As a small business you need to constantly have access to new customers so as to grow. With a physical location it will not be possible to reach out to as many clients as you could by having an online presence. If there is only one way for potential customers to buy your products, you run the risk of losing the large percentage of shoppers who prefer or only have access to your products online. For many people, distance, traffic or a busy schedule might preclude them from visiting your store. If your small business sets up an ecommerce store, customers can shop from wherever they want, even when your physical store is closed. Setting up an eCommerce store will permit you to expand your customer base across the globe, reaching clients far beyond your physical location, this will correlate in an increase in your profits.
To set up your eCommerce store you need to evaluate what resources your small business will need. Not only will you need to choose which site you will sell from but also once the website is in place, you must be able to fulfill orders rapidly, otherwise you may lose customers. You will also require specific logistics and facilities to store goods and from which to package and ship, which might mean renting additional premises. You will need to hire additional help, possibly to set up your eCommerce store and also to handle orders, as you will not be able to run your physical location and eCommerce store single-handedly.
Your next step will be to choose a reliable site from which to sell your products; you can either use a pre-existing site or set up your own. You might look into eBay, Amazon, Etsy, Shopify or develop your own site, for which you may need to hire professional assistance. You need to make sure that your site has a safe credit-card processing system in place and is search engine optimized so customers can easily find your store when they do keyword searches.
Once your site is in place you will need to hire staff dedicated to managing your eCommerce, either to handle orders, take customer phone calls and/or to regularly update your site. A virtual assistant may be able to help you. You will need to promote your eCommerce site on-line. You can use SEO, social media and email marketing to attract customers, especially by offering promotions, free shipping or other incentives.
Prior to launching your eCommerce shop, it is vital that everything is streamlined so that you can quickly pack and ship out orders as soon as you open. Customers who shop online will actively seek out the best-priced goods and usually want a fast delivery option. Choose a reliable parcel shipper; it is often safest to opt for a shipper that provides tracking like DHL, UPS or FedEx. Make sure they can collect packages from you on a daily basis.
eCommerce offers small businesses a relatively easy and inexpensive opportunity to reach a global marketplace and increase their profits, so do not be daunted but embrace all the new opportunities this entails!