Why business through the Internet? The answer to this question is very simple. It is estimated that 10 million people in Poland use the Internet. Therefore, it is an enormous market of potential clients with almost infinite absorptive power. With a well-positioned website or shop, our web page on the Internet can be visited for instance by 300 000 people a month. Such a situation in a traditional shop is almost impossible.
Assuming pessimistically that one (person) in 300 makes a purchase at our Internet shop, it gives us a thousand clients a month. It is enough to earn on each of those 1000 people 10 zlotys and our monthly revenue amounts to 10 000 zlotys. It is the opportunity of reaching a broad range of clients that makes business through the Internet so profitable. We also need to remember that our shop can sell goods to people from around the world, which gives us a market of a billion potential customers. The most important advantages of running a business in the Internet are: 1. no premise-related costs 2.
an enormous market of potential clients 3. the opportunity of selling goods to foreign customers 4. flexible working hours when running an Internet shop 5. limiting the number of employees, which means lower costs of the company's activity 6. low open costs Obviously, an Internet company has it's drawbacks and limitations. The most important of these include: 1.
the long process of building customers' trust 2. heavy competition 3. limitations to selling certain types of goods and services due to their peculiarity (you cannot for instance sell construction services) 4.
shipment-related costs. When founding a company on the Internet, act exactly as when founding a traditional company. All stages of setting up a business are described in the text: "Establishing a company". However, it is the idea for a business that is crucial as there are hundreds or even thousands of shops on the Internet selling everything from antiques to lingerie and finding a market niche is very difficult.
Therefore, before we decide upon opening a new shop with car parts, it is worth checking out our future competition. Having an idea for a business and a source of cheap goods that we want to sell, we begin building our Internet shop. Buying a readymade script with a design (graphic) is obviously the easiest solution. Prices of such shops vary from a dozen or so to a few hundred zlotys. It is enough to browse offers on allegro and choose the most suitable. Vendors often offer their help in installing the software required to run a shop so it is worth using their help if we are inexperienced.
Another issue to take into consideration after buying a shop with graphics is a domain and a server. If you want to run an Internet shop, a free server will definitely not be enough. However, prices of hosting have plummeted recently and a good server can be bought for 100 zlotys annually (we advise superhost-the banner below).
Buying a domain is also vital since our shop should have an Internet address that is simple and easy to remember. Nobody will enter a shop with an address: www.sklep-motoryzacyjny24.regionalnie.net for nobody will remember its address. Thus, we should bear in mind to give our shop a user-friendly address with a domain .
pl or .com, for instance: twojsklep.pl. Having a server, a domain and a script all that we need to do is software installation and tests. As it has been already mentioned, if we are inexperienced it is worth using the help of script authors or the company which we bought the server from. Most Internet shops are easy to run so the period of testing and learning how to put goods to sale should not take longer than a week.
Let us bear in mind, however, that the script and the look of the page as well as placing it on a server are the easiest steps of building an Internet shop. Promotion and advertising are far more complicated. What is the use of a great look, clarity and functionality along with a range of products at good prices if nobody knows about it? For a business to function well it must be visited by a great number of people which means that it should be well positioned in the search engines.
If we sell lingerie and our shop is on the 1234 result page for the word "lingerie", nobody will browse through such a number of pages. We almost always check the first few addresses from top 30 results. Basic methods of increasing the number of visits on our page include: 1. Adding the page to popular search engines 2.
Adding the page to thematic catalogues 3. Positioning by optimizing the page's code in order to make it position higher in search results 4. Exchanging links with other thematically similar pages (let's not fear the competition) 5. Buying advertisements (box, banner, link, button, etc.) 6.
Adding a "tell a friend" option 7. Creating an email list of potential clients and users of our webpage 8. Creating buttons that allow adding the page to favourites or setting it as a home page 9. Using forums, competitions and other advertising and marketing activities 10.
Encouraging the visitors to jointly create your webpage 11. Remembering to frequently update the content of the page (do not fear experimenting) 12. Making sure the navigation is simple and intuitive: comprehensible and simple descriptions of a page's sections - uniform system of references, identical on all pages - each reference and the content clearly visible - it is best if the page does not differ from the general convention on the Internet 13. Constructing a system of searching and references to similar topics 14. Testing different layouts and design of the webpage 15.
Making sure the size and type of font are appropriate 16. Building a webpage friendly to blind people and people with poor vision 17. Limiting the size of subpages to minimum 18. Increasing the speed and stability of the page 19. Making sure that the operation of the page is compliant with company's/page's internal policy.
Positioning is an art that cannot be learned in a few days. If we do not have sufficient abilities we should use the services of companies specializing in positioning. Prices of such services vary from a dozen or so to a few hundred.
We should bear in mind, however, that the effects of positioning and thus the increased number of visitors in our shop can sometimes be observed only after several months. For instance, the most popular search engine - Google - indexes pages every quarter. Therefore, our position in Google's results would change after 3 months from positioning. More on positioning in the section: methods, tools and techniques. Before the positioning of our webpage shows its effects, the main source of visits to our shop will be generated by advertisements.
Obviously, advertisements placed on such search engines as wp.pl or onet.pl are the most expensive. There are companies, however, which offer advertisements on their pages at competitive prices. A large offer of advertisements can be found on Internet auctions such as allegro or e-bay. When positioning our page we can reduce the costs of advertising without losing clients as they would find us via search engines.
Building trust in our shop is also a crucial issue. A person visiting our shop does not know whether we are reliable, whether we send the products on time and whether they are identical to the offered ones. That is why we should take necessary steps in order to increase our credibility. To do so, it is worth asking our clients to put comments on our webpage after a transaction.
A forum about our shop can also be opened. We would answer our clients' questions there and they would comment on our shop and the goods it offers. New people visiting our Internet shop would know the opinions of the customers who have already made purchases in it and they would trust us better. To sum up, in order to set up an Internet shop you should take the following steps: 1.
Have an idea for a shop 2. Internet market analysis 3. Find a supplier 4. Buy a script, graphics, a server and a domain 5.
Install and test the shop's functionality 6. Establish a company (formalities) 7. Advertise on web pages 8. Positioning the shop 9.
Build credibility and the shop's image. Copyright (c) 2008 Adam Nowak.
This article was translated by mLingua Worldwide Translations, Ltd. mLingua provides professional translations in all major Western and Asian languages, software localization and web site translation services. Please visit http://mlingua.pl