We’re all confined to our homes and are now looking for various ways to earn money from home. One of the simplest and easiest ways to do that is to create your own online store.
In this article, I’ll explain to you the necessary steps to create one.
Let’s get started.
How to Start an Online Store
There are plenty of steps to start an online store, but I’ve compiled them into six stages, so it’s easier for you to get a gist of how to do it.
1. Market Research
You need to know what you want to sell before you start an online store. For that, you need to find your niche first and then conduct product research. The purpose of this is to discover various product ideas that can sell well in the market. When performing product research, here are the steps to do it:
- Choose a niche.
- Determine your target market.
- List your top competitors.
- Research from more than one source to discover current market trends and demands.
- Conduct keyword research.
Once you have something you want to sell, be it product, service, or dropship, you’ll need to conduct market research. The goal now is to understand whether your business will be able to thrive in the market. When conducting market research, here are some methods you can use:
- Focus group discussion.
- Competitive analysis.
- Market segmentation.
2. Set Up Your Business Plan
After you’ve gathered all the information you need, it’s time to create a business plan, so you can set up your business goals. A business plan allows you to develop your business strategies and track their progress as your business grows.
A business plan is also something to help you attract investors. The plan can be used to determine whether your business is one that aligns with hedge funds or other investor expectations. Here are a few tips to help you create a comprehensive business plan:
- Be conservative when it comes to financial estimates and projections.
- Describe the facilities and equipment you’ll need.
- Highlight competing products and brands and what is your target market.
- Be realistic about resources and timeline.
- Include investor payout options.
3. Pick Your Platform
The next step is to start creating your online store. There are two general ways to do it:
- Website builder – a beginner-friendly platform that has plenty of templates and easy customization options.
- Content management system (CMS) – a slightly more advanced platform that allows for a wider range of extensions and customization options.
Both platforms come with pre-made templates, which you can use as a strong baseline when creating your website. You’ll also need a domain name and web hosting for your website to run correctly.
A domain name is your website’s address and term, while web hosting is where you store your site’s files, so it can go online.
Because there are plenty of options to choose from, I’d recommend you to select a CMS or website builder that offers a free domain name and has an included web hosting service.
4. Build Your Store
Here, you can start customizing your online store. You can usually add, move, and remove elements, change the layout, colors, and fonts, and do many other customizations. You can check by going to the platform’s dashboard to see to what extent you can customize your website.
Afterward, you should upload your products or services to your site. Make sure you take high-quality photos of them and write detailed descriptions of the product or service. Also, include product or service reviews directly underneath the product to build social proof.
Next, configure payments and shipping methods. Make sure you make the checkout process a breeze, include an order summary, and have multiple payment options. When it comes to shipping, decide whether you’ll do it yourself or use an order fulfillment service.
5. Start Marketing
Once everything is done, you can now launch your online store. Customers won’t immediately come to your site, and thus you’ll need to do some marketing. Luckily there are a few easy ways for you to promote your site to gain traffic. Some of the methods are:
6. Analyze, Adjust, Grow
You can’t grow complacent. Constantly analyze and adjust your business to grow continuously. You should set up site monitoring in place using tools like Google Analytics to monitor your sales, marketing campaigns, spending, and conduct many more analytical tasks.
This is necessary to keep generating profit, stay ahead of your competitors, and fix any potential problems before becoming a hassle to do.
Now you know the six basic steps to create an online store. All that’s left to do is start creating your online store.
Take your time when researching to get a complete picture of what’s going on in the market. Also, be careful when choosing a domain name. It should be brandable and relate to your business.