Online stores are becoming increasingly popular and profitable due to their convenience and efficiency. It’s more convenient for consumers to shop without having to travel long distances, and the presence of online stores has led to a higher rate of competition: customers can now compare prices and easily find cheaper deals. In other words, whether you already own an online store, or if you’re thinking about starting one, this is a great time for your business. And there are some useful tips that can help you take your business to the next level.
1. Shipping Costs And Product Prices
Because the prices of products are easily comparable, it can create a certain kind of pressure on you as a store owner to bring down your prices. While this is generally a good tactic, you need to ensure that you’re still making enough of a profit that you can stay in business. Before you start checking out the competition, you should determine what the minimum price point that you can still turn a profit on is. You need to consider the price at which you bought a product – or the price of materials that went into making it, the money spent on storing your items, as well as the postage costs in order to get the product to your customers – so remember not to set prices too low. Depending on the products you’re selling, you should also keep in mind that setting too low of a price can deter some customers because it makes them think that the product quality isn’t all that good. All that said, there are two main ways to formulate the price of a product you’re selling.
- Offer free shipping by upping the product price, so that it averages out. To do this, look at what the highest and lowest shipping costs would be, split the difference, and add that to your product price. For example, if the highest shipping cost would be $20, and the lowest would be $5 – averaging the two out would come up to about $12. So in this case you would calculate your product price by adding up the costs of manufacturing/buying, storage, and shipping. Once you do that, you can check out how your main competitors priced similar products before deciding what kind of markup to use for your own products.
- Lower the product price, but set a shipping price for different places. While this is a viable option, keep in mind that some people don’t like the idea of paying for shipping – even though they’ll be doing it either way.
Another thing you can do is offer free shipping for certain customers, perhaps only on orders over a certain amount or if they buy more than one product at once.
2. Choosing An Online Store Platform
There are two main options when it comes to choosing a platform for your online store: an eCommerce website, or an existing online store marketplace. Because this is one of the more crucial points you’ll have to consider, it’s important that you weigh out the pros and cons carefully. Having your own website means that you get to keep the customer’s entire purchase price, create your own rules, and design and customize it however you like. That said, you’ll have to work extra hard on raising brand awareness. The more convenient option is to use an online store marketplace since they already have the infrastructure in place for you. On the other hand, they also have a place for all of your competitors, so you’ll have to think of a way to stand out from the crowd. If you don’t have much experience with web design, SEO, and online marketing, facing the competition head-on is probably the better option for you.
3. Social Media Advertising
There’s a reason why social media has become such an important part of running a business. Different social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter aren’t just great for marketing your products – using them to interact with customers can help you to bring in more sales as well as establish yourself as an authority figure in the industry. They can also help you to get to know your customers better so that you can provide them with the products they want. When it comes to this type of advertising, it’s important that you create visual consistency throughout your posts – for example, always using the same filter on your product images, as well as creating a posting schedule. That way, you’ll build up an identity for your brand. Another thing to keep in mind is that depending on the industry you’re part of, it’s necessary that you tailor your posts according to what type of customer base you have. For example, if your products are specifically aimed at teenagers or millennials, then posting about pop culture events or memes might just be the thing to go for.
4. SEO-Driven Blogging
Everyone knows that blogging is a great way to share information and connect with the people you’re selling your products to. So why not take it one step further by optimizing your blog for search engines? That means you’ll have to write up fresh, unique content on a consistent basis – for example, how-to articles with step-by-step instructions about how to use your product or why they need it in the first place. Either way, you’ll have to keep an eye out for things that are trending, so you can use them in your posts. However, keep in mind that while you should be promoting your products and store – that’s what the blog is for, after all, you don’t want to make it too obvious that it’s an advertisement. Creating content that is genuinely helpful and informative will make people more likely to interact with your product and store, as well as come back for more.
5. Live Chat Support
Lastly, if you really want to take your customer service to the next level, using live-chat support can help you do just that by giving your customers instant access to someone who can answer their questions right away. This means that you’ll have to make sure your online store is equipped with a live chat system, which isn’t too difficult nowadays since there are plenty of good software packages out there that can handle it for you. If you’re not able to do this right away, then making sure that you answer all questions in a reasonable time frame will also help the customers feel more comfortable and trusting of your business, which can go a long way toward bringing you greater profits.
Owning an online store might seem like a great way to make some extra money, but then there’s also the possibility of turning it into your main source of income. If that sounds good to you, then it’s important that you consider different pricing strategies, investing in SEO-driven blogging, social media advertising, and live chat support, so you can bring more customers to your business and ensure its growth.