How To Start An Online Store?

 15 Mar, 2021

Introduction

Is this the year you are going to launch the business you have been dreaming about??

We are here to help and motivate you in the journey.

Imagine how BEARDBRAND became an eCommerce store with $20,000 IN SALES EVERY DAY by using the growing community. Eric Bandholz founded Beardbrand in 2012 and since then had an incredible journey because of his own passion for facial hair and the right strategy. Began with a YouTube channel, a blog, he realized the opportunity in the market and the unmet grooming product needs. He just plugs the gap and here is the success story we speak about. 

So let’s get started and make you a success story. We are gonna talk about:

  • How to set up an online store?
  • How To Start An Online Store With Minimum Investment?
  • How To Make Your Offline Store Go Online?
  • Strategies To Finding Your First Profitable Product.
  • How To Make A Successful Online Store?
  • How To Make Your First Online Sale?
  • 9 Marketing Tactics To Promote Your Online Store

An entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a want to create - David Karp, Tumblr founder and CEO

Steps To Launch Your Online Store

Decide Your Niche

Here what I mean is decide what you're going to sell and who you're selling it to. Your niche will impact the future course of actions when setting up an online store like:

  • Your customer retention rate
  • Your sales figures
  • Efforts required in customer support
  • What kind of distribution services will be required
  • What will be your marketing activity

Your niche can be categorized as price, audience, market opportunity.

Coming to price, if you sell cheaper items, more people are likely to purchase, but your Average Order Value (AOV) will be smaller.

If you sell more expensive items, fewer people are likely to purchase, but your AOV will be larger.

Other than this, what also needs to be considered are brand loyalty, popularity, and longevity.

In niches where you have limited brands, consumers’ brand loyalty plays a key role.

Next, let’s move on to popularity. Here you can look for products that are trending, and steadily growing in popularity before starting online store. To help you along, here’s a handy tool: Google Trends. Just plug your keyword in and you’ll be able to see how many people are searching for the term.

Next comes the longevity of your customers.

Now that the sale is moving and you have things in place, the focus has to be on consistency in revenue generation by increasing customer lifetime value where you create strategies to keep adding new customers, and retarget existing customers and keep selling to them.

Are You Going For Dropshipping or Holding Your Own Products?

Dropshipping has many advantages when planning to open online store, and is the ultimate eCommerce store hack. It means you don’t hold on to inventories thereby:

  • You don’t need capital to purchase your items
  • No picking and packing activities
  • You can list more items on your eCommerce store, at zero risk
  • No warehousing costs

It’s the best option when you are looking for how to start your own online store with no money. Anyone can start an online store with dropshipping, be it a startup, college student, literally anyone.

Now, what about the other option when starting an online store - holding your own products but herein you need to understand certain points:

  • Buying inventory costs money
  • Storing inventory costs money
  • Picking and packing costs time and/or money
  • Shorter delivery times
  • Well-designed packaging
  • Knowing your products inside and out
  • Fixing problems as soon as they arise

Thought About Your Business Name?

Pick up a well-researched name to start online storefront that consumers love. Users are picky about each and everything so spend time finalizing what your business name should be. Later go ahead with registering the domain name. 

Let me help you with some tips for picking up a name

  • Choose a name that’s easy to pronounce and search so that users don’t go on the wrong URLs.
  • The name should have some relevance to your niche. Attaching emotions to it will help in your marketing activity.
  • Never copy, be original to start an online store.
  • Do choose a name with an available .com domain.
  • Don’t go for long names.
  • Keep it simple and professional.
  • DON’T choose a name that references a specific product or product line.

Choose Products To Sell

So what are you going to sell? Use the power of social media, here are the tips on what to sell and how to build an online store from scratch:

  • Look at what selling price your competitors are operating at and workout a good margin.
  • Communicate. Get quotes, get clarity over each and everything.
  • Try to find things with low shipping costs.
  • Look for product reviews and see what people DON’T like about a product, then make one that’s better.
  • Look for a good supplier.
  • Avoid suppliers with excessive fees.
  • Make sure you ask them questions early and often. Their customer support is your customer support, especially if you’re dropshipping.

Market Your New Online Shop!

Now that you know about setting up the company, your website, product line, let’s talk about how to market, essential steps to starting an online store?

  • Develop a content strategy 
  • Work on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 
  • Work on maximizing your website traffic and the conversion rate 
  • Maximize your retention rate
  • Work on high-quality content helps you rank, drives traffic to your store and builds trust with your visitors, which increases sales.
  • Invest in social media marketing
  • Research and mark your presence everywhere your customers are
  • So be sure to keep your social media pages updated and active!
  • I recommend a content calendar so that you can create and schedule your posts ahead of time and make sure you’ve always got something planned for the big days.
  • Don’t invest anywhere and everywhere, start small and focus on a single channel for getting leads. 
  • Learn and invest in PPC, Email marketing, Influencer marketing

How To Build An Online Store With No Investment?

Start online stores with minimum money to invest. Building an online store does not need much investment. Here are my suggestions:

  • Build a business plan by researching your competition well
  • Building your online store, look for product reviews
  • Who will be your target customer? 
  • Prepare stocks of goods that you intend to sell online
  • Get into talks with your shipping partners
  • Choose your product to sell online
  • Build an eCommerce website for which you have many online tools like Wix, Shopify, Squarespace, Volusion, BigCommerce, WordPress with WooCommerce, Magento. 
  • Upload your product and start selling

How To Take Your Offline Store Online?

So here the breather is you know your product in and out, you know your existing customers, their likes and dislikes. So here what you need to evaluate on how to start an online store:

  • Who is going to build an online store for you - are you going to create your own website or hire an experienced web designing agency to do the task for you.
  • Who will take care of the management of day-to-day operations like managing product catalog, adding images, videos, marketing orders?
  • Take care of package and shipping, research your local shipping carriers and see who may offer the best service.
  • Very important, how will you manage customer support, answer emails, phone calls, or respond to social media inquiries
  • How about your marketing strategy, who is going to work that out for you? Will you hire an agency, or get resources internally or work on it yourself? Getting online will take you to intense competition, and a strong marketing strategy is pertinent.
  • Identify how you will resolve any technical issues for online store setup?
  • Identify which product you want to sell online, start with your best product and prepare your inventory. If you’re planning to dropship products for your online store, you won’t have to worry much. But online customers buy more frequently so be ready to acquire and ship your stock in advance to avoid backorders.
  • Decide on the payment gateway.

Now your strongest point, you already have customers and now you just need to inform them and create a hook for them to shop online. How will you do this? What do I need to start an online store? My recommendation:

  • Set up gift cards - Selling digital gift cards is one of the fastest ways.
  • Mail gift cards
  • Make a noise
  • Email your customers
  • Add signage to your storefront
  • Post on social media
  • Add or update local listings. Google My Business is a free tool that helps you market your local business in Google Search and Google Maps.
  • Announce it on your homepage.

Strategies For Finding Your First Profitable Product

Solve a customer pain point

Solving a customer pain point will always be an effective way to develop a product people want. Pay attention to what problems people are facing with an existing line of products as when you are keenly aware of their pain points, you can easily come up with the next profitable product idea and it helps in building your online store.

Look for a product you are passionate about

Investing in a product you love can reap benefits as you are in complete control of the product, know in and out, Using your know-how to create and position a unique product can be extremely profitable. Let’s take the example of Moorea Seal who turned their passion into a successful online business. In 2010 Moorea, a full-time artist living in Seattle, became self-employed through various creative pursuits: blogging, running her own jewelry business, freelance illustration, and graphic design. In late 2012, she retired early from design to spend more time on her passions and narrow her focus. In 2013, Moorea opened a store on Shopify.

Read customer reviews on existing products

Customer review gives you great insight into what users’ expectations are, what they want and what are their pain points. Are there any trends or interesting bits of feedback you can use as inspiration to develop your next product? Pay special attention to shortcomings and complaints being shared.

Your professional experience is a huge advantage

How to build an online store? If you have acquired skills through your experience in any specific industry, utilize them. Turning your expertise into your own online business is a smart way to enter the market with an edge.

Reach out to users with dedicated hobbies

When consumers are passionate about a particular hobby, they don’t mind investing money in the product they like. Like a jogger may love to invest in a Fitbit watch. This willingness-to-pay can play a masterstroke for you when selecting a line of products.

Be aware of what’s trending and capitalize it

In the world of digital marketing, you can't be unaware. Know what is trending in the market, utilize the opportunity. Here some tips on how can know what’s trending:

  • Social listening: Look at trending hashtags on Twitter or topics on Facebook or as advanced as using social listening tools to identify and monitor trends over time.
  • Google Trends: Look at the popularity of topics over time, and see what’s making a mark.
  • Trend Hunter: The “world's largest, most popular trend community” uses data, artificial intelligence, and real humans to identify consumer insights and new opportunities.
  • Reddit: “A wonderful platform to learn about any topic. 

Test the waters before launch

Product validation is very important. You may conduct post sue surveys, ask your test group how they feel about the product, does it work for them, do they like the website design, suggestions they would like to give. Test and implement accordingly.

Check out online marketplaces like:

Checking out online marketplaces will give you insights on what’s trending, customer reviews, price points, unique selling propositions, offers they are playing on. This will help in strategizing what is required. You may go with:

  • Amazon Best Sellers
  • Amazon Most Wished For
  • Etsy Best selling items
  • Etsy Most popular item
  • Trending on eBay

How Do I Make A Successful Online Store?

Engaging Web Design

According to a Kissmetrics study, 93% of buyers consider visual appearance to be the most important factor when making a purchase. how to start an eCommerce website? While your complete dependence is on your website, how it looks, how the interface is, is it providing rich user-experience, and much more. So, pay attention to the web design. Some key factors when designing or redesigning your website are:

  • Consistent palette and typeface
  • Clutter-free layout
  • Visual hierarchy
  • Features like pre-sale customer care, free shipping, search functions
  • Clear “About US” page with basic information about your business on the page, such as your contact information, address, and social media accounts.

Online Support Is Critical

Offer hassle-free support to your customers both before and after the purchase. Be it providing additional guidance, suggestions while users are scrolling the site or helping them with return or shipping issues. Customer support is a critical factor to increase your user retention rate and for low bounce rate.

Collaborate With Multiple Brands

Partner with credible brands, which does not mean only high-end brands, small companies can add a degree of trustworthiness to your enterprise. Highlight all companies you have a partner with which adds to your reputation. If you have a large number of partners, showcase them all. The more partners you have, the more buyer trust you’ll build.

Have the best payment options in your bag

Offer a wide variety of popular payment options for your customers so they don’t have to think twice before making the purchase. Add offers, discount coupons for additional benefits.

Make Best Use OF Social Media for setting up an online store 

Be it Facebook, or a tweet on Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Linkedin utilize every social platform in the most effective way. Here maintaining a content calendar will help you to streamline what and when to post on social media. Engage well with your customers, respond to their comments, add videos, infographics, all adding to your brand loyalty.

Blogging Is A Great Tool 

Yes, invest your time in blogs, it increases your traffic rather than repeated and consistent traffic. Posts that contain SEO keywords and contain useful information for consumers are likely to rank high in search engine results.

Impact blogs encourage customers to visit your product page, increasing your first-time’s user base. 

Utilize Tools Effectively

Use tools, like Google Analytics, to track your customer’s preferences, which channel they like the most, and spend their time the most. For your ease, you can even check out guides on Facebook advertising, Instagram advertising, and Snapchat advertising to start online storefront.  

Don’t ignore buyer review

How to start an online store? Do you know almost 97% of customers look at product reviews before making a purchase? It means providing social proof and review is crucial. A study has found that 88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Break down ratings into factors like design, quality, comfort, delivery service, fit, pattern, and many-core factors that customers may find helpful. 

As online sales are all about user-experience where users can touch and feel the product initially, they rely a lot on other customers’ reviews. Before making a purchase.

Your store has to be Mobile-Responsive

How to set up an online store? After mobilegeddon on April 21st, 2015, Google has started using responsive web design as a ranking factor. This means that any businesses with a responsive website will find this is adding to their higher search rankings on Google and fetch benefits of responsive design. 

Make Your Site SEO-Friendly

Your online store has to receive traffic in order for purchases to happen. The key to generating traffic? Search engine optimization. By incorporating SEO keywords into your product titles and descriptions, your site is more likely to rank higher in search engine results. The increased visibility is the key ingredient for greater site visits and more conversions.

Offer Free Shipping - Everyone Loves It!!

Online shoppers have come to expect a certain standard that they have grown accustomed to on Amazon. However, if free shipping is not possible, keep it visible and clear. It is most likely at supposedly higher free shipping rates to let customers move out of the buying process. Transparent shipping prices help comfort users and make converting easier as there is no fear of hidden fees. There is an actual incentive now to increase order size and complete your order, so users can capitalize on the free shipping deal. 

Work On Your Outreach List, Get Help

Don’t shy away from reaching out to individuals in your industry that can help you reach more buyers within your target audience. You can create product buzz by networking with trade experts, merchants as they can leverage their experience to make you connect with the target audience. Sellers should consider reaching out to:

  • Industry bloggers
  • Social media influencers 
  • Similar entrepreneurs 

What is your competition doing? It is essential To start online stores

It’s a buying pattern that customers look through multiple sites, compare prices, options, quality, delivery time, and much more. So never miss upon keeping an eye on your competition. Check out their product page, policies, shipping process. Get on with major marketplaces and see how they operate and what are their benchmark rates. How they have designed their product catalog, landing pages, cart, payment page, customer support page.

Use High-Res Photos

When was the last time you checked up on how images are performing, used your site to check upon customers who can’t touch or feel the product? It is the visual aspect, product detailing, that makes them buy the product. You need to make the most out of the two-dimensional screen to communicate the features and attributes of your products. Images impact your conversion rate and so it is critical to look into the kind, size, of images you are using. Give attention to some of these factors when setting up an online store:

  • Image size and quality
  • Zoom feature
  • The emotional and visceral appeal
  • 360-degree view
  • Show context
  • No bad stock photos
  • Product videos are important
  • Product demo
  • Product review
  • User-generated videos

Offer Incentives

We love offers, discount coupons, plus one offer:) So don’t forget to design incentives that drive customers to use their cart and make the purchase. Create pop-ups offering discounts, show coupons when a user adds the product to the cart. Create big billion days where you offer great discounts, or gift cards, maybe some combined product offers. The key to how to start an online store successfully is staying ahead of your competition and working continuously on increasing the lead funnel and also user retention rate.

Encourage Social Sharing

Organic word-of-mouth marketing enhances your eCommerce business. Be part of the discussion happening on social media with respect to your product as it serves as social proof. Online buyers love sharing what they love, understand this and make use of it in the best way. 

How To Make Your First Online Sale?

Do Influencers Know About your Product, Send Them Free Samples

What trending nowadays is influencer marketing and the internet is packed with influential bloggers, journalists, entrepreneurs, and vloggers. Find the right one that has a great audience in your industry, send them free samples, and connect with them to influence your product and open online store.

Affiliate Marketing 

Market your product on another website and pay only when a sale is made. You pay them a percentage of any sales that originate from their efforts. Track their marketing efforts by providing a unique hyperlink or coupon code. The great thing about this selling strategy is that you only pay if you make a sale.

Network on Forums

Join Online discussion forums and social media groups to share advice, tips, gain industry knowledge, and also mark your presence as an expert. Where will you get the details, just check on social platforms like Facebook, Google and you will get all details related to upcoming forums. 

Reddit is a powerhouse

With Reddit, you can attract a large number of dedicated followers and customers who love taking and exchanging ideas about related products and services. 

Start Blogging

There is no better way to talk about your product and service than blogging. Touch your user pain point and offer them solutions like 25 best ways to decorate your home under 5000/- and many such ideas. Blogging also gives you content to share on social media and helps you rank in search engines.

Build an Email List

How are you going to inform the target audience what you are launching, about any special offerings, special discount days? According to DMA, email has an average ROI of $42 per $1 spent. Building your email list, however, costs very little. Having a list of emails from previous and potential customers means you can get your information, products, and content into their personal mailboxes. 

Virtual Event

How to start your own online store profitably? Sponsoring an event is a great way to mark a niche. Ensure you sponsor the right event. Look at what is the theme of the event and is it relevant to your services, how many attendees are there, the portfolio of the attendant, what is the marketing activity the event company will be doing, and is it going to benefit you.

Interview Industry Influencers

If you want great content and get more eyeballs, interview an industry influencer. Firstly you get a lot of fresh content, secondly, it fetches you an audience who love hearing from the interviewee. 

Try your hands-on Google Ads

Use this pay pay-per-click advertising network and mark your presence on nearly every Google search results page, YouTube video, and partner website when starting online store.

Sell Wholesale to Other Retailers

The main advantage of selling wholesale is the cashflow no matter the profit margin. 

Check up on the Site Analytics

Sales conversion rate

Your conversion rate, quite simply, is the percentage of visitors who make a purchase.

Email opt-ins

How to start an eCommerce store? Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools eCommerce stores have to drive repeat business.

Customer lifetime value

Your customer lifetime value is a metric of the total you earn from a typical customer throughout their life.

Customer acquisition cost

Naturally, it costs something to acquire a new customer. This value is called your customer acquisition cost.

Revenue by traffic source

By calculating your revenue by traffic source—a metric that shows you which channels send you actual customers, as opposed to visitors who never buy.

Average order value

Your average order value is, quite simply, the average value of each purchase. To discover yours, divide the total value of all sales by the numbers of carts.

Shopping cart abandonment rate

This metric is the percentage of shoppers who add items to their shopping cart, but then leave your store without making a purchase.

Run A Survey

To run your very own survey, you can make use of online apps like Survey Monkey to create online surveys. It will fetch you invaluable feedback about what the customers feel about your product.

Make Connections on LinkedIn

Making connections on LinkedIn has great potential to increase your network. You will discover an array of opportunities with other companies, suppliers, and related websites.

Be alive with Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram

How to start an online store? Using Pinterest, Instagram, allows you to take a slightly different approach to engage with consumers rather a more personal approach with a lot of creativity. Take pictures of your product, make videos, tell stories the audience loves it. With Facebook, you can do a lot by creating your business page and let people talk about your product. 

7 Marketing Tactics to Promote Your Online Store

Get Your Email List Ready

Emails work wonders, it’s a great tool to inform your customers about what’s coming up and what they can expect at the store. Create a list of existing users, prospective users, new users and send customized emails.

Associate with complementary brands.

If you are selling fashion jewelry in partnership with a clothing brand by creating a customized campaign, it will be a helpful strategy for both. Create partnerships with other brands to cross-promote.

Work On Your Social Presence

Boost your digital engagement, it’s an effective way to get that extra edge. Use vibrant images, videos, share your story. It actually works!!

Optimize your site for SEO

Train yourself about every aspect of SEO, or get a dedicated person to do that for you. An effective SEO strategy will pour you leads, a high social presence, regular followers thereby optimizing your conversion rate.

Right Content Strategy

People who love shopping online also love digging into our interesting content related to what they are looking for. Create content that helps them make a purchase decision, they find interesting and helpful. You will gradually develop a great fan base.

What’s Your Google Ads Strategy?

Using Google Ads for search engine marketing helps you bid on keywords so that you can show up on top of search engine results pages. 

Creating Advertising Budget For Social Media

Create your advertising plan carefully. If you have a maximum digital audience there is no point in spending money on billboards, newspaper ads. Get quotes to advertise on digital platforms like if your analytics reflect maximum traction from Twitter plans spending some bucks on the platform. It definitely will benefit you. 

Conclusion

My parting word on how to start an online store :

Don’t wait, the moment is now, just plan, research, and execute. 

  • Decide your niche when starting an online store
  • Plan your product to start online stores 
  • Get resources in place and start an online store
  • Create your online store or get in touch with an experienced web designing agency
  • Make great connections to open online store 
  • Utilize the power of social media when setting up an online store
  • Keep experimenting and stay confident

Want us to help you with a framework for the launch of your online store, share your vision!!

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Henry
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Henry

Nice motivational content.

Daisy
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Daisy

I like this article, it speaks about every aspect of opening an online store.

Jax Williams
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Jax Williams

I have an offline store that I am planning to get online. Need more information on a good web design and proposal.

Amari Jones
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Amari Jones

Can you guide me over to a professional marketing agency that can take care of all digital advertising for me?

Zane Brown
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Zane Brown

Can you explain more about Google ads?

Emilio Davis
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Emilio Davis

From where can I fetch more details over industry influencers for a fashion brand.

Knox Miller
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Knox Miller

What is your company’s framework for creating an engaging web design and how much do you charge?

Adonis Smith
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Adonis Smith

Right said that if you have professional experience in a domain make it your strength. Play on your expertise.

Aidan Johnson
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Aidan Johnson

Need a recommendation for a website design company that offers an end-to-end solution for eCommerce website building and marketing.

Kaden Brown
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Kaden Brown

A comprehensive article that covers all the factors related to online store setup, thanks!!

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