How ever inviting it may seem, starting an online retail business is not easy. So, here’s some points that may help prepare you what is coming…
What to expect when starting an online retail business
Armando Roggio recognizes seven surprises that await newly established Bricks and Clicks retailers:
1 To manage inventory will be difficult
It is already difficult enough to manage the inventory of a single retail store when you have to plan to stock the right type and quantity of inventory during the right season. Things may be getting really complicated when adding an online channel and your customers want to purchase products you advertise online and can’t find them in your shop.
2 You should plan your online retail store the same way as you plan your physical store
Treat your online store as a new retail location. You should think about how to decorate the store, how to present products, how to attract new customers, how you would staff the shop and how you’d take payments. You should therefore prepare a new business plan for the new retail store.
3 You will need a marketing strategy
One of the most important parts of e commerce success is marketing. So when you open an online store, you will need a marketing strategy.
You should design your website to suit your customer’s requirements and needs. A plan to use the internet to brand your retail store by using social networking sites and affiliate marketing should be in place.
4 You need compelling pictures
In a physical store, shoppers can pick up an item, feel its texture, and get a sense of the product. Online, products are primarily presented with photographs, so you will need good ones.
If you want to sell online, you will need to learn about taking good pictures and processing those pictures for display in your online shop.
5 Websites Cost Money, Time, or Both
You will either need to spend some serious time researching e commerce platforms, understanding site layout, figuring out content management, or you will need to hire someone to build your site and show you how to manage it.
6 Shipping Is Expensive
When a customer buys something from a physical store, she picks that item up and carries it out the door.
When a customer buys something online, you will need to ship it to her, and shipping is very expensive. In fact, the cost of packaging and shipping products may be one of the most expensive operations when opening an online retail store.
7 Be patient
Building a successful online business takes a lot of time. And adding e commerce to an existing retail business probably won’t boost sales significantly overnight.
The entry barriers are rather low in the online retail industry. There are lots of intermediaries and agents that want to make a quick buck from you. To entry is easy, but the learning curve is steep and mostly costly.
Therefore get the right team on your side when starting your online retail business.
A well researched and written Business Plan helps to get your business started the right way.