We present you with a very complete guide that will help you take the first steps to start a profitable business on the Internet.
If you have decided to start doing business in the digital world or if you have decided to take your existing business to the next level, you are probably feeling a little confused, so here is a guide that can help you take the first steps to launch a profitable business on the Internet.
No matter what market niche you are in, starting an eCommerce brings new challenges, but also great advantages, which can be summarized in 24/7 presence and a wider area of influence.
Being present on the Internet means that customers can access your business 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, from the comfort of their home, something that is almost impossible for a traditional business. It is also a showcase to make yourself known to anyone, not just your close neighbors.
Advice and guide to start your online business
Now that you’re clear about the advantages of being online, it’s time to start planning your strategy to venture into eCommerce. If you’re one of the lucky ones who already have a well-defined plan of action, this post can help you with some extra tips. But if you don’t have a plan yet, you probably have many doubts about how to start.
Here are some tips and steps to get your business online:
First, you must clearly define your goals, what kind of product you want to offer, what will be your market niche and who is your target audience. Consider that you might have better luck if you have a specific audience and market niche, since these characteristics are more valued for the search engine positioning. And if you try to position yourself in a bigger market, you will end up competing with eCommerce giants like Mercado Libre, Amazon, Wish, or eBay.
For example, if you want to set up a sporting goods business, it is better to promote yourself only as a baseball merchandise seller, since a narrower market niche can be better positioned in search engines.
You must also think about whom you want to sell to and if, at the moment, you can do it; because it is not the same if your customers are located in a certain city or cities or if they are located at a national level since the investment and logistics will be totally different.
2. Register your domain name
Before designing your website or having the complete planning of your business, register your domain, because maybe, by the time you have everything ready, it will be too late and the ideal domain name will already be taken.
Remember that your domain is the name that represents you on the Internet; in this blog you will find different posts with valuable tips to choose the perfect domain name.
3. Design a website
Having a website is the most important task and the one you should dedicate more attention to, because it will be the most important contact you have with the customers. It is the equivalent to a traditional business office or store.
The success of your business will depend on its design. You can do it by yourself, even without a lot of knowledge, through platforms like Wix, Duda or GoDaddy. The best option is to use the premium version to have access to all its tools and features.
Another good option is to hire a web designer to help you create your website in a professional way; a web designer can choose the colors, images, links, plugins and other necessary considerations to make your website work as an eCommerce.
No matter which way you go, your website must have some features to be successful on the Internet. One of them is that it must be designed as an online store and not just an informative page, that is, your website must allow the purchase of the advertised products from the first moment it is opened and not redirect to another one.
Add a shopping cart to your website’s design, as it is an essential tool for online customer since it allows them to save the characteristics of a product to compare it with another and a quick payment of the selected products.
Your website should generate trust from the very first moment, for that you need to buy a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. This digital certificate encrypts your customers’ information when they make a purchase online. Once your page is protected, a padlock appears before the address. This lock is one of the first features that digital customers look for when shopping on a site.
Make sure your website is optimized for viewing on mobile devices, as most people who browse the Internet do so via their tablet and smartphone, so having a website that doesn’t display correctly on them can drive away potential customers.
4. Make sure your product reaches the customer
If your business is focused on selling a good or service, delivery logistics is one of the pillars of your business. Its complexity depends on the type of product you want to sell, that is to say, if it is digital or if it is physical, because, of course, it is not the same to send a download link to a thousand clients than to send hundreds of packages to customers who are thousands of miles away.
Logistical efficiency is one of the keys to the success of an eCommerce business. The most important thing is to get the product in the hands of the customer in the shortest time possible, in the best conditions and at the lowest possible cost.
The easiest thing is to start in a third party platform, such as Amazon, Mercado Libre, Linio, to name a few, because they already have proven logistics; you don’t have to design a website and you don’t have to worry about whether the product reaches the customer. The disadvantage is that it is very difficult to generate customer loyalty, because the users of these platforms enters looking for the product and not the seller.
On the other hand, selling through your own platform implies a lot more work and money, but this is compensated by the fact that you can generate customer loyalty, and therefore, build up a loyal customer base that will help position your website and your business.
To have a functional delivery you must think about investing in the ideal packaging for your products, in hiring personnel and transportation vehicles, such as motorcycles, cars and bicycles.
5. Make sure you reach the right people
Setting a target audience helps you design a marketing strategy with a specific focus. It is essential that in addition to your website, you are present in different social networks because they have a greater flow of visitors. You can offer your frequent customers special promotions and advertising through their email accounts.
If you are creative and you are good at copywriting, you can write the description of your products yourself, considering SEO positioning, or you can hire a professional copywriter to make the descriptions attractive enough to sell.
6. Choose a payment method
The way your customers will pay for the goods or services is another of the pillars of your business. The fear of paying on the Internet is one of the reasons why many potential customers do not buy online; that is why you must ensure the safety of users when making transactions.
You can use the services of third parties such as PayPal or Mercado Pago, which already have the confidence of your customers; preferably use a professional account so you can receive money from all credit and debit cards, in addition to gift cards. The best thing is that you implement different payment methods.
You will surely find several publications that promise to teach you how to create a successful Internet business from scratch and without investing. The truth is that, certainly, you will find most of the tools you need to start a business for free.
However, these tools will be more expensive in the long run and will not give you the boost you need to take off with your business.
For example, it may be tempting to make your website using the free versions of Wix, Duda, or WordPress, but the main problem here is that you won’t have a personalized domain name, so your search engine ranking will be very affected, as well as looking unprofessional. If you expect to obtain good results, it is better to decide to invest and give up using the free tools as much as possible.
8. Hire professionals
As with the previous point, it can be very tempting to do things yourself to save money, but the truth is that you will surely lose valuable time. The best strategy is to hire professionals to get better results.
If your budget is limited, a good option is to hire independent, freelance workers, through platforms such as Freelancer, Workana and Fiverr; you will find hundreds of professionals who can help you with the design of your website, logo design, copywriting, marketing programming and many other tasks.
The advantage of this type of workers is that it is usually cheaper than the traditional way and faster. If you are worried that the recruitment process will take too long, you can pay on the same platform for a recruiter who will give you a list of suitable candidates for the profile you need.
These are the basic steps to take your business to the Internet successfully. If you have any other advice or recommendation, do not hesitate to write to us on our social media channels.