“How to start an online business” is a question many people are asking themselves these days. That’s because conducting business online has become widespread and is no longer the preserve of a few multinationals or geeks. According to the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), there are approximately 3.5 billion people with Internet access in the world.
In addition, global ecommerce revenues will top the $1.25 trillion mark in 2013. In some countries such as China, ecommerce sales will grow by 130% in 2013 alone. These statistics show that one can make money selling goods and services online. Here is how to start an online business:
How to Start an Online Business: Identify A Consumer Need
To succeed as an entrepreneur online, you have to identify a consumer need that you can fulfill. This involves thorough research both online and offline.
For example, you could visit and interact with people on Internet forums and social networking sites to find out if they have certain unfulfilled needs. You could also carry out keyword research to find out what people are searching for online. Finally, you could talk to industry insiders such as real estate agents to get a good grasp of the real estate industry.
How to Start an Online Business: Build An Online Store
One of the ways to to sell goods online is through a virtual store. The good news is you do not have to build everything from scratch because there are e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, Volusion, and Magento with tons of features that you can use to set up online store.
Make sure your e-commerce site has social media buttons to make access from social networking sites easy. Hire a data security expert to go through your site and ensure that hackers cannot access confidential information such as your customer's credit card details.
Stock Your Store and Advertise It
With the site up and running, stock it with goods and advertise it aggressively online. This is necessary to make consumers aware of your business.
Depending on your marketing budget, you can opt to rely on organic search engine optimization (SEO) or paid advertising. Organic SEO involves optimizing your site to attract as many visitors as possible.
This includes improving page load speeds, creating great content, easy site navigation, as well as attractive site design. On the other hand, paid advertising involves paying companies such as Google to place your site on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPS).
Invest In Data Analytics
You cannot become a serious e-commerce player without tracking and analyzing your store's performance. Major e-retailers such as Amazon and eBay have their own data analytics teams and software tools to slice and dice data.
The insights they glean from data analytics efforts helps them price goods and services, offer discounts, offer recommendations, and even detect credit card fraud. Some of the key statistics to keep an eye on include conversion rates, bounce rates, traffic sources, and unique visitors.
All in all, to start an online business, you will require Internet access, a computing device (laptop, desktop, tablet, or even smartphone), a bit of cash, and the zeal to become an entrepreneur.
After this, identify a consumer need and find a solution to this need. Build an online store to deliver the solution, advertise it, and track its performance. With the necessary tweaks and and adjustments you will be on the way to building a successful online marketing business.
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