Infomediaku.net | How to Start an Online Store to Grow Your Business [ Complete Guide]
Starting an online store has advantages over regular physical stores, there are no rental fees, and you can reach many consumers from your home.
To be successful, it’s a great idea to think more deeply about opening an online store.
Developing Products and Business Plans
If you want to start an online store for your business, you need a great product, an easy-to-use website, and a solid marketing plan. Read on to learn it.
1. Decide What Product You Will Sell
If you are looking to start an online store for your business, you probably already have an idea of what items to sell. Remember that there are very good items to sell online where others are hard to sell.
In any case, you have to trust your product, otherwise, it’s very difficult to connect with the customer. Here are some questions to consider:
- Is this a product that needs to be parceled? Or digital goods that can be sent over the internet?
- Will you have stocks (more than one) for each product, or will there only be one?
- Will you be selling a variety of products? Or just specialized in certain products?
- Are you going to produce it yourself? If so, make sure you can comply with the request. Build relationships with reliable suppliers.
- If you don’t plan to manufacture yourself, you need a good factory. Look for different companies to find one that fits your business idea.
- Determine how your product will be delivered. Find the most efficient way. You can even use the dropshipping system if the product is produced by a third party.
2. Find a Niche Market
Knowing the products you want to sell is only a small part of creating a successful online store. You need to find out what sets your shop apart from other stores. Why do consumers have to buy at your store?
- Get to know the competition. Don’t sell stuff right away until you see a competitor’s site. Consider the online marketplace where you plan to advertise and take a look at your competitors there.
- Offer something original. If you sell your own handmade crafts, this can certainly differentiate it from other products. Try to balance originality and general appearance.
- Offer expertise. Perhaps it is the quality that sets you apart or the knowledge more than the product you are selling. Maybe you are a former baseball player who sells baseball equipment. Make your skills and experience a part of the sales package.
- Offer an easy buying process. Even if your product is the same as the rest, you can make your store look different by making the buying process fun and enjoyable. Make your site easy to use and fun to share. Be responsive and provide customer service that no other place has.
3. Test First by Selling Your Products in Small Quantities
Like an offline store, it’s a good idea to first test your product in small quantities before it is marketed in large quantities. Try selling your items on eBay, Craigslist, and Half.com. This you can pay attention to.
- Who buys your product? Offer a discount coupon or gift if they answer the survey. Find out other places where they shop online.
- How much do they pay? Experiment with different prices.
- How is customer satisfaction? This is a great time to test how well the product is in the eyes of consumers. Are you wearing a nice look? Do they like your product? Did you describe it well?
4. Create a Business Plan
Before you start the process of opening an online store, take the time to plan it, whether you are looking for outside capital. This will help you plan the steps you need to take to make your business a success.
Find out what the operating costs are and come up with a marketing plan. You may have to consider these factors:
- Production costs, whether you produce it yourself or contract with the manufacturer.
- Shipping costs.
- Employee salary, if any.
- Cost of maintaining a domain name and web hosting services.
5. Register Your Business Under the Law
When you are ready to make it official, you will need to have a business name and fill out the legal and tax requirements to register your business.
Build Your Own Online Store
1. Register a Domain Name
Choose a name that is short, interest, and easy to remember. It must be unique because a market name has already been taken. Look at the domain registration company and try many names until you find one that is satisfactory and not yet used by others.
- If the name you want has already been taken, be creative. Add extra numbers or letters.
- The domain registration service will have suggestions for the closest alternative if the name is already taken.
2. Choose a Web Hosting Service
It’s worth looking for a good service for your site, as this is the foundation of your online shop. Free services are often available. However, because you will be selling products online, you usually have to pay for the services you need.
- You need room to grow if your business is doing well.
- Choose a hosting service for customization if you plan to do your own programming.
3. Design Your Site
Either you designed it yourself or a site designer created it for you. The emphasis should be on your product and making it easy for consumers to buy. Don’t get caught up in making a site complicated, the more explicit the site is, the better it is for the online shop.
- Enter a way to collect email addresses so you can send advertisements and specials.
- Consumers should not click more than 2 times to check products.
- Choose several colors and fonts to use.
4. Select E-commerce Software
This allows consumers to view your products and make purchases safely. In some cases, this software is also useful for marketing.
Take some time searching for companies before making a choice, as the one you choose will play a big role in your customer experience and the success of your company.
5. Create a Merchant Account
You need to create an account with a bank institution so that your customers can pay by credit card. This is a bit expensive, so some small online shops prefer to use PayPal.
Using the All-Inclusive E-Commerce Service
1. Find Out All-inclusive E-commerce Services
If you can’t build your own site from scratch, many services are available to help you build it in a few hours at a fraction of the price. This way you don’t need to learn to program languages or hire a professional designer, and you have all the tools to start selling your product.
All-inclusive services usually take a small cut of the sales you get.
This service has advantages, but also disadvantages because you have to operate it with their system. Become familiar with the different services before choosing one. If you don’t find a match, consider starting your own online shop.
2. Consider General E-commerce Services
Companies like Flying Car and Yahoo! (Stores) allows you to create a professional-looking online shop when you ship your own inventory.
They even offer more design, secure payments, hosting, email lists, sales statistics, and consumer assistance. This is very attractive to those who do not want to go programming themselves.
3. Look for Reselling Products for Profit
Affiliate stores such as Amazon store LLC allow you to resell products from Buy.com and other sellers by writing product reviews and focusing on themes that make life easier for consumers.
Amazon stores allow you to move quickly, but cannot have your own inventory.
4. Take eBay to the Next Level
If you’ve already sold a few products on eBay, and you believe that most consumers will find you there, then you’ve “graduated” from the eBay store to start saving money on listing fees.
If you’ve never used eBay before, this method isn’t for you, as it’s best to start with an existing customer base. Your customers need to be familiar with the internet to be comfortable using eBay.
You should know that eBay tends to attract people looking for only one item.
5. Consider Tips for General Sales
Tip is an online marketplace where you can announce one product or an entire catalog for free. You upload some photos, describe them and give them a selling price.
It’s free to post stuff for months without updating. If your item sells for less than $35, there is a 5% fee. If it sells for $35 or more, the cost is 3%. In addition, you can also display videos, blogs about your products and services and connect them directly to your Twitter account for free.
6. Try Cafepress if You Sell Customized Items
Cafepress can be considered if you sell T-shirts or other products that can be affixed with your own design such as mugs, stickers.
Customers can browse your store, order goods, and Cafepress will process the orders and goods for you. You can start a simple shop for free and charge a monthly fee for more features.
7. Sell Crafts on Etsy
Etsy is a popular choice for people who sell items they make themselves. There is a 20 cent bill for each item listed, and Etsy will take 3.5% of the sale price when the item is sold.
You are paid directly and are responsible for sending the goods. You will be billed a fee (depending on what you are selling) on a monthly basis.
8. Try Selling on Instagram
Instagram is the most developed social network with an engaged audience so it’s great for selling fashion items, handcrafts, and home products.
Upload pictures of the items you sell to Instagram and synergize your account with inSelly.com to create a personal online store from Instagram images.
Payment will use PayPal, the service will not take membership fees or sales commissions.
Attract and Retain Consumers
1. Promote Your Store on Social Media
Social media is very important for businesses, especially online businesses, to promote. Start an account and get people to “like” and “share” your shop page with the world.
- Offer incentives for consumers to promote your store. You can give a discount or a gift.
- Make sure your account is updated with information about promotions and new items.
2. Start a Blog
Pairing your product with more knowledge is a great way to attract people to your site. If your products are related to fashion, start a fashion blog and showcase your products now and then. Look for ways to participate in online conversations related to the goods you are selling.
- Some all-inclusive services offer a blog feature.
- Show other company products on your blog and ask them to do the same, which is common among small online vendors.
- Send a sample of your product to a famous blogger, so he can review your product on his blog.
- Post on other people’s blogs. For example, if you sell cookies, introduce your product on a popular baking blog.
Related : How to Make Money from Blogging
3. Email Consumers About Promotions
Use an email program like MailChimp to organize consumer email and send the well-formatted email.
Don’t abuse this method to maintain contact with customers as they could be annoyed if you ship too often.
That’s all the ways to start an online store to grow your business that you can consider.
Beware of “dropshipping“. Some are genuine and trusted, and some are scams. It also has a low probability of success because you only sell items that other people have already sold. You need extraordinary marketing skills to make this work. If it does work, why not try it on your own stuff?
At this point, you can start an online store for your business. Once the traffic comes, it means that someone is interested in your online business. Just waiting for the traffic will be something that gives you income.
This is a complete and practical guide on how to start an online store to grow your business from scratch. If you have any questions, please write them in the comment box below. Hopefully useful for you and see you in the next article. Good luck!!