Running your own business can be complicated, but one way to make it simpler is by operating entirely online. It’s easy to open an online shop with only a few simple steps. Here are the benefits of opening an online store—and how to do it.
You Can Choose a Platform and Go
While you can build your own website to sell a product or service, it’s easier to choose an e-commerce platform. This way, you can hit the ground running—and get support when you need it.
Choosing an e-commerce platform is the most significant step. You should research different platforms to find one that best suits your product and your needs. For example, some selling platforms are perfect for a single product, while others are drop shipping-only.
To choose the right platform, consider the following:
- What type of product(s) you plan to sell
- What your budget is for service
- The amount and type of transaction fees
- Customization options for your online store
- Any limits to product listings or pricing
Online Stores Are Totally Affordable
Unlike a brick-and-mortar store, your online shop doesn’t require crazy-expensive monthly rent. You won’t need to buy equipment, invest in renovations, or even store products, depending on the type of product you sell (and how you ship it).
Some of the most common e-commerce platforms include:
- Shopify, which offers a 90-day free trial, after which pricing starts at $29 per month. Shopify also charges transaction fees for all payment types, but you’re able to sell more than physical products. For example, Shopify lists potential products like memberships, online classes, and even consultations.
- BigCommerce, which offers a 15-day free trial and then starts at $29.99 per month with no transaction fees. BigCommerce allows you to streamline your sales on social networks like Amazon, eBay, and Google Shopping, too.
- Etsy, which only allows the sale of handmade items. Etsy charges a five percent transaction fee on every item, plus additional fees when consumers use Etsy Payments.
- Squarespace, which lets you list gift cards, physical and digital products, and services, and costs $12 per month for the introductory level subscription plan.
Of course, there are many more online platforms to choose from—all at different price points. So, you’ll need to find the right fit for your business. Whichever option you choose, it will cost significantly less than opening a retail store.
Product Shipping Can Be Hands-Off
One perk of an online store is that with many products, you can choose the type of order fulfillment that works for your business model. Drop-shipping, for example, allows you to receive and process orders for products, while a third party packages and ships the items.
The key to ensuring your customers are satisfied with your brand is to develop an order fulfillment system that’s efficient and reliable. You need fulfillment tools like straightforward ordering forms, smart collaboration tools, and working relationships with those in your supply chain.
Smart Tools Do the Work for You
Using automation and an array of online tools, you can make your business model mostly hands-off. Or, as hands-off as you want it to be. And while you can scale your brand and hire employees, you might not need to.
Things like abandoned customer shopping carts—AKA missed sales—can be a huge disadvantage for your bottom line. However, they can be brought back to life with messenger tools and chatbots. Cart abandonment bots do the work of countless customer service reps—leaving you to handle other tasks.
Other tools help you address customer needs, maintain accurate product inventory, and provide insight on what marketing tactics are most effective with your consumer base. Though some tools are paid, others are completely free, making your online store an even better investment.
Whatever product or service you decide to sell, an online store might be the perfect solution. Setting up an online shop is cheap, quick, and allows you plenty of opportunities to scale your business. In no time, you can bring your business to new heights with an online store.
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