Across the world, people are opting to establish their own online stores. Despite this rapid influx of start-ups, there’s definitely still an opportunity to emerge from the crowd and become a big name in the e-commerce sector. It all depends on how prepared you are to take on the challenge.
Here are five ideas to consider when creating your very own online store, in order to ensure success and growth.
Think about the perfect hosting provider for you
First things first – you need to decide upon a hosting provider that will give you the best experience in terms of servers. There are plenty to choose from, some of which are reputably better and more reliable than others. At this stage, it’s paramount you do a sufficient amount of research to determine just what you’re looking for from your hosting provider.
It all comes down to how much you want your online store to grow. E-commerce is undeniably a massive part of retail in the current era of technology, and so you have the potential to become as big as you want – the sky’s the limit.
Opt for a shared server if you’re not looking to grow your store into something bigger. These come at a fraction of the cost of a dedicated server, and are the perfect choice if you do not require so much space.
However, a dedicated server may be more suited to you if you’re seeking to expand and grow your customer base rapidly. Although they are considerably more expensive, dedicated servers give you peace of mind as the risk of overloading or crashing your site is considerably lower.
The design of your store
Another majorly important aspect of your store is the design. Customers are much more likely to engage with your brand and explore your site further than the homepage should the design be inviting and easy to navigate.
Many e-commerce sites still lack an effective design, instead appearing clunky and generally unpleasing to the eye. It’s important you don’t lag behind the competitors, or customers will look elsewhere for the product you may be offering should the design not appeal to them.
Although it’s good to stand out amongst your rivals, make sure it’s for the right reasons as opposed to a garish design. Many websites today, regardless of their purpose, opt for a clean, flat and minimalistic design to strip back the decoration and put the focus on the product they offer. It’s best to fit in with the crowd when it comes to the design, as this new wave of “less is more” has proven to be effective.
A direct line of communication
There’s one way to build a level of trust with your customers, and that’s through communication. Customer service is absolutely vital when setting up an online store, especially as you’re lacking the face-to-face aspect of traditional retail stores.
Phone calls are the most effective mode of communication, due to the fact emotions and feelings can be conveyed with ease – something that text-based communication lacks. If possible, have a direct line for said customers to reach you on, and you’ll find it’s much easier to build a sturdy relationship with them and effectively keep them coming back.
On the other hand, if you’re not able to have a line to call, an email or live chat are your next best bets. Promise a response within a suitable time frame that you can realistically fulfil and constantly try your best to resolve any issues or answer any queries, and the same trust can be built upon here, too.
There’s actually a big difference between situating yourself within a niche market, and niche marketing itself. A niche market is something to avoid at all costs – the outreach would be significantly small, and only a few customers would discover and shop upon your website due to the lack of demand for whatever you’re selling.
Niche marketing, however, is the perfect thing to opt for in order to attract new customers and keep drawing them in. Whereas a niche market is very limiting, niche marketing involves you finding your own space in a market that is perhaps oversaturated with the same old thing.
By offering something new in a popular market where competitors fail to offer anything different, you will quickly attract customers and keep them around should you evolve and constantly introduce new and exciting products that have something different to offer.
Security to keep you protected
Of course, you cannot establish your online store without an aspect of security to go along with it. There’s simply too much at risk if your store is compromised, as you’ll potentially be exposing both your own details and those of your customers.
To prevent the potential of hacking, be sure to employ a strict level of security that is as impenetrable as possible. Be sure to keep software up to date to stop any potential for easy entry, and consider defenders against XSS (cross-site scripting) and SQL injection attacks for maximum protection.
Creating your online store takes a lot of hard work, but ultimately it can be very rewarding, too. The key is to set it up as best you can right from the start – insist on a high-quality approach and you’ll establish your standards straight away. Follow the advice above and don’t forget to think about what’s best for you and your business. Good luck!
**Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post.
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