The pandemic outbreak has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs in our lives. While many of us lost touch with the world outside, the rest pulled up their sleeves and began establishing connections with the online world. We know several friends who set up small businesses online by creating Instagram and Facebook pages. We may have supported them by sharing their creations on our accounts and even encouraged them to open an online store to gain more customer visibility. The question has always been the same – How will they know about the shop? 

The good news is that shops aren’t necessarily a brick-and-mortar model today; everyone has their web presence and with the right resources, your store could gradually dominate the area of your business. According to NASDAQ, 95% of all purchases made would be done online by 2040. E-commerce is the future of shopping and this guide will help you set up your store online with the right resources, be it a brick-and-mortar model online or set up a completely new online store.

How to Set Up Your Online Store – A Step-by-Step Guide

Decide Your Niche

Before setting up your online business, choose a set of your choice, i.e. decide on the products to be sold and the particular market you aim to  target. Once the options are clear, the customers would have a clear insight into your store and buy products accordingly. One shouldn’t decide their niche on trending or popular products, as trends ebb down with seasonal changes and popularity reigns differently for products. Instead, go through market statistics for longevity products and what one would be likely  to need constantly and set up your products, pricing and audience accordingly.

 

E-commerce Platform

Your website would represent your brand. Hence, choose a platform that offers you unlimited tools to customise your site according to your needs. You need to check whether the venue could create pricing packages and subscription boxes for your budget. Would it let you design your website when you upgrade to a bigger plan, would it have a feature for customer reviews? etc. These are necessary to essay a smooth platform to advertise your products

To create your ideal online store, hop on to Bikayi.com. They offer a wide range of extensive tools built to develop online stores and have customised templates for every niche and plan as per to your budget.

Target Market 

We have to choose a specific market to sell our items as a broad distribution without a target audience is similar to throwing darts on the board everywhere except the bull’s-eye. The customers would buy the products if they like them but there wouldn’t be any brand loyalty. Dig into the untapped market and see the audience stats for the effects. For example, household items are forever in demand but this is a niche opted by supermarkets and competitors such as Big Market, Big Basket, Big Bazaar etc. Choose a market that is not much in demand but has the need and potential.

What Products to Sell Online?

Once you decide your target audience, choose the products you would be selling to them. Research about what products are in decline and why. Also consider which products are in demand but  supply value is low.  In 2020, there was a massive demand for sanitisers and face masks. Choose the products based on your manufacturing and shipping cost. You could sell and buy with no return investment if the manufacturing costs are high. Hence, it is advisable to seek professional advice from platforms with experience. Bikayi.com provides an end-to-end demonstration on setting up a new store with business tips from retail vendors which could help cover up the product section.

How Does Dropshipping Work?

In an online business, the transport of products is through delivery and the options are between holding onto your products or partnering with a dropshipper. Here are some of the pros and cons for both options so you can determine what is best for you. 

Holding onto Your Products 

Some pros:

  • You can customise your delivery and increase customer relations
  • You can directly review returns of the products and customer experience

Some cons:

  • Expensive inventory management, especially when starting new
  • Picking up and packing items costs time and money

Overall, you could have the personal experience or backlash for your products but if manufacturing costs are high, the rest of the expenses would fall onto your shoulders for extra shipping. 

What is Dropshipping? 

  • Dropshipping is an accessible retail business where you do not have to worry about stock management or inventory. 
  • You can connect your store to the supplier website and choose products from their catalogue to sell. When customers buy products through your website, you can forward the order details to the dropshipping supplier who will manage the rest of the delivery. You could choose your price, market and mode of delivery. 
  • The shopper buys from your store, you forward the order to the dropshipper and pay them the delivery charges. 
  • Dropshipping helps everyone new to the business and takes care of inventory, stock etc. 

Once you integrate your store online with  Bikayi, inventory management is a beneficial feature that would cover your fulfillment in-house and create product catalogs. This feature would  relieve you of  new business hassles.  

Payment Methods

Payments are universally essential for all the services one provides and the mode of payment is necessary to ensure smooth running. Depending on your location and network providers, you could offer multiple online UPI payments, bank transfers, cash on delivery etc. You could also partner with merchant services that offer payment gateways that authorise credit cards or direct payment processing for e-businesses

When you build your website with Bikayi, you can opt for payment gateways which offer zero maintenance fees and  lowest pricing offers. There are no extra charges applied through this platform and the payments are directly credited to your account. 

Read more on Business payments

Choose a Domain/Connect Your Store

When you go for an interview or admission, you show your portfolio to give them an idea about your profile. Even in e-business, customers need information about your setup. Hence, it is necessary to build your domain under your brand name so it directly crops up when typed or integrates your store with an online business. This will help you. 

You can build a domain on your chosen e-commerce platform to present your products to people and design your website based on your niche. Connecting an online store with retail business would boost the new company by already having a platform that would create themes and design your site according to your needs. 

With Bikayi, you can integrate your online store, choose from unlimited themes and customise your store and products based on your needs. To check out Bikayi.com, you would need to either download the app or watch the demo for a smooth process.

Design Your Sales 

Customers need clarity on their products and payment offers when they buy directly from the site. Aside from a chatbot, they should be able to distinguish the prices and cart options. Bikayi offers customised templates for e-commerce store businesses to build their sale options and adds metadata to your store so the customer can immediately find their product. “Add Now/Buy Now” options must be in bold and links to return policy/FAQs must be in the footer for customers to be able to access them quickly. Product imagery is a must as customers need a specific picture if they cannot place a name on it. At Bikayi, once the store is integrated online, the process is more accessible as everything is customisable as per  the vendor’s taste.

Branding Strategy 

In today’s world, branding is everything. Without a strong strategy, the store would not have good visibility and the products would dwindle with discount prices. Branding requires everything from colours on the site to the tone of marketing. The site must contain a unique selling point to stand out in the market. Brand identity builds customer loyalty and a well-designed site garners  more reach.

Marketing Campaign

While brand identity secures a spot for creating USPs and owning the site name, the marketing of a business ensures optimal reach of its recognition. 

Social Media 

Social presence is vital on the web, especially personal branding. You can create a business page, and upload images of your products,  referral programs, free coupons and seasonal offers. Link your stores on the site for direct clicks and browsing. Facebook shops can also be integrated for a customer to browse the online store directly.

Content Marketing

 Content is king holds good for today as well, as without description or introduction of any platform, the customers are left confused and have to figure it out themselves. Selling is a numbers game so we have to make sure our site is also optimised for the most probable products of the customers. Adding SEO keywords increases our conversion rate and retention rate as our product would match their exact search result. 

Online Advertising

We have to choose a platform with regular engagement from our target audience. Be it social media platforms, e-commerce platforms or search websites, advertisements could be a compelling way to direct the traffic to our site. The ad objective could be traffic,  customer engagement or conversion. We need to optimise the ads according to interests, demographics and locations. Google Ads could be paid or organic and segregated based on demographics and location, which is more specific. 

The pandemic has shown us that there is never a perfect time to wait to open a store online or anywhere. Now that we have provided a step-by-step guide, take the plunge to set up your own business. All the resources have been provided above for a smooth transition and if you want to start immediately, check out Bikayi.com for a quick online store setuup

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