Starting an online store is a dream of any small seller or enterprise. But building an online store can be a challenging task if you are not techy.
The E-commerce world has been developed dramatically over the past years. The way we shop online and the sellers sell their products and services have changed. So “how to start an online store?” and “what should you know about it before starting a one” can be the questions on your mind right now.
This article will discuss everything you need to know about setting up an online store tailored to your unique business needs.
Steps on opening an internet shop
It will seem complicated at the beginning when you consider building your online store for the business. But you can follow the simple steps in our guide to ease your work.
Choose a profitable niche and develop a business plan
When you plan to start up your online store, you must choose a profitable niche and develop a business plan according to it. Therefore, first, you have to do a SWOT analysis. You have to identify the eCommerce strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Then you can create a business plan to perform well in the competitive market.
But if you do not want to do a complex market analysis, you have got another option. You can explore the eCommerce market and find out online business opportunities and gaps. You have to figure out the products and services that potential customers search for.
You will also have to define the distribution model of the eCommerce business. The two major traditional models are stocking inventory and dropshipping.
In stocking inventory, you will have to invest in shipping, warehousing, and manufacturing.
In dropshipping, someone else will manage the back end of your online business for you. You do not have to think about shipping, warehousing and manufacturing. But you have to give your consideration to things like marketing, advertising, search engine optimization and also on customer relationships.
Then it would be best if you chose a suitable business model for your online business. Whom do you want to sell your products to? The most common ways of selling today are business to business (B2B), business to consumer (B2C), consumer to consumer (C2C) and consumer to business (C2B).
The last step here is to develop a complete eCommerce marketing plan for your store. There are some particular questions you must find answers to before making the plan.
- How do you drive traffic to your eCommerce business?
- How much can you afford to get a customer?
- Is there any story behind your eCommerce business?
- If you are ready to evaluate your brand when it is necessary?
- Is your business team ready to carry out your internet marketing strategy?
Technical considerations on creating an online store
This considered one of the most critical steps you must give attention to when creating an online store. As the first step in the technical aspect, you must choose a catchy domain name for your online store.
When selecting the domain name, ensure to choose one short name that is easy to read and remember. Then it is essential to register your domain name. You can use GoDaddy or BlueHost, the most popular domain registrars.
Then as the next step, you have to choose the right eCommerce platform to start your online business. You have to ensure to work with an e-commerce platform that meets your needs. There are self-hosted and fully hosted eCommerce solutions you can choose from. But you must figure out the right host to power your online store. Install the SSL or TLS certificate.
Design the perfect look for your online business store
In this step, you have to concern about the website design and also about the development.
When your customers visit your online store for the first time, they decide to make if they should stay longer on the site or not. If the first impression that your online store gives is positive, they will start researching your products and services.
The user experience is also an essential factor in this step. The layout of the online store, colours, navigation should be attractive enough for your customers.
Finally, you must ensure all the required information of your products and services that customers are looking for. SEO product descriptions, catchy images, clear call to actions, social login options, transparent pricing and shipping information, and reviews and other social proofs are the elements that your online store should have.
Picking up online store templates that can fit your business is also an important step. You can choose pre-made eCommerce templates available according to your business needs.
Creating a unique brand identity for the online shop is a must to succeed in the competitive online market. Getting a memorable online store logo is the first strategy. It should be easy to read and remember. Then also hold social media to build your brand. Most importantly, you must provide consistent brand communication across all the sales channels. Finally, you must focus on presenting the benefits of your products instead of their features.
Add products to the online shop
There are some specific factors you must pay attention to when adding products to the online shop.
Studying the basics of product photography for the online store is the first factor. It would be best to learn the basics like optimizing images, shooting lifestyle images, setting up a photo studio and other photography basics.
The other crucial factor is to create unique eCommerce product descriptions that can sell the products. You can follow the below marketing steps in your product descriptions,
- Repeating your idea several times
- Understand your potential customers. This can help you make your copy
- Use benefit-oriented topics and call to actions on your web site pages
- Speaking your customer’s language
- Using sensory words to describe your products
- Use scarcity to encourage impulse buys
- Injecting power into your words that can motivate readers
- Use power words like you, because, imagine, new to grab users’ attention
- Being honest with your customers and describe the negative features of your products
- Conduct competitor analysis to improve your online shop
- Using the disrupt-then-reframe method
Create a reward program to build customer loyalty
- Rhymes can make your ideas easier to understand.
Explain even the smallest details of your item
- Add reviews to create trust
Creating a good marketing strategy
Starting a blog to drive more and more traffic to your online store is a good marketing strategy you can follow because it has been proven that every successful online store needs to have a blog on its site.
Your potential customers will love to know the story behind your products and every detail they are buying from you. You can also get the advantage of developing trust and loyalty with them.
Longform quality content, case studies, White papers, Infographics, Videos, checklist downloads, eBooks and Blog posts are the type of contents you can add to your online store.
Optimizing your online store for search engines is another step you can make. Pay attention to eCommerce SEO to market your products because it has been proven that search engine optimization can help you increase your online store’s visibility.
Social media marketing strategy is another essential marketing strategy you can follow. Social media can help you understand who your targeted audience is and what their specific needs are. It is also a great spot to generate leads for your online business. Facebook and Instagram are the popular social media platforms that you can use to reach the targeted audience through Facebook and Instagram advertising.
Set up payments, shipping and inventory for the online store
Getting paid for the products you sell is the foremost thing we consider when opening an online store. You will have pay attention to shipping and tax calculation, payment processing, and inventory management.
Choosing the best payment gateway for the online business is essential. For example, if you are setting up an online store in the UK, the payment gateways that the customers prefer will be different from the other regions.
Selecting the best shipping carrier for your online business is crucial because having the wrong shipping partner can destroy your online business. It would be best to choose shipping partners like DHL, FedEx, UPS, USPS, ShippingEasy to do your overseas shipping to avoid complications.
Finally, inventory management is essential for any online store to do its operations properly. Follow these steps below to manage your inventory to ease the business tasks.
- Consider using a centralized inventory system such as POS to store and access all your inventory data at any time you want.
- Update inventory records as soon as the sales are made.
- Forecast demand for products, quantities, and locations.
- Analyze the performance and results of your inventory management process regularly.
Starting an online store is a daunting task if you do not know about setting up an eCommerce store. You have to focus on all the considerations that will cover all your unique business needs and goals when setting up the online store. In this article, We have brought you all the necessary steps that you should follow to start an online business store easily.