When it comes to founding an online store, you have to ask yourself a fundamental question – how much should I invest and when will the store start to profit? But what does “profit” even mean? Will it be 20 orders after two months of being online? Or maybe a sale worth 5 thousand zlotys? None of these matter, if you haven’t determined the measure of your endeavour’s success at the very beginning.
Business plan – when should we expect the famous ROI?
A well prepared business plan is a true must-have. Its key elements include:
- Time it will take to found an online store
- Time of signing a contract with suppliers and an online sales agent
- Question if a store can be stocked and the sale can start off straight away
You may be prone to a disaster if you choose an irrelevant product, neglect identifying your competition, forgo any marketing campaign, design and create a store incorrectly, or inaccurately define your target audience.
You should consider all the costs connected with founding an online store: buying a domain, store’s software, elements of design such as logotype, artwork, and banners, marketing expenses, and other possible additives. And remember to confront them all with your competition. The larger it is, the more difficult it will be to stand out and all the initial costs will automatically increase.
The process of purchasing goods and acquiring information must be intuitive – a user shouldn’t have any problems ordering a product and getting information about its delivery time. If you know your customers well and provide stock that meets their expectations quality- and price-wise, you’ve got nothing left to do than to invite them for shopping. That’s where all the marketing fun starts.
If two weeks passed and you didn’t sell a single product, you should be concerned and analyze your store and its promotion. If after 2-3 months (depending on an industry, store’s size, or offer’s itinerancy) the store still doesn’t increase your planned profit, you should analyze it, as well.
It’s a must to include a marketing budget in your business plan. Even the best store won’t achieve great results, if it’s not regularly visited. You can’t believe in nonsense such as “I own a store and the rest will come automatically”. It’s a simple way to ruin all your plans. These competitive times force you to encourage potential customers to visit your site.
Marketing activities have to be adequately targeted. If you own a fishing store, displaying ads with the newest corks to fledgeling moms is useless. It’s worth checking which sites are visited by your potential customers and adjust the ads properly. They shouldn’t be identical for both teenagers and pensioners. The places you use to advertise your store are equally essential. You can choose Facebook, Google Ads, or a spot on a thematic forum.
Analysis can provide you with valid information about who your customer is, what sells best, where your users come from, or what group purchases the most or the least. How to obtain such knowledge? Many stores have their own analytic modules which present many information about a store’s activity very clearly, including sales statistics and warehouse management. However, if you want to know your customers well, it’s a good idea to use some external tools, too. A great example is Google Analytics. It allows you to analyze the users and their behaviour in the store which helps eliminate mistakes and organize marketing campaigns more effectively. It can also minimize the costs of conducting a store and increase its incomes.