Your guide to setting up an online business

inke packaging — March 11, 2021

Aside from the benefit of lower overheads, an online presence also has the power to improve your brand’s reputation and attract more customers from across the globe.

Online stores provide protection and allow small businesses to test out their products at their own pace. The eCommerce industry is growing at a rapid rate and isn’t going anywhere. Being online provided small start-ups with security during the COVID-19 pandemic and saw nearly almost every business that didn’t quickly pivot to eCommerce, allowing businesses to stay afloat and securely sell their products directly to their consumers.

With website builders and free social media marketing, there’s never been an easier way to make money online. You might be asking yourself, where do I start? Below are some helpful answers and the considerations you should make before you jump onto Google.

Website solutions to get online

The likes of Shopify and Squarespace are perfect solutions as one-stop platforms for brands to build and manage their business no matter what industry they're in. Both require minimal design and marketing experience or skill, helping to reduce the friction of getting started. With built-in solutions to securely handle payments, checkout and shipping at low cost, there's no messy coding or add-on extensions required.

Shopify offers its users 24/7 support and free business advice. It’s no wonder it is trusted by over one million businesses worldwide, ranging from established museums to five-star hotels and everything in between.

Branding and communication

Once you've laid the foundation for your website, its time to turn your focus onto your stores' branding and communication style, both platforms will allow you to completely customise your look and feel to ensure your brand DNA and aesthetics are translated online, cohesively, and to every potential customer.

When creating your store, take inspiration from other websites that you like. For example, what do you like about these sites? Is it the tone of voice, or perhaps the ease of navigation? Whatever it is, it's important to highlight real-world elements of what does and what doesn't work well in your opinion from previous experiences to implement back into your brand and offering.

If you find yourself struggling to translate your ideas into concepts, it might be worth contacting a local designer to help you create a logo or brand book to get started. If you don't know any designers and don't have the resources to explore further, try connecting with our friends over at 99designs by using the services available on their platform to connect with freelance designers with ease, on time and on budget.

Photography of products

Photography can be what determines whether or not your product sells. Consider having a professional assist you with this to ensure your product is looking at its best. Aim for two to three photos of each product to demonstrate any diversity so that your users can get a good understanding of what they are about to purchase, in the same way as if they were holding it in their hands!

A good way to showcase this is by using a combination of flat-lay and action shots.

For example, if your product is a line of organic wine, you might want to show the wine being poured into a glass and also in its packaging. Another thing to consider is if it's worth allowing your customers to zoom into the image to see the product in more detail.

Use custom packaging to elevate the customer experience

Once you're up and running with your eCommerce brand, it's the little details you go to that can help you build relationships with your customers. Custom packaging using your branding is one of the most effective ways you can do this. It not only shows your appreciation for the product you are sending, but it also represents quality to your customers and the people who see the parcel in passing. The more often people see your brand, the more they’ll trust your service.

A new business needs to stand out from all the noise and make each purchase memorable. Branded custom packaging increases the visibility of your brand in ways no other marketing can. It’s the perfect way to forge these relationships early on and set the tone for who you are as a brand.

To give you a good example of this, read our case study on local start-up Crockd, who, using quirky designs on their packaging, assisted them in going from start-up to warehouse operation and over 15,000 social media followers in a matter of months.

People generally want to support local brands and startups. By making their customer experience worthwhile, they’ll be even more enthusiastic about making repeat purchases and recommend you to their friends.

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