Starting an online store may seem like an overwhelming task, but it’s easier than you think, especially if you follow this step-by-step guide that shows you how to start an online store. Even if you’ve never started your own business before, you can learn the basics of launching and maintaining your own website with the help of this guide. Whether you’re selling homemade crafts or handmade clothing, there are several ways to get your product in front of potential customers and build a community around your product or service!
1) Prepare your product
The first step in starting your own online store is selecting a product that you think people want and are willing to pay for. If you’re familiar with online stores, like Amazon, then you know that there is a lot of competition out there—and if your customers can buy it somewhere else they probably will. In order to create an online business and have repeat customers, it’s essential that you sell something that makes your business stand out from other sites.
This doesn’t mean you need to reinvent the wheel or come up with a brand-new product; sometimes all it takes is looking at existing products and finding ways to improve them. This strategy worked well for Steve Jobs when he created Apple computers. He didn’t invent computers, but he did come up with some innovative ideas about how computers should work (like making them more user-friendly) which made his company very successful.
2) Research competition
There are several things you need to consider before you dive into your new eCommerce business. You’ll want to research how many competitors there are in your niche and assess their strengths and weaknesses. Figure out what makes them successful and what can be improved upon by creating a better online store. Creating an online store that stands out from others is crucial because it will help attract more sales leads, which translates into more revenue for your business.
3) Build your shop
It’s never been easier to start an online business. There are tons of web services that provide not only everything you need for your eCommerce store but also useful resources on how to run and promote it. If you don’t have your own website, there are websites that allow you to create your shop by plugging in a few lines of code.
However, if you want more control over your design and functionality, I recommend using WordPress or Shopify. Both are great options that will let you build a professional-looking site without having to know how to code HTML yourself. Once you’ve got your site up and running, it’s time to open up shop! You can sell pretty much anything online—but what kind of products should you sell?
The best products to sell online are those with high margins and low shipping costs. Think about what things people would be willing to buy from home rather than at a brick-and-mortar store: apparel, electronics, books…anything that doesn’t require special handling is ideal.
4) Choose a payment processor
To keep your financial information safe, it’s important that you choose a payment processor with a high level of security. Look for any certification logos—like SSL—and read customer reviews. For eCommerce businesses, in particular, it’s worth paying a little extra to ensure that your customers’ credit card numbers and other personal information are protected at all times. PayPal and Stripe are both popular options for online stores; check out their websites to see which one is right for you.
How do I get paid? Once you’ve chosen a payment processor, you need to decide how you want to get paid. Do you want customers to pay before they receive their items? (This is called pay as you go or pay on delivery.) Or would you rather charge them after they receive it? (This is called pay when paid.) It can be helpful to test out both options and see which one works best for your business model and customer base.
5) Promote your shop on social media
Social media is a great way to get people in your target market excited about your store. You can start by promoting special deals and giveaways on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. By giving these promotions a time limit and establishing an expiration date, you’ll create a sense of urgency around your shop—which will make people more likely to buy. The key to using social media for marketing is consistency. If you want to build up a following online, you need to post regularly so that your customers know when they can expect new products or sales from you. One tip for making sure that you’re posting at least once per week: schedule your posts ahead of time! A tool like Hootsuite makes it easy to plan out posts well in advance. This will save you time and effort later on down the line, as you won’t have to worry about coming up with content every day or wondering if you should be posting now or later.