5 Must Take Steps to Start an Online Shop
An online store, also known as an eCommerce store, is one of the most popular online businesses of the past few years. It is relatively easy to get started in eCommerce as you don’t need a huge initial investment, and there are lots of great products you can sell.
No experience is necessary and, on top of all that, all the information you need to get started is freely available online.
Once you have your online shop up and running, it requires very little maintenance, especially if you hire other people to do most of the day-to-day operations for you. By focusing on the right areas, you can easily start up an eCommerce business and soon grow your business until it’s generating regular revenue and turning a profit. This is an ideal way to build an income while working wherever you want.
In this guide, you can learn more about the steps needed to start your own online store, helping you go from zero to running your own successful online business. If you’re looking for a way to set up an online store, a website creator is a good first step. However, you’ll first need to learn the basics, which are all explained below.
Choose a Niche
Your niche is the category of product you’re going to be selling. When you choose your niche, this will affect the type of products you’ll sell as well as the audience you’ll be marketing to. It’s important that you select an appropriate niche as this will have a big impact on the success of your store. By selecting a good niche that you understand well, you can increase your chances of making sales and affect the amount of effort you’ll need to put into marketing.
Examples of niches include health and fitness, beauty, pet care, software, entertainment and more. Choosing a niche will mean you focus on a particular type of product rather than selling an assortment of random items in your store. This makes marketing easier, as it focuses your efforts on a particular type of person. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a niche that you’re familiar with, as this will help you choose good products.
However, you can also pick a niche that you don’t have any experience with, as long as you’re willing to research it and understand your potential consumers. The best niche to choose is one that has interest from consumers but little competition from other sites or brands. You should avoid choosing a niche that’s dominated by big brands as this is much harder to find success.
Dropshipping or Regular eCommerce?
Dropshipping is the term given to an eCommerce business that doesn’t actually hold any inventory. Instead, customers make a purchase in your store before you forward the order to your supplier. Your supplier sells you the product at wholesale price but ships it directly to your customer. This allows your business to save money while also not needing to order a large amount of inventory, something that is a prohibitive upfront cost.
Dropshipping has made getting into online sales much easier for the average person. However, it does come with downsides. You will still need to market your products to find customers in the first place, and you’ll also need to manage the supplier carefully. Returns can be difficult, as can shipping times, so these are things to consider before getting started. For those looking into dropshipping options, Printful is a notable example, offering a range of products and services tailored for dropshipping businesses, including the ability to create custom products like printed t-shirts.
The alternative to dropshipping is the classic eCommerce format. Here you’ll order the products you want to sell, store them in a warehouse or similar space and fulfil orders from customers when you receive them. Obviously, there are more upfront costs and a larger risk, but you don’t need to worry about issues with returns or customers complaining about long shipping times.
Choose the Products You Want to Sell
Now you know your niche and your methods for selling, it’s time to choose a good product. Good products are those that fit well with the niche, have a clear target market and provide value to your consumers. Additionally, you should avoid name-brand goods, look for something that you know a little about and make sure that the price is between $50 and $100 for the best margins.
To find popular products, take a look at the bestselling items in your niche on popular online stores such as eBay, AliExpress, Amazon and more. Another important thing to consider is whether there’s anything about the current products that can be improved upon. Keep a document with all of your ideas and try to list the pros and cons of each. Once you have an idea of what to sell, you can get in touch with a supplier to produce your own.
Create Your Website
For selling online, a website is crucial. Although you might sell through other online platforms, having your own website where you can get the full share of each sale is important. Your website also serves as a marketing device, helping to attract potential customers through web searches and reassuring them that you’re a trustworthy brand.
One of the easiest ways to create your first website is by using a website building tool such as Wix. This is simple to use and allows you to set up your digital shopfront in just a few minutes. You’ll then be able to add additional features and customise it how you want to ensure it looks professional and welcoming. Once the website is up, make sure you upload your products and include full descriptions and pictures.
Implement a Digital Marketing Strategy
To be found online by shoppers, a digital marketing strategy is essential. You’ll need to ensure that your website, as well as your product listings on other platforms, have been optimised for searches. Search engine optimization uses keywords and other techniques to ensure that your site is shown at the top of search rankings. In order to rank higher, answer common questions about the product and lookup keywords that relate to it.
As well as using proper keywords on your site and on other eCommerce platforms, you can make use of other digital marketing techniques such as social media marketing. This will help people find out about your products, and you can specifically target people who are interested in similar products or the niche.
Further Reading from Skills You Need
If you are thinking about running your own business, or already do so, but feel that you need some guidance, then this eBook is for you. It takes you through self-employment in easy steps, helping you to ensure that your business has more chance of success.
The Skills You Need Guide to Self-Employment and Running Your Own Business is the guide no new or aspiring entrepreneur can afford to be without!
Based on our popular self-employment and entrepreneurship content.
About the Author
Thomas Edlin owns a digital marketing and copywriting agency and has been writing professional content on the world of digital marketing for a number of years. As a business owner and professional, his content has helped small business owners understand how to get more out of their business by connecting with global audiences and learning how digital marketing works. In addition, he’s also experienced in human resources, understanding how to organise a team to get the best results.