Once upon a time, the majority of business owners invested significantly in their website. They hired the top website programmers, purchased expensive themes, and most importantly loaded up on their inventory. However, the tides have now changed, and everywhere you go, you are bound to see entrepreneurs operating on tighter budgets. And why shouldn’t they? Considering high taxes and the unemployment rate, business owners are always on the lookout to cut costs and save for rainy days.
So, in these circumstances, is it even possible for an entrepreneur with a great idea to launch their store? Since opening a brick-and-mortar location requires massive capital; can an aspiring businessperson succeed with a minor e-commerce store? The answer to both the questions are “yes, why not!”
Today, nearly 70% of British people prefer to shop online rather than in-store. In fact, Statista anticipates that the e-commerce industry will reach $4.5 trillion by the year 2021.
Online shopping gives people all over the world the freedom to shop from the comfort of their home or even on the go. Judging by the above numbers, it’s impossible not to assume success with an e-commerce store. Those who are on a low budget should also not fret. By making a few smart moves, there is a lot one can do (including selling) with a budget of £500 or even less.
To help you out, here are some tips that will get you started:
1. Use an inexpensive platform
Although there are several e-commerce platforms available, WordPress is undoubtedly the most affordable solution to set up your online store. The free and open-source platform accounts for more than 19.1 million live sites. Some studies also indicate that more than 42% of all e-commerce websites run on WordPress. Most importantly, WordPress is user-friendly and requires minimal technical knowledge for operation.
Once the registration process with WordPress is taken care of, you will have to pay a small amount for the domain and hosting. Without a domain name and hosting, your website won’t be able to go live and open for shoppers.
- The domain name is basically the name of your website. Make sure you choose a catchy and easy-to-remember address so visitors can easily access your shop.
- Hosting refers to the server that makes your site accessible to Internet users.
Both the domain name and hosting are available through several vendors including Siteground and Hostgator. The cost of both is less than £10 respectively. Do look out for coupons and discounts as most of these providers offer on-going sales.
2. Go for WooCommerce
As we are all aware, WordPress has an extensive library of plugins that website owners can make use of to manage their operations more efficiently. These include plugins for marketing and even solutions for spam. For e-commerce, we recommend WooCommerce, it’s free and offers your online store all the functionality it needs. It is easy to install, and there are no hidden costs associated with the plugin. Above all, WooCommerce features a secure payment portal enabling your customers to shop without hesitation.
3. Ensure optimal site performance
Competition between e-stores is fierce. To stand out amidst the growing marketplace, a businessperson has to meet all ends and ensure that the visitors receive the best customer experience. This includes making the website mobile responsive, offering fast shipping, low costs, and an easy-to-navigate site that loads without any interruption.
Thankfully, WordPress offers several free (or budget-friendly) solutions to ensure that your website is running optimally at all times. Listed below are some of the vital features of a website, regardless of the niche.
- Speed: According to a study, 47% of web users abandon a shopping cart if the site fails to load within 2-3 seconds. They are also more likely to share their bad experience with friends and family members resulting in negative word-of-mouth advertisement of your store. Thankfully, several free options are available including W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache that will help you speed up a WordPress website.
- Responsiveness: Since more than 56% of consumers use their mobile devices to search for different products, having a mobile-friendly website is non-negotiable these days. Experts also believe that in the coming years, mobile devices will surpass the use of desktop as well. To make your site, mobile-friendly, make sure you use themes such as Storefront and landing that automatically adjusts to the screen of the user’s device.
- SEO: Practicing SEO tactics is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website. Free plugins like Yoast SEO, analyse web content and help your keywords to rank in the search engines. Above all, Yoast SEO is free for use and can dramatically help improve the SEO rating of your shop.
- Visitor tracking: Tools such as Google Analytics for WordPress and Google Analytics by Yoast are free solutions for keeping track of visitors on your site. These plugins also give detailed reports on the buying habits of customers who visit your e-shop.
4. Use the power of social media
Your products will not sell by themselves once you have managed to build your online store. You need to market your products to your target audience, so they also visit your website and find something worth purchasing. However, traditional ways of advertising such as newspaper ads, TV commercials, and billboard can be quite expensive especially for an e-store that is on a tight budget. Luckily, social media provides such business owners an opportunity to market their website to a targeted demographic without spending a penny.
Today, the majority of mobile users have a social media account. Additionally, half of them prefer to connect with their favourite businesses through social media channels.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – these not only help in the promotion of companies but also enhance interaction between potential and current customers. In fact, 71% of customers who have a good experience with businesses through social media are more likely to recommend them to others.
As you can see, there are countless ways to launch a successful e-store without spending a significant amount. WordPress tools are mostly free or inexpensive, so you don’t have to worry much about being on a tight budget.
Good luck! Don’t forget to let us know which platform you’ve used and how your experience was with the tool.
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