Starting your own online store is very, very easy. Like, seriously easy. It can be done cheaply and quickly thanks to the huge range of platforms—Shopify, PrestaShop, and WooCommerce—and integrations out there.
Creating an online store is the easy part; ranking them in search engines and getting customers and getting them to come back for more is the hard part.
There are millions of online stores out there and competition is fierce. Still, if you are willing to put in the time and effort required to adequately research and develop a viable product and business plan, you could fare quite well.
The entire world is now online and there is a huge market out there waiting for the next big product. Could it be yours?
Starting an Online Store: What You Need to Know
There is no shortage of advice out there. Figuring out what is good and bad advice, however, is time-consuming, and that’s not to mention all the so-called “influencers” trying to sell you their books, courses, videos, guides, and information.
Don’t bother with that stuff; make use of the wealth of information that is available for free online.
Here is some advice from us.
1. Choose the right system for your online store
You need to make sure you are building your online store on a system that is robust and can handle everything thrown at it. You don’t want something that’s old and outdated, that’s for sure.
Today, there are plenty of viable options.
Shopify, for example, is a powerful solution with a huge community behind it that lets you create a beautiful, responsive online store in a matter of minutes. Other viable examples include PrestaShop and WooCommerce alongside a WordPress website, too.
All these vary in pricing and functionality. Do your research and choose the right one for you.
2. Ensure your site is properly optimized
Slow page loading times, among other things, are going to make your customers leave and never come back. If you are using Shopify or another hosted e-commerce solution, then this is something you won’t need to worry about.
If, however, you are using WordPress or any other self-hosted CMS then optimizing your site and ensuring that it loads quickly is essential.
There are plenty of guides available on the internet that talk about SEO. We recommend having a read of them and start applying it to your own online store.
3. Be yourself, be unique, be memorable
Unless you are manufacturing your very own bespoke products, you need to put significant effort into being unique and memorable. When you are drop-shipping or selling items created by another manufacturer, this can be difficult, especially if you are using product descriptions, imagery, and livery supplied to you by the manufacturer.
Using these will make your store exactly the same as the hundreds of other ones that are selling the same products.
At the very least, write your own product descriptions and take your own pictures of the product you are selling.
4. Know your competition
Before launching your online store, you need to know what you are up against. If you haven’t carried out enough research then you may end up spending lots of time, effort, and money launching an online store in an area where there is extremely high competition.
The more competition you have, the harder it will be for you to make a success of your endeavors.
Competitor research is the most important thing you can do. You should use it as a way to think about how you can “one-up” them and entice customers to go with you instead of them.
5. Expand your content with customer feedback
Simply having a product page, image, and a short paragraph is not enough. Consumers want to see if your product holds up to its promises and the best way to demonstrate this is by using customer feedback and input.
Enable reviews on your product pages, share an Instagram feed that captures images using your own hashtag, and add in real customer testimonials.
These are just three examples of the things you can do to make your product more sellable.