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Launch Your Business

How to Start an Online Store with a Bang

There's no doubt that the Internet has completely changed the way we do business.

You can now open an online store in less than an hour and sell things to people all over the world. Nothing is impossible if you want to start an eCommerce business, do drop shipping, or use affiliate marketing. Setting up a domain name and getting your site ready for launch day are just a few of the things that this post will help you with.

Why are you still here? 

Now let's begin.

9 Benefits of Starting an Online Store

Launching a successful online store has many benefits including:

  • Speed: You can launch your eCommerce store site in less than an hour.
  • Accessibility: Your eCommerce site is accessible from any device with internet access, so you don't have to worry about missing out on sales when you're traveling.
  • Convenience: It's easy for potential customers to compare items and find the products they want in one place.
  • Quick Delivery: No matter your small business model, niche, or what you want to sell, there’s no more waiting for inventory to arrive.
  • Open 24/7: Customers can shop any day at any time—your eCommerce business never closes, you make money while you sleep.
  • Flexible: Starting an eCommerce business is a great way to launch your business and make money doing what you love.
  • Global: You sell your products to a huge global audience which hikes your profits.
  • Zero Paperwork: Less paper waste since everything is digital.
  • Personalization: Digital sales channels and online stores are easy to optimize and personalize, thus improving customer experience.

So based on that list alone, I'd say that starting an eCommerce business is worthwhile.

How to Start an Online Store in 15 Steps

Setting up your store isn't as daunting as it seems if you follow these steps.

Step 1: Choose a Domain Name

Pick a domain name that goes with your business name if you want to open an online store. Registration for a lot of different things is possible, and each has its own pros and cons. You should pick a domain name that is easy to remember, easy to spell, and helps people remember your business. We suggest that you come up with something unique for your brand because it's important not to use popular words or phrases.

Step 2: Pick Your eCommerce Platform

You can pick from a lot of different eCommerce systems.

Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce are some of the more well-known choices. These platforms come with everything you need to get your store up and running, like themes (or templates) that make it look professional and friendly. They also have all the features you need to run an online business, like e-commerce, customer management, and data.

The best thing?

You can make an eCommerce site without spending any money because most platforms let you try them out for free.

Step 3: Setup Your Website

Your website should be fully set up and have all the pages it needs. Check each page carefully before going live to make sure everything is set up the way you want it for your launch day. You should ask friends or coworkers what they think before you launch, just in case you need to make any changes. This will make the day of the launch go more easily, and your website won't have any embarrassing mistakes or pages that are missing.

1. Design Your Site:

A lot of people find it hard on start day to design their site. The style you make for your store should look professional and be easy for customers to find their way around. Picking colors and styles, making logos, and coming up with slogans or brand names are all part of this. Your business should have a brand that people can remember. People will be able to find you online more easily and trust your goods more because they know what to expect from you.

2. Setup Your Brand's Logo:

The first thing you need to do to open an online store is make a logo. Your name is the public face of your business. It should show what you do, how you do it, and who you are as a brand. You should make sure that people know who you are and what your business does when they see it. Coming up with a unique idea that stands out is important for any mark, whether it's for yourself or the whole brand.

3. Easy Navigation:

Make sure the navigation is easy and intuitive so that customers can easily find their way around.

4. Good Design:

Spend some time making your website look professional and friendly for people who might visit it. You should also make sure you put as much work into this as you can because it's one of the first things people will see when they load your page!

5. Mobile Optimization:

These days, mobile optimization is important and will help you get more visitors. If you launch without a mobile-friendly style, you might lose money because your site won't work on any device. Also, more than half of people who use the Internet now do so on their phones or other personal devices.

Step 4: Setup Your Storefront

Store owners should not ignore this page: The home page.

Put your site together in a way that makes it simple for people to find what they need right away. This means your site needs to be well-designed with good pictures of your products and clear details.

You also need a big hero picture that shows off your unique product.

If you're offering huge deals, you should make them stand out on the home page. Shoppers should be able to see them as soon as they get to your site.

The number of clicks it takes to get to product pages is another important thing you need to work on. Make sure that it only takes two clicks for customers to get to your product pages. The number of conversions and sales goes up.

That's it! Now people can quickly find what they need in your store, which is important for launch day.

Step 5: Setup eCommerce Features

Once the site design has been finalized, it's time to launch the eCommerce features. This includes setting up shipping and payment options, inventory management, customer data, and analytics.

Let’s explore each one.

  • Shopping cart: make sure you set up a reliable shopping cart for a frictionless checkout experience.
  • Shipping: shipping costs are one of the key considerations for buyers so make sure it’s set up accordingly so people know upfront how much they will pay.
  • Customer support: incorporate modern customer support systems like self-service, live chat, omni-channel support, and chatbots.
  • Payment options: set flexible payment methods that take many credit cards to widen customer options.
  • Analytics: add Google Analytics and other specialized eCommerce analytics tools for valuable data insights to help your store grow.

Step 6: Choose Your Products and Pricing

Pick the right items to start with and set the prices right.

So that your customers can find what they're looking for, you should have a lot of different goods. But you should also think about how much you can make on each one.

Different pricing tactics work for different amounts of goods that a customer buys. You can sell things at bulk prices if someone buys a lot of them. When someone buys just one item, check online to see what the going rate is and set your prices properly.

Step 7: Find Your Suppliers

Finding your suppliers for the items that you're going to be selling on your site is one of the most important steps in starting an eCommerce business.

The first place I recommend looking at is Alibaba's "Manufacturers" or China wholesale providers like Made In China, DHgate, and Focal Price.

Step 8: Find Packaging and Shipping Companies

Packaging is a key component in launch day because you'll need to send your products off to customers.

There are many options out there that offer fulfillment services that allow you to ship orders straight from their warehouses with the click of a button. This is especially important for launch day because you'll need to make sure you ship off all of your products to customers as soon as possible.

Step 9: Add Products to Sell

Add all the products you will sell to your website.

  • Product photos: Make sure you use high-resolution product photos that’ll lure customers and whet their buying appetites.
  • Product descriptions: Photos alone can’t convince consumers to buy. Besides top-drawer product photography, write a tantalizing product description for each product.
  • Product categories: Group your products into categories according to their similarities for easy navigation.

Step 10: Decide on Your Opening Day Deals

Any online store that sells things needs to make a choice about launch day deals.

If you choose to have a sale or offer to launch your site, make sure it's something to be proud of! Try not to do anything too big on launch day, like lowering the prices of everything in the store by 50%. This could make customers unhappy with their expectations.

It's best to start with a deal that will still allow you to grow in the future, like giving away free shipping or discounts on your best-selling items.

Step 11: Optimize Your New Store for SEO

A lot of people can find your page through search engines.

An SEO-friendly shop can help you sell things online without doing anything.

When business owners use SEO to sell their products, they pay attention to the following parts of their online stores:

  • Store Architecture: organize your website pages in a way that makes it easier for shoppers to find what they are looking for.
  • Keywords: massage keywords into your product description tag, product categories, and product copy.
  • Link Building: build links to your online shop to give yourself a better chance of ranking for competitive keywords.
  • Site Audit: run a technical SEO audit to make sure every search engine optimization detail is taken care of. Use tools like Screaming Frog or Raven Tools for the task.

Step 12: Do Last-Minute Checks

Here are some last-minute tips to help you get your online store up and running:

Make sure you check every little thing about your store before you open it. Make sure that the date you intend to open is correct on your Google calendar and that it syncs with all of your devices.

  • Check if all items are in stock and ready for purchase at launch time; be wary of any products where the launch date is too far in advance.
  • Check the display settings on your site and make sure that they reflect how you want your store to look for launch day.
  • Check up on any social networks profiles where you will post photos or announcements about the launch of your eCommerce store so all links are active!
  • Ensure that you set up shipping rates for the opening day, including international pricing (I recommend setting up zones at this point).
  • Confirm that all of your links are working and there's nothing broken on the website before the launch date.
  • Create a launch email blast list–send emails to internal staff members and customers with an announcement about launch day.

Step 13: Get Traffic on Opening Day

It's finally your big day. Now is the time to really market your website. Make sure you did everything in the steps above so that everything is ready for the big day. Getting as many people as possible interested in what you have to offer is important when you start your site.

Try getting traffic from these three sources:

1. Email Marketing

I’m sure you know that your email list is a vital asset in digital marketing. You must grow it from day one of your venture. On launch day, send an email blast letting subscribers know you are now open for business.

2. Social Media

You can use social media to market your business these days because that's how most people learn about new goods or services. Not only should you have a social media account, but you should also have a lot of followers and reach to begin with. You can add as many Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram followers as you think will be interested in what you're doing.

3. Paid Advertising

Don’t just rely on organic traffic to get buyers otherwise you may be disappointed. Spread the word about your shop through paid adverts such as Facebook Ads as well.

We recommend sending out a few last emails, updating your social media, and making sure you're getting traffic.

Step 14: Explore Additional Marketing Tools

It can be difficult to start your online store and keep up with all the marketing tasks necessary for success. We recommend using a tool like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, which will help you automate some of these tasks and launch your marketing campaign with confidence.

Step 15: Keep it Going

Making changes to your site is important if you want people to still want to follow it after launch day.

When they first open, the best online shops don't make a big deal out of it. The right things are always being done by them, every day, every week, every month, every year. 

The journey doesn't end on launch day. After the start, you'll need a marketing plan to keep the buzz going and make sure people are still talking about you months later! We suggest setting aside time for marketing a long time before the start.

Want a quick way to open an online store? A tool that does all of these things and more?

Go ahead and use Shopify Store.

Shopify Store Templates and Tips

It's easy to open an online store with Shopify, which is one of the best e-Commerce website builders out there.

Shopify has a lot of free and paid models you can use to get started, but if you want more customization, you might also want to hire someone from outside of Shopify. There are also a lot of themes you can use to give your WordPress site some style without having to do a lot of design work.

This is why you should use Shopify to build your store:

  • Customizable Themes: you can personalize the websites to fit your brand color scheme and feel.
  • 3000+ Apps: Shopify Store has an app for every eCommerce occasion from their array of free and paid apps.
  • Shipping Costs: the system automatically calculates shipping costs for each customer so you don’t have to.
  • Abandoned Cart: you will quickly recover lost sales through the abandoned cart feature.
  • Inventory Management: easily set up inventory tracking, change inventory quantities, view product inventory history, and more.
  • Social Media: add share buttons to your blog posts and other pages of your site.

For a quick launch, use Shopify to build your store. As a built-for-purpose eCommerce platform, they have all of the essential tools you need right out of the gate.

Thinking of Starting an Online Store?

If you want to start an eCommerce store, take a look at this checklist of things to consider to help decide if it is right for you:

Do I have the time to launch?

If you're already running a business, launching a digital store may not be the best idea as it will take up more of your time.

This is especially important if you have employees or other obligations outside of your company and personal life. It's also worth considering how much money you can put upfront, your opening day costs, and how will you generate revenue.

Do I have enough money to launch?

Just because anyone with an idea and the know-how can start an eCommerce store doesn't mean that they should do so if they're not financially sound. Think about what type of return on investment (ROI) you think the launch will have and how much money you'll need upfront.

Will I be able to generate an income after opening day?

This is a difficult question, especially if you're unsure of your product's potential or marketability. If it takes time for customers to come back to your store again (or buy from you again) then it may not be worth launching at all.

Do I have the expertise to launch my site?

If this is your first time starting a virtual shop, chances are that there will be some bugs or mistakes. It's important to make sure that you're equipped with enough knowledge and understanding of how your site works before launch day, or else you'll be overloaded with work after you open your doors.

What is my budget for launch?

Launch day costs can vary drastically depending on what type of eCommerce store and how many products are being sold but the most common cost factors include domain names, hosting fees, designing your website (for both mobile and desktop), eCommerce software, and launch day marketing. These opening costs can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands so you must have enough money in your budget for opening day.

Am I focusing on the right target market?

The products or marketing strategies won’t help you if you are not targeting the right people. Double-check your buyer personas so you attract the right crowd for a successful online shop.

Create an Online Store and Bring In the Big Bucks

There's no doubt that opening an online store can bring in a lot of money.

If you follow these tips, you can open an online store that does really well and makes you a lot of money much faster than you thought possible.

Only the beginning is hard.

To keep growing and making sales long after opening day, it's important to keep doing the right things.

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