All of us know about Amazon. This is one of the biggest online stores in the world. Another name in the category of online stores is Alibaba, owned by a Chinese, Jack Ma. Most of the time we see these two names in search results when we look for a consumer product on the internet. Gone are the days when we had to go out for shopping. Now almost all types of consumer products are available online, that too on a global level. People can have their required things while sitting at home or office.
The concept of online stores started from the West and now is a growing trend in Asian countries. Seeing their popularity, many brands, and businesses got online. All big corporate names have an online presence now. Social media has played a great role in it. Brands and individuals own online stores also. Individuals along with their teams or families are also inclined toward opening online stores with a wide range of products. It includes books and magazines, garments, furniture, cosmetics and handbags, herbal products and medicines, construction material, electronic, and jewelry, etc. The sole purpose of opening an online store is to expand the outreach and tap in the maximum number of potential customers. An online store can give us a huge fortune as a long-term business even if it started on a small or medium scale.
Let’s have a look at how an online store is different from physical shops and what benefits are there for you that are not available otherwise.
No requirement of physical space:
Your presence will be web-based so you don’t need to worry about hiring or purchasing a physical space, buying bulk/huge consignments of items or goods at once, and their storage. However, you have to pay for a domain name and relevant charges.
No middleman hassles:
You can pick up the items/goods direct from a factory or manufacturer and transport it to the customer at retail price. Your profit ratio will also be high because of no middleman. A very useful tip for small and medium-sized industries and home-based handicrafts is that they can reach out to potential customers and get orders directly. But for this, they will have to spend reasonably on advertising.
Work according to the capacity and resources:
Are you to manage the store on your own or is a team or family there to help you? Make a work plan accordingly. If you are the sole manager, you can do it as part-time along with your job. You can expand it according to the available resources and when it begins to give you a reasonable monthly or annual income, you can quit your job or other work.
Manage it while on the go:
You can manage your online store while travelling with the help of a tab, laptop, or smart phone. No hassle of being bound to sit in a place.
Long-term benefits and safe investment:
You invest a small or reasonable amount according to the circumstances in an online store at first. So, the investment is safer than other businesses. First, it is slow but with the passage of time, it starts gaining customers and huge benefits. It will fetch long-term benefits if you keep on working ‘slow and steady’.
Product-wise distribution of work:
If a team or family is helping you out in managing and maintaining the online store, you can distribute work product-wise. Like, females can handle cosmetics, handbags, ladies’ garments etc., while males can take care of technical and electronic items. This work distribution can make things easy.
Now have a look at a few requirements also for maintaining a great online store and reaping the benefits.
Attention-grabbing and user-friendly design:
Hire the designers and inventory experts for designing the store who are already experienced in this field. For multiple types of items in the store, you will have to make sections. Links, buttons for easy navigation, ordering and cart, newsletter sign-up, and other necessary things must be there. Keep on reviewing the design every two years or so.
Advertisement and social media presence:
All of us use social media these days so it is a great way to catch up with the customers and market. Make social media pages/profiles of your online store and available products, and rightly advertise it to the specific audience.
High quality products and customer service:
Make no compromise on quality and customer service! Sometimes, customers complain that they get a different item from the one they ordered or selected. This puts a bad impression on customers and the repute of online store suffers. Give customers what you claim to give. Only good customer service can earn you a great name. The better the customer service, the more positive the outcome.
On time response and delivery:
Check out the orders regularly and deliver the items on time. Set a specific period for delivery like 24 hours for local orders and 48 or 72 hours for out of the city and away places. Delay in response and delivery is going to hurt your business and reputation. Arrange for a live chat with customers as well.
Hire a financial consultant who can guide you concerning how to spend money and on which things. Do research and study about the operations and running of online stores. Your financial consultant must be knowledgeable and expert in online store management as well as inventory.
Storage space for expansion:
If and when you need a new space for storage, you will have to arrange for it as soon as possible. The internet is the greatest source of having knowledge concerning online store management, inventory, and storage. Study the way it works. You may need to do things like that in future for your own store. Keep a keen eye on everything going on and be ready to act according to the new situations.
Hard work for reputation:
You have to spare a reasonable amount of time for making your online store a success. First, you may not need to give long hours but once your store start running successfully, you will have to give full-time and attention to it.