How to open your retail business to the world
There are now no borders when it comes to shopping, so why is your retail operation being constrained by a bricks and mortar store?
Projected sales shows that retail ecommerce sales will increase to $4.058 trillion globally in 2020, making up 14.6 percent of total retail spending.
Even in Australia, online shopping has grown by 16 percent over the past five years to the point where it’s now an $18 billion industry.
If you’re watching the foot traffic wondering where the next sale is going to come from, why not open your doors to the world?
After all, if you’re able to open an online store you:
- Aren’t restricted by opening and closing times
- Can have your product seen all over the world
- Can work from home in your pyjamas!
- Lower your overheads dramatically
A marketplace such as Etsy or Ebay might just as well suit your needs, but this does come with a few limitations.
There can be commission charges on sales, a restrictive design which doesn’t reflect your brand, or it could lack the ability to market to your customers directly.
If your plan is to make a move as a unique entity online, here are few considerations to make sure that you set up a business which can not only break even on — but scales as you grow.
What do you need to take into account?
What’s your budget?
Depending on your long or short term strategy, you’ll need to determine how much you are willing to spend on an e-commerce platform and what you get for your money.
For example, is there a product limit?
Does your platform of offer features like cart upsell, cart abandonment or cross-selling for an all-in-one price – or is this an add-on which can blow your budget?
Are there add-ons which can help you scale your online offering as your business grows?
These are key questions you need answered – so start by analysing each platform’s pros and cons.
Your business will now have no closing time, which means that customers from all over the world will expect customer service while you’re asleep.
Does your platform offer 24/7 customer support if technical issues such as payment processing errors crop up?
Working with an Australia-based company can have the benefits of local hours as compared to internationally based services where you need to work with different time zones.
Mediums such as live chat, forums and social support can go a long way to help, but sometimes you just need a person on the other end of the line.
Design to reflect your personality
Back in the day, creating a beautiful website to conduct business on was a hassle coupled with a burden.
You basically needed to be Neo from The Matrix to build even the most rudimentary sites.
That also means that the bar for websites has been lifted considerably, so you need to make sure that your site looks great and is also responsive to the user.
Shipping and payments
Are you interested in selling worldwide or just servicing local markets for now?
Having a web provider partnered with Australia Post to plug in with eParcel and other popular Aussie shipping companies can be advantageous.
Some internationally based solutions may have this feature, but for an extra cost if you’re shipping to the Australian or NZ market.
No matter where you’re selling, you need to make sure that you have optimal payment and shipping solutions available.
Luckily the payments side can be taken care of if you’re using a platform, and there are a host of payment solution providers out there – but getting shipping right can take a bit of research.
Bringing the masses to you
Just because you’re building a website doesn’t mean that you’re automatically going to get an audience.
Developing a marketing plan and being savvy with SEO is just as important as all the work to make your platform look good.
Having a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) built into the platform you choose can be a real winner.
Integration with your accounting software
Imagine getting up each morning and finding five or ten sales you need to process and enter into your accounting software manually.
Having sales, customers and products automatically synced into MYOB ensures your files are always up to date.
This saves time on data entry and minimises the risk of human error.
Want a solution?
Luckily, technology is at such a point where all the above steps can be taken of by jumping onto one platform.
Neto is a retail and wholesale management platform that provides a complete solution for e-commerce, POS, inventory and fulfillment.
Australian owned, operated, hosted and with a direct integration into AccountRight you can have everything in one place.
Want to explore more tech tools?
You can learn more about what add-ons are and explore our full range here.