So you have had enough of 9-5 work. You want to work on your dream project that you have been ignoring for a while.
Okay, you want to create an online store and sell stuff.
However, here is the thing:
Building an online store is always a daunting task.
If you don’t plan it properly, you may eventually end up broke.
So before you jump into any action, here are 9 things you must do before creating an online store.
Market Research: Saturated Vs Opportunity
Having a hobby is a great thing. But will it yield enough to pay the bills?
This is the first thing you want to look before opting into any online business.
On the other hand, you also need to make sure that the market isn’t saturated.
You want to be somewhere in between saturation point and opportunity to really get the kick start for your business.
How do you find out?
You can easily check on forums and social media for engagements. Further, you can hop on to Google Keyword Planner to see if it has enough search volumes that will run the fuel for your business.
Define your brand name
Don’t be a guy who is just going to scratch the head in confusion. You have an idea. You convert that idea.
Giving a standard name is one way to do it.
Don’t just pick a random name. Engage in a brainstorm session. Make notes of any names that pops in your head. Take help from your peers and family.
Your domain name should reveal your business purpose and most importantly stand out. You can also follow this guide to help you out.
Choosing a platform
You should have a clear idea of the platform you want to use. There are many eCommerce platforms that can give you customised solutions. Select the one that meets your need perfectly. You can go for a widely popular CMS WordPress or you can opt for a hosted platform like Shopify. There are other specialised platforms like OpenCart that gives a better grip to your online transaction.
If you ask me, WordPress would be my pick. It gives you full control of your site from code level to content department. It gives you better flexibility as well as offer search engine friendly nature like no other platforms.
Establish a social media plan
While working on an online store, you should also have a robust social media presence. Over 80% of your customers are engaged on social media for half of the time. This is where they can know and understand about your product.
Start by creating compelling profiles that connect with your audience. Try to grab the username of your brand name for all the sites. Don’t just run after random product placements. Focus on customer interaction. Work on the posts that your customers like. Engagement is the key to success in social media.
Setup a Newsletter
If you want your business to prosper, you should seek the marketing channels beforehand. And Newsletter is one of the most thought marketing strategies of the 21st century.
Emails? Who cares, right?
Absolutely wrong. Still, emails are considered as one of the highest grossing channels among all.
Emails are one of the best ways to share information about your business. You can announce coupons and discount messages conveniently through this platform.
The first thing you need to do is select an email marketing platform. One of my all time favourites is Aweber. But there are plenty of options like MailChimp and Constant Contact.
Add a subscription box to your website and start engaging your audience.
Understand your shipping options
Are you trying to target just a local community? Or do you want to reach a wider audience?
Shipping shouldn’t be an issue if it’s just local. However, if your audience is from a different place, you must consider the shipping options.
Also, make sure you choose a shipping option that doesn’t rip customers. The last thing you want to see is customers flee away due to high shipping cost. Shipping is something you should consider immensely. If possible, you should offer free shipping. Trust me! It brings more value than you can imagine.
One of the online businesses was able to double its sale by just making the shipping free. Probably you can do that as well.
Define payment gateway
This is another important element of an online store that you can’t ignore. As online transactions are vulnerable to malware and hacks, you need to make sure you are transferring everything through a safe portal.
Making payment with credit cards isn’t the only option. You need to keep the other options available like Paypal that opens up a wider range of audience group.
Never ignore SEO
You might be the Michael Jordon of marketing. But, you can’t deny that organic traffic is gold. They are the most relevant traffic you can get.
This is why it’s important to check your SEO before making your store online.
Often times, eCommerce sites bring more SEO issues than any other typical websites. Duplicate content due to dynamic URLs and thin product content are few of the major problems. You can rectify these problems by setting up a no-index or canonical tags.
You should also implement structured data to give proper rich snippets for your products. This helps in better CTR and conversion rates.
Undoubtedly, starting an online store is going to be tough. However, following these 8 tips can somewhat help you walk through the path of success.
Do you have any other tips for us?
Let us know in the comments below.