The fact is, if you’re not selling online you are missing out on sales, but the methods and strategies of conducting online commerce are never constant. They are subject to change regularly. Competition is fierce and everyone is trying something new to seduce consumers, but don’t let the challenges of starting on online commerce stop you from embracing the future. Follow the following steps and you can have an online brand up and working in a few weeks.
You need the following to start your online commerce brand:
1. Business plan for your online commerce brand
A business plan is a written description of your business’s future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it.
Main components of a business plan:
- Executive Summary
- Business Description.
- Market Analysis.
- Organization Management.
- Sales Strategies.
- Funding Requirements.
- Financial Projections.
What is an Executive Summary?
The Executive Summary is a brief outline of the company’s purpose and goals.
It is tough to fit on one or two pages, but a good Executive Summary includes:
- A brief description of products and services
- A summary of goals
- A solid description of the market
- A high-level justification for viability (including a quick look at your competition and your competitive advantage)
- A snapshot of growth potential
- An overview of funding requirements
2. Business Partner
A Business Partner (BP) shares the overall responsibility to serve and strategically deal with assigned business units or functional area for the purpose of business growth. He/She is also responsible for aligning business goals with employees and management in designated business units.
Advantages of Bringing on a Business Partner are:
- Better Brainstorming: Two heads really are better than one when it comes to brainstorming.
- Combined Skills and Knowledge: A well-balanced business partnership combines the skills and knowledge of two or more people creating diversity and greater potential for achievement.
You don’t have to do everything yourself—a partner will be an asset to your business.
3. A Catchy Website Address
Your website address is your identity on the web; you should make sure you choose a website address that not only fits your business, but is also easy to find and promote.
Characteristics of a Perfect Website Address:
- It is easy to type.
- It is short.
- It’s memorable
4. Online commerce software
Small businesses have many options when it comes to selling online. But if you want more control over your e-commerce business, setting up your own website with an e-commerce software or shopping cart software is the way to go.
Advantages of the right online commerce software are:
- More control over your online store.
- Simple, easy-to-use.
- Helps with marketing.
- You keep all your profits.
- It simplifies your operations
5. Multiple payment options
Most customers pay for goods and services online using their credit card, but give customers multiple payment options. Other options can include payment plans, using debit card, online payments, checks, cash, money orders, cashiers checks, automatic withdrawals or western.
Requirements for setting up payment options:
- Tax No
- Business Bank Account
- Balance Sheet
- Description of Service
- Documented Refund Policy
6. User-friendly website
A user-friendly, functional site increases customer confidence letting them know your business is serious and dedicated to their needs.
Characteristics of use-friendly website:
- It provides answers to questions asked most often therefore saving customers time.
- It provides an overall time-saving shopping experience for customers.
7. Website Security
61 percent of cardholders said that they will shop online if they their credit card information was secure. Let customers know your site is safe.
Ways to secure a website:
- Using 2-factor authentication
- Using SSL to encrypt data
- Keeping your software updated, because the software developer will continuously be adding new features and plugging any security issues.
8. Website Testing
Web testing solves issues such as website functionality, security, accessibility, usability, compatibility and performance before the web application reaches the public.
Tools used to test websites are:
Pingdom Website Speed Test
What is WebPagetest?
WebPagetest is an open source project that is primarily being developed and supported by Google as part of their efforts to make the web faster.
The tool that was originally developed by AOL for use internally and was open-sourced in 2008 under a BSD license. The platform is under active development on GitHub and is also packaged up periodically and available for download if you would like to run your own instance.
The online version at www.webpagetest.org is for the benefit of the performance community with several companies and people providing the testing infrastructure around the globe.
9. Online Marketing
You should take advantage of search engine marketing and social media marketing on sites like Facebook to drive traffic to your website.
What is Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the process of gaining traffic and visibility from search engines through both paid and unpaid efforts. Search engines like Yahoo, Bing and Google are a great way to market your website.
What is Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining traffic or attention through social media sites.
The most popular social media sites for Social Media Marketers are:
- Facebook, an American for-profit corporation and an online social media and social networking service based in Menlo Park, California
- Instagram, a mobile, desktop, and internet-based photo-sharing application and service that allows users to share pictures and videos either publicly or privately.
- Twitter, an online news and social networking service where users post and interact with messages, “tweets”, restricted to 140 characters. Only registered users can post tweets.
- LinkedIn, a business and employment-oriented social networking service that operates via websites and mobile apps
- YouTube, an American video-sharing website headquartered in San Bruno, California, created by three former PayPal employees – Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim – in February 2005.