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You may be one of thousands of small business owners wanting to get in on the eCommerce action by launching your online store. Predicted to reach sales around $491 billion by 2018 in the US alone, eCommerce businesses sell a variety of physical goods, digital goods, and services.  

So why is eCommerce so attractive to entrepreneurs?  For starters, you can reach a global market without necessarily making a huge financial investment, while having closer access to your customer.  Not only is it convenient for the seller, but online shopping is incredibly convenient for the consumer. In fact, 80% of people online have used the internet to purchase something at some point in time. With so much growth potential it's no surprise that the eCommerce industry is booming.  So how do you go about successfully setting up your online store ? Here are 5 tips to get you started.

Determine What to Sell

It's best to start with a unique idea or product that is in demand, but not being met. Do your research.  Check out blogs, forums, and websites like Trendhunter and Trendwatching to see what has everyone talking and to gather valuable insight. Research your competition and learn from them so you know where your niche is in the market.  

Check out The Ultimate Guide to Starting and Scaling an eCommerce Business by Foundr Mag. It's an intensive document that picks the brilliant minds of multi million dollar online company owners who started from scratch.

Create a Website with a Wow Factor

It takes the average user only 50 milliseconds to decide if your website is interesting or not.  The website should catch a user's attention right off the bat and keep it there.  Easy navigation, lots of photos, and live chat are all important features of great websites.  Also create your website with mobile access in mind.  The layout should look good on a desktop or mobile device and have a fast loading time.  A loading time slower than three seconds may drive potential customers elsewhere.  

Define a Marketing Strategy

Just build it and they will come?  Not exactly. You need to drive traffic to your website by studying search engine optimization and in particular keyword research. Implement it, and make sure that your business shows up in the top search results.  Blogging and becoming involved in other forums is another way to increase visitors to your website. Or include an opt-in list for email so that you can readily target customers and subscribers through an email marketing campaign.

Understand FTC Rules and Regulations

Setting up an online business comes with additional privacy, security, copyright, and taxation rules well-worth knowing.  The Small Business Administration provides information on the laws and regulations that an eCommerce business must comply with. 

Integrate Your Shopping Cart

If your shipping provider is optimized for eCommerce, use their API to integrate into your shopping cart. This allows you to eliminate manual shipment processing altogether. Instead of processing each customer shipment through your shipping provider's system, an integrated solution will automatically pull information from your shopping cart and generate labels for you. All you have to do is print and stick!

If you are new to selling online and you're looking for an integrated solution with international capabilities to help you get started with your new eCommerce store, contact us.

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