For those who are trying to remain edgy and creative setting up an online storefront rather than a physical one may seem like a winning idea. The benefits are obvious. For example you don’t have to go through the trouble of buying an ideal (and expensive) location for you store, you don’t have to hire a team of sales associates or other employees, and you don‘t worry about designing you store window, interior, ext. . Instead simply store your merchandise in a much cheaper storage facility and ship it as needed, limit the number of employees you need to hire, and the only design work you need worry about is you site design. Even if you’ve got a shopfront it may make sense to expand to serving online clientele and generate more revenue. However this enthusiasm for digital storefronts should be tempered by caution and a healthy does of pessimism.
While big online storefront-type businesses like Amazon do well, this isn‘t necessarily true for new competitors. This is particularly important considering the transfer of established giant businesses like Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, and others. According to research performed by Gartner, Inc. ninety percent of virtual shopfronts fail after only eighteen months. Gartner found that much of this failure is due to the fact that businesses don’t understand the audience they are marketing to or don’t know how to market to them online. To be fair they also discovered that businesses are improving with success rates for online ventures projected to go up over time. But, could and should you be one of them?
Before you even start your virtual storefront weigh the chances of you success. Keep in mind that a new, keen website won’t save your dying enterprise. An instance of this can be seen in the example of the failure of Border’s which overextended itself by expanding online and in the process plunged itself into debt. So I would recommend only expanding to have an online presence only if your physical store is doing well otherwise designing a website will only be a distraction or worse a bane.
If you do have the time and capital to invest in a digital store carefully investigate the right kind of designer or design software you need. I would recommend designing your own site yourself, but this is a personal preference of mine. Part of the reason being that website designers, even freelance designers, can be expensive and possibly even unreliable, but if you know someone with a reputation that‘s just as well. Developing your own site will ensure that your site goes up exactly when you want and will look exactly the same way you want. There’s a wide variety of design software out there which you should compare and contrast considering price and ease of design.
Finally in order to market correctly, the factor which makes or breaks online shopfronts is crucial. While I’m not going to get into specifics I’ll rush over a few brief points. For example research SEO (search engine optimization) extensively and investigate other means to boost your web traffic. Use social media like Facebook and Twitter to get your brand, product, or whatever it is you are offering to as many consumers as possible. Finally get to know the basics of you consumer base and how best to approach them.