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8 Things to do when starting your online shop

You are ready to take the plunge and start your own business. It is now easier than ever to start your own online store. But there is more to this than just uploading product images to your website.

There are many things to consider like

  • What are the right products for your store?
  • How do you find the right name?
  • How do you accept and process payments?
  • How and where do you market your products or services?

As you garner from the questions, setting up an online shop is fairly easy. But selling is not.

This is going to be about a lot more than do you choose to use WordPress or Shopify or one of the online store builders. It is about 8 key things to do to help ensure a successful launch; and that results in actual sales for your store.

Find your niche

Finding the right products to sell is fundamental to the success of your online business. Of course, it goes without saying the “right” is not alluding to the quality of your products (you should undoubtedly avoid flogging poor quality items). The right products mean that is how you cut through the noise.

You and your store have to be unique as you will be competing with Amazon, Ebay, or Rakuten depending on your location. For your store to be successful against such giants, you need to find your niche. That is, determine or make a product that can only be found at your store and that has a high demand.

You can use keyword research to discover your niche. The search volume of a keyword can indicate how much interest there is. If there a many online shops in the search results page, that signals high competition. If you want an in-depth post about keyword research, leave a comment below.

Source your stock

Do you buy wholesale from a supplier and then store it or do you dropship?

When you buy wholesale from a supplier, you need a warehouse or space in your garage to store. You also need enough cash to be able to invest in the goods. On the other hand, you can sample the quality firsthand.

Photo by Sikai Gu

When you dropship, the downsides of buying wholesale turns into an upside. You can start with less cash and you don’t need space to store the goods. But, you are “just” a middle man.

Choose your name and hosting

Once you know your niche, you need to find a name for your online store. It’s important to choose a domain name that is rememberable, easy to pronounce and to write.

The hosting topic has a lot to do with how to select your online store building solution.

Choose the right ecommerce app

I will group branding, web design, marketing, and ecommerce solution, and hosting together, since they are all related.

In essence, you can either

  1. hire an agency to build it
  2. use an online store building platform

Should you travel down the agency road, then you can specify your design, what your needs are, but most importantly, make sure that you can manage your store after it goes live without any assistance. You need to specify that you need access to the content management system (CMS) so that you can do all by yourself without paying a developer to do things for you. Since you will be updating your store with new products or removing older ones, you don’t need to periodically pay a developer or the agency to do it. Note that this option is costly.

When you use an online store building platform, you can build your online shop yourself. There are a plethora of ecommerce platforms to choose form. The most popular are Shopify and WordPress with WooCommerce. The main difference between these two is that Shopify is hosted and needs a subscription, while WordPress is self hosted.

Choosing the right ecommerce platform that is suited for your niche and needs is critical and can make or break your store. You can read more about how to choose the right ecommerce solution that is right for your needs.

Choose a payment gateway

You want to be ready to accept payments from your customers if you want to get paid. Do you accept credit cards, Paypal, Google Pay, and Apple Pay?

Compile a list of options then look at how accepting payment with them will affect your bottom line. You also want to plan ahead and see if they can grow with your store.

Set up shipping integration

Once an order is placed, how are you going to get your products to your customer? Do you plan to send them the tracking information? Do you need to print shipping labels? Of course, this section is related to how you source your stock.

Have your shop show up in search results

You’ll want your store to appear in search results. For that, you need to optimise it for search. This optimising process (search engine optimisation or SEO) is one of the cornerstones for running a successful ecommerce boutique.

Establish expertise

You know your product better than anyone else. You can use your knowledge to help your customers understand and choose the right product for them. And while doing that, it helps your store to appear in the search results.

Promote your store with online ads

Consider running an advertising campaign to promote your products, if you have the budget. The most popular advertising is search engine ads with Google Ads and social media ads with Facebook.

What do you think?

What are your thoughts on how to start your online business? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Feel free to reach out to us if you need support building one.

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