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How to Create a Successful Online Business in a Recession

Lily O'Halloran


How to Create a Successful Online Business in a Recession

Is it really possible to create a successful online business during a recession? Absolutely! Although many consumers are holding their purse-strings a little tighter these days, e-commerce continues to grow. Now is the time to cash in on this growing trend.

Brick and mortar (B&M) stores are closing left and right. The once healthy, thriving malls of our nation are becoming ghost towns. With so many stores closing, consumers are left with fewer local shopping choices. As quickly as B&M stores are closing, online stores are opening.


How can online stores make it when B&M stores cannot?

Simple, e-commerce stores have tremendous reach. Online businesses attract customers from all over the globe, while B&M stores only reach local customers. With such a great number of potential customers, it takes only a small number of conversions to create a successful business.


What does it take to not only attract visitors, but to turn those browsers into buyers?

The secret to success is to understand today’s consumers. What do they want? What are they willing to spend their hard-earned dollars on?

In order to answer these questions, you must think about what type of products you are interested in. There are many products that you use on a daily basis. Everyday products are a wise choice for sellers, because there is a constant demand. The demand for products is what drives commerce. While necessities are a good choice, luxury items are even better.

In a thriving economy, consumers spend generous amounts of money on personal luxuries. While consumers still desire luxuries in a slumping economy, the amount they can afford to spend is often reduced substantially. This does not mean that consumers stop buying luxury items; rather, the type of luxury items they buy changes.

Luxury items, products that are purely for enjoyment, are a great choice for sellers. Even in hard times, consumers tend to spend money on desirable products.

The types of luxuries that sell well now are different than those that sell well in a robust economy. Rather than spend an expensive night out on the town, consumers are choosing to entertain themselves at home.


What types of products are hot now?

Today’s consumers want personal luxuries that they can use every day, such as video games, digital cameras, computers, software, cell phones, music, movies, books, collectibles, and lingerie. Health and beauty products are also selling well. Products that are entertaining and make consumers feel good are hot right now.

Product selection is crucial; however, it is not the only factor of success. To understand what else drives consumers to specific businesses, you need to consider your own shopping habits.


What stores or sellers attract your business? Do they offer you a little something extra?

It is often an added value that entices customers to purchase from a specific seller. Typical added-values include: superior customer service, gift with purchase, discount sale prices, frequent buyer club, high-quality goods, credibility, trustworthiness, and convenience.

Let’s take a closer look at added-values.

Offering superior customer service seems like a no-brainer, right? Unfortunately, excellent customer service is difficult to find. Poor service, on the other hand, is not. Think of a time when you needed help in a store, and there was no one around to address your concerns. Or the time when the clerk stood there talking to another employee while checking you out. Then there were the clerks that could barely pull themselves away from a magazine, or personal call, to help you. Unimpressive and lackluster customer service is commonplace.

By offering outstanding customer service, you set your business apart. Customers are the lifeblood of business. Treat them with the respect they deserve to keep them coming back for more.

Deals and discounts are like magic. They entice current customers and lure new ones. A simple gift with purchase or coupon code can make all the difference in closing a sale. Have you ever browsed a store, added items to your cart, and then abandoned it? You just couldn’t force yourself to make the purchase. If so, you had shopping anxiety. What would have alleviated that anxiety? A coupon code or gift with purchase might have sealed the deal.

During a recession, many consumers shop smarter. Savvy shoppers want more value for their money. Customers realize their shopping dollars are power. They want something extra to shop at a specific store. Added value leads to loyal customers.

Offer coupon codes, gift with purchases, and frequent buyer discounts to help your customer’s money stretch a little more, and watch your business grow.

Selling high-quality goods increases your credibility and trustworthiness as a seller. Shoppers quickly learn that they can come to you for quality products. In hard times, consumers want more out of the products they buy. Quality becomes more important that quantity. Longevity is key. By selling brand name, high-quality merchandise, you business becomes a brand name.


What is the most essential element of a successful online business?

Convenience and ease of use is the most important aspect of a retail website. If your web store is not easy to use, then forget it. It doesn’t matter how good of a selection you have or how low your prices are; customers are not going to spend hours trying to figure out how to shop on your site.

They key areas to focus on are: navigation, shopping cart functionality, quality photos, enticing and informative sales copy, and a secure checkout process. Successful e-commerce sites provide a seamless solution.

Your website should guide customers through the selling process. If creating an aesthetically pleasing, fully-functional web store feels overwhelming, don’t worry! Many companies offer turnkey, all-in-one, solutions at very reasonable prices. A turnkey solution is fully-configured with everything you need to run an online store. Add your store info (products, sales copy, etc), and you’re ready for business.



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