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How to Start an Online Business

Start an Online Business

Over the last few years, the retail industry has been witnessing significant changes in the business environment with intense competition, shrinking margins and choosy customers with a plethora of choices. Hence it becomes more important for retailers to embrace technology such as retail industry automation and e-commerce website development to provide personalized and end-to-end shopping experience to attract and retain customers, understand them better and grow revenues.

Want to Start an Online Business? If you are an entrepreneur planning to start an e-commerce business or someone with a new start-up idea, there are a list of basic things you need to get started.

1. Register a Domain Name:

The domain name is the unique online address for your business. Zero in on a short, catchy and memorable phrase relating to your business and register it at one of the many domain registration sites. For an e-commerce business, the .com extension should be the primary choice since it is the most popular top level domain. A well thought out domain name is not only brandable and easy to remember, it will also be more discoverable on the search engines.

2. Finding a Web Host:

A web host is a company which rents you space on their servers to publish your website so that you are visible to your customers. Web hosts focus on the technical responsibilities of running a website. Web hosting services feature secure servers that protect against hacking and viruses and ensures that your site is up and running. For e-commerce websites collecting payments via credit and debit cards, top web hosts offer Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate which ensures secure data transmission.

Web hosting services are paid for monthly depending on the number of websites hosted, the amount of storage space, the number of email accounts needed, and other services provided.

3. Setting Up an E-Commerce Website

This could be the toughest part. Setting up a good business website requires considerable investment of energy, technical expertise and design knowledge. Your website is your visiting card, online market place, POS terminal, customer services center and marketing solution, all rolled into one. Hence it makes sense to hire a professional developer to build a clean, easy to navigate website. Also ensuring that your website is mobile friendly with a customized design and layout will increase customer appeal and accessibility.

A successful business website is incomplete without a good shopping cart software. This allows your customers to view your products, enter information and make a secure purchase. When selecting the perfect online business solution for your needs, you should look out for features such as customization options, merchant tools, marketing tools, payment gateway integration, analytics, product comparison, customer reviews, etc. Your success depends on the kind of e-commerce software you choose for your website.

4. Online Payment Services

An online business needs a merchant account service to process credit and debit card payments. Since this service is a business necessity, you need to go through the fees, processing costs and terms involved before selecting a provider that charges affordable amounts and a transparent fee structure. Other points to note are reliability, customer service, and adoption of latest technology such as near field communication (NFC) and mobile wallet payment.

5. Promote Your Website

You have a great e-commerce website, but how do you attract customers to it? The first step is to implement SEO (search engine optimization) strategy to rank high on searches. This itself is a cost-effective marketing technique to boost your online presence. The second step is to harness social media to increase customer interaction and as a promotional tool for discounts and offers. Keep your website updated with data about current industry trends and other relevant information.

That's it. You are good to start an online business with all the above points in mind.

Need guidance to start an online business or help to set up an e-commerce website for your business? Get in touch with us for more information.

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