How to manage an online business
E-commerce is one of the most dynamic industries in recent years and in Colombia, the growth of online business significantly increases.
Currently, Colombia has about 34 million Internet users, and many of them are active users of social networks, however, with so much supply and demand each advertiser must find a way to break into the market and seek to differentiate.
Having an online store has an endless number of advantages and benefits for both entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs and buyers, today, opening an online store is much cheaper than opening a physical store, not only saves on facilities, machinery, furniture, equipment, rent, but being on the Internet, the visibility of the business is much greater.
Although it is easier to start with an online business, you must be very aware that, like any business, it is important that you can manage it properly. Take paper and pencil and follow the steps below:
The first thing you should review and analyze is that your business idea, not only solves a need, but in the long term that idea is sustained, despite changes and market trends. In this step, we suggest you do a search of businesses on the Internet or web pages that are associated with your idea.
For this, you can use the largest Internet search engine, Google, in addition to researching, analyzing and corroborating that the business idea you have can work, you will serve to analyze the competition and especially the demand it has.
If you want a much more specialized search, we recommend you to use a free Google tool, called Google Trends, this tool will allow you to see the trends or popularity of the term or keyword in a location and period of time.
Once you have validated that your business idea has a very good demand on the Internet, you should check that this business is scalable, ie, that has a very strong growth potential and even in the future, can be internationalized without having to reinvest in infrastructure or raise costs, at this point is not in itself what you sell, but the way you offer it to the market, which makes the difference.
Although having a business that is scalable is very important, it is not an obligatory requirement, not all companies are created with a perfect and stable business proposal, here what is really important is that this business idea has the possibility of reinventing itself over time.
Once you have established your business idea, it is very important to identify the channels through which you are going to make yourself known, if you still have doubts about which social networks are right for you, we recommend you consult the following article how to use social networks for your business.
Control the stock of your online store. When a potential customer visits an online store has to know in real time what stock is available and what its price.
Many entrepreneurs take the risk of selling without previously checking if the product is exhausted, the process of returning the money becomes complicated and this ends up affecting the relationship with the customer and the credibility of your business.
For good stock management, it is essential to make an exhaustive inventory of all the products you sell, indicating the available quantities of each, the date of purchase of each product and, if you have a large amount of them, their location in the warehouse, warehouse or space to facilitate a quick location.
From there, it is easier to count the products we sell VS which we must ask our suppliers.
Select the payment method, define the payment options for your products or services, you can do it including deposit into an account, payment by card, Paypal, cash payment, money orders, etc..
It is important to offer the greatest number of payment methods to your clients, however, the recommended thing in each case is to evaluate the alternatives following three basic requirements:
- Adaptable: the customer must be able to pay wherever he or she is, without many obstacles.
- Security: with an authentication system that facilitates and simplifies the payment process.
- That offers confidence and comfort: simple steps but with the support of traditional financial institutions
Defines how to make shipments, as e-commerce is booming, we find more and more courier companies that offer very competitive services.
The most important thing is that the company you choose must have sufficient coverage to cover the demand and have a secure tracking system where you respond in case of delay with deliveries, damage to transportation and in case of loss of product.
Remember that your product can be very nice, functional and in perfect condition at the time of dispatch, but if the state in which it arrives is not optimal, the chances of that customer to buy you back are null.
With the administrative part much clearer and organized, it’s time to start attracting customers, we know that getting them is not an easy task, however, there are several tools that will allow you to reach them more easily, here are some ideas:
- Web Site or Blog: If you have your own web page, you can use it to publish valuable information that helps the visitor to solve a problem and direct them towards the purchase of your product/service.
- Social Networks: They are effective for creating a community around your brand or business, with social networks you have greater visibility, attract customers more easily, you can create your loyalty strategy there with valuable content, open a direct communication channel and have the ability to advertise your content to generate greater reach.
- Online Directories: These are excellent tools for businesses that offer their services or products locally.
- Digital Advertising: It is quite effective, as you can get a very high percentage of return on investment, with excellent results and very little budget.
- Email Marketing: Helps you close sales and keep in touch with your potential customers.
Measure, analyze and draw conclusions, measure the performance of your business, is the best way to know if your business is meeting the objectives you set, and the best way to do it is to identify the volume of sales generated by each of the references you have in your online catalog.
Generally, the most sought after products, are the most sold, however, you can use the statistics of each of the channels you have in your business to make decisions.
and improve their profitability, generating different actions to boost their sales (emails, text messages, segmented pattern, special promotions, etc.).