Build Your Online Brand
Start looking at different online platforms which are suited for what you’re trying to sell. If you are trying to design an item, some websites will include manufacturing as part of the deal. Usually, however, you will need to sort manufacturing yourself through an external party.
You will want to build your online presence as soon as possible. This is true even if you have an existing physical customer base: bringing those customers online will increase the frequency of their purchases as they are more frequently exposed to your products. More importantly, you will reach a wider range of people, including those who are in other countries and who you would not be able to reach normally.
Make sure you create an account on all the social media channels and post regularly and relevantly, tailoring your content to your target audience. Interact with your users, answering any questions they might have, and interact with other users on the platform to build your network of potential clients. All of this will help you stand out in your chosen industry.
Set Out Your Website
If you’re serious about making an online business, you will also want a slick and professional website. Unless you are, again, entirely hosting your services on a third-party platform, you will want to create your own website.
In order to obtain the most professional appearance, you will probably want to buy a steady domain name. Make sure the domain is available, that it is very similar to your business’ name (and ideally identical), and that the URL suffix is both relevant and simple.
You will also want to make sure your website looks the part. If you’re not up to the job of coding yourself, find someone who can, or buy a website layout (but beware of websites that look too much like a standard template).
Importantly, you will want to make sure that the website looks good and is accessible on all platforms – computer, tablet, and mobile. It is a common misconception that the same website will look good on all three, and you should test this out accordingly before your website is good to go.
Look At Shipping Internationally
If you want to reach the widest audience possible, you’re going to want to go global. Unfortunately, many places in the world can be hard to reach, and this can make shipping prices astronomical. There are a few ways you can deal with this.
Firstly, consider the type of item you are shipping. Fragile items will cost more to ship – is there any way you can change the object to no longer need this extra protection? Bulk orders will often come with a discount as opposed to single orders. Is it worth situating your distribution centre in another country to reduce shipping costs?
Secondly, if you have a large number of items you want to ship internationally, it might be worth consulting a third-party agent, such as a ship broker to discuss any shipping services your new business may require. They will be able to sort out the details of international shipping for you, saving you a lot of time and effort.
Lastly, and perhaps most easily, you might consider making your customer pay for their own shipping, whether domestic or international. This technique is widely used, so shouldn’t impact your sales too much.
For international shipping, at least, an additional premium is usually expected. However, a new boom in free shipping services has made the market competitive, and people are often tempted by free and fast domestic shipping.
You will want to keep the prices of your products reasonable in order to ensure you remain competitive in your chosen market.