To many, launching an online store seems like a tall order. Going from zero to a fully-functioning store in a matter of weeks might seem impossible. But thanks to the power of automation and technology, the task is a lot more achievable than you’d think.
Set Up Shop With Everything In Place
Even if you’ve been dreaming of owning an online store for as long as you can remember, the thought of actually committing to building one can seem overwhelming. The idea of jumping into web design, programming, and marketing all at the same time can feel more like a chore than a hobby.
To make the process a little less stressful, take some time to set up shop before you move a muscle. This means getting all of the essential elements in place; the hardware, the software, the people, and the processes that will make up your online store. By taking the time to set up shop before you launch, you will feel more confident in your ability to pull off the task at hand.
Find A Niche
The first step in making your dream a reality is finding a niche in the marketplace. If your store is for yoga clothing and accessories, for example, you might want to consider exploring the athleisure niche as a way of entering the market. Finding a small segment of the population that is passionate about your product and will buy it in large quantities is a winning strategy that many successful businesses have adopted.
Automate As Much As Possible
Once you’ve got your niche and are ready to launch, it’s time to turn to the next level of development; automating as much as possible. The more you can automate, the less you’ll need to touch each step of the way; which in turn will make your life a little less stressful and a lot more enjoyable. Having everything done for you saves you time and energy, which you can put towards growing your business.
Do Your Research
When you’re exploring the idea of becoming an online store owner, a major perk of the industry is all of the research you can do. With the world at your fingertips through the internet, you can learn just about anything you want to know. Instead of feeling like a brick wall, the information you uncover through online research will give you a leg up on your competitors.
Choose A Hosting Provider
When you’re ready to launch your store, you’ll need a place to put it. Just as with any other business that needs a website, you’ll want to consider what web host to choose. You’ll need to ask yourself questions like; is the web host you’re considering supporting what you’re looking for in terms of functionality and price? There are many hosting providers out there, all with their perks and quirks. Take time to do your research and find a hosting provider that meets your needs.
Create A Product Brief
After you’ve picked your web host, you’ll need to create a product brief for your online store. A product brief is a simple, yet vital marketing document that will lay out everything about your product; its history, its benefits, the qualities that make it unique, and the pricing structure. A well-crafted product brief will do wonders in terms of convincing potential customers that you’re a trustworthy business and that your product will be worth their time and investment.
Conduct Market Research
In the same way you’d do any other type of market research, you’ll want to explore the world of e-commerce and see what’s available out there. There are many successful online stores out there, all doing fairly well, which means there’s a wealth of information out there about how to launch an online store. From analysing competitor’s pricing to scoping out what products are hot on the market, you’ll want to dive into the data to see what will work best for your business.
Configure Your E-commerce Platform
Once you’ve got all of the above in place, you can move on to configuring your e-commerce platform. The e-commerce platform you choose will greatly impact your store’s overall user experience, so it’s important to make the right decision here. Even if you’ve got the perfect platform chosen, you’ll still need to configure it properly to make it work for you. Take your time here and do it right; make sure you get everything configured just the way you want it.
Get A Virtual Assistant (VA)
To have an effective online store, you’ll need someone on hand to help run it. Just as with any other business, the management of an online store can be quite taxing. Unlike a physical shop, where you can put in a shift once or twice a week, operating a successful online store means being available at all times via email or phone. Getting a VA to help out on a part-time basis is a great way to keep your sanity while still being able to make your business a success.
The above advice will get you well on your way to launching a successful online store. From setting up shop to taking the reins of your business, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of being an e-commerce store owner once you’ve followed these nine steps. Don’t forget about those essential last steps; including a good review on Yelp and making sure to keep up with all of the legalities that come along with being a business owner.