Whether you own and operate a large-scale business or you are a home/small store based operation, there is no denying the benefits which offering your products and services online can bring. And whether you are deciding whether or not to move your entire business online or use it as a complement, the idea and process can be very unnerving for many business owners.
However, this doesn’t mean that it is by any means an impossible task. This article has some information which can help with your transition.
The first step is to decide whether you want to create your own online store or whether your products are better served through established platforms, such as online auction houses and e-commerce retailers.
The benefit to creating a unique online presence is just that; you create a unique online presence. This means that you can design how your web presence looks to align with your branding. However, it also means that you will lease your own web space and potentially hire an IT manager to manage the infrastructure.
The alternative option would be to utilize an established commerce platforms. The two main ones which come to mind would be eBay and Amazon. Both offer you the ability to create a store within their framework. The clear and immediate benefit to this option is that you can essentially have your online store up and running in a matter of hours, depending on the range of products you sell. Sites like these also handle payments and shipping options, leaving little work for you to do except ship your items.
The two primary downsides to these types of services are that your store looks almost identical to every other store on the platform, and the services they offer are not provided out of the goodness of their heart. In fact, depending on your business model, the fees charged could make using their service unviable.
Once you have your store established, the next step is to drive traffic to it. The best way to achieve this is through social media marketing. If you have an established mailing list, utilize it to send out a promotional message advertising the launch of your new online store.
Considering that you are attempting to re-engage customers who may have forgotten about your brand, consider loss leader items for the purpose of enticement. Whatever route you take, be sure that the offers you provide are relevant and appealing. To get an idea as to what types of deals customers are looking for, browse through the Groupon Coupons page for Columbia. Items such as free shipping and discounted items are amongst the favorites, and certainly ones which you should consider.
It is remarkably easy for a customer to click the SPAM button, so make sure you give them a reason to click your link, instead.
Now that you have customers in the proverbial door, it’s important that the prices online are in line with the reduction in your overheads. Customers aren’t stupid; they know that you save money by selling your products online. And while they don’t expect to benefit from the entire amount, they are smart enough to know when they’re being taken for a ride. With this in mind, choose your pricing model wisely, and be sure to pass a good amount of your profit margin to your customers.