Launching an Online Retail Business: 5 Tips

The internet is an incredible force in our society for many reasons, but one of the major changes has been in the way consumers shop. While traditional brick-and-mortar stores still have a place in the market, there is no denying that online retail is the dominant force. Consumers anticipate being able to research, compare, and buy products without leaving their sofa, and in many ways, this has opened the playing field to enable smaller businesses to compete with market leaders. With the right digital marketing strategy, website design, pricing, and customer service, even the smallest ecommerce business can carve out a slice of the market.

That is not to say, however, that running a successful retail business is easy, as it requires a high level of digital marketing experience, creativity, and resilience, and there are plenty of potential pitfalls and obstacles to overcome. If you are considering launching an online retail business, there are five tips to keep in mind.

1.  Choose your product(s) carefully

Choosing the right product to sell will be hugely important in the success or failure of your ecommerce website. If you have a great product or range of products in a niche which is not overcrowded, it will be much easier to market and make a profit. Ideally, the products you sell should sit in a niche you have expertise in or are at least familiar with. It is possible to market a simple, novelty, or widely available product in such a way that it becomes desirable, but you will need an effective marketing strategy behind you to stand out from the crowd.

If you already run a business, you may be able to adapt your product or service so that it can be sold online and is unique. For example, online coaching delivered via video call or creating personalized clothing or household items to order.

When choosing your products, it is important to consider how you will deliver the product and any shipping costs involved. Physical products will need to be stored, packaged, and shipped, which involves a lot of organization. Alternatively, digital products which can be downloaded, such as online games, apps, and eBooks do not require physical storage or shipping.

2.  Create a digital marketing strategy

Online retail is a competitive market, and it is not enough to simply build a website and wait for orders to start rolling in. To ensure that your website is visible to potential customers, you need to invest a lot of time and creativity into a digital marketing strategy which will attract people to your website. The more visitors or traffic your website gets, the more opportunities you will have to convert those visitors into sales. There are numerous tactics you can employ to maximize traffic to your website including search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, content marketing, email marketing, affiliate marketing, and email marketing. You will need to complete market research to find out how your customers search for your products and which social media platforms they spend their time on.

3. Choose an ecommerce platform

Your ecommerce platform is your online store, so you must choose well. There are lots of options so take time to consider the features of each. You will want to compare several aspects, including the aesthetics of the platform, the user interface, security, pricing, and customer service. Shopify is a popular choice for many startups as it offers a wide range of customization options and room for growth over time. Head over to for professional advice and to get your Shopify ecommerce website up and running.

4. Design and build your website

When you have selected your ecommerce platform, you can build your website around it. Website design can be a complex topic, but it is possible to design a simple and easy-to-use website if you have chosen a high-quality ecommerce platform. Alternatively, you may want to seek professional support to ensure your website looks attractive, is simple for users to navigate, and guides users towards making purchases. Images and content should be crisp and accurate, as this will give visitors the impression that you are a professional company. Your ecommerce platform will enable you to set prices, upload images, and create product descriptions, as well as enabling customers to complete purchases.

5.  Adapt your digital marketing strategy

You created an initial digital marketing strategy based on research, but when your store is running, and you are making sales, you need to continue to evolve. Your strategy needs to adapt to changes in demand and competitor activity, but also regarding which marketing tactics are working for you and which are not. Only through trial and error will you find out which digital marketing techniques are the most effective. Keep tracking your performance across all your marketing channels and be ready to change tack at a moment’s notice.


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