Are you thinking about selling your products online? Depending on the current size your business is, an online store might be exactly what you need to reach new demographics.
Consider Your Product Line
The purpose of an online store is to make ordering more convenient for your customers. First you need to make sure that your business model works with an online shopping experience. Does your business mainly sell products or services? Businesses that offer a service may still need an online store to sell accessories or branded merchandise.
For businesses that sell products, ask yourself, how well do they translate to an online market? Anything can be sold online, but you may need to change your model to make it convenient. If you sell clothes, include size options. If you sell bulk goods by weight, consider selling only a few of the most popular quantities online for easy shipping.
If phone orders are part of your business model, an online store will make your process significantly more convenient. Your digital ordering form should be well designed on both the front and back ends. Choose a system that your employees can easily use.
Decide if You’re Ready to Expand
An online store can improve many business models, but you shouldn’t start any expansion until you’re truly ready. You need to be able to devote time and attention to the design process to get the best results.
You will need to hire professionals to help you build your online store. As an owner, make sure you have time to communicate with your designers and developers. They won’t be able to complete the process without your input.
Adding items to the digital catalog will also take time. You may want to train one of your employees to handle this process for you, especially if you have a lot of items or variations.
Finally, be ready to manage the store once it opens. You will be expected to process orders, communicate with customers, and keep prices up to date.
Fund Your Online Store
You will need to hire professionals to help you create your online store. Here are a few of the expenses you might run into:
Web design and development – Be willing to pay for a developer with experience in e-commerce platforms. Every part of your store needs to function properly; if customers can’t add items to the cart and proceed to checkout, you won’t make any sales.
Item photography and descriptions – Once your store works, you’ll need content to put in it. Hire professionals to put your merchandise in the best light.
Hosting and server fees – Online stores are larger than most websites. Expect to pay more for server space.
Employee training costs – Your current staff will need to be trained to take digital orders. You may also want to hire additional staff to manage the increase in business.
Consider whether you have the time or budget available to start this project. If you have time but don’t have the budget, you may want to take advantage of a business loan alternative like a merchant cash advance from Alpine Funding Partners to start your project immediately instead of waiting for approval on a new business loan. Use all the tools at your disposal to help your company grow to its fullest potential.
Call us today to speak to our financial experts.