Starting an Online Store in 2022 is Easier Than Ever.
Creating a website a few decades ago was a difficult task, especially for someone who was not tech-savvy and didn\'t know how to code. However, thanks to modern tools and website builders, anyone with a computer and an internet connection can now launch an eCommerce business in minutes.
However, before you set up your online store, you must decide on a few things, such as what you will sell, how you will handle shipping and payments, and, most importantly, what marketing strategies you will employ.
You\'ll learn how to start an eCommerce website quickly from scratch if you follow our step-by-step online store building guide.
Ready? Let’s start.
1. Determine What You Wish to Sell
The first and most important step is to identify your niche. A niche, as it is commonly defined, is a specific segment of a larger market.
Please forgive me if this sounds a little too dictionary-like. Let us simplify things a little. Essentially, when deciding on a niche, you must decide:
- What are you looking to sell?
- Who are you planning on selling it to?
- Why would they purchase it?
These three questions may appear to be self-evident, but they are not.
Determining your ideal customer base and why they would purchase from you will make your job much easier later on. The most common mistake people make is going too broad in the hope that the larger the potential market, the more likely they will have good sales. This is not the case.
If your target customer base is simply \”people who breathe,\” you\'ll have a difficult time positioning your product in the market, promoting it, and explaining what makes it so valuable.
Overall, concentrating on one niche is preferable to attempting to cover all bases.
It is best to begin in an area where you already have a personal interest, expert knowledge, or passion. It\'s extremely difficult to operate in a field about which you know nothing.
So, start with your interests and work your way up. Define your ideal customer and what motivates them to buy the products you want to sell.
Looking at what your competition in the niche is doing is a good place to start. Take a look at how they position their products and who their customers are. Learn from it and build on the experiences of others.
Decide whether to dropship or sell your own products.
Let\'s start at the beginning by describing two common eCommerce scenarios:
The first scenario is the traditional way of running an online store. According to this model:
- (1) you obtain products from a supplier or make them yourself → (2) You sell those products to customers through your website → (3) The customer purchases the product → (4) You send them the product.
The dropshipping model is as follows:
- (1) To begin, you list the products on your website → (2) The customer purchases the product → (3) The supplier delivers the product to the customer.
The main advantage of the dropshipping model is that no inventory is required. This means that there are no costs associated with producing or storing the products. In fact, everything you sell is pure profit because you only have to pay the supplier after your customer places an order.
In the traditional model, you must pay money up front to either obtain products from a supplier or have them manufactured. That must be completed before you can begin selling them.
Dropshipping, on the other hand, is not for you if the products you want to sell are your own creations or require customization/personalization before they can be sold.
Overall, if possible, choose dropshipping – especially if this is your first attempt at starting an online store. Dropshipping is an excellent way to test the waters and ensure that the products you want to sell are indeed desirable to customers. Later on, you can expand and start selling your own products.
3. Select the Specific Products to Sell
One of the best parts about dropshipping is that there are so many different products to choose from in almost every niche.
This is fantastic news for new businesses that don\'t want to invest in their own product development. The overall steps are as follows:
- Investigate your niche. Look at what your competitors are selling and what their best-selling products are.
- Investigate web content sites to determine what types of challenges, products, or general topics your target audience reads about.
- Examine niche-related forums to see what your customers are talking about.
- Google the keywords that are most relevant to your niche.
- Go to Amazon and conduct a similar search. Examine which products sell well.
With all of your research completed, you can now visit some popular markets and simply look for specific products to sell.
AliExpress is the largest market of this type. By most standards, it\'s a standard e-commerce marketplace, but it also allows you to build relationships with merchants and offer their products as a dropshipper. Go there and look for products that are in line with your research while also appearing to be interesting enough for your customer base to enjoy.
We recommend starting with between 10 and 50 products. This will provide you with more than enough items to complete your store while also not overwhelming you with what is going on as you work with the store on a daily basis.
When creating a product list, keep the following points in mind:
- Check that the product is available for shipping in the areas where your target audience resides. Also, lower shipping costs are preferable.
- Check the shipping times to ensure they do not exceed what you consider acceptable (we leave deciding what is and isn\'t acceptable to your discretion).
- Avoid brand-name products as much as possible (you don\'t want to rely on being able to sell Adidas sneakers, for example).
- It is common practice for dropshipping stores to set their margins at around 50%. In other words, when looking for products to sell, look for those that are half the price of what you want to sell them for.
As previously stated, a list of 10-50 products is sufficient for a start. That list will be used later when we import the products into your actual online store.
4. Create a brand name and register a domain name.
Choosing a domain name for your store is undoubtedly the most enjoyable aspect of the process. People, especially business owners, enjoy naming things.
However. The name you choose can have a significant impact on your future success and ability to effectively market the business. Here are some things to consider when coming up with a business name:
- Choose an Easy-to-Pronounce Name
Consider yourself on the phone with someone and you need to mention the name of your store. Is it necessary for you to spell it out for the other person to understand?
If you do, the name will be too complicated. Choose something simple and easy to pronounce the first time.
- Choose an Easy-to-Remember Name
This is somewhat related to the previous point. Your name should be easy to remember as well as easy to pronounce.
There are several ways to accomplish this. One solution is to use a completely made-up word as your name (think \”Google\”). Alternatively, you can combine two words that have real meanings but create something unique when combined (think \”Facebook\”).
- Choose a Name That Can Be Branded
Your name should be unique enough that no one will confuse it with another similar business.
For instance, if you want to name your pizzeria \”Pizza Den,\” but there is already a business in town called \”Pizza Pan,\” it is not a good name.
- Choose a Name That Is Short
Not more than a couple of words long. Any longer, and it will be more difficult to remember and less brandable.
- No special characters or numbers should be used.
Forget about dots, underscores, dashes, and so on.
- Choose a.com domain name that is available.
The.com domain name extension is the most popular and important of the bunch. If you\'re coming up with a name, avoid anything that doesn\'t have a.com domain available.
Check a domain registrar site like Hostinger.com to see if your desired domain name is available (but don\'t buy it yet).
5. Create Your Own Online Store Website
Finally, it\'s time to create a real online store.
The best part is that you can do it all on your own, with no professional assistance required, and without sacrificing the final product\'s quality. Your online store will be just as functional and appealing as if it were designed by a professional.
We strongly advise using WooCommerce to accomplish this.
- A step-by-step WooCommerce tutorial can be found here.
You must first create a website before you can begin building your online store with WooCommerce. Check out our step-by-step tutorial on how to build a website with WordPress for more information.
There are, however, other ways to set up an online store. You can also use Shopify (or any of the other eCommerce platforms available).
6. Configure Payment Methods
Accepting payments from customers is the final piece of the puzzle when attempting to start an online store.
WooCommerce by default allows you to accept payments via PayPal. You also don\'t have to do much to enable this payment system. You most likely took care of it during the initial WooCommerce installation.
However, you can use a different payment system or even a couple of different systems at the same time. One reason for this could be that some of your customers prefer certain payment methods over others. As a result, the more of them you have integrated into your store, the more sales you will receive.
Stripe and Square are two of the most popular additional payment methods for WooCommerce. If you want to accept credit cards, these are excellent options (which you surely do).
Stripe and Square are both free to begin with. However, as with any payment method, there are additional fees imposed on each transaction (the same as with PayPal), so be aware of this.
Installing a new payment method in your eCommerce store is simple. All of these payment systems are delivered as WordPress plugins, which you can install in the same way you did WooCommerce.
Following that, each payment system has its own setup procedure. Most of the time, all you have to do is create an account and verify your information.
7. Begin Promoting Your Online Store
There are many different things you can do to promote your store, but we\'ll focus on just four here – the four that are most likely to work in 2022 and beyond.
Marketing Through Influencers
Influencer marketing is a relatively new method of promoting your business. The majority of it is done on Instagram.
This is how it works:
- Find people who are well-known in your field or who are easily identifiable for whatever reason.
- Contact them and inquire about their rates for promoting products similar to yours. Pay attention to the size of their following as well as the number of engagements they receive on similar posts.
- Set a schedule for two or three promotional posts and send them your products.
Paid advertisements almost never fail. If there is a market for something and you advertise to that market, you will make some sales.
Google AdWords is the most popular platform for advertising your products. It is relatively simple to get started with them, and Google has its own guides to walk you through the first steps.
Marketing on Social Media
While Instagram is undoubtedly the most popular social media platform today, it is not the only place where you should promote your store.
In fact, you should be present in every location where your customers are likely to congregate. In the modern era, this includes the majority of the popular social media networks. Or, at the very least, the most popular ones such as Facebook, Twitter, and, optionally, Pinterest (if your customers use it).
Your approach to all of these networks will be similar, but your goals and message construction will differ.
The first thing you should do is research what your competitors are doing and how they promote their businesses. Take note of their strategies and tactics, and consider how you can apply them to your own situation. Pay special attention to:
- the type of messages they post.
- the frequency with which they post
- how frequently they directly promote their products
- What is their overall tone, and how do their messages make you feel?
Next, decide what you want to accomplish through social media.
Most commonly, those objectives should be to increase customer brand awareness while only occasionally promoting your products and attempting to generate direct sales. You\'ll quickly alienate people if you push your product too hard.
The next step is to create a publication calendar and plan some social media posts ahead of time. You can then use tools like Buffer to publish those posts.
SEO and content marketing
Content marketing and SEO are now the most effective ways to promote any website (including eCommerce stores).
The concept behind content marketing is straightforward: you provide people with insights on topics related to your business, generating interest in what you have to offer.
For example, if your store sells winter socks, you can advise customers on how to choose ski socks. That advice can be delivered in the form of a simple blog post. People who read your content are also introduced to your store and the socks in your catalog.
The same principle applies to any market or niche. Determine what people want to know and then create content that provides that information.
When doing so, optimize your content so that it is more easily found on Google. According to reports, Google accounts for 94 percent of all organic web traffic.
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Congrats! If you followed our instructions, you should now understand the fundamentals of how to start an online store.
Isn\'t it simple?
If you have any additional comments or questions about how to start an online store, please leave them in the comments section below!