Start Small Business Online

Starting a small business online? Here’s how.

Starting a small business online? Here’s how.

Three steps to taking your new small business online.

Three steps to taking your new small business online.

Small business is well and truly heading online. So what’s important when setting up your new e-commerce store?

Whether you are looking to start a small business or already have one, e-commerce is rapidly becoming an integral part of doing business.

Bringing a traditional business model online or starting a business online from scratch can be challenging, but the good news is that setting up an e-commerce business is easier than ever.  Here are three fundamentals to keep in mind.

Set up your digital presence right

Make sure you secure your domain name which you will need to set up your website. Keep it short and simple. There are plenty of tools to help you determine if the one you want is available.

Some business owners select an “off the shelf” e-commerce platform such as Shopify, Selz, Woocommerce or Squarespace. These intuitive, simple to use platforms may  help small businesses like yours to get up and running in no time.

Set up your payment processing.  It needs to be secure, easy to use and it needs to work with the payment methods your customers prefer. This means including credit cards, online payments, third-party payment vendors like PayPal or even foreign currencies. Check to see whether there are processing fees for your sales transactions as this will add to your total operating costs.

Be creative when building your website and pay attention to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so your customers can find you easily. You customers may also want to choose social channels such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram to purchase from you.

Pay attention to shipping

Shipping is a huge part of any online business. Remember, a customer’s purchase isn’t complete until they’ve received their order. To ensure items are received on time and undamaged, consider shipping with the services built into most platforms.

When you use built-in shipping functions, you can benefit from discounted shipping rates negotiated by the platform provider. However, keep in mind that if you’re shipping as few as ten packages a week, it might make better sense to open your own shipping account to access even better rates.

Another benefit of opening your own account is that you are establishing a direct relationship with shipping providers. Over time, you can also further negotiate your rates.

Think through how you can improve the delivery experience for your buyers with express delivery, free shipping and courier services. Also, be sure to have a plan for how you will manage returns.

Considerations

  • Ensure your customers are receiving their items in the condition you sent them.

  • Choose a trusted delivery services partner who can offer the assurance of a safe, careful and affordable delivery.

  • Figure out what your packaging and shipping supplies requirements that will make sure your products reach your customers in tip-top condition.

  • Take advantage of reward programs like My FedEx Rewards that deliver points for your business every time you ship.

  • Share in your customer’s great experience by redeeming your points for a range of items including modern gadgets, health products or even shipping vouchers.

Launch and learn!

There are many different digital marketing tools you can use to promote your online business - from AdWords to paid search to online advertising - to name a few. It can be overwhelming to know where to start. So just get going!

Move forward with an evolutionary mindset. It's likely your website, product offerings and marketing strategy will evolve as you learn. The best feedback you will ever get is from your customers. So get your online business started now and adapt as you learn!


More from Small Business Center

Article 10 image

Learn how your business can adapt and respond to the surging demand of online shopping.

Small Business Online Trends 2021

What’s driving retail right now? Check these 4 trends for inspiration in starting a business online.