In this digital age, online stores have become so popular because of its numerous advantages over an actual physical shop. Online stores are cheaper in the sense that rent is not needed and one could sell items in the comforts of her home. Aside from that, one does not need to think of employees to manage and security issues.
However, setting up an online shop is not an easy task and one must be willing to put in extra work, discipline and thought into establishing one. After all, an online store still requires capital, much like any business. If you’ve ever wondered on how to begin one, check out the steps below for tips.
Come Up With A Business Plan
First things with establishing an online store is to choose what product or service you would want to sell. It’s not just a matter of choosing which product is trending in the market. You must consider the products, as there are some items that need not be seen by buyers before they purchase it while there are some that is a bit tricky and requires close inspection.
You must also figure out if you intend your store to be a specialty kind that focuses on a few select items only (e.g. books, bags) or you want to have a variety of items in your list. The key in this is to choose a product that you value and truly believe in, as that would make it easier for you to communicate and market it to potential customers.
Consider if your product is something that is done by order or if you would need a supplier to get it from. Be sure that you establish a trustworthy relationship with the supplier so that your orders are easier to execute.
Since it’s an online store, think of the mode of transaction – are you shipping your products to buyers or doing meet ups with them? This is very important as it plays a huge part in the turnaround time and credibility of your product to the buyers.
Part of the business plan is to think of ideas on how you could market your product. If it is not a unique item, come up with ways to set your product and store apart from the competition. Do this with the help of research into the market and its big players. One way you could do this is to offer something that is truly one of a kind or it can’t be helped, make the ordering/buying process easier or offer something extra for every purchase in your store.
Build Your Online Store
Once you have a marketing plan in place, it’s time to create your actual store. Start with choosing and registering a domain name. Pick one that is easy to remember, short and very catchy. You could also try out something quirky so that the chances of other stores coming up with the same name is slim.
After you choose the domain name, pick a web hosting service that fits your current need and future plans. Once this is done, it’s time to design your website. You could do this on your own or hire the services of a professional designer. While it’s nice that you get a really beautiful page, make sure that the emphasis goes to your product to attract customers. Don’t forget to add ways to contact you such as an email address and phone numbers they can contact.
Other cheap options than getting your own website is to sell products on social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Consider these two if you are unsure if you want to keep your online store for the long run.
Once this has been set-up, you must choose an e-commerce software to go with your site. This is helpful in ensuring that your customers make a secure purchase when they go to your site. You could also choose to do bank deposits, however, this option would require more effort for your customers.
You must also set up a merchant account for customers who prefer to use their credit cards when shopping online. One cheap option is Paypal.
Promote Your Store And Products
Maximize social media and post updates about your products in Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, as these are the sites people frequent. You could also start a blog to talk about your products and link it with the online store. You could also start an email list so that people could get updates on your items digitally.