In 2008, UK consumers were already spending 17% per retail pound online. Some experts predict that online shopping could make up as much as 40% of retail sales by 2020.
Verdict, a company specializing in retail research, made a forecast that British online retail spending would more than triple to £67 billion pounds in 2020 from £21 billion in 2009. That’s quite a fair bit of money and certainly an incentive for those of you who are thinking of starting your own business in the UK.
If you are thinking of starting your own business in the UK, there are a few things you need to be aware of in order to ensure that you get off to the best possible start.
Market Research And Marketing
It’s true that there’s a market for everything but whether the market is lucrative enough to sustain your business is another question altogether. Carry out adequate market research to make sure there is a big enough market for you to sustain and grow your business in the future.
Since online retail works differently from normal (offline) retail, you also need to carry out adequate keyword research and marketing to ensure that your site will not only be highly ranked, but that it will also be found by your intended target market.
Running an online store may not cost much but it’s not free either. There are a variety of expenses, both obvious and not-so-obvious, that you need to plan for. Even if you are only running a store part-time, you still need to ensure you have enough cash to cover a fast web hosting shopping cart UK or anywhere else and other web store related fees for at least a year. It usually takes around that long before a business can start earning decent revenue. If you want to go into business, you have to be realistic about financial timelines. You can’t expect to make money hand over fist just 2 months into a business, although that has happened in very rare cases.
If you do need financial help, do a search for “UK government help starting a new business”. There may be grants available for certain businesses.
Supplier and Customer Relations
Many merchants underestimate the importance of having reliable suppliers and drop shippers until it is too late. Constant complaints about incorrect quantities being sent out, poor quality goods and late deliveries from your store will soon make their way to retail forums and before you know it, your sales will have dried up. Make sure you have a good supplier backing you before you get your store up. Again, proper research is a must.
The main complaint from online shoppers all over Europe is the lack of customer service. People want accurate and timely answers to their queries. If they can’t get customer service personnel on the phone, then the next best thing is a live chat option. It is very important that the customer knows that there’s a real person handling their queries instead of an auto reply program.
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