How To Start an Online Store

In the age of eCommerce, starting and running your own business is easier than ever. However, creating an online store can be more complicated than it looks. It’s not as simple as making a decent website and putting your products up for sale for most people. If you aren’t careful, you can cause your business to fail before it gets off the ground. Below are a few simple steps to ensure that you’ve done the proper groundwork and made the right connections to ensure your online project grows into a successful business.

Online Store Shop - Free vector graphic on Pixabay

1. Choose a Niche

Before you’ve done anything, the first thing to decide is what and who you’re selling it to. You’d be amazed at how many people start designing their online storefront before they have a clear idea of their product. It’s not enough to say, “I want to sell handmade soaps” or “I’m a freelance writer.” Know exactly what products or services you’re selling, how much you’re charging, and how you’ll get them to your customers. It’s also essential to consider who you want your customers to be. “Everyone” is not a target audience and gives you nothing to work with to form a marketing strategy. What kind of people do you want to attract to your store if you’re selling handmade soaps? If you’re a freelance writer, what kind of people do you want to have as your clients? A clear idea of what customers you want to attract to your site will inform how you advertise and operate your business.

2. Decide on a Delivery Method

Once you’ve decided what you’re selling and how you’re selling to, the next step is to determine how you will get those products or services to the customers. This is often fairly easy to work out if you sell a service. However, if you’re selling products, you must decide if you will dropshipping or holding your products. Having your products, of course, is the more traditional method. Whether running a warehouse or just stashing your products under your bed, you have a set inventory waiting to be shipped out whenever someone makes a purchase. Of course, the advantage of this is that you have full control over the shipping and delivery process. The disadvantage is that… well, you have full control. You know what’s happening at all times, but you’re also personally responsible for overseeing the shipping and delivery process.

On the other hand, dropshipping means that you collaborate with a supplier to store your product. Instead of holding your inventory, you purchase your inventory wholesale from a third party. Every time a customer purchases your online storefront, the order is forwarded to the dropshipping provider, who then handles shipping and delivering the product to your customers. The problem with dropshipping is that it costs more money upfront, but in the long run, it can save you a lot of time and energy, especially as your business starts growing.

3. Choose a Name

Once you’ve worked out the logistics of what you’re selling, it’s time to choose a name for your business. This is a deceptively simple part of the process, so be careful not to underestimate your business’s name’s importance. Remember, you don’t have a physical building to entice people to come in and shop. The first impression anyone will get from your store is the name, which can sometimes be enough to attract or turn away potential customers. You also want to ensure that your name is catchy without being too complicated to spell. You want people to remember what your business is called so they can return to it. Something too bland will be forgettable, but something too complicated will be difficult to recall, recommend to others, or translate into a domain name.

4. Create your Storefront

Only now are you ready to create your online store and make your products available for purchase. Thanks to a growing number of available eCommerce services, creating a fully functional storefront is incredibly easy. Many platforms are specifically designed for building eCommerce sites that will help you create a complete store from scratch, with no programming knowledge required. If you are already familiar with a certain CMS, plenty of apps, plugins, and widgets can turn a generic website into an online store with a few simple adjustments. No matter how you create your store, the number one thing to consider is functionality and navigation ease. If customers can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll go elsewhere.

About author

I work for WideInfo and I love writing on my blog every day with huge new information to help my readers. Fashion is my hobby and eating food is my life. Social Media is my blood to connect my family and friends.
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