an online business is completely dependent on your services. Keep the packaging and shipping channel and backend documentation of orders aligned. Once the customer has ordered, it is your responsibility to keep a track till the order gets delivered. Communicating the delivery status is important.
Business Representation on Social Media
When you are entering into the digital media, you should start by creating your own social media accounts. It is good to create accounts on several platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest etc.
Make your profile according to business needs. For example, LinkedIn caters to professional network while Facebook is more into of social networking.
Your favorite platforms should be those which relate well to your target group. Bloggers and influencers can make a big difference to your total outreach. Their contribution to sponsored content and product reviews is worth considering.
Domain and Hosting
You can consult one of the popular domain and web hosting providers such as XakBoX Hosting, Godaddy, etc to choose an appropriate domain name and buy it. Also, you need to setup an SSL certificate on your website which will ensure the security of your website too.
Shopping Cart and Payment Gateway
The shopping cart should be simple where the customer can place orders, make payments and track shipment status. This will be based on the system you prefer to build your e-commerce website & most of the shopping website platforms have integrations with payment gateways. Some of the popular Payment Gateways that you can choose from are CCAvenue, Paypal, etc.
Lastly, ensure to use free and paid marketing and analyzing tools like Google Analytics, Webmaster tools, Heat Map tools, Google Adwords etc for clear feedback & marketing on how your website is delivering. Read our previous blog about 7 tools you should be using if you are trying your hand at digital marketing.
or in short hire experts like XakBoX for managing your digital marketing. And, be ready for some amazing surprises!
Don’t worry if you are operating your business with minimal investment. You can still establish to kick-start your e-commerce business.You can start with the business services of big sellers marketplace like Amazon or Flipkart. Know more in our next blog where we will discuss “How to sell your products online via Amazon/ Flipkart marketplace”.
How to sell your products via Amazon/Flipkart online marketplace?
[…] the last blog, I shared about how and why it’s necessary to have a successful e-commerce presence. Now it is time to take a step further. I was dazed with the boom in online marketplace. It was […]