Whether you call it an e-commerce or storefront system, the output is the same -- a website that is home to your own store. With modern tools that are either free or paid through a percentage of sales, everyone from artists to engineers can create storefront websites. However, setting up a storefront is not simple. An effective and profitable storefront website requires research, planning and a willingness to evolve to meet your customers' needs.
Basics of a Storefront Website
Just as in real life, a storefront website is a location for selling your wares or services. A website has advantages and disadvantages over an physical store. Your website can include action pictures and testimonials from prior customers, and it stays open 24/7. However, you have to anticipate the questions and concerns of your target customers and address them from the start. Websites have to work hard to complement the personality of the business, using both the right design and the right content.
Software to a Storefront
Managing your own storefront involves implementing a software solution that empowers visitors to add items to a cart and pay securely. Without a secure payment system, visitors have no reason to entrust your business with their financial information. Online entrepreneurs without a lot of technical know-how, use software such as Shopify and Bigcommerce to create professional storefronts. Many Web hosts, such as GoDaddy and Weebly, offer e-commerce solutions that integrate into your existing website.
Keep the Website Interesting
After you set up the e-commerce software of choice and fill your inventory, the real work begins. Bringing customers to your website is an ongoing process. Creating regular content that resonates with your audience and gives them a reason to come back delivers consistent visitors to your website. When shoppers are on the website, convert them to customers by making it easy to locate your store and browse your offerings and by offering goods or services that appeal to your target customer.
Before Opening an Online Storefront
Opening a storefront website is easy on the modern Web; if you're organized, you could do it in an evening, but before you launch, prepare for the work an online storefront requires on the back end. Consider how you will handle packaging and shipping. Brush up on your customer service. Opening a storefront is a challenge, but one that's rewarding when you tackle it correctly.
- PC Magazine: 31 Days to a Brand-New Web Storefront
- Techopedia: Electronic Storefront
- Inc.com: 4 Ways to Turn Visitors Into Buyers Online
- Top Ten Reviews: eCommerce Software
- Website Builder Expert: Best Ecommerce Software to Easily Build Your Online Store
- Practical E-Commerce: 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Opening an Ecommerce Business
- Photo Credit Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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