If you want a flexible business that you can run from home, you’ve probably thought about setting up an online shop. Whether you have yet to find a niche or have already spotted a gap in the market, an online store can seem the ideal way to reach a wide audience while running your business from home in the time you have available. There are lots of systems to help you with the practicalities of building your shop, but the key element to success is reaching customers and getting them to buy. With that in mind, here are three tips to help you start your own online shop.
1. You’ll need more product lines than you might think to get started! Look at online shops that you like. Now go back and look in detail. How many products do they offer? I’ve been involved in starting Blossom for Children which offers fun and funky toys and equipment for children with special needs, illnesses and disabilities. At the start, even though we had thirty or forty product lines, the online store still looked empty, particularly if you searched by category. Now, nine months since it launched, there is plenty in every category … but still scope for more!
2. It will take longer to start than you think! Uploading one product can seem like an exciting start to your online store … but if you have to upload hundreds it can feel like a task that will take forever. Look for shortcuts: can you add products to a database for swift uploading? Do, however, allow time each week to work on your product listings and descriptions. The right images and words are crucial both for search engine optimisation and to entice customers to buy.
3. And finally, you’ll need to do more to promote your online store than you thought. Spend time at the start of each day in promoting your store. A tweet here, a facebook mention there … that’s just the start. Make a list of all the possible ways to promote your store and work through them systematically. You’ll find a useful guide, 50 Ways to Make Your First Sale, which is free to download from shopify’s ecommerce university. With fifty chapters to work through, you won’t be short on ideas. Each chapter is well written and easy to understand so you can make progress without feeling overwhelmed.
I hope I’ve given you some practical tips to help you launch your first online shop. Do share your experiences of starting an online business with us at www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk/feature
This post is in association with shopify