How to Start an Online Store: The Help You Need To Get Yours Up and Running.
There are currently 7.1 million online retailers in the world with 1.8 million in the United States alone. And more are opening all the time.
In the midst of all this opportunity, how do you know if opening an online store is something you should do? You’ve heard of others who succeeded but how do you know if you’ll also succeed?
Maybe you’ve been on the verge of starting your own business, but you’ve allowed fear to hold you back. Or, maybe you think you don’t have the qualifications to make it as an online entrepreneur.
The only way to know for sure is to do it yourself. And the fact that you know of others who succeeded means the odds are in your favor of making it, too.
In this article, we’ll take all the guesswork out of starting your own business. We’ll also provide you with all the tips and information you need to ensure you are able to operate a successful online store.
It’s Never Been Easier to Start an Online Store
If you’ve ever dreamed of starting an online store, there’s no better time to begin than right now. According to emarketer US consumers will spend $709.78 billion on ecommerce in 2020, which represents an increase of 18.0%. And these are the estimated numbers in spite of everything that’s going on in the world.
But there are more reasons you shouldn’t wait. We’ll talk about them more below.
- More resources than ever.
There are a ton of resources available to point you in the right direction and answer any questions you may have. Youtube is an especially helpful resource where you can find videos of people showing you step by step how to open up an online store and stock it full of products.
Another helpful resource are Facebook groups. Here you can connect with other like-minded, ecommerce website owners and gain helpful, expert advice.
- Endless amount of online store builders and features.
Online ecommerce platforms are beginner-friendly and easy to use. They take the guesswork out of designing an online store by providing a selection of pre-made, ready-to-use templates. Another great thing about these templates is that they’re easily accessible, giving you the freedom and functionality to make changes to your site whenever you see fit.
3 Signs You’re Ready to Start Your Own Ecommerce Store
Below we included a few indications that you may be ready to open your own online store. These are just some things that, if you’ve experienced them, you may consider moving forward and taking the plunge to start your small business.
- You are interested in running an online business.
Are you intrigued by the thought of running an online operation? Maybe you’ve already begun researching the idea or asked the opinion of a few friends. If this is the case, starting an online business may be something you’re ready for.
- You want to diversify and add another revenue stream.
Maybe you’re somebody who’s only looking to create an additional stream of income. If this is the case, an online store might be the perfect choice for you.
Online stores allow you the flexibility to operate them full-time or on a part-time basis. The decision on how to run yours depends entirely on you and your financial goals.
- Your needs have become more sophisticated.
If you are someone who makes your own products to sell in person, runs a brick-and-mortar storefront or if you’re already selling on platforms like Amazon or Ebay an online shop may be your next logical step. Opening one will be in your best interest. It will allow you to meet the needs of your growing business and extend your reach to new audiences.
All Your Questions Answered for How to Start an Online Store
Starting an online store can feel like a daunting task. In an effort to simplify the process, we included these step-by-step instructions to help you get started.
Establish a business strategy.
Create a brand.
Choose your online store builder.
Build your online store.
Set up email marketing automation.
Promote your brand and website.
Establish a Business Strategy
Every successful operation starts with a business plan. Ironing out your strategy now will help you outline your goals and ensure you stay on track.
- Choose a business model.
Before you go into business online, you first have to decide on a model. This should be chosen based on your knowledge, expertise and the specific product you want to sell.
Here we’ve outlined some popular ecommerce business models worth looking into.
Dropshipping: This allows you to be free from the hassles of stocking products and managing inventory. With this model, you only purchase items after the customer has bought them from your store. Then, you order the merchandise from the manufacturer and have the items shipped directly to your customer.
Wholesaling: This is when you buy products in bulk and have them stored in a warehouse. This model is encouraged for established businesses that sell products in volume. Wholesaling is often done in the B2B market with businesses that sell products to other businesses.
White Labeling: With this model, products are manufactured by a third party. But, instead of using the manufacturer’s logo and branding on the finished products, you would use your own. This is done in large part by clothing and beauty brands.
Subscription: This allows customers to subscribe to receive services or products on an ongoing basis. This model is great because it can increase your customer lifetime value and provide you with a steady, consistent income.
Print on Demand: Similar to dropshipping, print on demand frees you from stocking and managing inventory. With POD, you sell customized products that are printed after an order is placed. Then, the order is shipped directly to your customer.
All these models have their own pros and cons. You should look into each of them and select the option that best suits your current and future business needs.
- Choose a catchy name and get your business license and LLC.
If you haven’t already named your business, there are a number of free tools that will help you do it. You want to choose a business name that’s catchy, but you should avoid names that are hard to spell, difficult to pronounce or that will limit your business growth. If you have an existing small business, you should check and see if the dot com version of your business name is available.
The online Seafood retailer, Boston Sword and Tuna, has chosen a catchy name that is easy to understand. Their name signifies what they do and who they are. Therefore, customers know what to expect.
It’s important to note that when starting your business, you should always check with your city, county and state to see what sorts of sales tax licenses or home business licenses are required. This is essential because different locations have different regulations.
Starting an LLC is a great option because this structure protects your personal assets so they won’t be at risk in cases of bankruptcy or lawsuits.
- Research deep into your target audience and build personas.
The next thing you want to do is thoroughly research your target market and study your potential customers. Creating buyer personas may prove to be beneficial and help you in doing this.
Buyer personas are semi-fictional detailed representations of your ideal customers. These profiles will aid you in nailing down your target audience.
- Iron out your startup costs, variable costs and revenue projections.
One of the most important things to consider is how much money it will cost you to get started. You don’t necessarily need a ton of cash, but it’s important to be honest about what you have to work with.
You should also set realistic projection goals and consider all your expenses. You also want to keep track of all your operating costs and consider everything from web hosting to the cost of goods. Some other important expenses to take into account are variable costs, which are the costs of raw materials and packaging that often fluctuate depending on your company’s production volume. These should be factored into your budget since they are essential operating costs.
- Check out your competitors to see their monetization strategies.
There are a number of paid tools you can use to check out your competitors but we suggest Google Alerts because it’s simple and free. You can also set it up to send you an email report every time one of your competitors gets a mention.
To start using Google Alerts all you have to do is sign into your Google account and enter the names of any competitors you want to track.
For more Information www.bigcommerce.com