Do you have, or are you interested in starting, a traditional, offline business? If so, are you, or have you thought about complimenting your business with an online store? If you haven’t, I’m here to tell you that an online store that compliments your offline business is most certainly something you need to consider.
Online eCommerce sales continue to rise drastically year to year. We’re living in the digital age and more and more people are looking to acquire the things they want and need online. Every year, the number of people choosing to shop from a computer terminal in the privacy and comfort of their own homes continues to increase. It may seem like this bodes poorly for the traditional, offline business owner. Nothing could be further from the truth, however.
Today, it has become exceedingly simple, and extremely cost effective to start and operate your very own online store. And, there simply is no excuse for failing to buttress your offline business with an online store. If you currently aren’t selling online, or haven’t considered it, there are some very important points that you would do well to take into consideration:
- First and foremost, operating a free or cost-minimal online store has the potential to add to your business’ bottom line without adding significant expense, or even adding no expense to your offline business.
- Selling your goods and/or services online carries the potential to drastically expand your customer base. Many people nowadays at least search for, and research online, the things they’re interested in procuring before actually engaging in actually shopping for them. Having an online store potentially puts information about your specific products and services in front of people who might otherwise never see them — due to instead finding a competitor’s online store during the customer’s initial online research. If that happens, your competitor gets a new customer, not you.
- You can use an online store to powerfully and effectively promote offline, in-store sales and other promotions. Imagine running an in-store promotion, say, 10% off a specific item. Now, imagine putting a web-coupon on your online store that says something to the effect of: “Print this coupon and bring it in to our location for a 10% discount on X.” The coupon is only redeemable in the physical store. People finding that coupon on the internet, who otherwise would have never set foot in your store, will see the deal, print the coupon, and go out of their way to actually go to your physical store location in order to take advantage of the sale price. This creates foot-traffic that you otherwise wouldn’t have seen. And, of course, those customers that now find themselves in your store, looking to redeem their web-coupon, are being exposed to all of your other products. It holds great potential for “while I’m here, I might as well pick up…” sales.
Operating an online store to compliment your offline business has many more advantages than just the three we’ve touched on above. And, with technology being what it is today, setting up and operating an online store really is exceedingly simple. Quite truthfully, anyone can do it with just a few clicks of a mouse button. And, options exist which would allow just about anyone to set up an online store for either very, very little expense, or even entirely for free.
There really is no doubt about it, if your traditional, offline business is not currently complimented with an online store, you’re very likely cheating yourself out of potential revenue.
So, I’ve said that setting up your own online store can be very simple and cost-minimal (even free), but you may still be wondering exactly how you can do it. First off, I’d recommend reading through our very own tutorial: How to Open an Online Store Step by Step. That should familiarize you with the process of setting up an online store — from beginning to end. Keep in mind, however, that that particular tutorial goes through every single step of the process, and is directed toward people who are currently operating no business at all and/or have absolutely no commercial web presence whatsoever. If you already do have these things, many of the steps outlined in that article will not be required of you to follow. The article, for instance, explains how to procure hosting for an online store — if your business already has a website, you already have hosting of some type for your website, and that hosting can most probably be used to host your business’ online store.
Along with reading our online store set-up tutorial, I’d recommend checking out some very simple, yet effective and extremely cost minimal options like using WordPress as a platform for your online store. A very powerful system which will facilitate doing that can be found by clicking this link. If going that route, I’d recommend reading this extremely informative tutorial that explains how to easily set-up a WordPress blog, then investigating the WordPress online store system linked to above and simply incorporating it into your WordPress site.
There’s little argument that in this age of the internet, if your business doesn’t have an online presence, you’re losing business. And, if your offline business isn’t complimented by an online store, you are almost certainly losing business as well.