With lots of applications and free domains it seems easy but opening an online store is not child’s play. There’re many things to think about, say from the fastest way to add a payment method to the excellent after-sale service, to customer service, everything should be very competitive. We’ve divided the entire process to open an online store into a few easy steps.
Pick a Niche & Start Planning
Niche means your focus area of interest. eCommerce is diversified and there could be more than one niche a business can pick. However, for getting started, it is better to pick one. You might start as a retailer or a wholesaler or anything but it should be decided beforehand. You may Google for finding the list of eCommerce niches and analyze them keeping in mind your business goals.
The right planning is half the work done. And unfortunately, if your planning goes wrong, things will be a little messy. For better planning, management experts have told us a fantastic four SWOT analyses. SWOT stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat.
This not only gives the right direction to your planning but also identifies the most suitable niche for your forthcoming online store. But How would you do a SWOT analysis? Let us explain by taking an example. Suppose you want to start an online store of ‘Jewelry’.
Your strengths will be Self-interest and knowledge in the subject, evergreen high-demand, handsome margin, wide variety, and available customization.
Shipping restrictions, frequently changing designs and fashions, deadstock management, high competition.
Growing market, Scope for inventing new designs, establishing a brand identity, exploiting the cross-border market, celebrity branding.
Government regulations, unstable fashion, and price drop.
One has to pick a niche that has maximum Strength and opportunity while least of threats and weaknesses.
Exploit the Gaps in the Market
Apparently, all the profit reaping niches are already taken but the scope of innovation and improvisation is always there. All you need is deep down research on your target audiences. You need to fill the gaps of consumers’ unfulfilled demand.
Let us continue our previous example of a ‘Jewelry’ online store. There are thousands of ‘Jewelry’ manufacturers/sellers but not all offer customized ‘Jewelry’ for special occasions like marriage Ceremonies and Anniversaries.
So, with in-depth research in your niche, you may explore enough opportunities even in categories wherein established business players are already there. Now, the real question is how could you figure out the gap to be filled.
Well, there are ample ways to do that. You may start with social media to take complaints, feedback and analyze them. Google trends and analytics tools could help compare the search results over the period.
You may also visit the top-of-the-line online stores like Amazon and Shopclues to read and review the customer’s review. This will give you an exact idea of what the customer needs.
Set Your Target Audience
Identify your audience. There is no point in promoting a comb to a bald person. So, you have to set a target audience who will take interest in your products and can be converted into potential customers. There are 2 ways for that,
This includes the selection of the audience based on age, location, occupation, and income.
This includes a selection of audiences based on interests, values, beliefs, and struggles.
Select a Business Model
By the time you reach this stage, you are your target audience. We’re assuming that you must have also found which business model your audience prefers to approach. There are 4 popular business models which will be directly correlated with the audience’s interest.
- Business to Business.
- Business to Customers.
- Direct to Customers.
- Online Marketplace
Name Your Domain
It is not just a domain name, but your future brand name. So, it must be unique, short, and easy to remember. Do not pick a very generalized one. You may add two different words to come up with some creative name. The ideal length for a domain name is 12 characters so don’t think longer than that.
Avoid typos and compounding of more than two words. Otherwise, it will be hard to pronounce and type. However, you may go for some foreign language words. It may be funny but not too much. Be careful while choosing a domain name because once you have selected it, any modification will let you start from scratch.
Pick A Website Builder
This is a crucial decision that may make or break the game. The success of online stores is all based on how efficient your website is. Your online website is just like your physical shop. There are free as well as paid page builders available. You may select depending on your personalized needs.
Each builder offers different features, pick the one that best suits your requirements. Keep the security of your website at the topmost priority. Plus, since a maximum of traffic is routed through the mobile platform, make sure the website will have good mobile optimization.
Design and Layout
Designing is an important part of your website. The design and layout of your online store must be aligned with your niche. You may pick from free or premium layouts which are completely your choice. However, in premium templates, you will get a few more customization features.
Keep the layout interface sleek and simple. Divide the ‘Menu’ into the necessary categories so that customers can easily find out what they are looking for in your store. Design a logo that represents your business and align the color scheme of the website with the logo. All in all, try to give a professional look to your website.
Add products along with convincing descriptions highlighting all its features and goodies. It will be good to add 3 to 4 images of each product to provide insights to the customers. Product images must be clear and in high resolution.
Promotion & Launch
Promotion and marketing are the pillars of successful business, especially when it comes to online stores. Approach your audience and create a buzz for your store before it is launched. The best platform to promote your business is social media.
You may also hire a social media influencer marketing. In addition, SEO and email marketing should also be done. Eventually, no platform should be left where you do not promote your business. And finally, decide a lucky date to launch your website. Make sure you have tested all the features and functions of your website before it goes live.