How to Start an Online Store: A Step by Step Approach

David
Peter Martinez updated on 2020-09-25 17:19:49

Global eCommerce sales are expected to reach $4.9 trillion by 2021, making it imperative for would-be entrepreneurs to know how to start an online store.

Starting an online store is not only about the potential wealth which it brings, but it is also about facing fewer barriers before startup in comparison to other businesses.

And when we compare it with brick and mortar physical store, making an online store requires less upfront investment - you would not need a storefront and many employees when you decide to make an online store.

With that said, setting up an online store also requires some processes to be followed to ensure smooth day to day operations.

From onwards, we shall explore each of those steps that you can follow if you are looking for an answer to "how to open online store."

how to start an online store

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How to Open Online Store

Step 1: Products Selection

42% of startups fail because they are trying to sell the wrong product – that means selling what is not required.

The products which you are going to choose will decide your success. So make sure that you do your research before deciding on a suitable product to sell. Make sure the products which you are planning to sell has a market.

You need to arrange for some suppliers for physical products before you put their details on your online store.

If you are looking to sell an entirely new product, you would need to look out for the suppliers and manufacturers.

If you plan to sell existing products, you will have to look out for high-quality suppliers who will provide you products within your desired categories.

You can use drop shipping mode, where your supplier will pack and ship the products for you - or you can purchase goods yourself, store them within your warehouse, and then sell it on your own.

starting an online store

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For digital products, you would have to create informational content for ebooks, manuals, user instructions, and more. You will need an expert to help you write good quality content.

It could also include software development related products.

Tip 1: Narrow down your niche and do not plan to sell products among different categories at the start. It will help you to stay focused on your marketing strategies.

Step 2: Industry Research

Once you perform product research, it's time to look out for the marketplaces, which will be your competitors. Make sure that it isn't oversaturated. Identify with whom you are going to compete and how they operate their businesses. It is a good idea to spend some time reviewing their websites.

start online store

Source: Unsplash

Get all the relevant information from their websites, from product prices to their customer support. Read what the customers are saying about them and what their concerns are. Your established competitors might have already done in-depth research within that niche in which they are doing business. So try to learn from them.

You can also search for some industrial publications to learn about what is going on in your intended market.

Step 3: Positioning & Branding

You should define your mission, how your online store will be different from the others, and what would be your unique selling proposition?

Understand which kind of buyer you would be targeting to sell. When you decide on this, it will help you drive all your marketing strategies around that buyer persona.

In Visual Branding, you should take your time out and brainstorm how you want your logo and website to be designed. You can hire a graphics designer for logo designing.

how to open online store

Source: Pixabay

And for Website designing, you won't need to hire anyone – Wondershare Mockitt will take care of all your web design needs.

Mockitt is a tool with which you can make online store prototype in few easy steps.

It doesn't matter if you have never used any design software before, Mockitt's clean interface would make you comfortable, and you would end up designing a couple of stunning prototypes on your own.

Mockitt uses the Drag-Drop feature that allows users to place various design elements without using any coding language.

Mockitt has a library filled with templates that are ready to be customized – so if you do not want to create a prototype from scratch, you can use any of that template and change it as per your requirements.

With various widgets and icons, you can start a prototype from scratch if you are not comfortable using templates.

You can also share your design prototype with your stakeholders for feedback and approval.

In short, Mockitt has everything that you need to design a website prototype for your visual branding.

So before setting up a online store, make sure that you transform all your design ideas into a digital prototype using Mockitt

setting up a online store

When you complete that phase of the visual branding, decide on your brand name. Your brand name should be concise, meaningful, and relevant to what you are offering. Make sure that the name you select is available for a website. Purchase the domain and hosting.

Step 4: Business Plan

Here you will create a business plan to make things work. For instance, you should decide on your costing budget and how will you fund your business?

setting up an online store

Source: Pixabay

It is also recommended that you make a timeline; in short, use project management techniques to make sure when do you want specific processes to initiate and complete.Prepare Return and Shipping Policy. Plan how the customer support system will be positioned.

Step 5: Pricing

Find a sweet spot for your pricing strategy. Here your competitor's research will come into play. Find how much they are charging. If you decide to set more, what extra would you give your customers to attract them? Make a plan.

how to set up a store online

Source: Pixabay

Step 6: Legal Matters

Even though there is a lot less liability than physical stores, you still need to make sure that you abide by the applicable laws.

You might want to take care of business licenses, permits, tax ID, privacy policy, copyrights, and more

how to make an online store

Source: Pixabay

Step 7: Website development

At this point, you will understand how to make an online store using a suitable platform. You either can use a website builder such as Wix, Weebly, Square Space, and more or go with the CMS such as WordPress.

You can start online store with either of the above options. WordPress is a lot more flexible, and customization options are endless compared to the other website builders.

Make sure to include features such as shopping cart, check out process, and secure payment processing.

making an online store

Source: Pixabay

Step 8: Products Listing

Add all the product details within your website – images, descriptions, titles, and other relevant information. Make sure to keep it SEO optimized for a better reach.

make an online store

Source: Pixabay

Step 9: Marketing techniques

Use every viable platform for marketing. You may use social media platforms. Utilize content marketing techniques to expand your business.

make online store

Source: Pixabay

Final Thoughts

The above-discussed approach on "how to start an online store" will ensure that you stick to the plan and stay focused. If someone asks you the same question about starting an online store, you better guide them by using these strategies that we have just unrevealed.