Retail is a tough business nowadays. You have to deal with unappreciative customers who do not realize (or care) about how hard you are working to give them what they want. Your fellow employees have no drive to get the work done, putting more of the workload on you. The corporate bigwigs who control the labor budgets are cutting the number of hours available to your store while the product buyers are pushing more stuff into the stores – it makes no sense!
If you are you tired of the long hours, low pay, increasing workload with no help, existing or forthcoming, then it may be time to leave. You may be exhausted by people who feel it is okay to take out their anger on a stranger because a product is out of stock (not your fault), then it might be time for you to escape the industry.
But you love sales! You love working around a variety of products and watching them fly off the shelves. Then what do you do? How do you escape the issues plaguing your current retail job while, at the same time, continuing to work in a business you love?
One solution would be to start your own e-commerce store.
Yes, become your own boss, operate your own store.
It’s not as simple as that sentence makes it out to be. Though it is a lot cheaper to open an online store than it is a brick and mortar shop, there is still much for you to do before you can open your virtual doors.
Here, we detail some of those things, to help you on your way to starting your own ecommerce business.
It goes without saying that, if you are going to open a store online, you have to be online to do it. Your website is your store. This is the portal to which your future customers will be finding the products you have available for sale and to make their purchases. Your store should have a catchy name with a website to match, and one that is easy to find in the search engines.
Your website must be professional in design. Even if you are going to carry cutsie children’s clothing or cater to a niche clientele, your site needs to look like you took the time and effort into making it the best it can be. The structure of your website, the placement of your page buttons, the inclusion of a search bar; these are all things you need to take into consideration when getting your site up and running.
Think about how you want search results to look on your site, and how product pages should be set up when they are opened. What do they look like? How well did you implement colors and fonting into your web pages?
The question is asked because the use of color in the country you live in may represent something else in another culture. With that in mind, consider who your customers will be. Are they going to be consumers in your homeland or will they be buyers of an international reach? Decide the answers to these before you finalize your website design.
You will want a way to stand out among the thousands and thousands of other ecommerce retailers on the Internet. Aside from your website, you will want to create your own logo. You can do it yourself (be cautious of any copyrights that might exist) or have a professional do it for you. Either way, you need something identifiable.
Again, keep in mind the colors you use in your logo. A professional graphic designer will understand the use of color in a design, but if you are doing one on your own, you need to keep the psychology behind color in mind. You also don’t want your logo to blend into the background of your website. That will defeat the purpose of creating a stand-out symbol for your online business.
You need to consider what forms of payment you want to accept. Credit cards are still the most common form of payment used online. Something to consider with credit cards is which brands of cards you are willing to accept.
All credit card processing companies charge you a percentage of each transaction, so the amount paid by the customer is not the actual amount your business earns. These processing fees are considered a cost of sales and you have to account for them when balancing your spreadsheets.
You also have to decide if you want to accept international credit cards. Foreign banks and services can be difficult to deal with, and transaction fees may be higher than your local ones. If you are aiming for an international clientele, then this may be a good option for you to consider.
If you decide you want to open your business to international buyers, but you do not want the potential frustration of fighting foreign entities for your money, another option would be online payment services such as PayPal and Square.
These are two companies that offer worldwide money transference without the hassle. It does take longer for foreign transactions and larger totals to process, usually taking an extra day or two to complete. These are established respected companies so receiving payments from them is reliable and safe.
Your e-commerce store will need a social media presence. All businesses now need to have one if they are to communicate with potential customers. Make sure to include links to your store’s various social media pages on your website so customers can follow you. At the same time, use social media to your advantage.
These formats are great advertising tools for small businesses. They provide you with a method to reach hundreds of people at a time and advertise products or store-wide sales promotions.
You do not even have to wait for a certain date. Sales are slow?
Post a message advertising a great product or a great price, or both! Use social media in ways the brick and mortar stores cannot.