Running your own online bookstore is fun and profitable; you’ve the opportunity to start a low-risk business, and avoid high costs of storefront rents. You can sell books, CDs, DVDs, and educational videos to global buyers, making good cash. If you’re starting out on a shoestring, list your products on Amazon like marketplaces and observe what sells and what doesn’t.
Once you’ve acquired sufficient experience, then is the time to turn your passion into a livelihood. Follow these steps to start an online bookstore;
Step #1: Do Your Research
Study the retail markets in your area, especially booksellers. Do some research on the internet about already existing bookshops, and determine if the environment will suit your business idea. Also try to discover what niches are unexplored. Decide your hosting and domain plan wisely. You can buy both of these services from http://godaddy.com/, or any other service provider that suits you the most.
The next step is to develop a website; for this you should consider hiring a web designer from marketplaces like Elance, and Odesk.
How many books would you sell in the beginning? It depends on the make-up of your stock. You might start with as few as 500 items; but if you want better sales, you require at least 2,500 books.
Step #2: Prepare a Business Plan
A business plan is a set of formal documents, describing your proposed venture; itll state your goals, investments and future plans for the bookstore. Once the website is ready, pitch your business plan primarily to lenders. The significant components your website should have are;
1. A good executive summary
2. An overview of the books
3. Who is your target audience; to create a variety, you can devote your web-stores different sections to varying niches for men, women and children
5. An attractive and professional logo on the top of homepage
Step #3: Insert Descriptions and Update Homepage:
Insert appropriate contents about your books and other materials; let your audience know how successful you are with your testimonials. You should also insert pictures of books with relevant descriptions, authors names, dates of publication, and list price.
Your homepage will generate a number of direct sales; post classified ad on it stating that you buy used books. List the products you want to sell and make sure your homepage has all the necessary information that add value to your store.
Step #4: Solid Marketing
It is a tough yet important part of your business. Marketing of the website can be done using social media. Your marketing plan should demonstrate that you have analyzed the target market, and understand the requirements of buyers. Seek the services of an SEO expert to acquire better search rank; dont neglect the financial documents, because lenders look at this section first.
Step #5: Multiple Payment Methods
PayPal is a trusted and easiest mode of payment, but there are several countries which are not supported by PayPal. It means you have to facilitate your buyers with alternative payment options, such as Payoneer, Moneybookers, MasterCard, and Visa.
Step #6: Add Google Map to Your Store
Allow customers to know your physical existence through Google map. Add complete and correct contact details (like contact number, and email address) to enhance customer services.
Another must remember thing is you should respond queries of the buyers within 24 working hours.
Get inspiration from the following websites;
- American Booksellers Association
- Antiquarian Book Dealers Association of South Carolina
- Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America
- Australian Booksellers Association
- Independent Online Booksellers Association
- International League of Antiquarian Booksellers
- Las Vegas Bookmans Guild
Fortunately, there’s always room for the right kind of online bookstores. You cannot guess the exact number of successful booksellers on the internet; keep writing articles to target e-zines and send press releases to e-magazines to stay alive as a seller.
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