You are probably thinking how to start an online store due to current circumstances that have kept us at our homes. You’re now looking for a step-by-step guide on exactly how you start making an online store. Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’ll give you the benefits of creating an online store as well as eleven simple steps to start one.
Let’s get started.
Why Start an Online Store?
Statistics estimate that the global eCommerce sales will hit $3.9 trillion by the end of 2020/early 2021. This means that more and more people are selling online. So what exactly are the benefits of an online store that has everyone creating one? Here are some of the reasons:
It costs less to start an eCommerce business compared to an offline business.
Collecting customer data for improving conversions.
Get repeat purchases.
You’re able to be more flexible with time.
The business runs 24/7.
Immense income and growth potential.
Relatively easier to do.
Now, let me show you how to start an online store by giving you 11 simple steps.
1. Choose a Product
Like any store, you need to know and choose the right products you want to sell. You’ll need to find your niche first and then decide if you wish to sell multiple products or just focus on one.
To be able to decide, you need to do product research. This is so you discover a product idea that can sell well in the market.
Doing product research involves several steps, which are:
Pick a product niche, try picking one you’re familiar with.
Determine your target audience.
List your top contenders in the market.
Research from various sources to discover the latest market demands and trends.
Do keyword research on the product.
Fact-check your work by analyzing your competitors’ strategies.
2. Conduct Market Research
After knowing your product and target market, you now need to go more in-depth and do market research.
The goal of doing this is to understand how your online business can thrive in the market.
You’ll need to do both primary and secondary research to get the full picture of your market.
Below are some methods you can use to get better insight, which consists of:
Market segmentation – Divide your target audience into different groups based on their specific characteristics.
Observation – See how your target audience responds to recent advertising campaigns.
Focus group discussion – Pick a group of people with similar backgrounds and discuss specific topics.
Interview – Do a face-to-face discussion with a person involved in the advertising sector of your niche.
Competitive analysis – Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.
3. Pick a Business Model
Business models describe how your business intends to make a profit. Here, you should include detailed information about your business’s purpose, structure, process, business culture, and everything found on the product and market research.
There are various types of business models, and they can be modified to adhere to the industry you’re in. I’ll list down some of the standard business models, so you get a general idea of how to make or choose one:
Direct sales – A company sells products and services without having a fixed location.
Retailer – A company buys from wholesalers or distributors and sells it directly to the customers.
Manufacturer – A company takes raw materials and uses them to create a product.
Freemium – A company offers products and services for free but encourages customers to get paid upgrades to receive better benefits.
Franchise – Business owners provide small businesses or newly established companies everything they need to become part of their franchise.
4. Choose an Online Store Builder
Now you can start creating your online store. To start doing this, you can simply use an online store builder. It’s beginner-friendly because you don’t need to have the technical knowledge to create a website.
To help you pick a great website builder, I’ve narrowed down a couple of things that it should have, which are:
Various template choices with different features.
Beginner-friendly and has an intuitive dashboard.
SEO features, whether integrated or third-party compatible.
Website builders will have plenty of designer-made templates that you can use as a starting point. Try previewing each template because some may have different features built-in.
5. Customize Your Site
After you’ve chosen an online store builder, you can now customize it. Try to be as creative as you want and pour all of your ideas into it.
Take a look at the dashboard to see the full extent of the customization options it provides. You can usually add or remove elements, change the page’s layout, and change the fonts and colors.
When customizing, there are a few things you should keep in mind to give visitors a great experience, which are:
Keep your homepage free of clutter.
Create a navigation menu and bar, which will help users find what they’re looking for quickly.
Place social sharing and follow buttons throughout the site to increase traffic to other channels.
The next step is to upload your products and services to your site. When it comes to products, ideally, you should take high-quality photos of them. Use natural light or great lightning to your advantage to capture various aspects of your products.
Try keeping the background clean so visitors can focus just on the products. Add a pop-up box feature that will allow users to get a closer look at your products.
In case they’re not satisfied with the photos, include a product description underneath them so users can easily read about what features they bring.
For services, try including a short video to showcase what you offer. Also, include a detailed description of what you do below the video for people to know what benefits you provide.
7. Post Valuable Content
You should include content that will allow visitors to become familiar with your business and the products and services you offer. To do that, you’ll need to include the following:
A Home page – showcases your products and services while also mentioning what you do as a business.
An About us page – write everything there is to know about your business and yourself.
A Contact us page – place your contact information, from social media, phone number, email addresses, and opening hours.
Not only content about your business but also include valuable content that’s relevant to the market you’re in. By creating content about the latest trends and writing various blogs about things in the market, you can attract more people to your site.
8. Improve Website SEO
A good business website should be able to rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs). To do that, you need to practice search engine optimization (SEO), which improves your site to increase its visibility on SERPs.
Organic sessions – Measures how many pages a user visits during a session.
Page Ranking – Monitors if the keywords you’re targeting are moving your pages in a positive direction.
Page load times– Measures your site’s loading speed.
Session Length – Measures how long your visitor stays on your site.
Bounce Rate – Checks the percentage of visitors who left your page without clicking on another one.
Now that you know the KPIs, it’s now time to optimize your site. You can use free SEO tools like Moz to help you.
9. Configure Payments and Shipping
When you’re configuring your payment methods, make sure you make the checkout process as straightforward as possible. One of the main reasons people leave an online store is the lengthy and complicated checkout process.
To make the checkout process simple, you can create a straightforward and thorough walkthrough of the entire checkout process.
You should also include an order summary where you only ask for the necessary information for users to make a purchase. Also, add in multiple payment methods.
When it comes to shipping, there are two general ways to do it. The first way is to do the shipping and packaging yourself and go to a delivery company to send them.
The second is by using an order fulfillment system where a third-party company does everything for you from packaging to shipping.
10. Launch Your Online Store
All that’s left to do is to launch your online store. However, you need to do a couple of things right before you launch to make sure you are ready for what awaits. Those things are:
Have a site monitoring in place – So you know how to track your site’s traffic and conversions. You can use tools like Google Analytics.
Create a newsletter – To provide regular information and discounts.
Backup your site – This is a best practice that every business does to avoid losing your data in emergencies.
Double-check your site – Make sure that everything is working correctly.
11. Promote Your New Online Store
After you’ve launched your online store, you need to promote it. Without promotion, visitors won’t come to your online store. Thus, you can’t generate sales.
There are a couple of ways to promote your newly launched store, which are:
Use Google Ads to bid for keywords – This allows you to appear at the top of search engine results.
Give special launch discounts – This is to spread awareness of your product, services, and site while also generating sales.
Regularly create useful, informative, and up-to-date content – People looking for similar products or content on your niche might come to your site.
Increase your digital presence through social media – This is a great way to garner interest in your product and interact with your target audience directly.
You now know the benefits of creating an online store and the steps necessary to make one. All that’s left for you to do is to start making the eCommerce store of your dreams. Remember that you should take your time researching the product and market to determine whether you can thrive there. Good luck!