Setting up shop online may sound like a daunting task, but the rewards outweigh the risks. If your business is starting to take off and you’re hungry for more customers, making your products available online is the natural next step. Here are five reasons you should get started right away!
1. The whole world can be your customer
By creating an online store, you open your products up to an entirely new market of potential customers. On the local front, more and more South Africans are gaining reliable and fast access to the internet thanks to more affordable smartphones and cheaper data plans.
As a result, they’re becoming increasingly comfortable with shopping online – spending over R45 billion shopping online in 2018. This trend has already come full circle in much of the rest of the world. With an online store, you can sell to all of these discerning shoppers.
2. Sell 24/7 without lifting a finger
Long after market stalls have been packed up, the malls closed and shop assistants have made their way home, you could still be bringing home the bacon. And the best part is you can do it in your sleep! A study released last year revealed that men prefer to shop late at night.
Setting up an online store takes a bit of effort up front, but once it’s up and running it will basically do the work for you. This means that you can continue to live your life and wake up in the morning with orders from global shoppers or midnight surfers.
3. Accept payments from many different channels
Gone are the days when cash was truly king. Today, it’s much more important to offer lots of different ways to do business. But, each of these payment methods cost money to set up and run. When you’re just starting out, these can drain your capital without bringing in much dosh.
Luckily, online shop engines like Shopstar offer an all-inclusive package where you get access to a range of payment channels, like EFTs, card payments and even mobile payment methods like SnapScan. No customer will abandon their trolley just because they don’t have the right type of card – you’ll be ready for whatever they’ve got!
On top of that, having safe and secure payment methods available on your site is crucial. The safety of online shopping is still the main concern amongst South Africans, so giving them peace of mind is step one to ensure happy customers. By using a trusted service to manage your online store, you’ll guarantee a reliable and safe shopping experience for you and your customers.
4. Make use of free online marketing tools
Opening up your market to sell online means you can also market your products online – a much cheaper and more effective option than taking out an ad in the local newspaper. Reaching this vast, connected audience is so much easier through social media where you already have a community of friends, family and customers.
There are many resources available to get you going and lots of successful makers you can draw inspiration from. We particularly love how jewellery designer Jessica Lea uses her Instagram account to announce new products. Another of our favourites comes from the creative duo behind Speldekussing. They share different aspects of their entrepreneurial journey – from brainstorming to shipping the finished product – on Instagram, making for a personal and inspirational feed.
As a bonus, if you’re using Shopstar to power your online store, you’ll be able to sell your products directly from Instagram, Facebook or Google.
5. Test new product ideas with minimal risk
With an online store, it couldn’t be easier to see whether your customers have an appetite for your newest brainwave. You can create one prototype, list it in your store and see what the response is. You no longer have to carry the risk of producing something that’s untested in bulk – rather just dip a toe in.
With built-in analytics, your online store will make it easy to see how many people viewed your product, versus the ones that bought. This is invaluable information for optimising your displays, pricing and descriptions. Luckily you don’t have to go through the tedious process of re-labelling them all – just update your store info! Learning through doing has never been easier.
There’s no time like the present – you can create your online store in less than 5 minutes with Shopstar backing you all the way. Soon you’ll have conquered the online shopping world and be rolling in the Randelas!