Starting a business is hard work, and starting an online store is especially challenging. An effective online store tells a story, displaying inventory in an appealing manner while also offering customers a safe and reliable checkout option. Built properly, an online store offers unique opportunities to build your brand, attract new customers, and add dimension to your digital footprint. Here are three tips for building an effective online shopping platform.
Consider Your Business Plan
Whether your online store is your sole sales method or a supplement to a brick-and-mortar facility, it is helpful to think about how the online shopping experience fits into your larger business plan. For example, if your business is new, your sales goals may be more about developing a loyal customer base than about breaking revenue records. Consider how much inventory you can realistically supply, and whether the products you offer really align with the tight focus of your larger business. Listing products for sale online can seem like a no-risk practice. In reality, however, you may be overloading potential customers with information or introducing them to too many different types of products. Streamline your offerings, and make sure that your online store is consistent with your overall brand.
Find a Platform that Works for Your Business
On a practical level, your online sales platform should meet some basic needs for your business. It should have the capacity for your existing inventory, and it should offer you the range of customer service and eCommerce assistance that you need. Many businesses, even those that have already built a website or blog, find that the challenge of building an online store requires a new level of technological, marketing, and data security knowledge. Providers like 1ShoppingCart offer flexible packages so that business owners can opt for various levels of site integration, technical support, and affiliate marketing solutions.
One of the biggest challenges in online marketing is maintaining security for your business and your customers. When building an online store, make sure that your eCommerce solutions prioritize security, particularly in the customer checkout process. It is not enough for your customers to fill online shopping carts; they should also feel confident entering their payment and personal information when they click “Purchase.” When building your store, look for vendors that are “PCI certified.” This designation refers to vendors certified by the Payment Card Industry, and a PCI certification means that the vendor is in compliance with industry standards for accepting credit card payments. Understanding this compliance is important to make sure you are following the rules. Websites such as Delphix can help expand this understanding to make sure your store is running efficiently.
An online store can be essential to a company’s growth in sales and reputation. The process of building that store can be daunting. By following these steps, however, you can maximize your online store’s potential. First, let your overall business goals help you determine how to structure an online shopping platform that works with the business you have and helps you become the business you want to be. Find reliable vendors who can help you put that vision into practice. Finally, remember to safeguard privacy and data for your business as well as your customers. With some strategic investment and thoughtful planning, your online store can become a critical component of your growing business.