Establishing an online presence is one of the best ways to grow a brand or business. The internet is one big source of revenue, and an online store allows you to tap into its money-making potential.
Build the Foundation
The most basic requirement your business needs is its own website. Sure, you can use social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram to market your products. However, getting information on your product and buying it directly are two different matters. A website with its own domain name also gives your business more credibility. It sets it apart from most businesses that merely rely on social media platforms instead of spending money and making an effort to build a website. Getting a domain name is simple and should not cost more than $50 a year (the usual is $20). Designing and building a website from the ground up can cost around $500 for the most basic ones to $5,000 for sites with complex features.
A dedicated website allows you to control the entire content of your site — none of the trappings of social media or potential ads from your competitors. Once you have determined the direction and design of your website, it is also essential to invest in cybersecurity or managed IT services. Most corporations and businesses in urban centers like New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and LA opt for dedicated third-party services that manage IT-related matters instead of devoting their own teams to do mundane and repetitive tasks. In addition, cybersecurity requires 24-hour monitoring. Going to a third-party manager is not just more efficient. It can also cut expensive costs on personnel.
Set Up Shop
Online sales skyrocketed in 2020. More than 80 percent of all Americans have made purchases through online stores, and 25 percent make regular purchases each month. Close to 20 percent of total sales in the United States go through online transactions — with Amazon alone bringing in more than $50 billion. Around the globe, online transactions account for close to $4 trillion, and experts predict the numbers will only grow as consumers become more accustomed to online shopping. Setting up an online store will not have the overheads of a regular retail store. There is no need to rent commercial real estate, apply for permits, or provide wages for personnel. A company can simply integrate an e-commerce platform into its website and instantly provide consumers with additional avenues for transaction.
Most e-commerce platforms can be accessed for around $20 a month. Companies can pay for higher premiums for larger store space, additional features, and smaller transaction fees. Capitalize on impulse buying by bundling items or suggesting items that go together. Allow customers to leave reviews that can count as endorsements or give you an idea of what to improve. Aside from the usual credit card, allow alternative payment options like Paypal, Payoneer, Stripe, or Venmo. Some of your customers might want to keep their accounts private. Alternative payment options allow them to do business with your company without exposing their details. It might seem inconsequential. However, even big tech companies like Facebook and Google have had their data stolen by hackers, so it’s best to have that added layer of security.
Digital ads have overtaken traditional ads in terms of value. U.S. companies spent over $150 billion in digital ads in 2020 and only $100 billion through traditional media (print, television, and radio). Facebook earned more than $38 billion in ad revenue. However, most of its earnings came from small businesses instead of large corporations. Digital ads have the most bang for your buck. Complex algorithms and tracking software (that most companies will not admit to) can predict the behavior of differing demographics — noting the sites they visit, the length of engagement, as well as schedule of visits. Running a digital ad allows you to customize your ad to target particular demographics, whether they are barefoot runners or married couples with cats.
Americans are also spending more time on their phones and laptops. The average American will spend close to six hours a day in front of their screens, making phones and laptops prime locations for advertising. Digital ads also tie in well with online stores. An interested individual can click on an ad and instantly get access to your brand’s store. From there, one can make purchases while also being introduced to several products that your store offers. Digital ads are especially effective for items that cost less than $300.
Growing a business has never been easier. Online stores that can reach a global consumer base are easy to set up, and people are slowly moving away from retail and moving towards digital transactions.