Franchise eateries are one of the most ubiquitous types of businesses in the United States. Go to almost any town in the country and you’re likely to find a McDonald’s, Dunkin’, Domino’s, or some other familiar establishment. Of the nearly 661,000 restaurants in the United States, roughly 308,000 of them are considered franchises (46%), according to research by Statista.
In other words, buying a franchise restaurant is one of the most popular paths to business ownership.
However, the process of buying a franchise restaurant is anything but easy. That’s why we created this guide—to show you all the steps you’ll need to take to buy a franchise restaurant. We’ll explain the pros and cons, how much it could cost you, and the steps you’ll need to take to become a franchise restaurant owner.
But first, let’s start with an explanation of how franchise restaurants work.
How does a franchise restaurant work?
Franchises are highly replicable businesses that have a proven business model and widespread brand recognition and popularity. To buy into a restaurant franchise means you (the franchisee) purchase the rights from a franchisor (the company) to open your own branch of the restaurant using the franchisor’s trademarks and brand materials. The franchisor will share everything from their menu to operations manual in return for royalties from your franchise’s revenues, as well as other franchise fees.
The franchisor will assist you with designing your restaurant space, training staff, marketing the business, and developing protocols and procedures needed to run your restaurant. As the franchisee, you must agree to comply with all of the franchisor’s protocols.
While some franchisors will be more flexible and allow their franchisees to exercise their own creative freedom, the whole point of a franchise is to duplicate an already existing business. To ensure the brand’s success, each location should more or less look and feel the same, as well as offer the same products.
Pros and cons of buying a franchise restaurant
Here are the reasons you should consider buying a franchise restaurant.
Established customer base: Compared to independent restaurants, which can open and close without anyone ever knowing they were there, consumers already know and trust franchise restaurants, so you don’t need to spend nearly as much time or money trying to attract new clients—depending on the franchise you choose and the location you’re in, you could have a line out the door on opening day.
Easier to get financing: Since franchise restaurants already have tried-and-true business models, a lender will likely be more open to providing you with the financing you need to purchase a franchise restaurant.
No need to worry about logistics: Setting the menu? Writing an employee handbook? Marketing your restaurant? These are things your franchisor does for you, giving you more time to focus on big-picture endeavors.
Proven track record of success: You don’t have to look far to find restaurant franchises with staying power and consistent business. For the risk-averse restaurateur, a franchise can provide the assurance you need to get into the restaurant business.
Buying a restaurant franchise does come with some significant hurdles. Here are the disadvantages you need to understand before jumping into this endeavor:
High up-front cost: While acquiring funding to buy a franchise is typically easier than acquiring funding for an independent restaurant, the initial investment is typically higher. That’s because you need to invest in a location, equipment, and meet expensive zoning and code compliance standards. While this is true of any restaurant, with a franchise, you’ll also need to pay hefty franchise fees—typically tens of thousands of dollars.
Less autonomy: Consistency is key with franchise restaurants, so don’t expect opportunities to tinker with the menu or give the dining room a makeover. When you become a franchisee, you agree to represent the brand, which means complying with your franchisor’s requirements. If you enjoy the freedom to make your own calls, a restaurant franchise might not be for you.
High turnover: Restaurant franchises, particularly fast-food establishments, typically have high turnover rates, making it more challenging to recruit and retain a workforce that will function at a high level.
Risk of losing your franchise: Most franchisors require a certain level of performance from their franchisees to continue operating. If your franchise is struggling, you’re late with your royalty payments, or you breach protocol, your franchisor could terminate your contract. What’s more, at the end of your franchise agreement, your franchisor will review your performance and decide whether or not to offer you a new contract.
How much does it cost to buy a restaurant franchise?
The next big question most prospective restaurant franchisees have is how much it will cost. As previously mentioned, the upfront investment is quite steep. For context, the initial investment needed to start a McDonald’s franchise starts at $1 million and can go all the way up to $2.2 million. Fortunately, not all franchises are so costly to buy into. Here are the costs you’re looking at to get started:
Initial franchise fee
This is the fee you’ll pay directly to the franchisor for the rights to operate a franchise under their trademark. This cost varies from franchise to franchise. The initial franchise fee for a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise is $45,000, whereas the franchise fee to open a Dunkin’ location (formerly Dunkin’ Donuts) starts at $40,000 but can go all the way up to $90,000 depending on the state you operate in.
Keep in mind that franchise fees are typically non-refundable.
Along with the cost you pay to the franchisor is the cost you’ll have to pay to simply get your restaurant up and running. This includes leasing or buying a location that complies with your franchisor’s requirements, buying equipment to outfit your restaurant, and purchasing licenses and permits required by your municipality. There’s no telling how expensive this can get, but we recommend setting aside at least a few hundred thousand.
Royalty fees are the ongoing fees you’ll pay to your franchisor out of your revenues to remain affiliated with the brand and continue to receive services and support. The normal royalty fee is somewhere between 4% and 6% of your monthly revenues.
There are some additional costs you’ll have to pay to keep your franchise up and running. This includes payroll and subscriptions to business tools like point of sale and scheduling software. Some franchisors also ask franchisees to contribute to an advertising fund that is used to promote national campaigns and attract new investors.
Lastly, franchisors have some pretty strict requirements for who they will go into business with. There are typically requirements for how much the franchisee has in liquid assets, and how much their net worth is. For example, Panera Bread requires investors to have a net worth of at least $7.5 million and $3 million in liquid assets. Pizza Hut wants to see $700,000 in net worth and $300,000 in liquid assets. Understand your franchisor’s financial requirements before applying. There are plenty of food franchise opportunities out there, but you may have to do a little digging to find the ones that work best for your financial situation.
How to buy a restaurant franchise: A step-by-step guide
If you’ve read this far and still want to start a restaurant franchise, now it’s time to get into the steps you’ll need to take.
Step 1: Evaluate your market
Before picking a franchise to apply to, evaluate your market to see what kind of franchise restaurant would best fit. This means looking at the competition in your area as well as the local economy. For example, if the market is saturated with Mexican restaurants, maybe a Taco Bell isn’t the best franchise for your area. If other franchises have gone out of business in your market, you should also find out why. Do your due diligence to better understand your market, who your target customers are, and what they truly want.
Another consideration is location. You’re going to want to place your franchise in an area that gets a lot of traffic so people know it’s there. Take some time to evaluate potential locations, make note of rental prices, and more.
Step 2: Evaluate and select a franchise
As you know by now, buying a franchise restaurant isn’t cheap. That’s why it’s important to find a franchise that falls within your budget and meets a need in your market. When evaluating franchises to consider working with, there are a variety of considerations you should weigh, including:
Does this franchise align with my skills and interests?
Does this franchise have a proven track record of success?
Does this franchise offer opportunities in my market?
How are franchisee applicants screened?
Can I meet the franchisor’s terms and conditions?
What fees does the franchisor charge?
In what capacity will the franchisor assist in setting up my business?
What do other franchisees have to say about this franchisor?
To help you in your evaluation, we recommend reaching out to the franchisor directly and asking for more information.
Step 3: Review and sign the franchise disclosure document
When you find a franchise you’re ready to proceed with, request a franchise disclosure document (FDD). The FDD contains essential information a potential franchisee will want to know before making an investment. The franchisor also needs to provide you with the FDD at least 14 days before it needs to be signed or the franchisee needs to hand over any money.
Information included in the FDD includes an outline of the fees the franchisor charges; how much the franchisee may need to invest to get started; the franchisee’s obligations to the franchisor; franchisor assistance when it comes to training, advertising, and business tools; information on patents and copyrights; the financial statements you’ll need to provide; and a copy of the franchise agreement that you’ll need to sign.
We recommend taking the complete franchise agreement, including the FDD, to a business attorney for review before signing.
Step 4: Attend a discovery day
Along with receiving an FDD, you may also be invited to attend a “Discovery Day,” during which you’ll spend time at the franchise’s corporate headquarters or at a franchise location. The day is designed to give you a sense of day-to-day operations, the corporate culture, and the requirements you’ll need to comply with.
This process is as much for you and is it is for the franchisor. You both need to see if this partnership is the right fit. Be prepared to ask lots of questions and speak to as many employees as possible.
Step 5: Draft a business plan
The business plan isn’t required for your franchisor—it’s required for lenders. Chances are you’re going to need to obtain some financing to pay that franchise fee and get your restaurant off the ground. That means jotting down an executive summary, company overview, market analysis, organization structure, your products and services, your marketing and sales plan, and your financial projections. Keep in mind that some of this information can be pulled directly from the FDD.
Step 6: Obtain financing
The last major hurdle is to acquire the financing you need to get your business up and running. While some franchisors offer financing, it’s more common for a prospective franchisee to go through an independent lender. As we mentioned previously, it’s typically easier for franchisees to acquire financing because they are working with a known commodity.
Once you understand just how much money you’ll need to get started, here are some franchise loan options to consider:
Equipment financing: You’ll need to purchase a lot of kitchen equipment when opening a franchise restaurant, and equipment financing helps you get the financing you need to do that. What’s more, equipment financing loans are self-securing, meaning the equipment itself serves as collateral for the loan.
Term loan: A term loan is a traditional loan that you repay over the course of several years, plus interest. This is a better option for receiving a larger amount of cash to start your restaurant with.
Business line of credit: A business line of credit is a bit like a credit card with a higher credit limit. You can draw from it as needed, and as long as you pay back what you owe, you’ll have access to the full amount of capital again once it’s repaid. Business lines of credit can serve as extra capital you can use to cover unforeseen expenses as you build out your franchise restaurant.
SBA loan: The holy grail of business loans is the SBA loan. This type of loan will give you the highest loan amount at the lowest possible rates. Keep in mind that these loans are very competitive, so you’re going to want to have your financials in order before you apply.
Step 7: Open for business
With financing in your pocket, your franchise agreement signed, and your restaurant in good working order, you’re ready to open for business. Your franchisor may arrange a grand opening for your business to drum up some excitement. You’ll also probably have to go through some corporate training to better equip you to operate your franchise. Then it’s about getting into the day-to-day of operating a business.
Your franchisor will lay out the basics of how the business should operate, but it still requires grit, determination, and attention to detail to run a successful restaurant.
The bottom line
If you’re ready to run your own restaurant, a restaurant franchise is a great way to get started. The roadmap is already laid out for you, and you can attract customers by being a familiar, welcoming face in a sea of options. What’s more, if you have greater aspirations, starting with a restaurant franchise will teach you the ropes from organizations that have already had lots of success in the restaurant game. There’s no better way to learn.
If you’re looking for inspiration on what type of franchise to open, these 10 restaurant franchise opportunities are a good place to start.
This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.
15 Tips and Tricks For A Successful Business
Doing business is not a cakewalk. You need to understand, learn, and manage several things before you actually do it. It is a task that requires continuous efforts. Therefore, it might take days, months, or even years to become successful.
It does not matter how small or big your business plan is. What is more important is how determined and dedicated you are to make it work. As a businessman or a businesswoman, you need to be spontaneous, informed, smart, analytical, and before that a good leader.
Thereafter, you need to keep an eye on your business infrastructure including the building, factory, machines, control valves, security, etc.
Making a business successful and keep it running is not a one-day affair. That is why you must take every step carefully.
Want to make your business successful? But you don’t know how to do it? Don’t worry and follow these 15 tips and tricks to make your business successful-
1. Time And Effort Is Everything
Your business idea is your brainchild. Just like you take time to understand your child’s needs and make efforts to give them the best upbringing. You need to treat your business in the same manner in order to make it successful.
2. Focus Is Your Key To Success
For anything you want to do and make it reach great heights, you need to be focused. Getting distracted by other things can cost you a lot in your business. You need to focus on your goals and work hard every day to achieve them.
3. Have A Fool-Proof Business Plan
The first step towards a successful business is a business plan. Before anything else, prepare a fool-proof plan. This means that it must have all the pros and cons involved in your business.
Nothing works without a plan. So, for instance, if you are trying to set up a business for valves and plumping supplies, you need to consider the best and the most trusted manufacturers like DomBor for your supply needs.
4. Be Prepared to Take Calculated Risks
A great business owner is one, who is not afraid of taking risks. To make your business successful and to make it sustainable in the longer run, you must be ready to take some calculated risks. You must know how your decision will affect your business and how much loss you will incur. Only after analyzing everything make your final decision.
5. Know The A to Z Of The Industry
If you are an amateur in the business industry, then first you must start with the basics. For that learn about every minute detail about how your industry works. You must be aware of the latest trends in your industry. Also, what works and whatnot, and how to enter the industry initially.
6. Connect And Communicate
Another trick for making your business successful is to connect and communicate with people from the industry. Get to know about the industry leaders and upcoming talent personally or through social media. Exchange your ideas with them and try to expand and publicize your business.
7. Keep A Check On Your Growth
Being a business owner you must keep a sharp eye on the growth of your business. Analyze the data, read it thoroughly, see where you are lacking, and what you can do to improve it.
8. Failures Are A Part Of The Process
If you ever face failures in your business, then don’t get disheartened. Because failures play an important part in the process of your success. Out of all the other things, they tell you about what not to do in a business.
9. Learn From Your Competitors
Your biggest learnings will come from your competitors. No one can teach you business better than them. Learn from them whenever and however you can. Use your creativity and intelligence and do what seems best for the success of your business.
10. Be Flexible In Your Approach
Never become too rigid with your approach to doing business. Be flexible with it and be open to changes. Sometimes what you feel is right may not be the best for your business. In that scenario, changing your approach might help.
11. Ensure Your Best Services
Always ensure the best services to your customers. Whether you are a small-scale business or a large-scale one, never compromise with the quality of your services. This builds your customer’s trust in you and ensures a long-term association.
12. Market Your Business
It is important to prepare a market strategy for your business to make it successful. It helps you to introduce your business to a large number of people at the same time.
13. Take Feedback To Know Your Customers Better
To make a business successful customer satisfaction is of utmost importance. You cannot meet all your customers in person. Thus, taking feedback from them online or offline is helpful to know your areas of improvement.
14. Stick to your Core Values
Early success is a myth. It lasts for a short period of time and there is no guarantee that it will sustain itself. That is why instead of using shortcuts, stick to your core values and take your business to great heights.
15. Research And Repeat
Last and the most important tip is to keep researching about the new prospects in your business area. It is crucial to make your business successful.
Every business owner wants their business to reach great heights. But only a few of them know how to actually do it. Running a business is not an easy task. It requires years of hard work and continuous efforts. Also, you need to learn and unlearn facts.
Therefore, to make your business successful and to make it sustain that success, you need to be well informed. Also, you must be aware of the current business scenario of your respective sector. Just follow these steps and see your business become successful.
How to start an online store in 3 steps
This post was originally published on May 23, 2019, and was updated on Sept. 17, 2021.
Why is it important to understand how to start an online store if commerce is your game? Where should we start?
We are living in the midst of a digital age. In today’s world, consumers are no longer bound by one particular geographical location — and this trend has only been accelerated by COVID-19.
Nowadays people have the power to connect with their peers, conduct research, consume content, and most importantly shop wherever they are in the world with a few swipes of a screen. And that means that in the current climate, if you’re an entrepreneur looking to grow your business, building an online store might be the best thing you ever do.
Why consider building an online store?
At present, over 2.14 billion active people shop online — and that’s on a global scale. Even earning a small slice of the ecommerce pie will see you in excellent commercial stead.
- On average, men spend $220 per online transaction and women spend $151 per transaction. That’s a high-value average spend per customer.
- The main reason people shop online is that they’re able to buy items or products 24/7, literally.
- The market size of ecommerce online shopping is expected to reach 4 trillion by the end of 2021.
- Globally, 49% of consumers shop for goods or services online more now than they did pre-COVID-19.
With a little know-how, an excellent idea and a powerful ecommerce solution for building and maintaining your online store, you will reap great rewards.
Inspired? Great, let’s continue.
How to start an online store in 3 steps
It’s clear that if you’re a modern business, entering the ecommerce arena is a wise move. To help you start your digital journey, here’s our how-to guide to create an online store, broken down into three simple steps:
- Fine-tune your idea.
- Start your free trial and create your own online store.
- Promote your online store.
Let’s get started.
1. Fine-tune your idea
At this point, it’s likely that you know what you want to sell. Start fine-tuning your idea by deciding on a business name, conducting market research, and finding your audience.
Consider these questions: What makes your brand stand out from others in your niche? What particular pain points do you solve?
Choosing your business name and domain name
When it comes to naming your ecommerce business, choosing a name that is digestible, memorable, relevant, good for digital marketing purposes and will work well as a domain name is a must.
This comprehensive guide to naming a business will walk you through everything you need to know.
When choosing a domain, think .shop or .store for general ecommerce, or get more specific with .jewelry, .clothing, .coffee and more.
Go ahead, give it a try:
Market research for your product
The ecommerce game is competitive. What will make your venture stand apart?
There are a host of ways to assess how your idea compares to other similar businesses online. Here are the most important:
Do your friends and family think it’s worthwhile?
Offer your products for free — or for a sizable discount — to friends and family. Monitor how they respond to your product.
- Do they love it? If so, find out what features are most appealing to them.
- Is there anything about your product they would change? Get details.
- Did they enjoy their customer experience? What about your service made it shine?
- Would they be willing to pay full price? What do they think your product is actually worth?
- Would they be willing to recommend your product to others in their networks and become brand advocates?
Gathering this level of feedback and data is a brilliant way to refine your product idea before unleashing it on the public.
Another key aspect of market research is looking at your competitors. Signing to email subscriber lists and monitoring brand conversations via social media are effective ways to analyze the way your competitors are talking to your target audience as well as gaining an understanding of what they’re offering.
By gathering this market intelligence, you can find ways to offer more value to your target audience while filling in any product, service or content-based gaps your direct competitors have overlooked.
Find and define your target audience
In digital marketing, there’s a well-known saying: “If you’re talking to everybody, you’re not talking to anybody.”
Basically, if you don’t understand your target audience — or how to connect with them — your broad, generic content or brand messaging is likely to offer little value and as such, become overlooked.
When it comes to knowing how to start an online store the right way, understanding where to aim your efforts is essential.
Yet, despite the vital importance of identifying and focusing on a specific target audience, many ecommerce businesses struggle with this notion. When asked to describe their audience, a host of brands often answer in broad, vague, almost meaningless terms.
When you fail to define your target audience, your promotional efforts will suffer in the following ways:
- You won’t be able to craft strong, authentic branding that resonates with potential customers.
- Your marketing communications will be flat and uninspired.
- You won’t be able to encourage customer loyalty, one of the cornerstones of any successful eCommerce business.
- You will fail to stand out from the competition.
- You won’t be able to improve your offerings as you won’t have an idea of how your products can address your customers’ specific pain points.
How to define your target audience
To help you avoid such calamities, defining your target audience is essential. That said, here’s a practical outline of how to classify your target audience in a specific, value-driven way that gets results, based on certain characteristics you should focus on:
- Demographics: Statistical data relating to your audience
- Professional details: Information concerning jobs, competencies and places of work
- Psychographics: Metrics and details based on personality traits and innate qualities
- Goals: Descriptions of what your audience is looking to accomplish
- Challenges: Pain points and problems your audience faces on a regular basis
- Influences: Media and impressions your audience typically encounters
- Buying process: How your target audience makes purchasing decisions
- Behaviors: An extension of ‘Buying Process’ with a wider scope, looking at how your target consumers interact across all channels and touchpoints including mobile apps and social media.
The more you drill down into these facets of information, the better and more targeted your marketing will be. Plus, if you’d like to know your audience on an even deeper level, here’s a practical guide to defining buyer personas for your reading pleasure.
2. Start your free trial and create your own online store
Once you’ve considered all of the key ingredients of a successful web-based ecommerce business, it’s time to start thinking about making it happen, in a practical sense.
The simplest and fastest way to get your online shop up and running is by using a templated ecommerce store.
With this option, you get it all in one quick install. An ecommerce website package includes an online shop website template (aka website theme), product pages, shopping cart, payment processing feature and hosting for the site.
Instead of building your store piece by piece, you can install the whole store at once.
GoDaddy’s Online Store includes all of these essentials plus award-winning customer support, tools for integrating with online marketplaces, Facebook and Google Analytics, and more. Bonus: You can start for free.
Let’s take a look at a step-by-step blueprint to help you create an online store using GoDaddy’s intuitive ecommerce website builder.
Start your free trial
To take that first small but essential step in making your online store a reality, sign up for your free trial.
Set up your account and define your settings
Once you click on the Start for Free button, you’ll enter your business category to get the ball rolling and shape the direction of your brand new easy ecommerce website.
To help you get started, refer to:
Choose your template
With your framework (the foundations and fundamentals of your online store) firmly in place, the next step is choosing your website’s overall appearance by selecting a template from a range of eye-catching options. Once you’ve selected your theme, you can change the font and color of your page and customize it to your satisfaction.
Build online store pages: product pages and more
Here’s where you start building your site out beyond the home page. You can start with the home page and reorder or remove any of the elements. Then, go through and do the same to the other default pages: About Us, Shop and Contact Us.
With Online Store the Home, Shop and About Us pages are automatically listed with suggested fields, but you can easily customize each page to your liking and add new pages.
Fundamentally, a compelling ecommerce product page offers an intuitive, navigable and satisfying user experience (UX), so be sure to keep it simple and test your pages with people you trust.
You don’t want to launch your site, only to find that no one can figure out how to find your products.
Update ecommerce website settings
Once your easy ecommerce site has materialized — filled with dazzling product pages, images, colors, fonts and user-friendly functionality — you’ll need to update your site settings to make those all-important final touches prior to going live.
Once you’ve entered the settings section of your account, you’ll need to consider the following elements and update them to your particular preferences:
- Update all of your business contact information so that it’s present and correct.
- Settle on your domain name by using your existing one, buying a domain name or using the free domain name.
- Optimize all of your pages for SEO purposes by using the platform’s in-built SEO tools.
- Link all of your active social media accounts to your online store.
- If necessary, set up site cookies and traffic notifications, in addition to Favicon, Facebook Pixel and Pinterest meta tags. You can do this according to your own personal preference.
If you need extra help with any of these elements, be sure to check out GoDaddy’s dedicated help page for Online Store.
Manage your store: shipping, payment options, etc
Now, before the big launch, there’s one final thing you need to do — and it’s critical — if you want to make any money, that is. Yes, you might have guessed it. You need to add products and set up your payment methods.
To get to these settings, click on the Store icon under the Website settings tab. This will take you to a new screen.
From there, you’ll find a new page that has all your product-related options, like adding a product, adding payment options, shipping and more.
Adding a product is simple. Upload an image, and include the name, description, price, tax category and other basic information. Once you save it, your product will be in the Shop section (under Pages) of the Online Store.
Once you’ve set up your preferred payment offerings, select your shipping options to fulfill your orders. Click on the payment type you want to add and you’ll be redirected to a form that will take all of the information.
To help you do so, here are a couple of essential resources to reference as you set up your online store:
Pro tip: Feeling a bit lost? Click on the Next Steps button at the top right of the dashboard and you’ll receive a tailored list of steps you’ll want to take to make your ecommerce website a success.
Calculate the cost of shipping your products, and select a shipping method (free, flat rate or weight-based) that will best serve your customers and business.
Don’t forget about taxes when you sell online. Talk to an accountant to determine whether or not you need to charge tax on your online sales.
Term of service and conditions
Clearly post a refunds and terms of service policy on your website and prompt users to agree to it before they make a purchase. This is essential as it will showcase your brand’s transparency while helping you avoid any costly consumer conflicts of interests later down the line.
Within your store, you have options for creating coupons for discounted rates or on individual products. Explore how you can use coupons to reward new or loyal customers.
Tips: Important elements of an ecommerce website
While there are only a few essential elements that you must have to create an online store, there are many other components that will help you get the most out of your ecommerce shop.
Product details and photos
Don’t just post product pages and hope your items will sell. Instead, create interesting and useful product detail pages with sales copy that lists benefits, features and specifications. And be sure to include photos that show the product in detail.
The best product descriptions inspire, engage, address specific pain points and, most importantly, tell a story.
CTA on every page
Calls-to-action (CTAs) are critical elements for ecommerce websites.
There are a variety of CTAs, but the ultimate goal is to move a prospect down the sales funnel. This can be anything from getting a lead (newsletter signup CTAs are great for that) to turning a lead into a customer (buy-one-get-one CTAs can do the trick).
Publish your store
If you’ve added everything we’ve mentioned here, then it’s time to take your site live. GoDaddy’s Online Store makes this simple, with a simple click of a button.
Ready to get started with your own online store? Sign up for your free ecommerce site builder today!
3. Promote your online store
The third and final element of our how to start an online store guide comes in the form of promotion or marketing.
Once you’ve fine-tuned your idea and actually created your online store, it’s time to shout about it to your target audience.
Here we’re going to explain how to promote an online store, expand your reach, and enjoy the profit-boosting success you no doubt deserve.
There are a host of avenues you can take when marketing your online store to prospective buyers, from connecting your website to popular third-party vendors to social media, email marketing and more.
But, before we delve into these all-important areas, it’s important to reiterate the importance of spreading the word about your online store.
Why you need to promote your online store
Many small business owners think that once they have created an online store their job is done.
In fact, that’s where the fun begins. Not everyone who creates an online store is successful in making it their primary source of income. But those who are successful have a few common characteristics:
They love their customers
Ask any successful online seller what they like about their business and they will have a ton of heart-warming customer stories on the tips of their tongues. They live to make their customers’ lives better.
They are scrappy and savvy marketers
The most successful online sellers have figured out a way to spread the word in their customer community. Some do it through social media marketing. Others identify influencers in their community and have them promote their product. Some business owners come up with clever viral marketing campaigns by promoting their products with special discounts.
This last step in the journey to becoming a successful online seller is an iterative process — an ongoing effort to keep on improving your product and the lives of your customers. And here we’re going to give you more essential advice on how to promote an online store.
Connect with online marketplaces
As mentioned earlier, connecting your online store to renowned ecommerce marketplaces is an excellent way of enhancing your profit-making potential while expanding your promotional reach.
If you appear in more online shopping spaces, more consumers will be able to interact with your brand messaging, explore your products, and buy stuff from you.
GoDaddy Online Store makes it easy to integrate your website with popular marketplaces including Amazon, Walmart, Google, eBay, Walmart and Etsy.
Build an email marketing list
Contrary to popular belief, email marketing is still one of the most effective promotional methods available to today’s ecommerce brands. If you’re just starting your journey into ecommerce entrepreneurship, you might not have the capital to spend on a host of pricey promotions. But, as you’ll no doubt know by now, promoting your online store is essential if you want to be a success.
To ensure your emails get read and help to boost your store’s bottom line, you will need to build a targeted email list of willing recipients that are open to receiving your communications. While this can prove tricky at first, once you’ve learned the fundamentals and found a little momentum, you will be cooking with gas.
To help you do just that, GoDaddy’s Online Store includes email marketing functionality built-in for free. To get started, take a look at this walkthrough.
Embrace social media marketing
As one of the world’s most influential communication-based mediums, social media marketing is key to getting eyes on your online store.
Getting it right is essential if you want to promote your ecommerce business effectively.
Social media has become a staple of our daily lives — a way to connect (or reconnect) with friends and family, share pieces of our lives with our followers, and “spy” on others. Social sites like Twitter and Facebook help us stay abreast of the latest trends. LinkedIn has become a go-to source for job hunters and recruiters alike. And image-based sites such as Pinterest and Instagram feed us with visual inspiration 24/7. But, until fairly recently, social media wasn’t a must-have marketing tool for business.
Social networking can make companies more accessible for customers, give them viral exposure, and revolutionize the way businesses market their products.
For businesses that sell products online, getting social offers additional perks — from a free way to offer incentives to an organic means for building buzz about specific products.
With a little bit of know-how, online sellers can use social media to take ecommerce sales to new heights.
Customers love a good deal, and word-of-mouth (or social sharing) helps promote your products/services more effectively than paid ads. How? Because people trust and want what their friends are talking about.
A simple and affordable way to increase your social following and draw new visitors to your online store is through giveaways and discounts.
By offering new followers a 15% discount for liking your page, for example, or by hosting a giveaway where contestants share a picture/post from your site to get entered to win a prize, you can quickly develop loyal customers and viral success.
Engage with your customers
People love talking about products and services they’ve used. Whether a customer’s experiences are good or bad, your business’s social profile is a place where they can go to engage and share their feedback about the products they use.
Remember, it’s important to keep the social in social media! Don’t be THAT business that’s constantly pushing products. Take the opportunity to connect with your customers and find ways to promote through conversation.
Use share buttons
A great way to promote your products online is by adding share buttons to your product pages and home page. The buttons allow customers and social visitors to showcase their interest in your products on their own social profiles.
Whether they’re sharing their recent purchases, sending a gift idea to their mom through Facebook messenger, or adding a product to their Pinterest pinboard — they are marketing for you.
Now that you have three easy ways to leverage social media to boost eCommerce sales, it’s time you get socializing! It’s a commonly known fact that social networking sites are where people spend a large chunk of their time — and so should your business.
Share customer testimonials and positive reviews
In today’s world, consumers trust the thoughts, feelings and opinions of their peers over adverts or promotional messaging. That said, customer testimonials and genuine positive reviews are like promotional golddust for your eCommerce business.
As they take up little physical space, it’s easy to add testimonials to your website or use them in print collateral and email outreach.
To unlock the full potential of using positive reviews and testimonials for your business, check out our dedicated guide, complete with case studies.
Explore discounts and coupons
The final recommendation for promoting an online store is offering deals and discounts. We’ve mentioned this a few times already, but it’s especially important when spreading the word about products or services.
By offering coupons, deals and discounts, you’ll be able to boost your levels of engagement and attract prospects to your brand.
You can get incredibly creative with discounts and coupons, using them in your various marketing communications. The sky really is the limit!
Manage online business listings
If your business is locally based, be sure to keep your business listings updated. To get people to your site (and in your store if you have a physical location), you’ll need to ensure people can find you in a local search.
Make sure your contact information is accurate on all platforms, including your website, social media pages, Yelp, Google and wherever else visitors will search for your store.
Tip: It’s never a bad idea to add a map to the Contact page on your ecommerce website. This will make your user experience (UX) offerings all the more seamless while incentivizing your prospects to check you out!
Conclusion and next steps
“eCommerce is not an industry; eCommerce is a tactic.” ~Tobias Lutke
An ecommerce website can open a large, new frontier for your business. You will be able to sell to millions around the world instead of the thousands in your neighborhood. You will be able to tap into a billion-dollar market. And, you will be able to give your business an opportunity to expand and grow with minimal risk and low investment costs. And, now is the time to strike.
Once you’ve fine-tuned your idea with a great name and thorough market testing, an easy ecommerce website is just a few steps away.
Start with a free trial of GoDaddy Online Store.
Begin with a few products that you showcase on your ecommerce site with stellar photos and product descriptions. Prompt store visitors to take action with compelling CTAs and authentic customer testimonials and reviews. Make it easy for customers to pay via various methods. Offer multiple shipping options — including free shipping.
These are the basics that will get your online store up and running.
Then you can focus on expanding your product line and growing your business through digital marketing techniques such as email marketing, social media and online business listings.
Now that you know how to create an online store, get going and make those dreams a reality.
Some Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord and Taylor stores will become WeWork coworking spaces for $300 a month – see inside SaksWorks
- Hudson's Bay Company has partnered with WeWork to create co-working spaces.
- The SaksWorks will be built within existing or past Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord and Taylor stores.
- The coworking spaces will have amenities like gyms, cafes, and restaurants.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
That’s right. Your local Saks Fifth Avenue could become the next hotspot for freelancers, startups, and remote workers.
To tap into the ongoing coworking craze, HBC will be turning part of its real estate collection into WeWork-run SaksWorks.
This includes both existing or past Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord and Taylor stores, Konrad Putzier reported for the Wall Street Journal.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Several SaksWorks will also be located outside of the city for suburbanites who need a break from working from home.
All of the images shown below are from the partnership’s Brookfield Place location in New York City, but there will also be three additional New York locations – in Manhasset, Scarsdale, and Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship in the city – and one in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The Brookfield Place location is replacing a former Saks Fifth Avenue Men’s store, while the SaksWorks in Saks Fifth Avenue is taking the place of a 10th floor children’s section.
Source: Wall Street Journal
The three other SaksWorks will take the place of Lord and Taylor stores, Steff Yotka reported for Vogue.
The first few SaksWorks will open its doors in September, but looking ahead, the team has plans to open more locations across North America.
In the future, this could include Los Angeles, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Boston, Amy Nelson, SaksWorks president, told the Wall Street Journal.
Source: Wall Street Journal
HBC’s reputation for luxury goods seeps into the SaksWorks spaces …
… which will include plush amenities like on-site gyms, retail and restaurant spaces, cafes, and in-house events.
Like any other WeWork, SaksWorks will also have the prerequisite meeting spaces and open concept coworking spots.
As part of the collaboration, the SaksWorks locations will use WeWork’s “workplace management technology,” such as its booking app, according to a press release.
“With HBC, we take the first step toward expanding our technology platform product offering and providing a differentiated approach to how landlords can incorporate flexible space across their portfolio,” Sandeep Mathrani, WeWork’s CEO, said in the press release.
Prices will start at $299 a month, and the waitlist is already a few hundred people deep.
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