The global online business size by rough estimates is around 1.6 Trillion US dollars and increasing at the rate of more than 20 % per year. Countries like India are one of the biggest growth engines of online spending with more and more people getting connected to the online world and with the general levels of disposable incomes on the increase. If there was any time that could be called the best time for setting up an online business, it is now.
Before we go into the steps involved in setting up an online business, let us first appreciate the compelling reasons of why too. Well to begin with, it is the most inexpensive business to launch. You can showcase your product or service to an extremely large customer base, work as per your convenience and chose your own location and work hours. Whereas these all might be true, there still are a few crucial steps involved in starting your own business. We will discuss those point by point:
1. Product .Product. Product. – This is a no brainer, really. At the base of all successful businesses, whether online or offline, has to be a great product. Since the online business space is really huge, the product has to differentiate itself from the hundreds of others available out there, and then some. The product should be unique and offer value propositions to the customer, better than the ones already available, especially at the launch stage. No words will be enough to explain how important a product is to the online business. Ensure that you have expertise and core competence in the area and that you have done real and quantifiable research on the product viability and made well studied sale and profit projections.
2. Chose the Shopping Platform Carefully – Now that you have a great product, the next obvious step is to find it a great place to sell from. Just like brick and mortar, it is important that the product is placed in a place that is well visited, well known and has a great footfall. There is no dearth of customized, top of the line product platforms these days, but it is important, especially when starting afresh to test the waters with a system that is popular, well supported, has a great existing community and one that produces visually great looking shops. A shopping platform like Shopify that already hosts more than 50,000 online stores and negates all need for your contact with codes, is a good option to start with. There are many other such hosting platforms. . A combination of some careful study and using your entrepreneur instincts will guide you to choose one that is best for you.
3.SEO Optimization – Now that you have a great shop, a great product, all you miss is to have some great customers and your business would be up and running in the real sense. In e commerce terms, it is called Search Engine Optimization, or simply SEO. Basically SEO means how easily a potentials customer finds you on the web when he/she is looking for a product that you are selling. With thousands if not millions of potential websites selling the same product as yours, you can appreciate, it won’t be an easy ask. SEO can help you get to that elusive customer by designing your product descriptions that are optimized to SEO algorithms. There are many complicated ways to do it, but at the end of it, if your product description is well designed, has a great customer recall and most importantly of the product itself is unique and popular, SEO will follow suit. Still SEO sensibility is extremely important to understand how e commerce actually works.
4. Customer Feedback – Now that you have your own web shop and some actual customers, how do you leverage that to grow to the next level? Remember, competition is adding up every day, and you must stay ahead and move fast. One of the most important tried and tested ways to grow a business is to take the customer feedback and implement those, wherever possible. In the web shopping one of the most powerful resources of advertising and promotion is the customer himself/herself. By designing a proper customer feedback and appraisal system, you will instantly be notified of what your customer actually wants and if there are some shortcomings that you need to work upon. Just act on the customer feedback in an impartial and pragmatic way, engage the customer into sharing feedback more and more and soon you’d be realizing the true potential of this online venture of yours.
Author’s Bio: Sridhar is a passionate blogger who writes on various online topics like e-commerce, free classifieds and online shopping. When he is not writing, he is found reading articles and blogs written by others.