It’s easier than ever for people to work from home which is why more than 50% of the workforce will soon be working remotely and it’s predicted the majority will be freelance by 2027.
People are tired of struggling to work in a job with no security and very little appreciation. They’re looking for a way to be their own boss and work to live rather than live to work.
One of the most popular ways to take control of your future is starting an online store. There’s no overhead, unlimited opportunity, and the flexibility to work from anywhere at any time.
But thinking about having an online store and knowing how to do it are two different things.
Luckily, we have 7 steps to help you have success in starting an online store.
Let’s get started!
1. Turn Your Idea Into a Plan
A goal without a plan is just a wish so it’s important you know how you are going to accomplish your goals for your online store.
What is your business?
You can’t have a store if you don’t have anything to sell. You don’t want to offer the same thing as other sites if you expect business from any of the 1.8 Billion online shoppers to choose you.
To decide what your business is going to focus on, look at your passions and talents.
What hobbies, interests, skills, or talents could you turn into money for yourself? You’ll want to take some time to brainstorm the possibilities for each one. Some of your talents and passions could be combined to fill a need in the market.
A person who makes their own elaborate cosplay outfits could develop a whole brand and store creating products they love and filling the dreams of Comicon enthusiasts around the world.
What resources do you have?
You don’t want to make promises you can’t fulfill so it’s a good idea to make sure you are ready when you open for business.
If you are offering one-day shipping but it takes three days to make your product, you’re going to have a tough time filling orders without having an inventory on hand.
You’ll want to decide how much time you can dedicate to your online store and how elaborate it will be. If you are going to set up your own website you’ll have to consider the time it takes to troubleshoot, offer customer support, create content that is search engine optimized and user-friendly.
An online store platform such as Etsy or Amazon is another option many choose and can be your only method of selling or used in conjunction with your own brand and site.
2. You Can Never Be Too Prepared
There are many different aspects to starting an online store that takes time, research, and experience to master. And with how quickly the internet and marketing evolves there is always more to learn.
Ask others about their experiences and pitfalls to avoid. Check out the competition and see what things they do that work and what you could do differently to make your brand stand out for being the best.
Don’t be afraid to seek the advice of experts or others who have started their own online store. You can even take marketing or business courses online through MOOC educational sites like Coursera or Khan Academy.
3. What Are You Selling and How Do They Buy It?
So now that you’ve figured out what your niche is and where you’re going to sell your products you need to figure out how customers will buy from you and how you’ll get it to them.
The more choices for payment you give to consumers the better chance you’ll have of closing the sale. They also want choices for ways to view your site, ways to engage with customer support, and convenience to fit their lives.
You’ll need to ensure you have pictures and description of products and customer support set up prior to opening your virtual doors for business. Image content will increase interest in your content and help you increase sales. Videos increase the chance of a sale by 80% while images can increase engagement rates by over 650%.
4. Build Your Brand
Having a clear vision and mission for your business will help you set priorities and build your brand. Everything you sell and every interaction you have with consumers will define your brand identity.
You’ll want to set up social media business profiles and create a website and blog to help promote your products and help introduce your brand to the masses.
Whether you’re selling hair clips you make while watching Netflix or you’re wanting to support yourself with your online endeavors, you’ll need to decide what your brand is and what policies it will operate under.
A logo, distinct packaging, socially conscious business practices, and other brand qualities can help gain attention and win the loyalty of customers.
5. Say Hello to the World
Once you’ve figured out your brand identity, business plan, and created your online store it is time to announce it to the world. You can’t just build an online store and hope people will find you.
There are more than a billion websites out there and you’re going to get lost in the mix if you don’t find a way to stand out.
Social media platforms are a great way to reach consumers and gain free advertising. Each post you create is an opportunity for someone to share it with all of their followers, with the potential for millions to see it if your content is interesting enough.
Blogs are the perfect opportunity to deliver new content and become known as an expert in your niche by consumers and search engines alike.
6. Search Engine Optimize
Most online consumers use search engines to choose the product and do research but they get millions of results so to get their attention you need to rank within the first few results.
Search engines use hundreds of factors in their algorithms to rank search results. They want to provide the most relevant results for their users so you need to consider SEO strategies to get your store noticed.
Blogs are helpful in this area because they give you new opportunities every day to create SEO content that will show up in more search engine results.
7. Be Professional and Have Integrity
The best way to be successful is to always be professional and honest in your business dealings.
Respond to reviews and comments in a quick and professional, courteous manner.
Consumers know that mistakes happen and they’re much more likely to forgive them if you are honest and professional when dealing with the issue.
What’s Stopping You From Starting an Online Store?
A great idea, a little planning, and an investment in your future are what you need when starting an online store. It is possible to take control of your future and live the life you’ve always dreamed of.