5 Tips for Starting an Online Retail Business

Thursday, April 12, 2018

5 Tips for Starting an Online Retail Business

With e-commerce expected to account for 17 percent of all retail sales by 2022, there's no better time than the present to start an online retail business. Doing so will help you establish a strong presence in this ever-growing industry.

When starting an online retail business, though, you should follow these five tips.

#1) Choose a Brandable Domain Name

Don't underestimate the importance of choosing a brandable, easy-to-remember domain name. Some online retailers assume it's best to choose an exact match domain (EMD) consisting of the primary keyword or keywords for which they want to rank in the search results. There are a few problems with EMDs, however. According to a study conducted by Moz, brandable domain names typically have a higher Domain Authority (DA) than EMDs. And with a higher DA, you'll have an easier time optimizing your online store for a high search ranking. Secondly, brandable domains are easier to remember than EMDs, which means more returning customers to your online business.

#2) Source Product Vendors

When starting an online retail business, you must find vendors to supply the products that you intend to sell on your site. The most common solutions are wholesale suppliers and dropshipping vendors. Wholesale suppliers sell bulk quantities of products at a discount price. Generally speaking, the more units of a product you buy from a wholesale supplier, the cheaper the per-unit cost. You can then turn around and sell them for a higher price on your site. The other solution is dropshipping, which involves selling products on behalf of a vendor. You list the products for sale on your site and perform customer transactions, but the dropshipping vendor actually fulfills and ships the products to your customers.

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#3) Plan Your Design

Ecommerce website design plays an important role in the success of your online business. If your site is poorly designed with clunky elements, broken links, confusing navigation or other issues, it will discourage shoppers from making purchases. A good rule of thumb to follow when designing your site is to include category navigation links on the sidebar and a site-wide search function at the top. This allows shoppers to browse the navigation links to see what your store offers, or they can search for a specific product using the site-side search function.

#4) Payment Gateway

If you want to accept credit card payments on your site, you need to partner with a payment gateway. Payment gateways are the point-of-sale (POS) terminals for online retailers. When a customer buys a product on your site, he or she will enter their credit card information on a secure page that's managed by the payment gateway company. When choosing a payment gateway, consider the fees, supported payment methods and reliability. Choosing an unreliable payment gateway could result in lost sales if the company's servers go down.

#5) Test and Optimize

Perhaps the most important tip is to test and optimize your online retail business. Conducting A/B split testing, for example, provides insight into how shoppers interact with different versions of your site or advertising campaign. Rather than using a single design or ad copy, you'll use two versions. After gathering data on the two versions, you can remove the underperforming version and replace it with a new one. This is a simple and effective way to optimize your e-commerce site for maximum conversions.

More and more consumers are buying products online. With this shopping trend comes exciting new opportunities for online retailers. However, it's important that you follow the tips outlined here when starting an online retail business.

By  Lindsey Patterson Embed

Author Bio - Lindsey is a freelance writer specializing in business and consumer technology.


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