If you’re looking to launch an online business, there’s never been a better time to do so. Of course, that doesn’t mean the process will be easy. There are many things that must be considered and accounted for if you want your new business to run smoothly, so today, we thought we’d share this list of things to research before launching an online business to help you get off on the right foot.
How to Process and Fulfil an Order
The first thing you’re going to need to think about is how you’re actually going to get your goods from production through to your customer. Unfortunately, fulfilling orders isn’t as simple as just grabbing your product, popping it in a box, and sending it off. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes with eCommerce order processing, and if you’re aiming to have consistently happy customers, it’s vital that each step is done properly.
How to Handle Returns
The rules and regulations around returns will vary based on your location and your customer’s location. This may mean that you’re held to a different set of rules for each purchase. As you can imagine, this can get confusing and frustrating for all parties concerned.
As a general rule, we suggest abiding by the rules that offer the most protection for the buyer. This will ensure your customers are kept happy while also ensuring you’re never breaking any laws – both good things. You’ll also need to research how to handle reverse logistics and find ways to ethically recycle returns if you want to be able to reduce waste and function efficiently. You don’t want to know how many companies send perfectly functional returned products to landfill.
Following on from the topic of returns, there will be times when you are required to disclose your location. While it can be tempting to simply work out of your home when you’re getting started, if you’re uncomfortable with having customers know where you live, it’s worth investing in a serviced office. Not only does this save you from having to give out your private details, but it also provides you with a prestigious address at which you can meet potential business partners. This is a major benefit when you’re trying to get a leg up in the industry.
Once you start getting orders consistently, there are going to be a lot of moving parts that require attention. We don’t say this to scare you off or dissuade you – it’s simply the truth of being in business. That’s why it’s important to look into what you can automate quickly and easily so you can focus your attention on other areas.
We suggest starting with crucial but time-consuming functions, such as invoice automation. When you know these crucial aspects are running smoothly, you’re free to focus on the aspects of running a business you actually enjoy.
Ways to Meet Your Social Responsibilities
Finally, customers prefer to shop with businesses that take their environmental and societal responsibilities seriously. The good news is that it’s easy to work sustainability and support for the local community into your ethos through practices such as social procurement. This could mean hiring staff through an organization that helps people with disabilities find work. Or it could simply mean sourcing supplies from small local businesses.
Launching an online business is both scary and exciting, but if you do it right, it may well be one of the best things you ever do. Research the areas discussed above, and you’ll be off to a strong start.