Stepwise Guide to Start your Online Store and Run Smoothly

Step by step Guide to Start Online Store

Do you know the expected figure of e-retail sales accounts for 22% by 2023 of worldwide retail sales? With over 1.8 million in America itself. The count is ever-growing and still on. 

If you plan to open an online store you need to take into account some important aspects. Maybe you’ve planned to start one but due to a lack of experience and knowledge, you are not sure of taking this venture further. Or, you do not find yourself the right fit.

The best way to know is to do it yourself. You must have heard many stories who succeeded means you too can make the odds in your favor. 

In this piece of information, we’ll take you through all the guesswork and critical aspects you should consider starting your own business. You will get to know all the tips and knowledge you must have to make sure you can run a successful online e-store.

It’s so Easy to Start a Business Online

If you’ve dream of starting an e-store, this is the right time to take the plunge. Emarketer believes US users will spend $709.78 billion on buying online in 2020.

But this is not all that should encourage you to start an online business. There are many other causes as well. Here are they:

1. It is easier to Grab Resources than ever before.

There are plenty of resources available today to help you push in the right direction and help answer your questions. YouTube is one of the biggest and most helpful resources. Here you can find helpful and tutorial videos of people explaining step by step how to start your own business online and run it in full fledged. 

2. Unlimited online store builders and functionalities.

Online eCommerce systems are well-defined and beginner-friendly. You can easily learn the ropes. You can learn here to design and develop an online store by selecting from the pool of pre-made, readymade themes. It is easily accessible, offering you the freedom to make changes to your e-store whenever you find it fit.

Stepwise Guide How to Start an Online Store

Starting your online store can be a tiring task. To simplify the process, we have defined these step-by-step instructions for you to know the right process!

  • Define a business strategy.
  • Develop a brand.
  • Get the right online store builder.
  • Create your e-store.
  • Set up an email marketing automation tool.
  • Promote your website and products.
  • Establish a Business Strategy

Every business starts with a business plan. Defining your business plan and strategy initially will help you streamline your objectives and guarantee you are on the right track.

1. Select a Business Model

Before jumping into the bandwagon of the online industry, you first have to decide on a business model. This should be driven by your knowledge, preference, and the choice of product you want to sell.

Select a Business Model

These business models could be drop-shipping, wholesaling, white Labeling or subscription, or print on demand.  

Dropshipping is all about purchasing items and shipping the item to the customer once they purchase from your e-store.

Wholesaling is when you buy items in large quantities and stock them in a warehouse. It is selling products at less price in a bulk.

In white labeling, the products are manufactured by other parties and without using the manufacturer’s logo and brand on the products, you use them as your own promoting them as your brand.

The subscription business is all about encouraging customers to subscribe to get services or products on a regular basis. 

Print on Demand business model is just like drop shipping. You sell customized products that are developed once the order is placed and it is shipped directly to the customer.

2. Select a Name and Acquire Business License and LLC

To name your business, there are plenty of free tools that will help you do this. While selecting a business name make sure it is catchy and easy to spell.

You should also check with your city, province, and country to see what sorts of licenses or home business licenses are mandatory to start an online business. You must follow the regulations of different locations. 

Having an LLC is the best option as this will protect your assets so it will avoid the risk of bankruptcy or lawsuits.

3. Research your Target Market and Create Buyer Personas

Now do in-depth research on your target market and get to know your prospects. Creating the right buyer personas helps you do this. It is the virtual model of your ideal customers. These profiles will help you in understanding your target audience.

4. Define Startup Expenses, Variable Expense, and Revenue Projections

This is one of the most critical things to take into account. How much money will it cost to get started? You may not have to have plenty of cash to start an online e-store.

Other than this, also set realistic short and long-term goals and also expenses. You should also consider all the functional costs and cost of goods. 

5. Study your Competitors to Evaluate their Business Strategies

You will find many paid tools to know your competitors but it is best to rely on Google Alerts as it’s easy and free. 

You just have to sign in to your Google account and hit the names of any competitors you want to track.

6. Build a Brand

Creating a brand is all about separating your business from others. For this, you need to create your brand imagery or logo.

The imagery will help you connect your customers with your brand. You should create one by considering your ideal customers’ persona. 

You also need to differentiate your brand. You need to create your brand and standing out of the competition is important to build a great brand. The best way to do this is to use your landing page of the website. 

Your home/about us page should cater to all the queries of your customers. Your business could be the same but the story should be different. 

7. Select Online Store Builder

Which online platform do you consider to create your e-store is important. Your website builder must have a selection of free and premium themes. It should be responsive and have a mobile-friendly design. 

Select Online Store Builder

Some additional features that your website should have to include a blogging option, a customer incentive program, easy inventory management, full of resources, and a training repository for easy functioning of your website.

Cost of Store Builders. 

You can sign up for monthly or yearly plans. You can expect to spend around $30/month which may go up to $300/month.

Which Store Builder to Select?

With so many options available for an online store, some of the most prominent ones include BigCommerce, Woocommerce, Shopify, Odoo and Magento.

Build Your e-Store

To build your e-store you need to:

  • Select a design connecting with your business and customers.
  • Set up payment gateways.
  • Customize your shipping settings.
  • Add content and product catalog to your online store.
  • Define return and refund policy.

8. Integrate Automated Email Marketing Tool

For online promotion, email marketing is necessary. You should segment your subscriber list into different categories to help you offer an improved customer experience. Emails should be shot throughout your eCommerce content marketing strategy.

a. Define a Sequence of pre-purchase Emails

Your pre-purchase emails should target potential customers who are the best fit for your products but who haven’t yet purchased anything from your online store. There are many popular systems and tools like Constant Contact and MailChimp that integrate and support online website building platforms for you to get started. These are often called drip marketing emails. 

Some pre-purchase emails should be to thank someone for signing up to your email list, to announce a sale, or to inform them about an exclusive discount.

b. Set up Abandoned Cart Emails.

Abandoned cart emails are for that shopper who has included many or some products to their shopping cart but for whatever reason, did not purchase or check out. These emails are shot to such customers to inform them that they still have some products on their cart and prompt them to make a purchase.

In your abandoned cart emails, you can also offer a discount or coupon code to encourage customers to buy the items they have dropped in their shopping carts. Offering limited discounts will encourage them to act fast and complete the purchase at the earliest. 

c. Create an After-purchase Email Series

Post-purchase emails help customers and long-term result in repeat sales. When a customer has purchased any product from your e-store, you can send these emails in series. It also includes order information, along with a thanks message for them for the purchase, and can also help them try out your different other products of similar nature or with added benefits. 

9. Promote Your Online Store

Promote Your Website and Business

You can never ignore the right promotional strategy which is the core of any business and its success. Promoting your website and brand is of the essence when it comes to your online success.

a. Do a lot of Testing to Ensure Everything Works Smoothly.

Before making your website live, make sure all the features and tools are working well without any bugs. All your pages, navigation, products, and forms should work smoothly.

To make sure about their right functions, test them out by hitting on the links and buttons and filling out the forms. Do not forget to navigate through the checkout process and make sure your live chat is also operative and running well. 

b. Promote your Brands and Products on Instagram. 

In case you wish to reach out to younger customers, Instagram is the best way. It helps you to connect with the younger generation influencers, who mostly have huge fan followings. They can help you promote your brands and products to their loyal audience for agreed-upon fixed prices. Several startups and even established firms chose to go this route for easy promotion in less time. 

You can also do posts from your Instagram account to help buyers to purchase your products. It is also a meaningful and impactful option as it allows shoppers a process to buy from you without searching for your site and without leaving Instagram.

c. Start FB ads campaigns.

Facebook ads are quite cheap and effective. This is why most businesses from all industry and backgrounds opt to use them. You can start posting ads with FB as little as $5/day.

Another amazing thing about Facebook is that its advertising platform helps you to target particular users. You can focus your specific customers and filter your ads by age, location, gender, age, gender, and other demographics.

To get using this ad platform you need to create a Facebook business account. Once done, you will be able to set up and run an ads campaign using an ads management platform.

Tips for Maintaining Online Store

It’s not all to create and make live your online store, you need to maintain your website also. It’s you who have to check from time to time to make sure things are doing well and all the functions are working in order.

a. Update the Content.

You must always be on the lookout for different ways to improve your online site. The best way of doing this is to ensure your content is kept up to date. This is necessary because it ensures customers are receiving the most up-to-date information every time they visit.

b. Take backups.

It’s mandatory to make sure that your e-store files are backed up frequently. And often, it’s not enough to rely on your web host provider for backups as such backups are not frequent. To be safe, it’s best to have a copy of your website on your computer at all times and which you should back-up regularly. 

c. Evaluate Links.

Both external and internal links should be maintained and reviewed regularly. This becomes particularly important when you have several outgoing links that direct to other websites. As many times, the URL on the destination portal might change or may have been deleted which results in having a broken link, which is not preferred for the SEO of your website.

Synopsis 

Now that you’ve gotten all these tools and tips, do you plan to move now more confidently? Are you planning to start your online store or would you decide to stand still and look for more information?

I am sure not a heap of resources is enough when it comes to starting an online store. You will never be 100% ready. So, it is time to act now! Do not wait for the right time or perfect conditions to line up. It will never start your online store. 

But for all the above times and tools never forget to hire a well-established e-Commerce development company to make the best out of it. 

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Published by Natvar Mistry

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