Starting an online store is a great side hustle and even potentially a way to make enough money to quit your job. I list it as one of my easy online business ideas in this other post for a reason! While it sounds like it would be expensive or a lot of work, thankfully there are now ways to make it very easy and cost effective. I’ll help you get set up so that you can start making your e-commerce dreams come true by showing you step-by-step how to start an online store.
Find Your Niche:
The first thing you need to do is decide what you’re going to sell. When it comes to online shopping, finding something that you can sell that is lightweight is key. It will make shipping the products cheaper whether they are being sent to you from the manufacturer, or from you to the customer. You also don’t want to sell something that is too cheap. The ideal products are at least $25-$50 and have the potential for repeat business. You should also check to see how much it costs to purchase advertisements for your products’ keywords via Adwords. Many people use Google’s ads to help them acquire customers. If the costs are too high, then your customer acquisition costs might be too high if you sell that product. Make sure you’ve factored in all your costs before you purchase a product. You don’t want an unexpected cost to screw up your margins.
Source Your Products:
This is the most expensive part of setting up an online store. You need to have money to buy products. Many people start small and scale up as they make more money. Once you’ve found the product you’re going to sell, you need to source it. You might be able to find it wholesale from a local distributor or you might have to go further afield. Nowadays, most consumer goods are sourced in China. If you need to order something from China there are all sorts of options. You can also have a product created for you rather than buying something that has already been designed. This will allow you to customize your products and potentially allow you to add value and differentiate yourself. The site Mywifequitherjob.com has a great post about how to source your products.
Choose Your Platform:
Now that you have your products, how are you going to sell them? I would recommend Shopify since it’s easiest to set up and is relatively price effective. It allows you to set up a storefront, sell your products, and it also has a very useful backend with a number of analytics that are very useful. It helps you build your site, allows you to list unlimited products, supports international taxes, and allows you to process gift cards and coupons. The basic plan starts at only $29/month. I’ve also had success with eJunkie for a much lower tech solution.
Choose Your Marketing:
One of the most important things when starting your online store is to create a marketing plan. If no one knows you’re there, then you won’t have customers. What methods you use to promote your store depend on what you’re selling. If you’re selling things to kids or women, Pinterest is a great way to market your blog. Adsense ads targeted to specific keywords are also effective. Here are 34 great ways to promote your store.
Choose Your Fulfillment:
Finally, you need to figure out how you’re going to fulfill your products. You can always have them at your house and fulfill them yourself. But as you grow that will become impossible. In which case, you can choose to rent a warehouse and fulfill them from there or you can get another company to ship your products for you. Some companies to look into are Shipwire and Webgistix.
How to Start an Online Store:
While there is no guarantee that you’ll make money in e-commerce, if you’ve chosen the right product and you’ve created a good marketing plan than you have a great chance of becoming another internet success story. Hopefully, I have clarified for you how to start an online store. If you have any questions, just post them in the comments!