Many people dreaming of having their own online store have the misconception that an online store will require little to no maintenance over the years. For some industries, brands, and stores this may even be true, but most businesses, including online stores, need marketing to keep their existing customers and acquire new ones.
Both the Old and the New Customers Are Online
By definition, an online store is active on the internet. The customers of an online store may be located in any part of the world, which means that local marketing campaigns may not reach them at all. For instance, a store targeted at a specific niche group will have a hard time reaching enough potential customers to be profitable, if it focuses its marketing efforts on local consumers.
The customers of an online store are already online, which is why the store should also market its products on the internet. Acquiring new customers is also possible online even in industries where the customers have historically been internet-averse. For instance, purchasing hunting or fishing gear in an online store is not unusual, even though the majority of the store’s customers are probably more interested in spending time outdoors than online.
Even Small Niche Stores Are Profitable on a Global Scale
If the geographical distance between one potential customer and another is big, local advertising makes little sense. In a store targeted at a specific niche market, the owner may have to reach potential customers all over the world in order to make a profit.
In other words: niche stores that would have been impossible to maintain in the past may flourish, if they reach a global audience.
As the number of online stores has grown recently, niche stores have been somewhat forgotten. Brick-and-mortar stores that sell mainstream products such as womenswear have moved their business online, and the conversation around online store has centered around them. However, in the future, it is likely that we will see much more competition between online stores that sell, say, clothes or everyday items, since the number of those stores has risen considerably. Niche stores with a highly selective clientele are less likely to see a spike a competition.
Do you have a niche store in mind that you would like to make come true? Now is a great time to get started.
Use Old-fashioned Marketing Also Online
Online marketing has turned into an ambiguous term that can mean anything from very direct online sales to building a long-term brand on social media. Right now one of the things that is in demand are paid adverts, for instance on Facebook. These adds are shown to Facebook users selected by algorithms.
But how well do these algorithms really work? Let’s think about it this way: How often do you feel like you get something out of the commercials that are directed at you and shown to you online?
If your online store has more time than money in its marketing budget, it might be worth considering basic old-school marketing tactics. The first question you’ll want to as yourself is: Where do my customers most likely spend time?
Let’s say your store sells hobby items, and you want to reach new customers. You could maybe start informing people about your store in discussion groups or pay for advertisement on sites that are focused on that particular hobby. If algorithms get to pick who your ad is shown to, it may very well work great – or it may not. But you should try and focus on the customers that are most likely to be interested in making purchases in your store, especially if your marketing budget is on the lower side.
Online Stores Work Well with Social Media
A popular internet marketing method right now is growing an audience through social media channels. As a marketing tool, social media has its pitfalls; it is difficult to get right, and it takes a lot of time to maintain. However, if you can get it right, it can be an efficient and low-cost way to reach and engage your target audience.
Many online platforms, including Marknad, take social media into consideration on a technical level. For instance, as long as certain things are done right, successfully sharing blog posts on social media is very easy. Combining an online store to social media channels is much easier now than it was just a few years ago.
In particular, social media works well with niche stores that are focused on hobbies or culture. Think of yourself as a consumer: If you are interested in an uncommon activity or other specific niche, wouldn’t you be eager to follow a related store on social media?
All in all, you definitely should keep an eye on the opportunities offered by social media. The field of social media is changing rapidly, and new things come along every day. Even if it doesn’t look like social media is something to invest in right now, something like a new social media platform may change that very quickly.