What better way to merge both your passions in music and business than by starting an online business for musical instruments? Everyone loves to hear a good tune once in a while, and there is a unique group of music enthusiasts that would rather play or compose than only listen to their favorite music genres. However, starting an online music store has a whole range of dynamics that require considerations. If you want to set up an online music store, then this article will provide you with some helpful tips to start off on the right note.
Set up your online space
You will need a website on which clients will scroll through your products, add them to their carts, check out and pay online for the product and shipping. To have a website that lets you run all these functions at once, you need a dedicated e-commerce website builder. These platforms allow you to build a dazzling website in a matter of minutes and at a fraction of the cost it would take to hire a webs developer. Some of the services they offer include:
Back-end store management: you will not have to handle any upgrades or patch-ups, the site builder will handle all that for you
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Inventory management
- Professional report generation
- Thousands of templates which you can customize fully for optimal site design
- Online payments integration
- Shipping services
- Apps for extended site functionality
The best website builder for you to try would be Shopify. Powering over 800,000 online stores in 150 countries globally, Shopify is most popular among e-commerce entrepreneurs who need full-fledged e-commerce websites. You can try its 14-day free trial, after which you can start with its lowest plan, Shopify Basic, for $29 per month.
Offer a wide variety of pieces in your store
Nothing disappoints a customer more than looking up their favorite kind of electric or acoustic guitar only to find a stock out or that you do not offer it. While specializing is great for business, it may limit the number of clients your shop can serve. If you sell guitars, have all kinds of guitars available, along with the accessories that go with them to make your business a one-stop-shop. If you sell instruments for rock musicians, you can also offer a few record labels for your clients. Offering additional services like online music classes can also be a major plus for your store. Such diversification is also great for customer satisfaction.
Monitor top trends in the world of music
Following these trends will help you keep up with what music lovers want and expect from your store. This way, you will make the right strategic plans and order inventory that will keep moving rather than consume space and accrue costs. For instance, according to the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), the sales of acoustic guitars have grown by 36% from 2009 to 2014. The NAMM report also indicated an increase in demand for disc jockey gear and keyboard synthesizers as of 2013. Such reports can help you determine accurately what is selling from what is not.
Have knowledgeable staff
If you are going to need additional assistance in running your shop, ensure that the persons you hire are well versed with the dynamics of the world of music. An excellent source of staff in a music store would be music students from the university. While carrying out interviews, ask specific questions to ascertain the depth of their knowledge in musical instruments, the genre you specialize in, and other aspects like customer support and inventory. These employers will help you manage your online store backend and other business aspects without additional hassle or frustration.
Take high-quality photographs of your merchandise
Unlike a physical store where your clients can physically inspect your items, your customers will be relying on photographs to gauge both the aesthetic and musical quality of your products. It is therefore crucial that you take many high-quality images of your products before you list them up for sale. Some tips you can use for taking the prefect photographs include:
- Use a tripod for the camera
- Use a plain white backdrop
- Avoid using the camera flash. Use natural diffused light
- Take full-size pictures of each item then take additional shots of the most critical parts
- Use high-resolution settings. You can later optimize the image with specific website plugins
Join a buying group
Joining a buying group is an efficient way to keep inventory costs low and finding like-minded individuals and store owners with whom you can network. Examples of such groups include NAMM, the Independent Music Store Owners Association, the Alliance of Independent Music Merchants, or Independent Music Merchants Group. These groups also help their members find instrument distributors and wholesalers. If you join NAMM, you can access exclusive resources like closed-end consumer financing for keyboard purchases and purchase plans for schools.
Participate in community events
More often than not, the people who will visit your website and check out your store will be people in your area who know you well. This is especially the case when you are just starting your business and do not have plenty of brand recognition. If there is a music festival or any other event where music lovers are bound to come together, be there. Arm yourself with business cards and plenty of expertise to capture the attention of the attendees. You can also volunteer to be a judge in a music competition, and give out a small token from your store as a gift to the winner. Such activities will generate positive PR for your store and make your brand more visible.
The biggest advantage of having an online store is having a virtually limitless clientele; anyone who uses the internet can be your customer. Remaining proactive and persistent in store promotion and customer satisfaction will make your online music store successful and bring you a sense of satisfaction.
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Those with rooms full of guitars and drum kits know that it is easy to buy the music gears. But it is challenging to sell