Online stores are complicated – or so people like to think. Many small business owners prefer to run physical stores for personal reasons. It could be because they don’t know the first thing about starting up an online store or they simply don’t see the need to. If you fall into the latter category, you just might be in need of a little reorientation.
The past few months have shown us why every business owner needs an online store more than ever. From most stores shutting down to potential customers not being able to step out of their houses, physical stores are definitely not having it easy.
Thankfully, online stores have made it possible for business owners to still drive sales and connect with customers’ needs despite the ongoing pandemic. In fact, we strongly believe that online stores have made a huge impact and are the ultimate game changers in 2020 and we’d tell you why in a bit.
Why Are Online Stores so Important in 2020?
Contrary to popular opinion, virtual stores aren’t overrated or overhyped. As a matter of fact, they live up to their hype and are an essential extension for any small business owner looking to drive more sales. If you’re a business owner whose physical store has been shut down due to the pandemic, here’s why you should look towards building an online store:
Let’s imagine for a teeny moment that you were a consumer who needed to buy a few cartons of milk or a new coat on a Sunday morning. Depending on the area you live in, most stores are likely to be closed by that time of the week or day. You’d be bummed, right?
Now, let’s look at the scenario from the point of view of the store owner whose shop was closed. Not only has he missed out on the opportunity to make an extra sale, he probably may lose that customer forever especially if there’s an open competitor close by.
However, this isn’t the case with online stores. With online stores, customers can discover you when they search for items to buy online, shop and place orders at any time of the day without having to deal with a closed store or a sleepy cashier. What this means is that you get to make sales and connect with customers even in your sleep!
Believe it or not, this increased accessibility for both potential customers and returning customers is a huge competitive advantage.
Increased Reach and Scope
For small business owners who run a physical store, your reach can only go so far. In most cases, your target audience and consumers are likely to be people who live within the area or surrounding areas. However, with virtual stores, your scope is widened and you can connect to an even larger network of customers.
Many online stores and e-commerce businesses extend their reach and sell to customers in different countries and states. Basically, with a virtual store, you can sell to just about anybody, anywhere and any time.
Getting Customer Data
We’re all familiar with a common consumer behaviour/routine. A consumer may walk into a store to window-shop or actually buy a product. A few minutes into the buying process, he changes his mind and leaves the store. Now, if that was a brick-and-mortar store, there’s a huge chance that you’ve lost that customer and he’d never come back.
On the other hand, you still have a chance to hook in that customer, market your product and influence his buying decision if you run an online store. Once a customer visits your site, you could request for his email address and subsequently nudge him to make a decision if he’s still on the fence.
Furthermore, an online store can track a customer’s clicks, thereby giving you an insight into the purchasing process and any necessary adjustments to be made.
Factors to Consider Before Starting an Online Store
Now that you’ve probably figured that you need an online store to thrive in 2020 and the coming years, it may be tempting to make a common rookie mistake. Jumping right into building an online store with no questions asked. Even though we’re itching for you to create a virtual store of your own, it’s important to point out a few things before we get down to brass tacks.
If you’re looking to build your online store, here are some core factors to keep in mind:
What exactly are you trying to sell? You probably already know this but your product and values are the heart and soul of your store – whether physical or virtual. Before creating an online store, it is advisable to figure out your core product and research about the existing online market.
This will help to guide you through the entire process and subsequently, create the perfect store for your consumers.
What payment options are you offering to customers? Believe it or not, customers want to feel like they can make payments using any method of their choice. The more payment options you have, the more likely you are to drive sales. If you offer only one payment option (for instance, Mastercard), your potential customers will be limited to only those who can pay via Mastercard. Consumers who prefer to pay via PayPal will be left out and naturally, will shift to competitors who offer a wider range of payment options.
Customization and Personalization
When it comes to creating an online store, it is important to take user-friendliness and mobile compatibility into consideration. Studies show that up to 51% of online shoppers have used a mobile device for shopping. What this means is that your customers are most likely going to be scrolling through your store with their smartphones. As such, it needs to be mobile-friendly.
In the same vein, it is equally advisable to ensure that your virtual store reflects your brand’s personality and core values. That way, you can be sure to give your customers a full brand experience each time they visit your store.
Let’s Fix It for You
Ready to create your online store? We’re here to help you! Admittedly, it may seem all too much to handle or take in. However, we can help you create your very own store and subsequently drive more sales in just a few clicks. What’s more, we’ve partnered with several payments and logistics companies, making it easier for business owners to accept payments and deliver to customers across the world.
Are you ready to take the big step and start growing your business immediately? Find out how ListBuy can help you create your online store and start selling in no time at all.