I recently set up an online store for the first time, and I’ve learned a ton of lessons on what you need to know about how to start an online store that drives sales. Learn from my mistakes by reading this post and you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.
1) Analyze Your Competition
You need to take a long hard look at your competition and figure out how they’re different than you. What differentiates their store? What products do they offer that you don’t? What is the one thing that your competition is doing that you can do it better because of your unique value proposition?
2) Focus On Shipping & Handling Time
It’s important to remember that shipping costs aren’t determined by the weight of the items. They’re determined by how fast the item gets from your house to their house. If you decide not to ship internationally then you’ll have an advantage over most online companies since they’ll need to ship internationally.
3) Find a Niche Market and Focus On It
You need to find an online market that has a demand for your products. Research what your target audience wants, and then go out and provide that to them. If you try to sell everything on your site, you’ll have very little success since there are no customers for you to sell to.
4) Take Advantage of Affiliate Programs
In addition, you can make a lot of money from affiliate companies by selling their products because you don’t have to handle the shipment and customer service. You just give an online link and tell people where to buy it.
5) Create a Website or Use an Existing Storefront?
There are two ways to start a website, either build it from scratch or use an existing platform like Shopify.com. I would recommend that you use Shopify, since it’s easy to learn and setup and it has thousands of pre-built templates to choose from.
6) Get a Good Domain Name
Having a good domain name is crucial because that’s what will pop up whenever people googles your product or service. You want customers to be able to find you quickly and easily. A good brand name would help significantly since that’s what people will use to remember your site.
7) Make sure you have a secure SSL certificate:
So customers can feel safe when they’re giving you their credit card information. People don’t like to enter their credit card information on sites that are not secure.
There are lots of eCommerce stores that accept Bitcoin, so make sure you are able to accept this form of payment as well. It’s the secret behind the success of sites like CoinBase and BitPay.
Think about how you’re going to handle customer service issues when they arise. Find a way to streamline the process and keep it simple because you don’t want to deal with angry customers.
8) Make sure you offer free shipping on orders over $100.
This is a great way to compete with other sites for sales. In addition, be sure to have expedited shipping rates as well.
9) Use a Shipping Processing Center for Shipping
If you’re planning on selling products online, then you’ll need an advanced shipping software that will help your business run smoothly. All these different shipping companies can be confusing so it’s best to find one that’s familiar to you and manage it from there. I use Ship Nanny for that purpose.
10) Be sure to beautify your site a call-to-action button:
If someone visits your site from Google searches, they’ll see the CTA first then they’ll be taken through a series of pages until they reach the product or service that they want to buy.
11) Make sure you have a blog
So you can explain what your business does and how you’re different from your competition. Most online stores are built with affiliate programs in mind, but the site needs an overall purpose of providing value to their customers. I would recommend buying a WordPress theme and customize it to make your site stand out from everyone else.
12) Setup A PayPal Account (if possible)
So that you can accept payments through this platform instead of having someone ship the product to a different address.
Take advantage of all the free tools that are available because they can really help your business grow. Most people don’t realize how powerful they are and they never re-use them again.
13) Create a content management system.
This is a WordPress plugin that will help you create pages and posts online in a matter of minutes, instead of having to learn HTML and programming languages.
14) Make sure you have an email signup form
So customers can sign up for your newsletter.
15) Install a blog software
So that you can write about your business and what it’s all about.
16) Consider having a lawyer:
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, a lawyer is one of the most important things you need to start your business. That’s because they can help you with issues like trademarks, copyrights, and contracts.
17) Start a podcast or YouTube channel:
So that people can get to know you better and see what your business is all about.
18) Get a good accountant.
If you don’t, you can end up paying more taxes than you need to and it would be too late to fix the problem.
19) Use a system like Infusionsoft
So that your business is setup correctly from day one. That’s because they have templates for things like welcome emails, order confirmation emails, and follow-up emails so that you don’t have to code anything yourself.
20) Use a payment system like PayPal to save yourself some stress.
They’re very secure, and you don’t need to have an account for them. You can just sign up and start accepting payments.
21) Install Google Analytics on your site:
So that you can see who’s visiting it. This will allow you to make changes on your site based on what’s working or what’s not currently working.
23) Once you have all of these set up:
Then start selling products and services online. If you have a good product or service, people will start buying things from your online store and that will be the beginning of your business.
How To Start An Online Business Fast:
The Last Step:
And that’s it! The last step is to start creating an online business. The process of building an online storefront with all of these tools is not tough at all. It’s also not time-consuming because most of these tools are free and you can find them anywhere on the internet.
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