Running an online or eCommerce store can sound like a great solution at first. No rent to pay on premises, at least initially, small businesses can get a step on the ladder, and there are no worries about “the high street dying” because you’re already online. That’s just the beginning of the perks of doing business online. Whether it’s looking for a free website hosting platform for your business site, or putting together an online marketing campaign, we have got your antidote to all the pitfalls of starting up an online store.
Your shop is online so your marketing should, for the most part, be online, too. There are a lot of reasons for this, not least of all the fact that your demographic is likely to be online. That can be more involved than a lot of startups realize. More and more small businesses are incorporating a light social media marketing role into their first hires, like waitressing, retail, etc.
The good news is that online marketing is a lot easier, a lot cheaper, and a lot more effective. You’re entering into an over-saturated global market, sure, but for the most part the social media platforms that you are posting on have their algorithms nailed. People will find you if they are looking for you, and if they are looking for your items, or your brand, etc.
Plus, a lot of it is second nature. You post your social media posts with links to your business website, and anything on your website can be optimized for SEO with an in-built forum. You can even enlist the help of technology to improve your writing.
The problem with an online store is that there are a lot more blockages to a sale. While your customer doesn’t have to physically get up, get out of the house, and go to your store, there are actually more impediments to overcome online. In the digital world, a simple glitch can come between you and your sale. You have to keep testing your site to make sure the path to payment is clear. Then, God forbid if the site crashes.
If your site has been written from scratch by a coder, then it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to fix things on your own – unless you’re also fluent in HTML! If, on the other hand, your website has been built with a CMS or, even better, a website builder, it’s a lot easier for you to keep things up and running without any unforeseen problems. Which brings us to…
By using a website hosting platform, the platform will do all the hard stuff for you. They will make sure that your website is secure and glitch-free.
It is important to know and follow the basics of cybersecurity to keep your website safe, but there are also features of website hosting platforms that will make things easier. For example, you can add security measures as you see fit so that your site is strong against hackers, and a lot of website platforms offer automatic backups regularly so that if something were to happen, you can quickly pick up where you left off.
Additionally, some website builders have regular performance and optimization reports to ensure that your website is running as it should and allow you to analyse where you can be doing better. It covers things like website uptime and can even offer solutions to improve your website’s performance.
You might not have the front-of-house, face-to-face customer experience, but that will simply be pushed to online customer service, where it is arguably more intense. Most (not all) customers have some form of empathy and understanding that the person behind the till doesn’t have the power to fix everything in an instant.
But without that initial till employee fielding customers, you will be handling customer support entirely online, with people who are less sympathetic. The majority of your job will be to put out online fires all over the place, often without thanks.
If you choose your website builder right, you will be able to automate a lot of aspects of your online store. In fact, a lot of customers prefer it. You can offer booking systems to get them appointments or reservations, portfolios for your marketing photos, mobile optimisation, and chatbots that can answer basic questions.
If you’re ready to get started with your online store, look no further than our guide to get you started. With this guide you can tackle anything. Sure, there are trips to eCommerce, but there are also ways around them. The difference is only knowing.
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