The world of business can be challenging and highly competitive. Before you jump into the preparations needed to open a business, especially an online one, it is vital you consider certain essential aspects. No matter what you choose to sell or the field you decide to focus on, it is of the utmost importance you conduct market analysis and do a thorough research of what your possible competitors are doing.
You might discover that another business is already doing what you initially thought of, and, in this case, you will probably have to reconsider your idea or find a competitive advantage that sets you apart. If a well-established company has a powerful business model, you don’t want to risk losing momentum due to superficial research.
Therefore, if you decide to open an online business, besides conducting an in-depth analysis of the market you are about to enter and of other companies, it is also vital you have a clear idea of your business model and brand identity. So, in order to help you through this process, we have compiled a checklist of essential steps that can help you go through with this business plan.
Look for an Opportunity
When you plan to start a new business but haven’t got a strategy yet, it is crucial to look for opportunities on which you can capitalize and use this to your advantage. A recommendation would be not to begin with a product in mind, as other more established businesses might already be doing it and better.
So, unless you have a one-of-a-kind service or product that you know for sure is a gap in the market, it would help you more if you look at the entire market first and see how others are meeting their consumers’ demands. This way, you will be able to notice what is the need that customers feel is not yet fulfilled. By researching your potential target audience, you can gather information on what the demand is. You could even conduct a small survey to discover what is the general opinion. This, together with competitor analysis, can help you uncover a business opportunity.
Do a Thorough Consumer Behavior Analysis
In the online environment, and for an e-commerce business, the most vital aspect is to promote your product well and provide a high-quality delivery service. Since the emergence of online shopping and the ability to make purchases without going to a physical shop, convenience has become the core of any e-commerce business.
With people’s lives being so hectic, as they rush to do many things at once while trying to balance work and social life, being able to shop online has become the preferred way. A study conducted by the National Retail Federation showed that 97% of consumers had withdrawn their purchases due to inconvenience, and 83% stated the importance of convenience while shopping online has increased in the last five years. Therefore, when you plan on opening an online business, it is imperative you focus on offering a great customer experience.
Know Your Customer
When you learn the importance of having a seamless online shopping experience with the customer and their need for convenience as a focus, you must have a clear idea of who your target audience is. Only when you understand your customer’s profile can you meet the demand and increase your business’ profits. After you have gathered information on the market you are entering, the already available product ranges from your competitors, and their way of conducting business, you can decide on your unique selling point in accordance with your target audience.
For this reason, a customer profile is an excellent method to identify the common attributes of the audience that fits your brand and is likely to buy into your product offering. The characteristics you need to recognize in the profile of your potential consumer include demographics, purchase behavior, and geographics. Based on this analysis, you will be able to frame your customer profile by considering their age, income, lifestyle, readiness to buy, and engagement with your brand. What’s more, given that your business will operate online, it is of the utmost importance you know where your consumer is located and on what regions you need to focus.
Create Your Brand Identity
For a new business that needs to get the attention of your target audience, it is crucial your brand identity is clear and well-represented online. What’s more, consistency is vital to maintain your customer’s loyalty and increase their trust in your brand and its services. This means that not only does your online presence need to be in accordance with your mission statement, but it is also imperative you are committed and fulfill your promises when it comes to quality products and delivery service.
As an online business, the most indispensable aspect is your website. Without this, the company does not exist. For your customers to complete their purchase and be incentivized to come back, your business’ website must be user-friendly and facilitate the overall shopping experience. Apart from this, the website needs to match your social media accounts, meaning that your company’s values and identity have to be visible.
Another essential aspect of your online business is your packaging: well-thought and with attention to detail, this will enhance your customer’s respect, loyalty, and appreciation. It is necessary your packaging will show the brand’s identity, and the most minor details will make a huge difference. For instance, if your brand’s color palette is colorful and you have a whimsical appearance, the packaging should be accordingly. Specifics that match your online representation, such as a touch of glitter, using satin ribbon to wrap up the products, and eco-friendly paper with a watercolor pattern, will be noticed.
Create Relevant Content
In order to keep your audience constantly interested, engaged with your content, and motivated to come back, relevant content is vital. Without a doubt, your customer will spend a lot of time on social media, so creating top-quality visual content that is both informational and interactive will keep them on their toes. It will encourage them to remain your customers by increasing their loyalty.
Additionally, email marketing is one of the most effective and reliable ways of marketing your brand and product. For an online retailer, email marketing accounts for 23% of their sales, given that this method targets consumers who have made at least one purchase directly. This also fosters loyalty and trust, given that they will be the first to know of any promotional offers or other news.