Tips for Starting an Online Store. Starting an online store can be an exciting adventure, but it can also be a lot of work and planning, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. With so many elements to consider, from what kind of products you sell to how you optimize your website, creating and launching your online store can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start.
Here are five tips to help you get started with creating and launching your online store.
1. Creating a business plan
Writing a business plan helps formalize your idea and can streamline the business creation process by getting you to sit down and think things through. Plus, having a plan will help you feel prepared when the unexpected happens. But it’s not always easy or efficient to create one from scratch.
Check out these five tips from The Shopify Expert Academy blog:
- Brainstorm ways to reach your audience. Who are they? What do they need? How are you going to find them? What are you going to offer them?
- Define what success looks like. Knowing how much money is needed, how many customers need to be reached and other goals will keep you on track as the business grows.
- Figure out how your company fits into the bigger picture of retail today. Where does your niche fit in? How does your product compare to others on the market?
- Create a timeline for reaching those goals. It may seem ambitious now, but if you break it up into achievable steps, chances are you’ll get there. One way to do this is with milestones, where each milestone defines the smaller tasks that lead up to accomplishing the larger goal. For example, say you want to increase sales by 10% over the next three months.
- To accomplish this goal you might have milestones such as build email list, start social media account, create content for website. Keep in mind that milestones should include deadlines and specific deliverables so that progress can be measured and achieved.
2. Choosing your niche market
One of the best ways to make a splash in your new online store is to choose a niche market that is likely underserved. Narrowing down to one or two specific niches helps people connect with you and remember you. People will be more inclined to return if they know they can find what they need on your site. In addition, it may also be worthwhile to study what other successful stores are doing within your chosen niche. For example, if you’re opening up a store devoted to pet supplies, take a look at the sites of Petco, Amazon, and Chewy’s Pets-to-Go.
3. Choosing your products
The first thing you will need to do is to create a list of products that are going to be offered at your store. This may seem like a straightforward process, but there are some aspects that must be considered when choosing the products. For example, what makes these products different from all the other stores that offer similar items? Does this product have any limiting factors (e.g., restrictions on who can buy them)? How much does this product cost to purchase and make?
4. Finding suppliers
Finding a reliable supplier can be difficult if you don’t know where to look. One place to start is Amazon or Alibaba, both of which have online storefronts that sell products from thousands of different sellers. While these may seem like the perfect solution, there are some downsides.
For example, you might have trouble reaching the seller or the seller might refuse to ship the product internationally due to logistical complications. In this case, it’s best to turn to individual suppliers and contact them directly. You should also compare prices before buying from one supplier versus another. A company in China may offer a better price than one in the United States, but shipping times will vary significantly between the two. Shipping times:
Keep in mind that shipping time will depend on where your supplier is located and how quickly they package and ship your order. Suppliers located in China usually take about three weeks while those in Europe take only a few days.
5. Setting up your website
Choose a domain name. This will be the foundation of your online store. Do some research and find something that suits your product or service, has one syllable if possible, and is easy to remember (H&M). You can either buy a domain through your registrar of choice or order it through GoDaddy. Create a website design template in Photoshop.
Find free templates on sites like Squarespace and Google Docs. Put together all of the content you want on your site including blog posts, products, contact information, etc. Save it as a PDF document with website as the filename. Good luck.