How To Start An Online Store: The Ultimate Guide
Why don’t I make a comfortable passive income selling things online? Why, I could even do that kind of work from the comfort of my own home!
After all, starting an online store today has become simpler than ever. You don’t need to build a website or an online shopping cart yourself — a cloud-based company such as Shopify can handle that for you. Marketing? Try Google AdWords. Selling? Through Amazon and eBay, I can reach hundreds of millions of customers with a click.
Don’t have anything to sell? Not a problem! Just decide what you want to sell, connect with a drop shipper on Shopify who takes on all the inventory risk and costs for you.
If you want to start an online store, you probably already have an idea for a great product to sell. Keep in mind that certain things are conducive to selling well online, while other items may be more difficult to sell when they can’t be viewed in person. In any case, you should believe passionately in the value of your product – otherwise, it will be hard to connect with customers. Here are some questions to consider:
* Is it a physical product that needs to be shipped, or is it a digital product that can be sent through the Internet?
* Are you going to have an inventory (more than one) of each product, or will they be one-of-a-kind (e.g. artwork, vintage items)?
* Are you going to want to sell a wide variety of products, or do you plan to specialize, like selling just t-shirts or books?
* Are you creating the product yourself? If so, make sure you’ll be able to keep up with demand. Form a relationship with a reliable supplier.
* If you don’t plan to make the product yourself, you’ll need a good manufacturer. Research different companies to find the one that works for your business idea.
* Decide how your product will be shipped. Create a plan to ship the product from your home efficiently, or work out a storage and shipping plan with a warehouse. You could also look into drop-shipping if the product is being manufactured by a third party.
* You are going to be intimately involved with your product or service. In order to effectively spread the word and market your store, you are going to need to socialize with people from this industry. Make sure the product is something you can get behind for the long haul.
Knowing what product you want to sell is only part of creating a successful online store. You’ll need to figure out what differentiates your services from all the other similar services people can choose, both in person or online. Why should a customer buy your hand-knit sweaters when they have 100 other online shops to choose from?
Unless you’re actually producing your own products, there’s a good chance you’re using product feeds, including descriptions and photographs supplied by the manufacturer. Bad idea. Your content is going to be basically the same as hundreds of other online shops that purchase from the same supplier.
At the very least rewrite all the product descriptions, and put your own spin on them; ideally, take your own product images. If you’re retaking product images anyway, take some from every angle and use those instead.
As a new seller, you have neither brand, nor the ability to cost-cut any more so than the next guy, so use your unique product knowledge and skills to offer something more than simply a shop. Write high quality blog posts on the topic, link to your own products, and establish yourself as an expert. Share your knowledge, and be a part of the community around the products (if there is one) – don’t just try to sell things.
If your ready but not sure how to get your first sale, don’t worry. Shopify provides you with everything you need to start accepting orders the very same day you sign up. Simply choose a theme, customize your site, add products and begin processing customers’ credit cards right away. Not only does your Shopify plan come with a complete online store platform, but also a blog! Create consistent and relevant interactions with your customers through regular blog posts of articles, infographics and videos.
There is a proven sequence of steps you can follow to guarantee your success when you’re starting a small business online. I’ve seen thousands of people start and grow successful businesses by doing the following:
1. Find a need and fill it.
2. Write copy that sells.
3. Design and build an easy-to-use website with Shopify.
4. Use search engines to drive traffic to your site.
5. Establish an expert reputation for yourself.
6. Follow up with your customers and subscribers with email.
7. Increase your income through back-end sales and up selling.
The principles of how to start and grow a successful online business haven’t changed at all. If you’re just starting a small business online, stick to this sequence. If you’ve been online awhile, do a quick review and see if there’s a step you’re neglecting, or never got around to doing in the first place. You can’t go wrong with the basics.
Your first step now is to TAKE ACTION!
You can best start by getting yourself a website if you don’t already have one.
Thanks to shopify’s FREE 14 days trial you can get started selling online in no time.
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