How to Start an Online Store
Ever since the internet became mainstream, there have been millions of people trying to start an online store to cash in. Whilst most people are setting up online stores to supplement their income, there are the occasional monoliths that emerge who have nailed very aspect of selling online. Here are the five things you need to master to successfully start an online store.
Find something to sell
It goes without saying that the product or service you sell will be paramount to the success of your online store… so you need to be knowledgeable on your inventory. As an accountant, I sell tax services; but as a parent I’ve been selling baby safety equipment. My father was in the baby goods industry, and so it’s something I have grown up with. One of the key things to remember when you’re starting your online store is that you need to know your product.
Source your products
Once you have decided what to sell in your online store, you need to source product. Whilst manufacturing powerhouses like China and India might seem like the place to start sourcing products for your online store, the reality is that you should probably start smaller. There is no need to go out and buy thousands of dollars worth of stock when you can acquire small amounts here. Reducing your exposure to excess inventory could mean the difference between success and failure.
Choose your platform
Once you have decided what you’re going to sell, you need to start building your online store. Online e-commerce solutions like Shopify give people with minimal computer skills the ability to start online stores for a fixed monthly fee and no setup costs. It’s a great way to get your products online without upfront costs which would be better spent on advertising to potential customer.
Setup your Advertising
Once you have selected your products and incorporated them into your online store, you need to start advertising to bring in the customers. A great place to start is Google Adwords, but you need to watch your spending and measure your conversions. Google AdWords is a very powerful customer acquisition tool, but if you don’t analyse the visitor data you can end up losing more money than you make.
Solve your logistics
When someone buys a product from your online store, you need a way to deliver it to them. This might seem obvious, but it could turn out to be a significant part of your overheads. Inefficient delivery could be the difference between a profitable online store and a loss making online store.
Starting an online store is not difficult, but running it well requires patience, research and persistence. Whilst it might not cost much to start an online store, it will require a significant investment of time to do it well.