How to start an Online Store and what you need to know about it?
The e-commerce market is developing dynamically. More and more people are buying over the Internet. That is why starting your own online store seems to be a great idea for business. All you need is a good idea and a bit of work. First transactions are possible already within a few days. However, appropriate promotion and advertising will gradually increase the turnover of the online store. That is why many people are engaged in running an online store.
A good idea is the basis
How to start an online store? The best chances for success have people who sell something of their own. However, a unique product is not a prerequisite for a successful store. You can sell anything over the Internet.
However, you should not choose your assortment at random. You can find a free market research tool on the internet. TradeWatch will allow to determine which products sell best on Allegro. Google Trends will tell you what search terms are being used. And SimilarWeb will help you determine traffic to other stores. This way it is easier to set up an online store
Based on such information, it is easy to determine which products are in high demand. Such information should be compared with the number of online stores operating in that area. Based on this, it will be clear which industry will be best for the new online store.
Choosing a platform and domain for your online store
After deciding on the assortment, it is time to think about the name of the online store. It should be easy to remember and short.
The name of your own online store will be a good starting point for finding a domain. This is the website address where you will be able to make purchases. Additionally, you will need hosting, which is the space on the server where files and data reside.
There are many free subdomains, but they have great limitations and require displaying ads. However, the cost of your own domain and hosting should not exceed one hundred zlotys at the beginning of your business.
You can immediately invest in a SSL certificate. Thanks to it, the site will be encrypted, and the abbreviation “https” will appear before its address. This will facilitate access to the store and support promotional activities.
Building a website for online store
Creating a website seems like an extremely difficult task. Fortunately, there are tools to make this task easier:
- Open Source,
- Dedicated software.
They will be very helpful when setting up an online store. Depending on the choice of tools, the answer to the question of how much it costs to set up an online store will be different.
SaaS is the outsourcing of IT services.
It is the provision of ready-made software in the cloud. The provider updates and manages the programs and hardware. It provides its service over the Internet on a pay-as-you-go basis. This involves billing the customer based on the resources used.
In this way, the cost of use is very competitive, and you can easily scale and develop your online store in the future.
The lowest costs will be provided by open source software
Open source is free software that allows you to set up an online store. This can include WordPress, PrestaShop or Magento along with the appropriate extensions and plugins. There are also ready-made software for the entire store.
Many of them will work well in the free version at the beginning of store development. Later, however, it is worth investing in a paid version, which will enable you to scale your business. Additionally, there will be additional options. This will make running an online store easier.
Dedicated website for the most demanding
Dedicated software is to create a website on request. It will be an individual project, which will ensure its uniqueness and very good appearance of the online store. As a result, the online store will be personalized for the client and his requirements. It will thus attract more potential customers. However, it will also translate into much higher costs. This solution is ideal for companies with a vision for their online store.
What is UX and why is it so important?
UX, from English user experience, is the customer experience of an online store. They are primarily associated with:
- the appearance of the page,
- simple catalog tree, making it easier to navigate the product range,
- easy access to the most important information (delivery costs, payment methods),
- location of such buttons as shopping cart or add to cart,
- the ease and length of the ordering process,
- information about the status of the order.
Positive experience gathered by the customer will make him/her come back in the future. Therefore, you should try to prepare your online store so that shopping there is easy, fast and intuitive.
Good online store terms and conditions are good protection
You can find templates of such documents on the Internet. A good source may also be regulations included on competitors’ websites. A lawyer can also be helpful (if only by checking the documents for accuracy).
Competitive products and services
In order to attract and retain customers, competitive pricing should be used. Promotions can be particularly helpful here. Pants discounted from 130 USD to 100 USD will be more tempting than the same pants priced simply at 100 USD. The potential customer will certainly pay attention to the lower prices of goods.
Having an attractive offer, you should also take care of other aspects of shopping. Signing agreements with courier companies and making online payments available is a good idea to attract customers. Finally, setting up an e-shop means betting on mail-order sales.
Many sellers also use selling strategies in their online store. The two most common are up-selling and cross-selling. The former involves promoting better quality (and more expensive, by the way) products, while the latter involves offering related goods. When buying pants for a suit, it is worth offering elegant shirts as well. If someone is putting together a suit, a tie or bow tie will also be useful.
Such suggestions for additional products often appear under the basket. They are entitled “people who bought pants were also interested in:”. In this way you can gently encourage the customer to check out the offer related to what they are buying, and this often leads to additional purchases.
Dropshipping, or your own online store without a warehouse
Expanding your offer will be easier with Dropshipping. This way of selling is based on transferring orders to a wholesaler, and from there the goods will be sent directly to the customer. In fact, the goods are ordered from the wholesaler via an online store. This way the entrepreneur does not need warehouse space and can offer much more products on his website.
Expansion to other sites and portals
You shouldn’t limit yourself to your own portal either. Running your own online store, you can also sell on Amazon or other Marketplaces.
Thanks to this, the store gains more coverage and acquires new customers.
SEO, or how to get along with Google
The most important part of any website is the content it contains. The more valuable the content, the more people will be attracted by it to browse the store. Therefore, every store owner should take care of creating appropriate content. Especially if he wants to open a highly profitable online store
Product and category descriptions for your online store
Good product descriptions that follow SEO principles. This is important in positioning your online store. This way product sub-pages will be displayed high in Google search.
Category descriptions are also extremely important for SEO. In an online store, a category page is often more important for shoppers than specific product sub-pages. Therefore, especially here it is worth trying to outrank other online stores.
The right product presentation
Well-made pictures say more than a thousand words. It is the best way to encourage users to make a purchase. That’s why every item should have enough pictures so that potential customers can get a thorough look at it.
Reviews under the products on the store page. Being able to read the rating given by other users can convince people who are hesitant to buy. In addition, this way it is easy to build trust with customers.
Professional blog articles
Blog. Writing articles with linking to individual articles will increase the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. In addition, a professional blog attached to the store is a good business card. Everyone prefers to buy from professionals rather than random people.
Let yourself be known
The “about us” and “contact us” tab. These two subpages are most often visited by users. This is how they check the credibility of the store. It is worth paying special attention to these tabs in order not to lose potential customers.
Online store optimization
Technical Optimization. People who want to set up their own online store will eventually come to the point where technical optimization of the portal is needed. A modern online store needs to load quickly and run smoothly.
Buying ads without a marketing plan is a waste of money in most cases. To successfully attract customers to your store, it is wise to develop a long-term marketing strategy. This consists of:
- Emailing campaigns,
- Paid Google ads,
- Social networks.
Online store promotion by e-mail
Many e-mailing platforms offer the possibility of sending advertising e-mails to thousands of Internet users. Properly composed messages can encourage users to use advertiser’s services.
Use of paid advertisements
Google ads are tailored to user data. This allows them to reach people who have recently been interested in a particular topic and will be more likely to use the store’s services. Ads are billed on the basis of the number of hits on the link (PPC), views (CPM) and for taking a specific action on the advertiser’s website (CPA). The rate for views will naturally be much lower than in the case of CPA. However, the latter option guarantees better results.
Social networks and other channels of promotion
Presence in social networks. This is a very important component of your marketing strategy that allows you to effectively expand your reach. This allows you to reach a huge number of users. They will also be able to easily recommend your store to their friends and family.
A good marketing strategy combines multiple channels and allows you to link different activities together. With such synergy, the results are much better.
Apart from attracting new customers, it is also important to retain regular users. For this purpose, you need to take proper care of them. Loyalty cards are just one idea.
It is also important to keep them updated on how things are going with their order so that the buyer feels secure and knows how things are going. It is also beneficial to send emails asking if the goods are performing well. On occasion, you can ask for feedback on the product page. Such a reminder will keep the customer coming back for more purchases.
Providing post-purchase support is a good option. Advice and support enhances the customer’s positive experience, as well as a constant reminder of where they purchased the product.
The store should constantly develop
Launching an online store is not enough. Even the biggest stores analyze the traffic on their website all the time and make adjustments. Therefore, it is worth to equip yourself with an analytical tool, check the users’ behavior and make changes. In this way you can eliminate errors and shortcomings and, as a result, increase revenues.