Shopping is entertainment associated with shopping and shopping. What can compare with the excitement of trying on, the excitement of a sale, the joy of buying and owning a new thing? But it seems that today more and more consumers are giving up unnecessary traffic in the direction of shopping centers and long lines. It's simple: advanced consumers shop online, sitting in a cozy armchair with aromatic coffee in front of a wide monitor, choosing and ordering the desired product with home delivery. A consumer heaven indeed opens up limitless shopping opportunities. Including for sellers who are thinking about how to open an online store!
Any online store starts with an idea. The features, secrets, nuances of the online store were shared by Lyubov Merenyukova, director of the Russian online store of exclusive goods, in our interview:
- Shopping no longer requires movement in search of a suitable product. It is enough to have a computer with Internet access. Does this mean the death of traditional shops?
- In no case. There have always been, are and will be adherents of real stores. These are consumers without a computer, and those who enjoy physical shopping, and those buyers who cannot find a suitable product on the Internet.
- That is, online stores are an application, but not a replacement for a real store?
- Again, no. There are often completely exclusive products in online stores. Not every beauty salon will offer you a working innovative product for the natural physical lengthening of eyelashes or a product to stimulate hair growth. In addition, in Moscow and in other Russian cities, you can run into fakes. Even boutiques in Okhotny Ryad or TSUM are not a guarantee that you will buy a genuine Lacoste, Bruno Banani or Tommy Hilfiger. Major online retailers can provide all the supporting certificates.
- How did you come up with the idea to open your own online store?
- Opening an online store is less expensive than a retail outlet, even on the market. For a start, you can even use a free website builder, for example, on narod. I started with preparations and anti-hair loss supplements of a famous Italian brand. We put these goods in an online store without examining the market, without having any experience, without having our own warehouse, simply indicating the home phone number. They began to wait for calls. The result, of course, did not follow. It turned out that it is easy to open a store on the Internet, but difficult to promote … We advertised the product on free bulletin boards on the Internet. And it paid off! A month later, the first order was received.
- How did you manage to gain the confidence of the consumers of your online store?
- What was the course chosen for - for the client of our online store: so that it was convenient, profitable, interesting, comfortable and fast. We wrote: we work 24 hours a day. Calls started both day and night. I would jump up at 4 in the morning, grab the pipe and boldly talk about the drug, sleepily write down the order and fall asleep again.
- Online stores are often a support for real stores, a business card. Have you ever thought about opening a reality analog?
- We often discuss this, but the idea does not go further. Firstly, high quality clothes from Germany, after being hung in the boutique, will receive an additional markup on the rental price and the seller's salary. This is up to 100% surplus value. Secondly, cosmetic products have already been exhibited in a number of representative offices in Moscow, so creating another outlet with an identical product, in my opinion, is irrational and unjustified.
- What means do you use to promote your online store?
- The old proven way: online boards and advertisements (runner, banner, article).One of the proven ways to advertise an online store is by participating in exhibitions. We try to personally present cosmetic and medical products at Moscow and regional exhibitions.
- Benevolence and interest - this is what consumers want to see, including in the online store. How do you implement this?
- In online work, these benefits are quite feasible. Picking up the phone, I thank the potential client for calling us. I listen carefully. If a person is interested in a dietary supplement or an external therapeutic agent, I ask for a diagnosis (if a diagnosis has not been made, I recommend consulting a doctor). Then I present the drug and accept the order.
For seven years of work, I have learned to understand which client is calling, what he wants and whether he will make a purchase. Calling the price of the drug, I always offer a 3-5% discount. I am wondering if the buyer has children. My husband taught me this question. If the family has children, I will offer a bigger discount, 7% or 10%, so that the money saved will go to the child. This is nice too.
We hold promotions: for example, we put a gift in the package for each client. On Valentine's Day, February 23rd and March 8th, be sure to put in souvenirs.
- The post-Soviet buyer subconsciously remains distrustful of the seller, and even more so to the remote one. How to overcome this?
- If the buyer of an online store is initially configured to be deceived or "divorced", then 99% of this will happen to him. The principle of a normal store is not to impose goods. We patiently advise, we answer in detail everything, even the strangest questions. We are ready to provide all certificates and other information. The consumer independently decides whether to buy or not.
- Do you check every product in the online store for defects, expiration dates, before you send it?
- Naturally! The goods are always checked, but not by delivery, but before being picked up from the supplier's warehouse. We control all the goods ourselves without intermediaries, so there has never been a defect in our store.
- Will you refund the money if I just didn't like the product?
- For cosmetics and underwear - no. Because they are included in the List of goods not subject to exchange and return. We will accept and exchange clothes without any problems within 14 days from the date of purchase.
- Explain to consumers how not to be mistaken with the choice of an online store, to be able to distinguish a fraud?
- Firstly, the website of the online store must contain the contacts of an individual entrepreneur or LLC, phones, addresses. Secondly, the supplier's contacts are indicated. By any phone, the consumer can contact and make sure that the seller is there and is working. Also, the consumer can drive up to the specified addresses and personally verify the honesty of the seller. Thirdly, fixed prices must be indicated on the website of the online store. If there are no prices - wait, you will be "divorced" as much as possible.
- What is the benefit of ordering goods through an online store, since buying online is mostly a big risk? Isn't it safer to buy a branded item in a real store?
- In developed countries, consumers have long ceased aimlessly in search of the right thing for a long time to go shopping. It was from Europe that online shopping for clothes came to Russia. It is high time to overcome the fear of the wrong size or fake. There is always a risk, even when you personally go to a fashion boutique. But today all issues are resolved within the framework of the law and in online stores: no one canceled 14 days for an exchange.
- Your online store has been operating since 2004. Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to a budding internet seller? How to open an online store?
- Pay attention to the product. Find a product that is not yet available from your competitors. Dear online sellers, make your trade interesting. Offer even "hackneyed" products so that they look completely new. Do not be afraid of difficulties, go to the goal, and if there is none, come up with it immediately, in difficult times only the goal will be a guide.Love and respect your customers. Each as the only one, it does not matter, for a hundred or a thousand of his order. This is your reputation! A real salesperson is always polite and attentive. And, finally, you need to love your business, your online store. People who start their own business are those who are tired of working for their "uncle". This means that your online store should be the best.