If you’re planning to set up an online store, you have a lot to consider. Amongst other things, your checklist will include applying for a business license, developing a concept, and calculating your finances. But don’t despair! A host of e-commerce programs and optimisation functions are on hand to help you succeed.
How e-commerce conquered England
E-commerce in the UK is experiencing constant growth and development, with ever more retailers making their way online and vying for internet users’ attention. With practically every kind of product now represented online as well as in brick and mortar locations, the digitization of retail marches onward. Merchants who do fail to jump on the e-commerce bandwagon therefore risk being left by the wayside.
Entering the world of e-commerce
E-commerce statistics gathered by Statista prove that online retail has well and truly reached the masses. Even if you’ve got no experience of operating a online shop, you can easily take advantage of the ongoing e-commerce development. Hosting providers generally offer toolkits that contain all the interfaces and functions needed for starting up an online shop. You don’t even have to be a marketing expert to get your new web store off the ground. Using integrated features such as marketing tools for search engine optimisation, these toolkits teach you the ins and outs of e-commerce. They are also easily operable; since they run on browsers, installation is not necessary.
The visual design of your new store is of great significance to Google, regarding its ranking system. Most template designs are already optimised for search engines. Templates are also often equipped with mobile optimisation, so your shop can be displayed perfectly on all devices, from desktops to smartphones.
Using a toolkit to create a professional web store
Most online shop toolkits do not only offer e-commerce software, but everything that’s needed for web hosting, including webspace, personal domains, and custom e-mail addresses. Your online store should be available around the clock. The most common payment methods, like PayPal, are often available by default, so you can offer your customers the service that they are expecting. Less popular payment methods, such as transfer and direct debit, are also available as standard. All of these functions are availabe in 1and1's online shop package.
These toolkits also include functions designed to support you in managing your online shop. You can also use analysis tools such as Google Analytics or etracker to monitor the daily growth of your business. These can be used to monitor the click behaviour of your visitors, thereby giving you a valuable indication of how your website can be further optimised in order to better suit the needs of your target group. The most important marketing tools are also included, so, for example, Facebook’s share and like icons are also standard features in most web store packages.
Your online shop on tablets, smartphone and more
E-commerce in the UK is comprised of many channels, and while mobile shopping isn’t the most popular, its significance is growing. It’s helpful to bear in mind that Google takes user-friendliness as well as mobile optimisation into account when constructing its ranking scheme. This means in concrete terms that online stores with inadequate mobile versions do not rank as highly. Poor layout elements include fonts that are too small or closely spaced, and hard-to-operate touch elements.
Many online shop toolkits can prevent this. Contemporary web store toolkits are designed with mobile devices in mind, so most include user-friendly navigation and perfect display on all devices. These elements guarantee customers an optimal buying experience on all platforms, helping to generate a positive reputation for your business.
Which products are most suitable for online trade?
Practically every product imaginable is suitable for online trade. Thanks to modern delivery methods, food is just as easy to transport as durable consumer goods (i.e. clothes, furniture, and electronics). Together, large supermarkets, clothing brands, and the technology industry command a significant share of e-commerce in the UK. This makes it very difficult for budding, young businesses to get a foot in the door unless they offer unique products that fill a gap in the market. On the other hand, certain industries perform far better in brick and mortar shops, particularly products that require the senses, such as fragrances and gourmet food. Other sectors are similarly underrepresented and are just in need of an original concept to break into the world of e-commerce. Entrepreneurs can take this as an opportunity for interesting business ideas. No matter which area of e-commerce you’re active in, your concept and ideas are the cornerstone of your success.
Don’t copy an existing idea, but establish yourself with ideas that set you apart from your competition. Clever online marketing tactics play a crucial role in highly competitive sectors. An extensive marketing strategy that includes search engine optimisation is one of the foundation blocks in realising your business.
Finding your niche and getting started
E-commerce is hugely competitive, so when you have a new business idea, it’s important to look at your rivals and ask yourself whether your idea is truly unique, and what you can offer people that other companies can’t. The better the idea, the more successfully it will prevail in the dog-eat-dog world of online marketing.
Proper management of an online store can massively increase your revenue. The costs involved in creating an e-commerce platform pale into insignificance compared to potential gains, particularly if you already have a company with strong infrastructure. For small and medium-sized companies, on the other hand, just renting online shops from hosting providers for a small price is enough. This will not significantly increase your operating costs.
Of course, endeavours in the world of e-commerce inevitably require technical set-up and maintenance, but fear not! Modern web store software is easy to use, even for those without a background in IT. Commercial success online is rooted in innovative ideas and their implementation.