A little over a decade ago, people were still skeptical about e-commerce and the whole idea of purchasing items through the internet. They had trouble trusting online storefronts and using their credit card information to buy things and have them mailed directly to their own addresses. That kind of behavior was alien to most buyers back then. However, with time, upgrades in software and improvements to the logistics behind online shopping services, people have changed their minds. E-commerce is massive today, with revenue increasing year after year, eclipsing many other traditional industries. Online stores are ubiquitous, generating more business than they ever did than when they first started. It has never been easier to build a free ecommerce website, too.
If you are a business that’s never done e-commerce before, initially navigating this space can be tricky. Once you’re familiar with the landscape and what you need to do to get started, though, you’ll find that the benefits of setting up an online store website is worth the effort of learning.
Learning About E-Commerce to Help your Business Expand
If you own a brick-and-mortar business and are unsure of how to get started on an online store website, you will want to learn more about what it encompasses. Any type of commercial transaction that moves information on the internet can be considered under the banner of e-commerce.
However broad, it does point to very specific online behaviors that can take place in a variety of platforms. You can start with your own free ecommerce platform, setting up a website for your brand, and this can expand to mobile or app format. There are larger companies that allow you to sell on their marketplaces. You don’t own the website but you can be a seller on those well-known marketplaces and target millions of existing users. Social media is increasingly integrating e-commerce into its business model. Even a social media platform today can be used to create a free online store.
We are also seeing chat apps allowing e-commerce type of transactions, which can help them increase revenue while allowing their users to experience a more convenient way of buying and selling without having to leave their chats. Using a chat app as a free online store is no longer farfetched. When you consider the wide range of formats and opportunities available to set up your first free online store, you might want to get started on the search for the best e-commerce website builder available.
Consumer behavior is changing fast. Today, instead of physically walking around and looking through stores inside a shopping mall, they browse the web for information on things they are looking to buy. They look at specs, pricing, and reviews.
This can be difficult for traditional brick-and-mortar stores without any web presence. You can’t capture this type of customer without any basic information or opportunity to buy your products online. The disadvantages of not having a free online store far outweigh the advantages.
Plan for your new online store by mapping out what you want in a website.
For those embarking on a new business, considering an e-commerce model at launch by building your first free ecommerce website has its advantages. You can immediately get in on the myriad opportunities already available for online sellers. Whether or not you have a physical store, your strategy can immediately include digital touchpoints to make potential customers more engaged and familiar with your brand and your products. Your online store website can be a gateway to new customers and additional revenue.
The interest in e-commerce remains robust and is in fact still rising among customers. You have the opportunity to accelerate growth just by tapping into this global market of online shoppers.
The 7 Best Reasons to Get Started on your Free Online Store
- Reach your customers 24/7
Unlike traditional physical stores, which open and close during regular business hours, your free online store can address them twenty-four hours, seven days a week. We are talking about maximizing the time at which you can sell your goods, and also opening up to customers who do not adhere to the regular workday. You are also able to market to a global customer base that is not in your timezone.
The best way to tap these new customers is to search for a free online store builder in order to get acquainted with a 24/7 global audience.
- Access digital-native shoppers
Today, we are seeing digital-native behavior increasingly dominating the market. You have a whopping 87% of shoppers choosing to do their research via digital channels first.  Shoppers look for a wide range of data, including design and aesthetics, product specifications, reviews, price, inventories, brand comparisons and even endorsers or influencers associated with the brand.
The first step towards reaching these types of shoppers and making sure that you are part of the information that they are researching is to be online. You need, at the very least, a social media page, a website and an online store to be able to compete in this new era of digital-native shopping behavior.
- Cost advantages
There are vast cost advantages of setting up an online store vs brick-and-mortar. If you plan to set up online only, you save on typical overhead expenses like rent, electricity and other utilities. You also save on labor. That is not to say that the situation won’t change in the future, as you onboard more new customers and plan for growth.
As a starter model, digital is usually lower in cost.
If you have existing physical stores, it nicely complements your physical outlets without having to spend too much. Digital infrastructure, such as a free online store, is a great addition to both marketing efforts and sales.
A lot of platforms offer ecommerce setup for free. You can start at zero cost or pay a minimal fee for other features. Marketplaces do not charge for signups but instead take sales percentages.
To enhance marketing of your free online store, you can look to social media and SEO.
There are many ways to further reduce overhead, such as using software to do accounting, using drop shipping services, and creating a lean remote staff without having to rent an office.
- Understanding your customer
Online models provide data of customer behavior. Data tracking might be built into your free ecommerce website builder package, using a free online store builder to help you with collecting and understanding your customer better.
There is a gold mine in repeat business. Therefore, being able to understand customer interactions on your own site using the built-in data tracking features of your free ecommerce website makes it easier to adjust your business towards their needs.
You need to be mindful of consumer rights, though. Be sure to read up on privacy laws and rules on data collection.
New available services make it much faster for business to go online. To build a free online store, you need to look for the best and most suitable platforms to help you create a great site with minimal cost and relatively low effort.
As a business owner, you need to focus on running your business, not on web design per se, and platforms such as Strikingly help you do that.
Strikingly’s options for building a free ecommerce website enable unprecedented go-to-market speed, and let you create a well-designed free online store in less than 24 hours. The advantages of using a service such as Strikingly’s online store builder, which is considered by a grown number of users as the best ecommerce website builder around, go a long way in helping your business create a professional storefront that you can quickly promote after initial setup.
Strikingly also gives you options for expansion features that allow you to serve more users, add more products and take care of your customer base through targeted marketing.
- Provide key content to drive marketing
Your free online store provides the opportunity to curate your brand content and give your customers vital information that only you can provide. It is a part of your marketing strategy that can further drive loyalty and patronage.
Through your free ecommerce website, you can provide detailed information about your product, insight into inventory and comparisons, and clear details on price. Your site needs to be a source of accurate information that helps your customer in their purchase decisions.
Your free online store can have an indirect influence too on physical store sales by providing such information. Key content is vital to building trust through straightforwardness and transparency.
You can also share more information about your brand. Your free ecommerce website can include tutorials on product use, and even lifestyle tips incorporating your product.
Your free online store is basically the home base of your content marketing strategy that can of course be expanded elsewhere to other platforms and media. With Strikingly, it is easy to create more features on your site that expands many different types of marketing to drive your sales.
- Unlock new demographics
While your original brick-and-mortar store may only sell product to a particular demographic, going online can give you expanded reach. This means new customers and new audiences. Don’t be locked in to a particular demographic or customer profile, because e-commerce provides you the opportunity to serve both niche and untapped markets. You can ship to many different parts of the world.
With fresh marketing campaigns and resourceful content building, you can create new types of following by encouraging people to integrate your products into their lifestyle. Your free online store can help potential customers envision the advantages of purchasing your product.
Strikingly, an online store builder, simplifies the journey to your brand new free online store by making it simple and a matter of only a few clicks. It guides you on the basics of how to make an online store. Strikingly’s free ecommerce platform provides a wide variety of options, whether you want to start as a free online store or expand your free ecommerce website and avail of paid services that incorporate necessary new features. With the instant setup, you will be able to accept payments from customers globally.
Build a home for your brand.
Strikingly sites are customizable. The free ecommerce website builder platform allows you to integrate your brand’s look and message. There are many free designs to choose from. You can begin with the free online store builder and scale it up as you go along.
There has never been an easier way to get started on a free online store and start a new and more profitable chapter in your business!