An online store can be any website or application where goods or services are sold over the internet. From Skip the Dishes to the Apple Store, each one of these platforms meet the criteria for “online store” and can be considered eCommerce.
But what is the difference between eCommerce and an online shop?
While these terms may be used by people interchangeably, they are defined by two completely different concepts. Where eCommerce can apply to any aspect of operating a business online, the difference between them is that online shopping requires the selling and purchasing of goods or services. Looking at the landscaping sector as a good example, if you have a business but there is no payment portal to reserve service and make a deposit, then you have an eCommerce website but it is not an online shop. Due to the nature of shopping from home, and saving time waiting in lines at brick-and-mortar stores, many big-name retailers are migrating towards online shops as a cost-effective way to grow their profits.
eCommerce online stores require 24/7 technical support available to keep the website running properly to make a profit. The perceived minimal investment of an online store can be quite appealing for people looking to get a side hustle going. Platforms such as Shopify, Wix & Amazon provide most of the technical resources at a steep commission of sales. This protects their interests and can reduce profitability as an online shop starts to scale.
What do I need to start an online store?
- Identifying opportunity to sell product or service
- Set up a Brand Name
- Register a Domain
- Choose an eCommerce Platform
- Write Product/Service Descriptions
- Create and Deploy Website
- Follow SEO, SEM Best Practices
You should also consider the fundamentals of eCommerce, which include creating FAQ sections to help assist with customer service.
Strategies for Growing an Online Store
- Set Up Clean Website Structure/Product Architecture
- Ensure Hosting & Server is run by Experienced, Reliable Admins
- Keyword Research, Content Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Create / Distribute a Newsletter
- Paid Search Traffic
- Word of Mouth / Testimonials
Depending on the type of business you want to perform, there are specific challenges you will have to overcome. For example, if you are looking to attract B2C (Business to Consumer) you will have a completely different SEO and content strategy compared to targeting B2B (Business to Business) customers that require a longer sales funnel, needs assessment, and enterprise website considerations.
Retailers and entrepreneurs can leverage an online store to grow their business, reaching a wider audience with less effort than traditional marketing methods. With the right product and access to the internet, almost anyone can become an entrepreneur and start their online business without much risk.
Looking for more help or something a bit more comprehensive? Contact our team to design, produce and scale your online store.