The advent of the internet means a whole new way for small businesses to reach a massive potential base of clients – but to do so, you’ll need to open online store. There are two basic ways to do this, which this article will describe.
1. Use an Existing E-Commerce Service
Sites like eBay and Etsy are well-recognized, established e-commerce sites that allow small business owners to set up mini ‘shops’ within their site. This means you don’t have to worry about things like domain registry, website design, or taking credit cards – all you have to do is customize your site using their wizard, and you’re good to go. It also means you’re able to tap into a pool of customers and users of those sites who are already on the site (meaning you don’t have to worry as much about attracting web traffic) and already trust the site to provide payment information.
However, using these services can be limiting. Opening online store is only customizable to a certain degree, meaning you have limited control over the shopping experience of your clients. You always have to share brand space with the service, which makes it more difficult to establish your own brand identity. And it will cut into your profits. These sites operate by either charging fees for their services, or simply taking a cut of your sales.
2. Build Online Store on your own
For some, setting up your own site on your own domain is a better option. This is a more difficult option, as you’ll have to register a domain, choose a web hosting services, and get your site designed. Each of these steps does add costs as well, though domain names are inexpensive, web hosting is inexpensive for small sites, and the cost of web design really depends on your abilities and/or who you find to design it. Setting up your own site also means you need to find some way to take payment, though there are a number of services that will do this for you. Again, there is some cost associated with this, but the ability to securely take credit card information is well worth it. These services are generally very easy to implement on your site.
Once your site is ready, it’s time to let people know about your store. Marketing using social media and banner ads. Start a blog to attract visitors. And always sell, sell, sell!