If you are looking to start your business, you no longer even need to rent a place, now you can do it through a virtual store. This online space allows you to sell your products and offer your services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the Internet.
Digital transformation has not only changed the way we communicate with the world, but it is also changing the way we buy and sell almost any type of product or service.
Internet today gives us endless possibilities and one of them is virtual stores, which bring with them a metamorphosis regarding our way of life.
What is an online store?
A virtual store or online store is a website specially designed to sell products or offer services through electronic commerce.
One of its main benefits is that this Internet space allows vendors to display their merchandise 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and from anywhere.
Elements and characteristics of an online store
For a virtual store to meet the proposed objectives and be useful, it must have the following factors:
Unlike physical stores, it is not necessary to rent a place, but to have a web space with a good platform and that adapts to our needs and those of the clients.
In addition, this store can be located within its own domain on the Internet or it can be used on a shared platform in some “virtual shopping center”.
That is why countries with competitive advantages such as Mexico and Colombia have been highlighted by the fact that the virtual stores of companies in their territories can sell to the entire Latin American market through the web.
The virtual store must be consistent with the image that we want to present of our business, so the colors and graphics of the page must be taken into account. In addition, it is necessary that this:
- be responsive;
- provide an attractive design;
- be easy and intuitive to navigate;
- offer adequate UX in the UI;
- have the ability to filter data;
- have contact information and social networks.
Many of the clients, before deciding to buy a product, need to be in contact with it.
However, in virtual stores this is not possible, so it is necessary for buyers to clarify all their doubts and concerns regarding this and thus have enough security to purchase it.
To increase the confidence of the potential buyer, when deciding to include an item in the virtual store, it is necessary to do so in a “friendly” and explicit way.
That is, you should be given a detailed description of each product or service that is offered. It is also essential that you add your attributes, various photographs, characteristics and qualities.
If the necessary information is not given to the potential buyer or if he has any concerns, just like in a physical store, he will look for someone to help him clarify it and if there is no one to do so, he will leave.
For this reason, it is necessary to add a section to assist the customer in their purchase process and thus avoid that due to uncertainty they do not carry out the operation.
It is a software that allows the customer to save the products they want, in addition, it calculates the final amount and allows the products to be returned to the “shelf”.
A good and attractive shopping cart makes sales happen quickly and safely.
Secure forms of payment must be provided. In addition, it is essential that the security and confidentiality policies of customer data are available to everyone at any time.
Rating and comments
Currently, customers trust the opinion of other buyers more than that of the seller, so, to increase trust, add a section for comments, complaints, frequent questions and a rating scale from 0 to 5.
How to create a virtual store?
If you have already chosen the market segment or niche, you have done a study, you know the viability of the project, you have already created a business model and you have your buyer person, then it is time to start building your virtual store. For that you must follow the following steps:
1. Choose the name or domain of your online store
First, you need to choose a name and web domain that is easy to remember and write.
2. Choose a hosting company
Web Hosting will be one of the few investments you will have to make to create your online store. Look for a company that ensures web speed and infrastructure, as well as security for you and your customers.
Or if your option is to install your virtual store in a “web mall” you must choose a web directory.
3. Define your model
There are different ways to manage inventory:
- One of them is through Dropshipping, which, in a nutshell, is that your company is only a means of purchase and the supplier is the one in charge of storing and delivering the products to the buyer on behalf of your company.
- Another is that the supplier stocks you with the merchandise and you take care of the delivery of the product to the customer.
4. Create inventory and enter your products
Separate your products by categories and sections, add photos and useful and necessary information about each of the products.
Try that the photographs are real, preferably yours and not taken from the Internet gallery.
5. Includes a shopping cart
The shopping cart is one of the main features of a virtual store so make sure yours assists your customers in their virtual tour.
6. Choose different payment methods
As we mentioned before, it is necessary that these are secure and that your online store offers several payment methods.
Add different modalities such as credit cards, debit cards, bank deposits, cash on delivery and rely on services such as Mercado Pago or PayPal.
7. Define the deliverables
Set in which areas, regions or countries you will make deliveries and how long it will take to reach the consumer’s address. Keep in mind that in a virtual store it is essential that you deliver the products in a timely manner.
8. Promote your virtual store
Through Digital Marketing strategies, your brand stands out even before you finish your online store. Keep in mind that, if you do not make yourself known, it will be useless to have incredible products at the best prices. So use your social networks, website and everything you need to scale.
9. Create a corporate blog
With small reviews in the virtual store it is almost impossible to provide valuable content about our products, so to increase the value of your business use content marketing that will not only allow you to better explain what you offer but also:
- you will be able to talk about your brand;
- give relevant information to your clients in your sector and everything that surrounds it;
- connect with your website visitors;
- you will improve SEO positioning;
- among many other things.
10. Manage and supervise
Everything is already underway, however you need to monitor and analyze the information of your online store to determine if it is meeting its objectives.
Advantages of a virtual store over a physical store
- The expenses for a virtual store are lower than those of a physical store, since you do not need to rent a place, have products in a warehouse, or even have several employees.
- You can manage your business from home.
- It is possible to have the store “open” 365 days a year.
- Selling in a global market is within the possibilities. On the Internet, everything is just a couple of clicks away, so anyone anywhere in the world can enter your online store and buy.
- It is easier, faster and more comfortable to buy from an online store.
- You will have higher profits compared to the low investment.
In short, a virtual store is not only a means to attract more customers, but it also allows you to increase sales if used properly. What you mainly need is to build trust, satisfy needs and deliver on promises.