Even though it may seem way too hard to begin an online retail business and become an entrepreneur, in reality, shifting to eCommerce is not that difficult. Of course, there’s a lot of planning to be done, you’ll need to put in some effort in building your online store, and running the whole thing may be a challenge but it’ll pay off in the long run.
In this article, we’ll make your life easier and share the major steps that make up the process of starting your own online store.
3 Steps for Starting an Online Store
Step 1: Figure out what you want to sell
Perhaps the first thing you need to ask yourself deals with the niche or sphere that you’re planning to work in. The best thing that you can do is not choose in favor of something too unique or targeted at a very narrow audience. Yes, there are buyers for things that aren’t commonly available throughout. But if you’re just starting out and don’t have a clear vision of what you’d want to do, when aiming at a category that’ll be in demand far and wide, you’ll pick a safer path to move along.
Your pricing range is another vital question worth giving extra thought. Too cheap or too expensive are both divisive choices. If you go for prices that are just “too good”, you’ll be making less money and will have a lot of work with handling orders. If you overdo it with skyrocket prices for your products, shoppers will most likely choose someone else over you. That’s why it is wise to set your sights on the meridian.
Step 2: Decide on the type of your store
This isn’t about visuals. We’re talking about whether you are considering dropshipping as the way to go or storing all of the products that you’ll resell in your own warehouse. If we are not going to take into consideration the scenario of you manufacturing the products, we’re left with two options: retail or dropshipping. Let’s discuss what they differ in.
In the case of good old retail, you resell something that is produced not by your company. You stock up with these products, they are kept in your inventory and sold from it to your clients at a slightly bigger price than what you’ve bought it for. I.e. you display these products on your website, a person purchases them, you pack and ship them.
What’s for dropshipping, you don’t have to handle the product at any point. In fact, you never even have it. This is the type of product resell when you have to find a wholesaler or manufacturer that’ll agree to do business with you. That said, this means that they allow you to resell their products, put them up on your website at a higher price, and you buy these products if a client wants it from this wholesaler at a reduced price. Importantly, it’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to take care of the order, pack the items, and ship them to the customer, not yours. You just provide them with the order data and client details.
Both options have their strong points and downsides, of course. In the first case, you have to spend extra resources on storage space, on putting orders together, on product delivery. On the other hand, with dropshipping, you have zero control over how your partner-manufacturer or wholesaler will deliver the product, whether it’ll be good or not, and the bad thing is that since the client paid YOU for the order, you are the one to handle possible complaints and issues.
Step 3: Launching your online store
Select your platform
There’s a lot to be covered in this step. To begin, bear in mind that there’s more than one eCommerce platform that you can use for your store. The most renowned among them are Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, Wix, and BigCommerce.
For instance, Magento is considered to be the platform that removes all limits and allows maximum opportunities for website customization. With this platform, you can build something really unique and tailored right around what you want, not just drag-and-drop limited features, but in this case, you’ll need to opt for the services of a Magento front end developer.
Other platforms, such as Wix, Shopify, or the WordPress & WooCommerce option, are designed for giving people with no technical skills the opportunity to assemble their website by themselves using the blocks that can be moved around the page.
Get a hosting, domain, and SSL certificate
These three “ingredients” are vital for creating your store. Your hosting is the place where your website information is stored, the domain name is that very “www” address your website will have, and if you’re planning to sell something on the website, it won’t be possible without the SSL certificate.
That said, many hostings that are considered to be a great fit for eCommerce stores have plans that cover all of the three above. Some even offer the already installed platform for putting together your “to be” store, such as WordPress and WooCommerce. Mentioning a couple of hosting examples that have such combo plans are HostGator and Bluehost.
Assemble the store
Now that you have a plan, a hosting, a certificate, and a platform to build on, it’s high time to put together your store. If you’ve chosen in favor of simpler platforms for non-techy users, then the intuitive Setup wizards will help you to create pages using drag and drop. The most time-consuming part that’ll be ahead for you will deal with creating your product database with proper categorization as well as the setups that’ll deal with the way your store accepts payments. All in all, this point will specifically differ based on the selected platform.
Summing up all the stated above, creating a great selling online store is far from being impossible. With some thorough planning and enough time put into the construction of the business, creating an eCommerce store can be a real deal for you. And the greatest part is that there’s always room for improvement, so you can continue expanding your website as you go.