November 14, 2011
Branching Out Online
Often, the next step after a small business achieves success is to expand. But when money is tight and the economy is shaky, it’s a risk some owners just aren’t willing to take.
To commemorate Global Entrepreneurship Week, we show how selling your product or service online may be the perfect way to reach more customers without going out on a financial limb.
E-commerce sales have risen to $150 billion, an increase of more than 14 percent from last year.
“Setting up shop online increases the reach of your business, which in turn increases your customer base and revenue,” says Heather Rasley, community manager at Goodsie, a site that creates online storefronts.
How to know if it’s right for you? “If you have something to sell and don’t have a presence online, it’s time to set up shop,” Rasley tells PINK. “It does take a bit of time to manage orders and ship products,” she warns, “so be sure to account for it in your schedule.”
Rasley suggests launching as quickly as possible, even if everything isn’t perfect right away. “The beauty of the net is you can edit and update whenever you like.” Plus, creating free social media accounts and using them to promote deals like free shipping will drive traffic and sales.
Experts suggest opting for a smaller niche set of customers rather than trying to appeal to a large market to keep advertising costs down and pit you against less competition. Periodically seeking out new trade suppliers and staying on top of search engine marketing trends will help.
In addition to Goodsie, companies like Big Commerce and Izzo Net will host your online site and assist with set-up so you’re not starting from scratch.
Bonus PINK Link: The way we shop online is changing. Here’s why.
By Caroline Cox
“Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't
know where to go shopping.” Bo Derek
Supporting images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net, jscreationzs, patpitchaya, and digitalart