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Do You Want To Open Free E-Commerce?
Are you trying to figure out if free e-commerce is worthwhile and if it is right for you?
There are some cases in which opening a free online store can be helpful, but you must still plan to invest if your online store works. Find out in this article how and why to start free e-commerce.
Start Free E-Commerce
Opening an e-commerce website today can also be done for free. There are platforms like Prestashop that, for free, allow you to start a store, albeit with limited functionality in the free version, in a few clicks. Please choose from one of the available templates, enter the products in the catalog, prepare the payment and shipping methods, and that’s it. The constraints of free e-commerce, however, are there, and they are essentially 3:
- Limited functionality (such as marketing automation actions)
- Graphics limited to the templates available from the platform
- Language (interface may only be in English)
If you have an idea that you want to explore to understand if it generates interest, this may be the correct path. However, if the orders arrive, you must consider investing in a store with more advanced features and more performing e-commerce hosting. At the same time, you can use social networks in your Business accounts with the same goal: to understand what kind of target you attract and which products are the most popular.
Why Open An Online E-Commerce
E-commerce opens the door to a series of endless business opportunities. According to data from the e-commerce Observatory, the online sales sector increased by 15%. Furthermore, according to Statista, by 2022, global revenues will reach approximately 6.25 trillion dollars. These figures are destined to grow as purchases are increasingly online and mobile.
Opening e-commerce offers several advantages, both for an SME and a professional:
- You can reach your target and identify new ones: from analyzing traffic, orders, and the Life Time Value of those who buy at your store, you can understand a lot about your target customers. You may discover niches whose purchase value leads to more significant revenue and focus on specific products that, offline, in the store, did not attract the same interest;
- Twenty-four hours a day opening: an online store opens its doors to purchases far beyond a physical store. Users can buy at any time, so you can increase your revenue exponentially by taking advantage of this advantage made possible only with the web;
- Presence without territorial limits: opening an eCommerce can help improve business, allowing potential buyers to buy the products available wherever they are, avoiding moving to a physical point. For them, this is an irresistible advantage (but you must be prepared to offer a convenient shipping service).
This does not mean that today you have to close the shop and only manage e-commerce. However, instead of expanding a network of physical stores (which is expensive), you can think of investing in an online store to reach all of Italy and even foreign countries. If you have no budget, you can open free e-commerce at the beginning and monitor how it goes over time.
What Skills Do You Need To Open An Online Store?
If you decide to rely initially on platforms that allow you to open an online store for free, you don’t need to be a graphic designer or a developer. Thanks to relatively simple interfaces, these portals allow you to create an online store in a few steps, often in drag & drop mode (i.e., drag the elements you want to be seen on each page). However, a minimum of basic online skills are used to practice a strategy that works. From yours, you know your business available: if you’ve always had a shop, you know your customers, you know what the sales prices are and which marketing activities usually work best. Indeed, some offline logic does not work well online, and you may discover new, more profitable ways of selling. So it takes proactivity, curiosity, and multidisciplinarity to start an online sales project. As for the technical skills to start free online e-commerce, you should know that:
- A shop is based on a CMS, the platform with which you build your store (Prestashop or WordPress, for example);
- The correct management of an online store passes through a CRM, a software that tracks everything that happens on your e-commerce. There are some free ones. Many commercial CRMs also have a “free” version;
- The success of e-commerce must be measured with data, so you must know how to read the information you can retrieve from the traffic on the site, for example, through Google Analytics. You need to understand what it means and how to read the average time spent on a page, the abandonment rate, conversion rates, traffic sources, and so on;
- With the automatisms, you recover and “cultivate” your customers, or you can set actions from your platform to recover abandoned carts or visits that have not converted into purchases;
- Search engines must see your pages, so you need to know how to set the keywords of each page and the tags for SEO (title and description).
Open Shop For Free: To Test The Market
Even if an online sales project requires investments, you can still try to open a free online store to explore the territory. If your idea is still just beginning and you have partial data on the genuine interest in your products, you can use an online store built with a free platform to understand if there is demand. So if you notice that there are sales and which products attract the most interest, you can use this information for a more accurate business plan to invest a budget on more professional e-commerce. In fact, with free e-commerce, you can find information on the target, product, and data that can be used to create a more advanced store. For example, you can get information on the following:
- Payment methods and most requested shipments
- Alternatives and models that users ask you and cannot find online
- Mobile rather than desktop traffic to improve the store in the future (more responsive)
In practice, the free online shop becomes a test for the market. If you can’t use professional analytics, this is an essential tool for finding valuable insights into the success of your business idea.
Selling On Social Media Is Worthwhile
Parallel to or alternative to free e-commerce. You can sell on social networks to verify consumer interest in your products. Over 200 million Instagram users visit at least one company profile daily; on Facebook, there are 1.47 billion active users daily. On Facebook, the Social Buy Button is a direct action through which the user purchases through the platform without going to other sites. Facebook handles everything, including checkout. The button can be found in posts and Ads, and to proceed with the purchase, the user must enter the data of his card (only once, later, for further investments, the information is stored).
To sell on this social network, you need to open a Page, which you can configure in a store category and customize in information and images. The important thing is that you enter “Add Button,” a call to action that your customer will see as soon as they enter your page under the cover image on the right. Similarly, you can sell on Instagram with a business profile, which can be synchronized with the company’s Facebook page. Instagram Shopping is the function that allows businesses to sell their products by inserting tags in posts and stories, driving traffic to the sales page. To do this, you need to have a product catalog on Facebook, connect the two business profiles and activate the shopping function.
Today it is possible to start a free e-commerce website thanks to different platforms that allow you to have your online store in just a few clicks. Using this solution allows a company or a professional to test the market to understand if there is demand for their products, find out which ones are most in need and if there are niche targets that seem interesting more than anything else. At the same time, it is possible to have a company account on social networks and measure the traffic generated by Facebook or Instagram to calibrate a potential future investment in a professional online store.