Pet ownership is becoming increasingly popular throughout the United States. This means that starting an online pet store could be a profitable endeavor for modern entrepreneurs. However, as with all startups, there are certain factors that increase your chances of success. The following are four steps necessary for running a successful e-commerce pet store.
1. Choose Your Niche
An e-commerce shop can capitalize on the popularity of both pet ownership and online shopping. However, these trends are well known, and many other individuals will compete with you. Additionally, you will be competing with big online pet stores, traditional brick-and-mortar pet stores that have developed an online presence, and megaretailers that offer pet supplies.
All this competition means that you need a niche. What could you do better than your competitors? Perhaps you have in-depth knowledge of an exotic animal and could focus your business on that particular critter. Maybe you don’t mind handling deliveries yourself and want to run an online shop that offers same-day delivery to your local area.
Your niche should be narrow enough to stand out but not so narrow that you can’t turn a profit. Carry out market research to get a better idea of your competition and openings in the market.
2. Make Your Site Easy To Use
In the modern world, your e-commerce site must be intuitive and run smoothly. Keep in mind that your customers will be visiting on a variety of devices, including:
The site should be easy to view on any device. Fortunately, there are numerous website builders available to help you get your site up and running and to optimize it for a variety of screens.
Choose a pet store pos system that does more than record transactions. A good point-of-sale system will include a variety of features, such as inventory tracking and customer loyalty participation.
3. Follow All Rules and Regulations
To ensure your business’s long-term success, make sure to familiarize yourself with all pertinent rules and regulations. This includes everything from zoning laws and tax codes to the International Air Transport Association’s Live Animal Regulations.
Accountants and attorneys can help ensure your operations follow all legal requirements, but these professionals are often expensive. If possible, do your own research. Get a copy of your municipality’s zoning laws. Keep up with your expenses and purchase do-it-yourself tax software. Make sure all live animals that you deal with are legal in your state and any state you ship them to. The animals should be properly cared for and kept in a clean environment.
If you do receive a notification from a taxing authority or any other agency, make sure the notice is legitimate and not a scam, and then comply with all requirements in a timely manner to minimize fines and penalties.
4. Have Excellent Customer Service
Even the most well-planned businesses will occasionally experience glitches. When your customers have concerns, problems, or inquiries, make it easy for them to get a response in a timely manner. Make sure your contact information is easy to see on your website and on all email communication.
Consider having multiple options, such as phone, email, and direct message, for communication. This allows customers to choose the most convenient method for them. Always be polite and helpful. If you can afford to do so, feel free to give discounts or freebies to customers who have had trouble with their orders.
Respond to inquiries as soon as possible, preferably within a few hours. At the very longest, get back to your customers within one business day. Make sure your working hours are clearly listed on your site. If you know ahead of time that you are going to be unable to respond promptly, set up an automated response to let customers know when you will be back in touch.
Although there are many factors that affect a business’s chances for success, following the four steps listed above is a great way to get off to a good start. Choose a profitable niche, follow the law, and make sure your customers have a pleasant experience so that they want to purchase from you again.
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