Are you considering jumping into ecommerce?  Consumers are turning to the internet more than ever to research products and make their purchases.  Whether you have a brick-and-mortar establishment and would like to expand your business to the web or are considering becoming an entrepreneur, an online shop could be the ideal solution. 

Take Advantage of Current Trends

Technology is influencing our lives now more than ever, and it’s changing the way people shop.  In fact, some statistics indicate consumers prefer the efficiency of researching and purchasing online over physical storefronts, with over half turning to a web-based shopping experience when they can.  Flexibility and convenience weigh heavily in their decisions, since internet stores are open 24/7, allow easy price comparisons, and ship items directly to their home or business.  Even if you have a successful brick-and-mortar storefront, as Street Directory points out, internet shopping is here to stay and a worthwhile option for business owners. 

Start with a Solid Website

Jumping into ecommerce can be daunting if in-person management, sales, and service are your forte, but thankfully, there are some ways to help you get started, and you don’t need to be a computer guru to do it.  For instance, by ensuring proper HTML coding is put into place, you can establish a solid foundation for your online store and boost your business’s ROI.

If you’re not familiar with HTML, enlisting the help of a professional can save you time and money.  HTML5 freelancers specialize in building user-friendly websites by utilizing the most up-to-date HTML iteration.  These developers can help to ensure that your website is launched quickly and is compatible with mobile-friendly platforms.  A contact page, your company’s social media links, and data tables are just a few projects that HTML5 developers can achieve for you.

Finding Quality Professionals

Finding a quality freelance web expert can be a conundrum, especially if the field is well beyond your normal travels.  Forbes recommends developing an idea of what you want your website to look like before hiring a professional and spending some time pooling a list of sites you like.  Connect with other business owners for references, and sift out a handful of experts that interest you.  From there, approach them as you would other business prospects, reviewing work, pricing, and timelines. 

Canned or Customized Storefront?

One of the dilemmas for many small business owners is whether or not to invest in a custom online storefront and develop it themselves.  As Greenice explains, there are pros and cons to the options, depending on your budget and expertise.  A website builder allows you to piece things together quickly and easily using drag-and-drop creation, although it tends to be pretty limiting and highly structured.  Another option is content management software, or CMS.  To use a CMS platform, you will either need some coding skills or to hire someone who has them, but this option provides a more flexible end result.  A completely custom website is tailored to your specifications, but can be more costly in terms of time and money, and a professional designer should build it. 

Marketing Strategies and Solutions

One of the great advantages of engaging in ecommerce is the ability to market your business effectively and efficiently.  For instance, an opt-in email list is a great way to keep your customers coming back, and you can offer them incentives to sign up, such as coupon codes.  Some experts suggest a double opt-in is ideal, since it provides validation of the email addresses used.  Once you have email addresses, use them to let your clientele know about what’s new through effective blogging, and engage social media so you can connect customers with your website.  

Consumers are giving preference to online shopping, so it makes sense to take advantage of the trend.  Build a great site yourself or choose quality professionals, and market wisely.  It won’t be long until you see your business growing by leaps and bounds. 

Guest Author: Dean Burgess

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