• Five Steps to Setting Up Your Online Business

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    There are several online services that allow you to sell products, whether those products are hand-crafted wares, antiques, or even baked goods. Of course, getting your online business up and running can be a little daunting, depending on how complex or competitive your industry may be. These five steps can help you achieve a no-sweat startup for your new business.

    Shop Around

    The first step, naturally, is to get a sense of what’s already out there. You’ll really want to look for the exact products that you plan to sell. This is the best means of determining not only what your target prices should be, but also how to distinguish your business from the competition. It may also be a good starting point for ideas; for example, if you weren’t initially planning on highlighting your customer response, you may find an aesthetically pleasing way of having your customers share their reviews and photos of your product.

    Partition Shipping Costs

    Customers are obsessed with shipping costs. Even if an item is relatively cheap, a heft shipping charge will stop most consumers in their tracks. A good way around this is something called “price partitioning,” which calls for you to divide the shipping costs between the listed item and shipping costs. So, if you want to charge $20 for that poster sized print, and shipping would cost six dollars, you may want to list the item as a $26 print with free shipping. If figuring out shipping costs to begin with is your hang-up, consider directing your business’s finances through PayPal. They have a useful online service to help you figure out PayPal shipping rates.

    Take Good Photos

    Because your customers will be unable to physically examine your products, the pictures that you use to display them are of utmost importance. Take the highest quality images possible, and, when possible, photograph your items in natural light. It’s also encouraged that you take pictures of your products from multiple angles. Close-ups are also useful for giving your prospective customers a sense of your item’s finer details.

    Promote Yourself

    Though it’s easy to assume that customers will stumble across your store themselves, this is not likely to happen when you’re just starting up. Take advantage of social media to promote your store and encourage your friends to share it. This is a good way to get you some early customers, and, by extension, product reviews. If you’re using a community-based site for your business, consider contacting other shop-owners and offering to promote their products on yours. Chances are that they’ll offer to do the same in return, resulting in an arrangement that’s mutually beneficial.

    Provide Excellent Service

    You want your customers happy, and the best way of achieving that is to go above and beyond the call of duty. Be prompt about shipping and notify them when products have shipped. If they have questions, respond to those quickly, too, and try your hardest to fulfill any special requests they may have. If you follow this advice, you should have a large and dedicated customer base in no time.

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