Consumer behavior has changed over the past year, with multiple lockdowns and social distancing pushing people to seek new ways to solve common problems.
The “Click and collect” service has gained wide popularity, when the buyer selects and pays for goods on the site and picks them up at the point of issue; contactless payments, installments (BNPL) and, of course, online shopping.
These trends have managed to take root in the lives of consumers, which gives reason to believe that they will stay with us for a long time. That is why now is a great time to use them for the benefit of your business: introduce new methods of delivery, payment and transfer trade to the Internet.
That is why now shopify has become very popular and, accordingly, shopify web development services.
Marketplace or separate store?
You can organize online sales in several ways: create your own store, or simply add products to the marketplace (or even several). The main difference between these two methods is that the online store allows you to test different sales channels, and the marketplace is one of these channels. Let’s take a closer look at the features.
Trading on marketplaces
+ The flow of customers without the need to independently set up advertising campaigns and analyze the results.
– Most likely will not bring loyal customers and repeat sales. There you promote not your brand, but the marketplace.
But as a tool to increase turnover, marketplaces are great. Especially if sales are not the main, but an additional part of the business, or you are just starting your sales journey. To simplify selling on marketplaces, integrate your account with your accounting system.
Own online store
+ The ability to advertise products using Google Ads, SEO optimization, develop your own brand and a loyal customer base.
– Requires more time and special knowledge to advance.
If everything is more or less clear with the placement of goods on ready-made sites, then opening a store may raise questions. Let’s take a look at how to open your own store.
How to open your online store from scratch
Most often, those entrepreneurs who burn out in retail are those who immediately buy large quantities of a wide range of products, rent a warehouse or hire employees even before the start of sales. Learn a simple truth: impulsive trading will not lead to anything good. Here is a rough plan, according to which you can safely go to online retail.
1. Choosing a niche
Before you open an online store, you need to choose what to trade. The choice of a niche determines many factors: sales figures, customer return, average check and how much effort you will have to put in to grow your store.
Your best benchmark is the market. It’s best to avoid niches dominated by big names: where a few strong brands dominate, customers rarely think of alternatives. It is better to look for a field whose products are gradually increasing in popularity. Google Trends to the rescue.
It is also better to initially choose for sale such goods that people do not need one-time (wedding dresses, for example). This way you will not torment yourself with thoughts of where to get clients, and you will be able to use remarketing tools.
Still, you shouldn’t choose a niche in which you are an absolute layman. A 35-year-old man with a passion for cars is unlikely to be able to successfully sell cosmetics, even if it’s a trending product. But a thirty-five-year-old makeup artist can. There are, of course, exceptions. But it is better not to take risks and do what you are an expert in at least at the minimum level.
2. Analysis of competitors
When you have decided on the product, look at which stores also sell them online. Competitor analysis can help you identify their strengths and weaknesses and use them to create a unique customer experience.
New, personalized customer experiences are the best way to stand out, even if similar products can be found elsewhere.
3. Site selection
Where exactly will you sell? You can start with the easiest way – store builders, which you can really figure out on your own in a couple of days. And if your budget allows, ask a programmer for help. Just before that, be sure to draw up a detailed statement of work.
The modern reality is that social media accounts are often referred to as shops. Of course, you can open a store on Instagram and Facebook, and test whether this will become the main sales channel. In any case, social media should be used for other purposes: additional sales, content marketing and increasing audience loyalty.
A full-fledged online store will open up opportunities for you to promote using search engines, SMM, remarketing and other equally effective methods.
4. Drawing up a business plan for the store
Before you open an online store for clothing or other products, you need to draw up a business plan. The business plan allows you to:
* Adequately evaluate the idea and the way of its implementation
* See development prospects (or lack thereof)
* Estimate the volume of investments and their return on investment
A business plan and a plan to give you the opportunity to think through your actions and not be left with nothing. Aspiring entrepreneurs often ignore this point, and in vain: without it, you will be blind. And if it is difficult to write on your own, contact special services that draw up business plans based on business data.
Now you know what it takes to open a store. And in order for the store to be of high quality, it is better to do development through shopify plus experts.