Many people around the world are making a decent living selling stuff on the internet. Gone are the days when you needed to hire an expensive web development team to build your own online store. These days, the whole process costs only a few dollars per month, as long as you are willing to put in the hard work yourself and learn along the way.
Here are some simple steps that you can follow to get your online store up and running.
Step 1: Research Your Product Category
There are two types of online store startups. One, people who have a great product idea and want to sell it online and two, people who want to sell online, but don’t know what to sell. Irrespective of which category you belong to, there are a few things you need to do before you get started.
Finding out whether there is a need for your product in the market is essential. No matter how good the product is, if no one wants to buy it, you won’t be able to sell. Similarly, working out how you will supply or create the product is vital.
Step 2: Competitor Research
Researching your competitor before you start selling will save you a lot of headaches in the long run. Just because a product is popular and everyone is buying doesn’t mean you can be successful in selling it. Sometimes, a handful of companies control the sale of a product and you can’t beat them in terms of pricing, ease of order, delivery time, etc.
Step 3: Creating your Business Plan
A business plan will not only help you stay organized but will also be useful in measuring your progress over time. You should set out a budget for a year (or a shorter amount of time), find out how much you need to sell to get your investment back, work out shipping and returns details, and set yourself small milestones to achieve so that you can track your progress.
Step 4: Buying a Domain and Web Hosting
In order to have an online presence, you will need to buy a domain and a hosting. If you do not have the technical know-how in this area, go for a reliable hosting company with good customer support. Note that if your online store is a success; you may have to pay more to get a better hosting service. However, this is an issue for later and isn’t as stressful as a successful online store means you are already making good money. So investing some of that in a quality hosting service shouldn’t be a big deal.
Step 5: Legal Issues
Depending on your location, you may have to look at the local laws before you start selling. This step is important because as soon as you have put in all the hard work and have started making sales, someone will come around and crush you. Inform yourself and follow the local laws!
Step 6: Building Your Website
Now you need to get started with building your website and populating it with products. There are many website builders out there that do not demand any programming knowledge. Most of them are quite intuitive and don’t demand a lot of time to get used to.
You will also need a good eCommerce solution so that you don’t have to worry too much about setting up shopping carts, checkout pages, or payment methods. A good eCommerce solution also provides a lot of benefits to your users including account creation, wishlists, recommendations, etc. There are both free and premium eCommerce solutions available in the market.
Step 7: Marketing Plan
Once your website is up and running, you can get started with spreading the word. Social Media Marketing is a must in today’s world, as most internet users use social media multiple times a day. There are many other ways of marketing your product out there but no matter which one you choose, the most important aspect is you have a plan in place to get a good Return on Investment.
Step 8: Launch!
Once you know how you will market your website, it is time to launch it and start making sales!