Is starting an online store easy? Can I build my website, its security, bill payments, and delivery options?
The short answer is Yes!! Thanks to modern tools and technology, everybody can start and run their eCommerce website without knowing design or coding. Before starting your online store, however, you must decide on a few things, like what you are planning to offer, how to manage shipping and payments, and what marketing tactics to use.
No worries! Here is a step-by-step guide to commence an online store.
1. Decide on your niche
The first and foremost step is to choose your niche. As it is often defined, a niche is a particular part of a broader market. Sadly, that sounds a little too dictionary. So, let us break it down in simpler terms. First, you must know the followings when you pick up your niche:
What would you like to sell?
To whom are you going to sell it
Why would they purchase it?
These questions may appear reasonably obvious now, but they evolve.
Define your target customer base and find out why they would purchase from you. This, in turn, makes your job relatively more effortless in the future. People’s biggest mistake is going too broadly to expect that the bigger the market is, the more likely they will drive good sales. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
If your target consumer base is simply people who breathe, it will be hard for you to position, promote, and justify your product in the marketplace.
In general, it is better to focus on one niche instead of going all over. The intelligent thing to do is to commence in an area you already have an interest in, expertise, or passion for it. It is challenging to operate in a segment of the market that you know nothing about.
Start with your interests, then sail. Specify who your target customer is and what will encourage such customers to purchase the goods you wish to sell. A good go-ahead is to review your niche competition. See how they position their products and who their customers are. Learn from them and draw on the experiences of other people.
2. Pick between selling your products or drop shipping
Let us start with two popular eCommerce options from the beginning.
Option 1: Running an online store.
In this traditional model:
You get items from the supplier or build them on your own.
You sell those goods to customers through your website.
The consumer buys the product.
You deliver the item to them.
Option 2: Dropshipping
In the drop-shipping model:
You first list the items on your website.
The consumer orders the product
The supplier sends the item directly to the consumer.
The essential advantage of the drop-shipping model is that you do not have to maintain a warehouse. This implies that there is no cost entailed in manufacturing the products or keeping them. As a result, everything you sell is, in effect, is a pure benefit because you need to pay the supplier after you get an order from customers.
In the traditional model, you need to spend money early on building or purchasing them from the supplier. You will have to do it before you market it to sell.
On the other hand, if the goods you wish to sell are your whole creation or must be customized/personalized before they can be sold, dropshipping would not be for you.
Overall, you can choose a drop shipper, if you can, and especially if you are trying to start an online shop for the first time. Dropshipping is a perfect way to test the waters and ensure that consumers want to purchase the goods you wish to sell. You can then expand and even begin to sell your goods later on your own or through your website.
3. Determine Products to Sell
It is essential to determine what products you will sell online before moving on to the next steps. Regardless of what you choose, it is necessary to work with products that you are passionate about. If you do not have goods on hand, you can pick from numerous dropshipping providers, select from their product list, and sell them on your website.
4. Choose a domain name
Your domain name is nothing but the web address (URL) where your customers find your online store. This is a significant decision, so do not take it lightly.
Choose a short, straightforward domain name that defines your company. Then, pick your extension (.com,.biz, .net) and register it with a domain name provider.
5. Build an Online Store Site on Your Own
Finally, the time has come to build an online store. Here is the best part: you can do everything alone, and no professional assistance is required, and your online store will be as functional and look good as if it were made by a professional.
There are many options available in the market to build your online store, but Bluehost is the best to start with.
Go to Bluehost And Register for Web Hosting
The recommended web host is Bluehost, though you can look online and pick the one you find to be the best for your business. They have been around for years, and they do deliver top-quality Webhosting services. In addition, they are affordable at the same time – your monthly hosting fee can be as low as $2,75 a month. Once you sign up for a Bluehost, you must enter the domain name you like to register for your online store.
WordPress is the operating platform for many websites. It is open-source, reliable, and convenient to work with. We are going to use it as your store’s base. So, sign in to the Bluehost user panel. Then, go to “My Sites”>” Create Site” to install WordPress.
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that will allow you to start an online store. Like WordPress itself, it is also free and open source. To install it, sign into the WordPress admin panel, move to “Plugins”>” Add New.” Then, search “WooCommerce” and install the plugin.
Add Your Products
It is time to add the first items to the store’s catalog at this point. If you sell your products, you can add them by heading towards the product section and clicking on Add product.
Choose a Theme
The last move is to select a theme (a design package) for your online store. The best thing about WordPress is that there are thousands of WordPress themes, i.e., Storefront, Neve, Astra. Just pick any of the themes, and you are done!
6. Decide Payment Mechanism
The second piece of the puzzle is accepting payments from consumers while attempting to open an online shop.
Many first-time users start with PayPal or Google Checkout, but you can also accept credit cards directly on your favorite and more professional route. If it is the case, you will be searching for ways to process your credit card, particularly the merchant accounts, to ensure that your rates and print fine are transparent.
7. Promote Your New Online Store!
Hang on – you have reached the last segment of this online store guide. You can now set up a business and build your website.
All the steps are now set to build your online shop’s marketing strategy, which we will address in this section.
A. Influencer Marketing
Influencer Marketing is a new way of advertising your store. Most of it is done on Instagram.
How to market through Instagram:
For any cause, find famous people in your niche or recognizable.
Reach out to influencers to see what their prices are for promoting products like yours. Also, please pay attention to their supporters’ size and inquire about the number of engagements under related posts they get.
Agree and give the items to them for a series of two or three promotional posts.
B. Paid Ads
Paid advertisements are never ineffective. If something is on the market and you hit the market with advertising, you will be selling something. Google AdWords is the most common publicity channel for your goods. It is easy to start with them, and Google has its guides to walk you through the first steps.
Wrapping it up on how to start an online store
Congratulations, you made it to the end of this guide, and now you are a complete expert on starting an online store. Here is one more piece of advice before leaving you: Don’t wait for the perfect moment – start now and improve as you learn and grow. And that is how to start an online store.