Putting a business plan in place makes you more conscious and educated about the potential opportunity and the risks involved. Decide which sort of customers should be your target and whether there are enough of such customers. You may use the Google Adwords keyword tool to figure out if there is enough interest in the online community in the product that you are planning to offer.
An e-commerce store obviously opens up a new sales channel for you but the challenge is to ensure that it delivers the incremental sales profitably. To do so, you have to be aware of the investments required, expected sales and the costs involved. Basically, what we mean here is you need to have a business plan which should spell out all the details on the business economics.
If you have any competitors, study their website to understand how you can improve your offering to get an edge over them. Also, this would also help you in deciding a pricing strategy, which could be different from your physical store.
It is always wise to have a domain name that allows you to leverage your existing store name. If you think your store has a good brand value, it is best to have your domain name after your store name. If you think your product or offering is unique, getting a domain name around the product name would also make sense.
Even before you develop ecommerce site, you need to be prepared with the logistics in terms of how you are going to manage the inventory and ensure timely and safe delivery of the product to the customers. You have to be very sure on this as any flaws on this front will have a bearing on your reputation.
A good design for your e-commerce store is critical to the success of your online business. Hence, make sure the IT company, to whom you outsource the task has enough experience in designing responsive e-commerce stores. A good IT company may cost you more, but it does not make sense to cut corners on this aspect as your website is going to be the face of your business.
But before you outsource the task, be prepared with the requirements you would have in terms of the layout of page, the size of the product images, payment mechanisms and other features that you would want to give to the users. The IT Company, should also be able to educate you on what other features you can think of incorporating for your e-commerce store.
A good website is important, but even more important is a good marketing plan. There are several ways to let people know about your online store. You can advertise about your website through your physical store. Besides you may also opt for Google Adwords, which will help you reach out to your target customers who are not currently aware about you. A search engine optimization plan is also critical for the long term success of your business.
While you deal with customers online, your policies concerning sales and refund should be well documented. A policy regarding shipping costs and handling customer queries and complaints should also be well defined. The payment policy and whether you would be allowing cash on delivery should also be clearly mentioned on your website.
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