It is not easy setting up an online store. It involves essential investments that you cannot take back such as money and time. More importantly, it will require hard work, and to start it on your own makes it more difficult. It is a daunting task indeed. However, it doesn’t mean that it is impossible. The resources that you will need are all at the tip of your fingers.
The internet will be your best friend because it has everything you need. It provides resources that help even the most novice of individuals the help they require. There are many platforms that you can effectively and efficiently utilize that have default functions. You can even add plugins that you deem necessary to further the operations that your shop can provide to buying customers.
All this information is available online. However, if you want a brief rundown of how all these work and how to set up a shop online, here are ten steps that you can follow.
THE 10-STEP PROCESS TO A SUCCESSFUL ONLINE STORE
Come Up with a Name and a Domain
There is power in a name, and that is why this is an important first step when setting up an online store. This is how your customers will remember you by, and this is how you will brand yourself during the marketing.
When coming up with a name, there are two things to keep in mind: It should be short and it should descriptive.
First, it must be short because you want customers to remember it as easily as possible. You want it to easily roll off their tongue when they mention it to their friends. It gives your shop the power of recallability which is, in itself, a powerful marketing tool. This also helps making your shop easier to write when they search for it on the address bar.
Secondly, the name must define what your shop is all about. This gives you an identity, and so that customers will know what you offer even before they look through your products. This is the kind of convenience that mmost want these days. It also avoids any confusion, especially for those who are just discovering what you can offer.
Domain names are somewhat tricky because it hse an additional third requirement when it comes to manufacturing a name. This is because you need to keep a keyword in mind. This is necessary to optimize the search engine, which is yet another marketing tool that you should utilize effectively. If worse comes to worst, there are websites that sell domain names. This is an option that you should look into when you are finding it hard to create one of your own.
Pick a Good Hosting Company
It is essential that you pick a good hosting company. Not only because most of your capital is going to be funneled into this aspect because how it supports you affects the shop’s performance. This directly affects how your online store performs in any search engine.
Two things that you need to look into are speed and space. Both of these work closely together because the larger your space it, the more efficiently your store will load. This is important because Google, for example, takes this seriously. They penalize websites that take a long time to load by sending it below in the search engine’s results page. This lessens the amount of exposure it will have. No matter how good your products or your service is, your traffic will be less since no one sees it.
On the other hand, if your page performs well, Google rewards it by letting rise through the ranks. Consumers also find this appealing, further increasing the possibility that they will engage. Not only by clicking through the link, but also actually buying products they find interesting.
Hire a Dropshipper
The main benefit of working with a dropshipper is being able to delegate the logisitc side of your online store, and this includes, but are not limited to:
- Delivering products to the customers
- Provide you with products that you can sell
- Print off the invoice
On most occasions, dropshippers don’t put a stamp on the packages that they deliver. That is for you to tell them if you want them to. However, profit margins when using a dropshipper is lesser. You will earn more when you buy the items firsthand and do your own logistics. Although, you need to keep in mind that this might not be something you can do in your business’ initial stages.
What you can do is observe. Accept their help and learn more about the logistics. When you feel you have the hang of it, you can come out of the partnership if you want.
Pick the Right CMS Solution
Content Management System (CMS) is an umbrella term for the platforms you can take advantage of to help you set-up your online store. Intimidating as it sounds, updates have made them fairly easy to use even if you don’t have any computing know-how. They already offer well-designed interfaces which also has default functions necessary in putting up a shop online.
CMS that majority knows about includes WordPress, Magento, Opencart, and Shopify, to name a few.
If you find the default design of the template that you chose is lacking, agencies with developers are available for hire. They can tweak it to fully design it according to your needs. Most of the time, these are things that you cannot find in plugins. Otherwise, looking into plugins is just as viable of an option.
Avoid Being a Copycat
E-commerce stores have become common recently. It is because of how convenient it is to market and to set-up if you compare them to a normal retail shop. That is why, you have to expect that there will be shops like yours. They might even have the same products that you offer. To make it unique, it is necessary that you edit the product descriptions as much as you can. This will be an effort that customers will appreciate. At the same time, it will create an image that you actually use the products.
In addition, when you change the product description of the products, your CMS will feature those products better. This will create better opportunities for the product’s exposure, especially for products that you look forward to advertising.
Payment Methods Must be Inclusive
Building a relationship between your online store and your customers is necessary. In most cases, this is a relationship that has trust at its core. One way that you can do this is making sure that includes all payment methods available. In fact, the more options you allow, the better.
There are problems that you may encounter when setting up some payment pathways. It can be due to the bank’s payment pathway being difficult at times. If this is the problem that you come across, it is worth looking at the PayPal gateway. It is easy to install. Keep in mind, however, that PayPal may be asking for a commission for every purchase. Adjusting the prices of your products may be necessary. which may put some customers off. On the other hand, there is a high demand for this payment method. Again, it is just a matter of the pros outweighing the con.
Another option that you should take serious consideration is cash on delivery. No one can take away the fact that there are still some people who distrust buying online. This is the result of many online money scams that the media are reporting, and there is truth in them. That is why it is essential that you include this option if you can.
Make Blogging a Part of Your Marketing
Marketing for an online store takes many forms. Blogging is one of them. It can be a place where more extensive descriptions of products ca be written. Sometimes, expounding a bit more about them might be good; focusing on one product. In addition, it is wise to include posts about the e-commerce industry. Take a deep dive into it. These things interest the public, especially with industries that may help them earn money. The more interesting your content is, the greater your traffic could become. This could possibly lead to greater engagement from the public, and the longer they stay, the higher the possibility of them buying products before they checkout.
Comply with Legal Requirements
If you think having an online store doesn’t mean that you have to comply with legal matters, then you are mistaken. You still need to. This includes having the appropriate papers to register your business name. It might also be necessary to apply for insurance as this is also a requirement. In fact, if you fail to comply, authorities might fine you for a significant sum. Worse, they could shut your online store if necessary.
Do Not Forget to Advertise
Advertising campaigns are important. They may look gimmicky at times, but they are effective. It helps expose your online store to potential buyers that may not have looked your way. However, these campaigns do run the risk of being inefficient and ineffective. Luckily, the internet has analyzing tools available to help determine which ones yield more positive results. By using them correctly, you gain the short-term benefit of a spike in public interaction and saving you waste a part of your initial capital. Eventually, when you learn more about what campaigns are effective for you, then, preventing any more waste of your budget.
Market, Market, MARKET!
Starting as early as possible is necessary. This is to help build the hype for your online store. To grab the public’s attention as early as possible, and potential marketing strategies during this phase includes:
- Special offers
- Strategize your social media marketing
- Personally following-up on potential clients
- Write a newsletter, weekly if possible, to provide update
However, you should not limit to these options. It can be anything that you can think of. However, again, you need to make sure that it is money worth spent. Analyzing tools might help you out here once again.
Also, keep in mind that you have to deliver on your marketing promises on the day you open. Don’t do it haphazardly. Go all in, otherwise, you might lose the customers that you worked hard to attract.
Setting up an online store is difficult. There are many bases to cover, and to do it by yourself can be overwhelming. However, the internet, again, is your best friend. There are tools at your disposal that could make it easier, and if you follow these basic steps, you might just be able to pull it through because as less complex these may be, if done right, it might be all you need to be successful.