As you jump in to running your internet business, here are some helpful recommendations to get you started on the right foot. Its also good to think about how you are going to run your business before buying one so that you get the right one for your needs.
The business model
As with any new business venture, it helps to have a model in place to guide you. A business model acts like a road map that is leading you on your direct course of action and deterring you from taking a wrong turn. Here are some places to start:
- Build a compelling website: Your website is your first—and often last—chance to make a stellar first impression. That being said, consider hiring website designers, developers, SEO providers, and other specialists to build an exceptional website and online store.
- Develop effective systems: Implement efficient systems for invoicing, accounting, payment processing, and shipping. Focus on building a well-oiled machine so that when your business takes off, you’ll be prepared to accommodate the rapid growth.
- Establish competitive shipping: Shipping costs seem to be a deal breaker for most Australians. In fact, 60% of Aussies will choose to abandon a shopping cart if the shipping cost is higher than expected.
In 2018, approximately 65% of total orders delivered had free shipping. To stay competitive, you’ll need to either offer free shipping or keep your costs as low as possible.
- Analyse: Constantly track your business’s performance and make any necessary improvements. Analyse your conversion rate, traffic sources, product performance, and peak traffic days and times. Then, adjust your marketing and business plan accordingly.
- Create customer loyalty: Engage with your customers by actively posting on multiple social media platforms. Leverage the power of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to spread the word about upcoming products, promotions, discounts, and services.
By having a strategic plan of action in place, you’ll be able to avoid undue stress and worry.
Here are a few top trends in the internet business sector:
- In 2017, the top three products purchased online were electronics, clothing, and books.
- In 2016, the demand for personalised products increased by 2%. Savvy owners are benefiting from this trend by enabling consumers to co-design or personalise their products.
- According to a recent survey, 29% of consumers make purchases online between 7:00–10:00 p.m. Capitalise on this spike in after-hours shopping by offering discounts to bargain hunters during this time period.
Take advantage of these current trends to boost your business and to help spark your own creativity so that you, too, can become an industry trendsetter.
To have a successful online business, you’ll need to be proficient in a wide variety of digital marketing strategies. Consider implementing the following methods:
- Google: To gain exposure, list your business with Google My Business. With this free service, your profile will show up whenever people search for businesses like yours. In your listing, be sure to add photos highlighting your recent work or products.
- Yellow Pages: Sign up here to take advantage of free advertising through Yellow Pages. This is a quick, easy, and free way to put your business in front of potential customers.
- SEO and SEM: Optimise your online store to rank high on top search engines using relevant keywords, meta titles, descriptions, and forum participation.
- Social marketing: Consider your target customer and create a strong online presence across multiple social platforms. Post helpful, relevant content on a regular basis, and include information about recent updates, new products, and special discounts.
- Email marketing: Use email marketing to engage customers with new product features and promotions. Employ best email marketing practices to remind customers to complete their checkouts if they have abandoned their shopping carts.
- Online ads: Create and run ad campaigns through Google AdWords, Bing ads, and Facebook ads to generate traffic and raise awareness for your store.
- Blog: To increase website traffic and attract new customers, write periodic blog posts on your website. Focus on providing informational content related to your products or services.
If you’re uncertain of which marketing tools are the best fit for you, this is another great time to enlist the help of professionals to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.
One of the biggest challenges in this industry is heavy competition from big businesses and international retailers. The top five e-commerce sites in Australia ranked by visits are eBay AU, Gumtree AU, Amazon, OzBargain, and Amazon AU.
In order to compete with retail giants like Amazon, you will just need to up your game, strategise effectively, optimise your delivery system, provide superior customer service, and focus on developing innovative business ideas.
To ensure your online business is a success, be diligent to do your research, study your competition, build and optimise your website, develop a marketing plan, and establish effective shipping and tracking systems.
Follow these guidelines, and you will be well on your way to building a successful internet business that will be around for years to come. You could also extend your search further afield if you don't think an internet business is the right one for you.