Summary: Online businesses bill more every year. Setting up an online store is difficult due to the competition but easy and inexpensive to create, at least initially, to scale as the benefits arrive. Follow these steps before launching your online store to make it a success.
- 80% of online stores fail. So there are 20% who manage to set up a profitable online store.
- E-commerce sales will represent more than 17% of retail sales this year.
An online store can be a perfect way to earn additional income.
If you already have a physical store and you are looking to expand online or if you want to start in the world of electronic commerce, follow this guide to create your online store from scratch. All the steps are essential and require you to spend some time studying them.
Remember that it is becoming easier to set up an online store since platforms such as Shopify or WordPress plugins such as Woocommerce make things much more accessible, even for people who are not very technological.
If you are very new to technology, you can start by taking a course, either free or paid, on e-commerce and positioning on the Internet. You can also check the many tutorials out there. Do not be fooled by the smoke salesmen’s courses that swarm the Internet and that promise to bill you five figures from the first month.
There are eight steps to follow to set up an online store, with very little investment and from scratch.
- Decide your niche
- Choose the type of store. Dropshipping, own or affiliated products
- Think about the commercial name and choose the domain.
- Select the products to sell. Many, few, single product …
- Choose the platform to sell. Prestashop, Magento, Woocommerce, or Shopify.
- Configure your online store well. Method of payments, shipments …
- I create a blog and work on SEO
- Promote your store to the fullest. Create a marketing strategy.
Ready to get started?
Decide on the niche before setting up an online store.
This means that we are going to sell and to whom. The choice of the niche is essential for any online store to be successful as it will affect sales figures, the effort that must be made per sale, and customer service.
That is why it is essential to take as much time as possible in finding a profitable niche.
- If, for example, you are going to sell clothes, you already know that you will have many returns because the size is poorly chosen. After all, “it doesn’t suit me,” because I wear them for a party and I return it … That means work, a lot of work.
- If we sell cheap products with little margin, we will have to sell a lot to profitability. Higher priced items mean more profit margins and less work.
- For this reason, e-commerce experts advise that the products to be sold have a price greater than € 50-€ 60, since after paying storage, marketing, shipping costs … the benefits are usually 25% of the sale price to the public.
- If you sell € 20 products, you will earn € 5 per product. If they are € 100, you will make € 25 for each sale. As simple as that. The job that leads to a sale of € 20 or a € 100 sale is practically the same.
- When choosing a niche, avoid those that big brands dominate. If someone wants to change television, they will probably look for big brands like Sony, Samsung, LG … or the department stores. There is very little room for newcomers on low budgets.
- For example, if you sell nightstands, you still have more possibilities to trade because the market is not crowded. On the Internet they will look for bedside tables or some long tail that you can attack as rustic bedside tables or wooden bedside tables …
- Check Google Trends to find products that are trending upward. For example, upright griddles or oil-free fryers, let alone face masks.
- A niche with repeat customers is better than a one-sale niche. You can impact regular customers with advertising or email marketing strategies; you can build loyalty in short.
- Research on the Internet. Search for the keywords related to the niche or the products you sell and look at monthly searches. If there are not enough searches, it is probably not a business. If you have any inquiries, check that large stores or brands do not take over the first results. Also, investigate the competition, the stores in your niche.
This first step, the most important, is the one that will mark the future of your online store. Take time to do good market research before opening your online store.
Choose the type of store
The next steps have to decide if you will buy products or sell those of others.
If you are going to start without much capital, you can try the second option. Dropshipping
It is a way to start an online sales business with very little investment. It has its advantages and disadvantages.
You can see here the advantages and disadvantages of dropshipping.
The advantages are that you do not need any inventory, so you will not spend on purchases and storage. You will not even have to worry about the shipments, which the drop shipper will do.
The downsides are that you have zero control over the product and that the claims will go to you. Also, you’ll not be able to make a mark.
Dropshipping may be a good idea to start with. Or you can do a mix of dropshipping and selling your product. This would be, for example, selling products from a physical store or warehouse in your city that does not have online sales. You can sell the products for a good commission.
And the cheapest and easiest way to start selling online is through affiliation. Sell others’ products for a minimal commission. You advertise the products, and when making the sale, they are redirected to the seller’s store. This is done a lot with Amazon products, but there are many affiliate platforms with a wide variety of products, such as Awin.
Commercial name and domain
Another step, which is not easy, is to choose the commercial name, which does not have to be the company name.
These are some tips for choosing a name for your business:
- Make it easy to pronounce.
- If it is related in any way to your niche, better.
- Be original. Look in the commercial register and on the Internet that there are no similar names, or you could be sued.
- See that domain.com is free, which is not always easy.
- Do not choose very long, non-commercial names or references to specific products because what will happen when you expand the sale of products?
Select the products
You already have the niche, how you are going to sell, and your store’s name and domain. Now you have to choose the products to market. Yes, many, few and chosen or, why not, single-product shop.
You can help you find the products to sell by researching the best-selling products in large online stores such as Amazon or Aliexpress.
As we have said, look for products that are not excessively cheap and do not have a lot of competition. If the shipping costs are low, the better, and if you like what you sell and have a little command of the sector, you will have more opportunities for your online business to be successful.
Once you choose the product, you will have to look for reliable suppliers. This article can still help you.
To do this, have everything well discussed, avoid excessively expensive or strange rates and see that they have good customer service and do not leave you hanging when you need them.
Choose the Ecommerce platform
The most popular e-commerce platforms are these four, although there are more.
Shopify: It is probably the platform on which it is easiest to set up an online store within reach of practically everyone with a bit of technology idea.
You have to sign up and choose a template to start working.
The problem is that it is not free. The store is hosted on its servers and has three plans. Besides, they charge a hundred percent per sale, which is around 2%.
Woocommerce: It is a plugin that works with WordPress and is free. It works better and better, and it is not very difficult to configure if you have experience in WordPress. Almost all themes or templates are compatible with Woocommece. Learning is easy, and there are tons of tutorials online. The bad thing is that if you want some functions, they are based on plugins, so it increases the page’s weight. To begin with, it is highly recommended.
Prestashop: It is one of the platforms with more functionalities. Although it is free, almost all the plugins and extensions necessary to perform certain functions are usually paid. Its configuration is not so simple.
Magento: Less famous but very similar to Prestashop. Both have a high capacity for customization and scalability.
Set up the store
Once the platform is chosen, you will have to select a template, which is the easiest way to set up an online store. The lighter, the better. That it has what you need to work and now, without unnecessary things like slider and others.
Customize the template: Add logo and choose colors, font, images…
Add the products: Write an original description for the products and with quality images that are optimized. Product categories are also important.
Configure everything related to payments: Try to include all forms of compensation. It’s a shame to lose a customer because some form of payment is missing.
Configure the shipments well with its different options: Free shipping, international shipping, store pickup…
Done all this you can publish.
Create a blog and work on SEO
The cheapest and most durable way to position you on the Internet is to work on SEO. Two stores that sell the same product will sell more, which is better positioned, without any doubt.
And to position, a blog will help a lot. With content marketing, you will derive those visits to the product pages to provide us with sales. Besides, you generate brand and trust.
Also, Social media is an excellent place to get visits to our product pages. And they are a wonderful place to spend money on advertising and campaigning.
In social networks, there are many people, many potential clients. That is why you have to keep the networks updated and active. Creating a content calendar for social networks is essential.
Paid advertising in Google Ads (PPC) is an excellent way to start selling. Same as influencer marketing. And don’t forget about email marketing, essential in any strategy.
We must provide a budget for marketing, even if it is minimal, since, especially at the beginning, we will need it to achieve notoriety and sales. You have to plan and have a marketing strategy.
If you follow these steps before opening your online store, you will have a high chance of success. Do not delay.
Study the first steps well and go ahead, get visits and get sales. Little by little, with experience and metrics, you will make things better.
Don’t wait to have everything perfect because everything will never be perfect.
I hope this post has helped you; if so, please share on your networks. Thanks.