Start an Online Store: Here is a Detailed Guide for you!

by Carter Toni


Is this guide for you? Yes, sure. Read on!

  • If you are a budding entrepreneur who is planning on starting a brand new ecommerce business in 2020, this guide is for you.
  • If you are someone who is looking forward to expand his business from an online marketplace to an independent webstore, this guide is for you.
  • If you are planning to take your business from B2B to directly to the consumers with a B2C site, this guide is for you.

Gear up! Together we are going on a deep planning dive to prepare our business for long-term success. We all know in which era we are living in. Everything has come online and we can order anything from the comfort of our homes. This is the reason, every business person nowadays want to have their own stores. Honestly, starting an online store has its own advantages over having a physical storefront. Having an online store means there is nothing you have to pay in rent, and you can reach millions of customers on the go.

But, there are some things that we need to follow to have a successful online store. Yes, building an online store can be a terrifying thought, this is especially when you are not a technical person. Be it choosing an ecommerce website from over a hundred stunning templates or making a fully customizable theme, there are many things to do. So, without further waiting, let’s dive into the guide.

Here are some of the steps to start an online store successfully:

  1. Decide what you want to sell
  2. Find your right product niche
  3. Pick a name for your brand
  4. Choose the best e-commerce solution for you
  5. Develop a Complete Ecommerce Marketing Plan for Your Store
  6. Promote Your Website

1. Decide what you want to sell 

We are assuming that if you looking forward to open an online store, you most probably have an idea already for a product to sell. However, there is still a need to keep in mind few things which can help you to sell online well. The mistake that most people make is that they look for a product first, and a market second. Don’t be one of them. Start with a market to boost your chances of success.

There are items which may be difficult to sell, especially when they can’t be viewed by the person himself. Whatever the case is, if you are looking to open an online store, you should passionately believe in the valuing your product. If not, it is very difficult to connect with customers.

Below mentioned are some of the questions to consider for opening an online store:

  • Is it a physical product which needs to be shipped?
  • Is it a digital product that can be sent through the Internet?
  • Not manufacturing? You’ll need a good manufacturer. Research for options.
  • Do you want to sell a wide variety of products, or just planning to specialize?
  • Are you a manufacturer? If yes, form a long-lasting relationship with a reliable supplier to make sure product is always in demand.
  • Are you going to have an inventory (more than one) of each product?
  • How your product will be shipped? Create a plan.

Having an online store means you are going to be involved intimately with your product or service. So, what is important here is that you need to effectively spread the word and market your store.

Make market research easy:

  • Visit online forums to look what questions people are asking and what kind of problems they’re facing.
  • Keyword research to find the best ones.
  • Check out your potential competitors.
  • Encourage healthy competition.

2. Find your right product niche 

The second step that involves in setting up an online store is that you have to see what you are selling and who you are going to sell it to. Most of the time it happens that the first-time business owners don’t give so much stress to their niche. But, here is a thing. The niche of your product can impact various other things such as

  • Sales figures
  • The effort that you’ll have to put into client service
  • Whether or not you’ll get repeated customers

All these reasons mentioned above clarify that it is very essential to take some time to think of a niche which proves to be strategic for your online store. So, now that you may need help in deciding, we have clubbed some of the proven strategies for selecting an e-commerce niche.

Your product niche has three parts: The price. The audience. The market opportunity.

Let’s start with pricing.

  • Being at the most basic level, understand the idea of selling cheaper items. This will let more people to purchase your product, but the Average Order Value (AOV) will be less.
  • And, if you are going to sell costly items, only few will be interested to purchase it, but your AOV will be larger.

So, what is important here is to draw a line. You can do this by keeping a minimum price to in mind. Yes, there isn’t any hard and fast rule. Think and keep the price of product in such a way that people will come and you also get your AOV.

Because in that you will also have to include the warehousing cost, marketing costs, and accounting for operations, and you will only have 20% to 30% of the profit margin. Now what is the trickiest part here is that you will have to think of the amount of time and energy which you are spend on processing and fulfilling the orders. Moreover, there are other things too to consider such as brand popularity, loyalty, and longevity.

Find the niche so strong that even if that niche is dominated by a few brands, the consumers still have your alternative to think about. Next, comes the popularity. Identify a niche or product which is slowly but steadily growing in popularity. And for this, Google Trends is here to help. All you have to do is to just stick your keyword in and you’ll be able to see how many people are searching for the keyword.

And, lastly consider the longevity of your customers. Once your first sale is successfully done, think about the ways to retain your customers. Give them deals and offers to run the operations smoothly, the obvious next step is to do activity for generating revenue for business.

So, find a niche which fits the above criteria. Take your time to think and do things. Building your business online means understanding your competitors and trends.

3. Pick a name for your brand

You know most of the business owners hates this step. Finding a name that is relevant, suitable and matches your niche is one of the most difficult things to do. And, when you come up with one after a long research, and it comes out to be taken. Honestly, nothing could be more annoying than this.   There is the huge possibility that the veteran websites may already have taken the best names, which might have been trademarked. So, you have to put in a little extra effort to find out the best name for yourself.

Good names aren’t that easy to find.

It may take a several full days of brainstorming the good names and then coming up names with something unique. So, for you ease, we have mentioned a checklist to find names:

Easy to remember. Customers are more likely to visit the site, if they remember the name. Try to keep it short and simple. It may be difficult, but you have to do it. One or two words are ideal, 3 is still good.

The pronunciation. The pronunciation must be easy without tongue twisting. If you are able to do so, that means it’s a great sign and it’s easy to understand.

The .com domain. So every online business needs .com domain. You know .com is something of a standard. You may get weird domains for cheap, but that’s none of your use. They cause the problems later.

In relevance to the category. As we have mentioned above too, relevance with business is important. You have to make sure whatever the name you choose is related to your product category and business in some way.

Make sure of no trademark issues. If you use any of the domain name related to a brand, you may get into the problem as ay corporate law firm can do a quick check on this. Keep 3–5 names handy.

Keep the above check list in mind while searching for names and come up with something unique. So, once you are settled with the name, grab the domain using your domain registrar.

4. Choose the best e-commerce solution for you

If you dedicatedly follow us, we have already made an e-commerce solution guide for you. Check it out. It is a fully researched guide which will help you to choose an e-commerce solution for you. The type of e-commerce solution that you choose depends on the budget and level of expertise. Some types are mentioned below which many be ideal for your store:

  • Hosted Solutions: These are kind of solutions which will host website on their servers. Not only this, they will also provide you with web-based software for building and powering your online store. If you are someone who is just beginning and need website building, this is it.
  • Licensed Solutions: These are something out-of-the-box platforms, which you are able to install onto a computer. You will need to search hosting and security protections yourself with this one. Unlike hosted solutions, this can be a bit tricky.
  • Open Source Solutions: If you read our blog, we have mentioned many open source solutions for you. Open source solutions are generally free to download. This is great for owners who require to build the website from start. Moreover, this provides a great choice of customization to the beginners.

5. Develop a complete ecommerce marketing plan for your store

So, you have now listed your goals and you are all set with the new name and domain. The niche which you have chosen will let you have a general idea of at least who your ideal customer is. It is now the perfect time to develop a step-by-step strategy for your marketing. A marketing plan will help you efficiently to sell online.

Below mentioned are some of the questions which you need to ask before building an online store marketing strategy for yourself:

How to drive traffic to a new built online shop? There are some of the things which you need to include in marketing strategies and few key marketing channels comprise paid and organic marketing. Affiliate sale networks and pay-per-click campaigns are some of the really proven illustrations of paid marketing strategies. While, some of the examples of organic marketing includes email & content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing.

How much budget do you have to gain a client? This you are not going to believe but there are a certain things which will enable you to calculate a lifetime value of customer. By this analysis you are able to understand about how much an average customer is going to spend at your online shop over the time.

The story behind ecommerce business? You know personalizing and storytelling humanizes your brand. It will add a meaning to the purchase made by the customer at your store. This is the reason most brands tell their consumers stories and they tend to like it. So, you have to understand what yours is. Some of the examples include telling the story of your purpose to build a shop or what inspired you to do so. There are a lot of things to share. So, share yours and attract more customers.

Are you ready for brand evolution? Always remember, everything that is happening will end sometime, nothing lasts forever. The tactics which you are using now may be useless tomorrow. You need to evolve over time. So, if are looking a great future for your online business, it is important that you should be ready to accept the changes and evolve with them.

With these tips get ready to implement the strategy on internet marketing for your online business.

6. Promote your Website 

By now your marketing strategies may be set and now it’s time to promote your website. A website without traffic is nothing but just a page. Appearance and aesthetic is one this. You have to make sure that your website is capable of gaining traffic from different sources. So, before you are getting ready to promote your site, make sure it is working fine. Testing your website on various parameters will ensure that it is ready to accept the traffic. Also, check your website for both mobile and desktop application.

  • Delete any sample pages permanently
  • Update company contact details
  • Tell your friends/family to test the pages
  • Make sure images have appropriate alt texts
  • Test your website speed
  • Do a test purchase on mobile
  • Check if brand name is showing up on the credit card statement
  • Place a test order with a live gateway
  • Check for the category and search pages

Now coming onto promotions of your website, try these:

FB Ads

  • Set up your Facebook Pixel
  • Add FB Pixel to your site
  • Add basic events
  • Connect it to the business manager
  • Use a plugin to connect the pixel to your shopping cart
  • Add your services/products to FB page
  • Send the sales data to FB to track ROI

Instagram Marketing

Do you know about 65% of users engage with brands on Instagram than Facebook? It has one of the highest ROI on social media.

  • Post photos constantly
  • Find legit influencers
  • Reach out to Influencers
  • Pay for shout outs
  • Create as much stories as you can per week
  • Add sales funnel link in bio

Final Words

Congratulations! You have now build your online site. All the best for making sales. Always remember to upgrade yourself with the changing times and trends. You know your product better than anyone else so make strategies on selling it to the customers. Portray it in a way that customers likes it and buy it again and again. Give customers the reasons to buy that product with you. Tell about that product, market it and add what are its advantages. Make new plans, follow what it takes. At the end of the day, what is important is to have a product sale and regaining customers.

So, have you made your first sale yet?

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