The growth of online stores has made it easy for us to purchase the things that we need. In 2018 alone, online retail sales topped AU$41 billion. This has attracted more people to the idea of selling their products online.
As with all things related to the web, the success of your online store is going to be intrinsically linked to the hosting service that you use. Web hosting blogger, Nathan Finch, has put together a list of Australian hosting companies compared by speed and performance.
Once you have selected the right hosting service, there are additional steps that you can take to build a successful online business in Australia. In this guide we are going to briefly review seven of these steps.
1. Understand Your Market and Your Competition
You can have the best product or idea in the world. However, if no one wants to buy what you are selling, your business is not going to go that far. Market research is key to ensuring that there is a demand for the product or the service you want to sell.
You may think that the idea, product, or service you are selling is unique. However, chances are that there someone else in Australia who is pitching the same idea. In that case you need to be aware of your competition. What is it that makes your product better than others? Are there steps that you can take to communicate with your potential audience may be reaching groups that your competition is missing?
2. Make a Business and Marketing Plan
A successful online business does not happen by accident. If creating a successful online business was easy, everyone would be making money this way. A written market plan includes the products that you are selling, how you intend to sell them, how expensive it’s going to be for you to sell them, and your company’s cash flow. Creating a market plan will make it easier for you to understand what you want from your business and how you can measure success.
3. Make Your Business Legal
For your business to be successful, it has to be legally registered in Australia. This means getting an Australian business number and an ASIC registered business name. Finding the right business name can be challenging. Thankfully, there are number of tools online that can help you create a business name based on your unique characteristics and the products and services that you want to sell.
4. Find a Domain Name That Matches Your Business Name
It is advantageous to create your business name and your domain name simultaneously. This way, you can make sure that they match each other. If your company’s name and your domain name are the same, it is going to be easier for your customers to find you. It can be confusing for your customers to try to find your business online if your domain name has nothing to do with your business name. The best-case scenario is that customers are going to have to search a little bit harder to find you if your domain name and your business name do not match. The worst-case scenario is that another business that offers a similar service has your domain name. All of your marketing using your company name is only going to make your competition stronger.
5. Get Your E-commerce Website Up and Running
You have now reached a critical yet enjoyable step in the process, creating your online store. When you create a website, you are looking to design something that’s easy for your customers to use. It is not uncommon for customers to choose one website over another because one website offers a better user experience than the other.
Your e-commerce store will need to be able to accept payments in a safe way. Your customers want to be able to purchase your products safely and easily. This issue of security cannot be overstated. If your website is not safe and if there is just one security breach, it’s very likely that your customers will ditch you for a safer alternative.
Your e-commerce site should serve as a tool for managing inventory. You do not want to find yourself in the position of offering your customers a product or a service that you really do not have available.
Finally, your e-commerce site should be a conduit for collecting customer information and making the shipping process seamless. Here again, security is a must. If your customer’s private information is leaked from your site, they will lose faith in your business, and it could lead to you shutting down.
6. Learn about Search Engine Optimization
For your e-commerce business, your website serves as a storefront. It is the only way that your customers will learn about you. Search engine optimization is a powerful tool that makes your website more visible to others. Search engine optimization could be compared to the sign twirlers you see outside of some businesses. Sign twirlers attract people to said business by bringing attention to the business and helping other people understand that the business even exists. Without strong search engine optimization, your website might go overlooked by the masses.
7. Keep Content Up-To-Date and Relevant
Regardless of the product or service you sell, you are going to face stiff competition. This is just the nature of business in Australia and around the world. If you fail to keep your site relevant and up-to-date, your customers are going to pass you by. Relative content includes blogs, reviews, and other information designed to bring life to your site. The more relevant and up-to-date your site is, the more authoritative it will be from the standpoint of your customers.
These are just a few simple tips that successful Australian online businesses have used, and they may be beneficial for you. Do you have other tips you think we should include on our list? Tell us about them in the comments section below.