Do you have a yearning to be your own boss, work from home and spend more time doing the things you love? If you said yes and you have a working understanding about sales and the Internet, learning how to start an online store could be just the opportunity you’ve been seeking. Starting an online business isn’t as hard as you might think-it’s certainly easier than starting a brick and mortar location. Plus, the start-up funds needed are far less than they would be with a physical store location.
How to Start an Online Store from the Start
In fact, the hardest part of starting an online business is actually figuring out what it is you want to sell. You have to research how feasible your ideas are and do a little bit of research to see if you can make a living on what you’ll be selling. To get you started, take a look at these top-grossing online store ideas and see if you can tell which one is the best for someone like yourself:
- Start online bookstore
- Start online clothing store
- Start online shoe store
- Start online fashion store
- Start online boutique
Could you tell? Actually, it’s a trick question because all of those are feasible online store ideas and none of them are-it all depends on you. It depends on your passion for the project as well as your determination, commitment and drive. While we did say that learning how to start an online store is easy, we never said that it’d stay that way as time moved on.
How to Start an Online Store-Research and Development Phase
To start off with, you’ll want to establish the price range and some of the buying habits of consumers for the niches you are consider entering. This is important because when you approach the suppliers, you’ll want to have some firm numbers in mind about what your margins are going to be. Subtract your wholesale cost from the price you think you can sell the items at and that number is your margin. Can you sell enough product to multiply that number into a living?
To help cut down on costs and widen your margins, you might consider a company that can provide you with wholesale dropshipping services rather than trying to store your own inventory and deal with shipping and packing. You can also sell products with private licensing rights (PLR) to make a ton of money selling items online.
You’ll want to do some research at this phase of the game, checking through Facebook markets to get a better handle on your demographic. Talk with SEO companies about how they’d go about implementing a marketing strategy for your idea and price the plans. They shouldn’t charge you for ideas, so even if you don’t hire them, at least you’ll have an idea about what your personal marketing goals should be.
Actualizing the Plan to Start an Online Business
Once you have your marketing goals in place, physically write down your business plan to incorporate each of these goals as an end strategy. You’ll want to set up phases that address all the lines of assumption that take place during a sales funnel-what your customers are assuming, what the product you’re offering is assuming and what your personal fulfillment assumptions are. Once you have this all written down for easy reference, it’s time to start working on your website.
Starting the Website Development for Your Online Store
Whether you’re going to take care of your website by yourself or go with a professional web designer and developer, the more you take advantage of the tools that are out there, the better off you’ll be in the long run. For self-starters, this means doing your homework about domain name registration and webhosting sites. It’s better to get a package where you pay a little more, but get dedicated servers and tools that make it easy to drag-drop templates, track your visitors and sales and have a secure shopping cart program.
Choose a domain name that is short and catchy, but one that represents your wares. Think of the strongest keyword that your customers will use to find you and try to incorporate that in the URL. If the name is taken, try spelling out numbers or alternatives like that. If you have a hosting service, the domain registry should spit out some alternatives that aren’t taken. On the other hand, if you can afford it, now would be a good time to invest in a web designer since that will help your SEO and SERP rankings immensely-not to mention help you with your domain name.
Keep in mind that the website doesn’t need to be flashy-it should have a lot of white space, simple fonts and colors and include nice pictures with vibrant descriptions. When it’s all said and done, you want your customer to get to your online store and immediately know where to find what they are looking for. Not counting narrowing down selections with option buttons, it should never take your customer more than two or three clicks to get the product they want into their shopping cart-any longer than that and starting an online business will be closely followed by ending an online business!
How to Start an Online Store-Choosing the Right eCommerce Software
You should pay extremely close attention to the eCommerce software you chose. It should provide secure purchasing options and speak to the type of items you are selling. If you’re planning on having lots of repeat customers and the stakes are pretty high, look for eCommerce software that stores more of the customers’ financial information. This will help with marketing strategies since these types of software programs can send automated email blasts to everyone on your mailing list.
Really take your time here and do your homework. Look for customer reviews and see if there are businesses that are in your niche using that eCommerce platform-if so, it’s probably a safe bet if you used it also.
When you’ve chosen a eCommerce platform, set up a merchant account with a bank or financial institution so that you can accept credit card payments. Banks do cost more, so if you’re just starting out, a great option for starting an online business is PayPal. Whatever you wind up choosing, we can’t stress enough how important having a secure payment site in place for your customers is. Display any badges or certificates of security directly on the check-out page.
After the website is in development, contact your local Office of the Secretary of State and follow all of the laws and requirements for establishing an LLC or Corporation in your area.
The Launch Party
While the website is being built and all your papers are being filed, you should be creating as much of a buzz around your launch as possible. Apply your indirect marketing strategy here and get some articles out there that will drive traffic to your site. Offer discount coupon codes and if possible, offers and deals through site like Groupon. The key here is that you want people waiting for your site to go online, not finding out about it after the launch.
You should build up an email list beforehand and then blast out your launch info starting a week before launch. Learning how to start an online store may have been easy so far, but this is where it starts to get hard.
How to Start an Online Store that Makes Money
Of course, with the right information in your hands, starting an online business doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, there are many programs and courses out there which make it simple, fun and easy to learn how to start an online store. Plus, there are all sorts of tips and tricks to help you with the advanced material.
To find out more about keeping your online retail store afloat and profitable, click here http://www.PetyaEdwards.com right now and start making more sales, today.