With people discouraged from going to malls and department stores during the lockdowns, online shopping had become the recourse of many. Consequently, people have discovered the convenience of just clicking away and having things delivered at your doorstep.
Well, it’s nothing new, but before, some had probably been wary of credit card fraud or getting goods that are defective or different from the items they ordered. But left with no other choice, they had finally tried online shopping and have now become converts.
This bigger online market then should be seen as an opportunity for starting a new business, especially in this time when economic instability no longer assures you of regular pay as an employee. Below are a few things you need to prepare when setting up an online business.
Survey your clients’ preferred mode of payment
Thanks to modern technology, people are no longer limited to paying via bank transfers that could take time and cost a lot, especially when transacting from other countries. There are now convenient online payment systems that require minimal effort and quick transactions.
However, you have to look into these as some companies charge a lot when the exchange is with an overseas client or supplier. Of course, the more options you offer to buyers, the more buyers you will attract. If you plan to sell to other countries, know their preferred methods because they might be different from the ones you are familiar with.
Ensure protection from remote suppliers
Considering that goods will be transferred to different sites, there is the possibility of having them damaged along the way. Another possibility is that a supplier might send defective merchandise. You might want to enlist the services of a company offering warranty management technology.
Check their terms and conditions as well so that you will know what you will be able to bargain with should the quality of your shipment fall short of your expectations.
Do background study of your potential suppliers
While chances of running into online scams are low if you are diligent in your study of suppliers, it is best if you protect yourself ahead from possible swindlers. Having good ratings is not enough because companies—including fake ones—can easily hire people to give high ratings and recommendations on websites.
As much as possible, look into the legality of the companies you will be transacting with, and if you have access, see their financial statements.
Do background study of potential clients in other countries
Capturing a market outside your country is a good strategy. You may have goods in your country that are not common and are therefore more valued or more expensive when sold in other places in the world. However, just having the goods is not enough. You need to know how best to sell them. If there’s only a few of you supplying the product, then you can capitalize on this, but if others also got your idea, then be prepared for the competition.
Know the culture of your prospective clients—are they OK with online shopping? Do you need to go through a middle person—meaning you ship the products to that person who, in turn, would sell them in local shops? What is in their culture that you could focus on if you want to do an ad campaign and make your company stand out over the others?
Know how to pay your dues properly
Although this is listed last, this should be the first thing you do when you start your business. Many companies have folded up, with some proprietors even penalized or put behind bars because of not following taxation rules or not fulfilling other business requirements.
Again, if you are doing business abroad, also know their policies. It is easy to evade these in some countries, especially if your shipments are not that big. However, if you get caught, you could get blacklisted not only in that country but also in the business circles in your locality.
Having a legal identity paying correct dues also assures your clients that you are not a fly-by-night company, and they can continue to transact with you in the future.
Online businesses are foreseen to thrive even after the restrictions of the pandemic are lifted. The preferences of people will surely be affected by what has been happening in the past months; the people’s routines and consumption patterns already changed. Most work has become online, and so people are now spending more time on the internet. Take this opportunity and use it to prepare for the new norm.