eCommerce is often known as the future of shopping, and for a good reason. eCommerce has empowered shoppers to get access to products across the globe by increasing connectivity with international brands.
Brands have in turn benefited from a large customer base and global recognition. The best part? Every retailer – small or big, can leverage eCommerce and maximize their earning potential manifolds. Even organizations that work for the greater good – the non-profits.
Research on the Available Channels
If you are planning to open an online store to fund your non-profit organization, you can achieve your goals in multiple ways.
You can set up your own website to sell products, but in addition to that, you can also sell your products on established eCommerce websites such as Etsy and Amazon for better reach.
When you are trying to set up a new online store, it is important to understand how each shopping channel will perform for your organization.
For instance, if your non-profit organization is still new and has limited reach so far, starting to sell your products in stores that already have an established customer base will help you get a good headstart, compared to starting your store from scratch.
Present a Compelling Narrative
As a non-profit organization that is trying to fund its social efforts and initiatives through the revenue generated from the online store, it is important to communicate your story with your customers.
When you write a copy for your website, or product pages, ensure that you highlight how customers will be making a difference by opting to shop from your instead of any other commercial brand. Doing so will motivate them to shop from you and will even push them to stay loyal to your online store.
To effectively communicate these ideas, it is important to create a unique narrative that best represents your brand and its interests.
Moreover, it should also tell your brand story to the customer so that they can decide whether they want to support the cause, and make their purchase decisions accordingly.
Set Pricing for your Products
The next milestone in your journey is settling on a pricing strategy for the products that you are selling. Setting a pricing strategy includes figuring out many details such as the manufacturing costs, your profit margin, and shipping costs among others.
These costs will apply to every product that you sell and thus it is important to decide on them before you set a price for your products. Another aspect to be accounted for is whether you would need micro fulfillment centers or warehouses for processing your orders, and how much they will cost.
Moreover, when you are operating as a non-profit organization, you should try to maintain transparency and let the customers know how their money will be distributed or spent.
For instance, if you are selling feminine hygiene products in your store, and the cause that your organization supports is helping underprivileged women get an education and necessary amenities, let your customers know how buying products from you will help these women.
Select Necessary Features
Once you become an online store, there are a plethora of options that you can choose from, for facilitating effective performance.
Do you want to let your customers personalize the products?
Do you want to allow them to donate to the cause directly from the store?
Do you want them to receive newsletters from your non-profit organization so that they can stay updated on any events or initiatives that you organize? All of these options can easily be integrated into your online store with the help of the right plugins and integrations.
Even then, it is important to not go overboard with the features that you want to integrate into your website. Maintain a balance between the features that your store absolutely needs to function, and the features that are aspirational for you.
This would help you get features that are beneficial for your store while creating a unique brand identity and experience.
Promote on Social Media
Social media networks and channels are the most important mediums for promoting any brand in today’s day and age, especially if it is an online store.
Nearly 48% of the global population is now active on social media, making it important for brands to use social media as a tool for promotion as well as communication.
Non-profit organizations now have to ensure that they are present on social media too if they are looking for effective ways to promote their online store.
Some of these channels such as Instagram and Facebook even play a role in the decision-making process of the customers making it crucial for brands to engage with their target audience on such social media channels.
Note: As an NPO, you can also get a lot of benefits from increasing traffic to your website. Conduct SEO Audits periodically to ensure that your website is performing well and ranking high on the SERPs.
The journey to running a successful online store is full of obstacles and challenges, but the very first step towards it is to decide on the right kind of store for your non-profit organization. It can be a mini store housed within other eCommerce websites or your very own website based on what works better for your store. With the right kind of online store, organizations can truly expand and be able to facilitate better benefits for the organization.
Guest Article by Carl Torrence
Carl Torrence is a Content Marketer at Marketing Digest. His core expertise lies in developing data-driven content for brands, SaaS businesses, and agencies. In his free time, he enjoys binge-watching time-travel movies and listening to Linkin Park and Coldplay albums.