The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the necessity of an online presence to conduct business, especially for small businesses. With most of us sheltering in place, shopping and business has moved to the digital sphere. Many small business owners who operate primarily through brick-and-mortar retail shops have faced particular challenges in the wake of social distancing. A functional, shopper-friendly online store and website has been a necessity to connect with your customers as a small business.
Although it seems daunting at first glance, setting up an e-commerce website doesn’t have to be hard. Here are some quick tips to set up a successful e-commerce site.
Choose a Platform
There are many services to choose from when setting up your e-commerce website. From Shopify, to Volusion, to Squarespace, to Wix, which are the most popular e-commerce sites. These platforms include everything from templates, to domain names, to shopping carts and built-in payment methods that make it simple for you to sell your products online. It’s easy to set up your e-commerce with these platforms that offer stylish templates and drag-and-drop tools that don’t demand any prior programming experience.
Consider Your Product and Target Audience
When choosing which platform to opt for, it’s important to keep in mind the product or service you are selling, and what the target of your customer base is. You’ll first need to choose what you want to sell on your e-commerce site – for example, if you run a coffee shop, you could sell your shop’s signature blends, branded mugs, or stickers. You want to make sure that your product is reflective of your brand. A good option could be branded merchandise bearing your company’s logo – an easy way for your loyal customers to support your business during the pandemic.
It’s also important to consider your audience. Your online target audience may be a different customer base than your typical one. Think about who among your target audience uses the Internet most. What kind of products would they be interested in? What age group are they? These are important questions to consider when aligning your e-commerce site to appeal to your target customers.
Adapt Your Website to Include E-Commerce Features
If you already have a website, and would like to simply add e-commerce features to your pre-existing website, you can add payment gateways such as PayPal, Sage, and Google Checkout. You can also use plug-ins to integrate e-commerce into your website if your website was developed with CMS, or WordPress.
Include a Curb-Side Option
Adding a curb-side pickup option to your business can be a great way to open up a new revenue stream, during COVID-19 and after the pandemic. While the option to pick-up grocery products, prepared food, and other essential materials has become a necessity for conducting business today in the context of social distancing, it can be a great added revenue stream for your small business in the future. You can get started here with Curbside, a Volusion service designed specifically to help you set up a pickup/delivery online storefront.
Third-Party Selling Platforms
If building your own website doesn’t seem to be the best idea for your website, or seems too difficult, or for any other reason, you can turn to a variety of third-party platforms like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, or Yahoo Shopping. These large online marketplaces allow for individual businesses to sell products with their own page on their platforms. The benefit of third-party platforms is its ease and simplicity – within hours, you can get your page set up and start selling. However, a drawback is many of these marketplaces take a substantial cut from your earnings. Most charge 20 to 25 cents per product listing, along with other fees for selling on their sites.
Market Your Business
After your e-commerce site is set up, you should market and generate some traffic to your new online storefront. You can achieve this in a plethora of ways: Facebook posts, email blasts, Tweets, pay-per-click advertisements, etc. To keep traffic flowing to your site, include links to it in email blasts, offer a newsletter for customers to stay up to date with your business, and include links to your social media campaigns to maintain customer engagement.
Though the outlook may seem bleak right now, these tips can help you maintain a connection with your customer base throughout the pandemic if you are a small business. Additionally, investments in e-commerce and your online presence will be a good investment – in the long-run, a robust online storefront will generate an added revenue stream even after COVID-19. We hope these tips were helpful. At Jordan Creative, we are here for you and available for free consultations at any time if you need help with setting up your e-commerce site today.