By the end of 2017,79% of US people (almost 4 out of 5 buyers) regularly made purchases from online websites. An even more awe-striking fact than this one is that this percentage has risen from just 22% in the year 2000. In numbers, this is 217.1 million US people, and this is expected to jump to 224 million in the next year.
What do we learn from these statistics?
Yes, starting an online business has huge potential.
At the same time, that Amazon.com was generating a revenue of a massive$80 billion in North America alone, 9 prominent online retailers had to take their hands off from this domain altogether.
Now, what do we learn from these two scenarios blended together?
Online Business can undoubtedly be a remunerative option for you. But, if played wrong, can be a dead loss.
Inspired by all the former strategies that we have taken for our clients, days of market research and real-life experience of each of the contributors; here’s a checklist of key items to consider before starting an online business:
1. Know yourself
Do you want to sell online? Very good.
But, what do you want to sell?
Apparels, electronics, books? New or used items?
So, you have something like Amazon or Alibaba in mind?
But, to reach the point where Amazon or Alibaba is today, you need to start from the point where they were when they were only dreaming of being Amazon or Alibaba.
More or less we all know that Amazon, this $904 billion (Fortune, 2017) company, started by selling only books in 1994. But did you know that eBay was started by Iranian-American computer programmer Pierre Omidyar as a part of his personal site? Even if you knew this fact, you surely wouldn’t know that a broken laser pointer was the first thing to be sold on eBay at a cost of $14.83.
Therefore, we always advise you to start with a single niche and to grow your way up to a generalist e-commerce afterwards. Go for a generalist domain only if you have a prior footprint in the digital world.
You should keep the following points in mind when deciding upon your niche:
- Determine whether you want to sell a product or a service and prepare your strategy accordingly. For these two types of sales, the strategy is entirely different.
- Look at your personal preferences and/or academic background as a top priority.
- Choosing a niche with low competition to start with will be a smart option.
- If budget is a constraint, go for a low to no start-up cost online business.
2. Consider the Financials
Every month in the USA approximately 543,000 new startups are inaugurated. Among all of these, only 25% sustains more than 15 years.
9 out of 10 (yes90%!) of all the startups fail to achieve their first-year mission and vision.
Riches have wings. And for startups, she books a Koenigsegg Agera RS, I guess. The most important point to keep in mind while doing business, especially when you are a startup, is keeping the perfect balance between your necessary and unnecessary expenditures.
Do not spend what you should not; do not hesitate to invest where you should. And, importantly (very importantly!), keep track of every penny that you spend on the business. The most bogus thing that you add may help you to find a better strategy 5 years down the line!
3. Create a buyer persona
Buyer persona or marketing persona for marketers is one of the very few things that still give us the feeling that we should dig for more, even after spending so many years in this industry.
Be it setting up an online business or getting new business ideas; buyer persona is the base and every time you prepare a buyer persona, there’s a chance of making it better next time.
A buyer persona is the most probable representation of a fictitious buyer with his/her socio-economic characteristics, purchasing habits and all the loosely related things that can help a seller determine his targeted customer range. This persona can be created by using social and online surveys.
Without a proper buyer persona, you’ll be doing nothing but beating around the bush. Survey as much of your present customer base (if any) or research as much as you can about your competitor’s customers, both virtually and physically.
A proper Buyer Persona should include:
a. Questions to ask your prospective buyers:
Name, Age, Gender, Demography, origin, Race, Educational Qualification, Present Occupation, and Type of Job: Sedentary or Roaming
Native Place, Modernity of the Demographics, Family Structure, Guardians, Occupation of Parents or who have raised him/her, educational niche and likings, Siblings and Birth Order, Number of friends and years of affinity, hobbies, Major in School, College attainted, Students from which Socio-economic status comes to that college, First job, Reason for leaving
Indirect Purchasing Influencers
Marital status, Years of Marital Relationship, primary information of the children (if any), Future Family Planning, bread-winner of the family or not, Situational and Decisional regrets (if any), structure and condition of the extended family, religious belief, environmental consciousness, hobbies, habits (good, bad, injurious to health), health history (contagious or not, family disease, years of sufferings), medicines taken, likings for literature (niche, types of literature, time and money invested), religious belief, weekend pastime, hangout places, travelling habit, mode of transportation, memory of past incidents
Job title, industry, responsibility, reporting designation, compatibility in the present job role, challenges at workplace, how handled, learning sources, how often new technologies used, salary, ROI, satisfied and compensated or not, duration in the present designation, coworkers, thought on switching job, future career objective, dream job and employer, work-related associations, planning for retirement
Active social media platforms, use of the internet, a satisfactory factor with a recent purchase, purchasing frequency, cost of the products, repurchasing rate, preferred search engine, internet browser using, luxurious purchases, the preferred method of communication, mobile device, online payment mode, reaction to sales and offers
Life Events & Challenges
Current and future goals, accomplishments, regular daily activities (equipment associated), best and worst customer service experience, the top three wish list, frustrating decision
Net worth, impulsive buyer or not, any debt pending or not, purchase-driving factors, purchase decision-maker or not
The added features want to be added to a particular product
b. Questions to ask your own self or your own marketing team
|Business and Marketing Objective||Technical and Demographic Datasheet of Targeted Audience, Current Marketing Strategy, FAQs, Successful/Unsuccessful Marketing Campaigns, Most Profitable Marketing Channel, Competitor’s Secret Sauce, Most Visited Web-page of your Website, Common Objections of Targeted Audience|
4. Build a custom website
64% of all small businesses have a website. Businesses with a website fetch up to 300% more business than those without a website.
With the recent rise in startups, there’s now a trend of using only social media platforms to run businesses. This works to a certain extent, but once you start gaining popularity, a business without a proper website is a big no-no for clients.
Also, no matter how competent your social media pages are, proper digital marketing for your business is impossible without a landing page. Be it social media marketing, influencer marketing, inbound or outbound marketing or email marketing, the ultimate goal of digital marketing strategy is to bring the customer to the website and to convert them into sales.
You need 1 reason to build your own website? We will give you a 10!
- The maximum amount of traffic
- Increased ROI
- Increased credibility
- Helping to categorize product and services
- Best platform to showcase your innovative ideas
- Anytime access to information and ‘terms and conditions’
- Easy accessibility for customers
- Maximize the effectiveness of digital marketing
- A larger chance for getting backlinks and domain authority
- Better relationship with the customers
Get on the bandwagon!
We know it takes a lot of time and effort to start your own business. When you’re determined to go for it; we want you to have every chance to give your dreams wings!