With online shopping growing faster than ever, now might be the best time to think of opening your own online store. Online shopping has seen a massive increase in the last years, owing to the fact that it’s an easy and efficient way to buy and sell.
For the buyers, this means saving the time and money they’d need to go to a physical place and browse for items. Buying online means getting what they want by simply clicking a button and entering a few numbers.
For sellers, online stores allow them to sell to a much wider market, not being restricted to a physical location. And with the help of so many features on the Internet, you might not even need to hire anyone to help you in the process.
This article will take you through the steps you need to open your own online shop, ready to sell to the masses.
Type of job
- Home Business
- Creating and/or sourcing products
- Products to sell
- Online marketplace solution
Pay varies depending on your products and sales rate. Earning potential is unlimited.
Running an online shop – what does it take?
There are several ways you can set up and run your own online shop: you can set up a Facebook store, create a website for your business, or place your product on online e-commerce platforms. Regardless of your choice, there are a few essential steps you need to take before you start placing your products online.
Do Your Research
It’s important to test the waters before you take the plunge. Before anything else, you need to have a clear idea of what’s involved around creating and/or sourcing, placing, and selling your product. This means evaluating the cost of creating and distributing the product, as well as understanding how much you can charge.
You might also want to consider whether you can do it alone, in a team, or by forming a relationship with a reliable supplier. Simply put, what will you need to keep up with demand?
Size up the competition. See whether someone is already selling same or similar products, how much they charge, and how you can jump on the competition.
Learn more about your potential customers. Before taking the plunge, you might also want to know more about who wants to buy your product and how much they’re willing to pay for it.
You could do this by selling your items on a smaller scale, experimenting with different prices, and conducting brief surveys in exchange for discounts or free gifts. Luckily, there are e-commerce websites that offer you to sell a small sample of products free of charge.
Make a Business Plan
Regardless of whether you want to pitch your product to investors or not, creating a business plan will help you to run your business more smoothly. While ideas are powerful, keeping everything inside your head can only slow you down and create problems. Having a business plan, on the other hand, will provide you with clear and rational insights that can help you to overcome the challenges and thrive.
Create a Catchy Name
Your name is going to represent your business, so be creative and unique! The most obvious names are already taken, so you’ll need to brainstorm some ideas on how to name your business.
Reserve your domain name
Most eCommerce options require that you have your own domain name, so check if the domain name you’re looking for is available. If it’s not, look for close alternatives or get back to the drawing board.
Start a Blog
Needless to say, you will need to attract your customers. And one way to do it is by running a blog related to your products. Some eCommerce solutions offer a blog as one of their features, or you can create your own via WordPress.
Depending on the product you sell, you can tell people of your personal journey with creating the product, its usefulness and application, and anything else that is relevant.
Expand the blog to feature articles related to the product niche and feature your products from time to time. People like to get some useful info and a takeaway, so don’t make your blog only about your product. Make it a place where people can truly find some useful information.
This way, you can feature other companies’ products so that they can return the favor, you can do guest posts on other blogs, and you can even send samples of your product to bloggers and websites that do product reviews.
Online store solutions:
WordPress is one of the most trusted and versatile website builders on the market. When it comes to eCommerce, it offers different solutions, based on what you want to achieve with your online store. You can go as low as $8 USD per month, where WordPress allows you to receive PayPal payments.
The PayPal button is free to set up and you need to pay 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. You can also opt in for PayPal pro for $30/month, which allows users to pay with their PayPal or credit card directly on your website.
WordPress also offers an eCommerce plan for $45 USD per month, billed yearly. It comes with a free domain for one year, unlimited storage space, advanced customization tools, marketing and monetization tools, and (in short), everything else WordPress has to offer. It’s the complete package.
Bluehost + WooCommerce
This eCommerce solution* allows you to create your own online store with the help of the joint forces of Bluehost, WooCommerce, and WordPress. The platform supports unlimited products, fully customizable shipping methods, payment options, and tax requirements, as well as thousands of extensions and multiple payment gateways.
By opting in for one of their plans you get, among other things, a free domain for every new account, unmetered bandwidth, an SSL certificate and dedicated IP, free credits for Google and Yahoo/Bing advertising, custom email accounts, and thousands of templates to choose from.
For the Starter plan, pricing starts at $6.21 per month for 36 months, after which it continues at $12.50.
Wix is another website builder that offers eCommerce plans. You can choose from over 500 customizable templates to build your website. It’s one of the most famous website builders out there, owing to the fact that it comes with many perks, such as built-in SEO tools, free hosting, and even a series of helpful mobile apps. However, don’t be surprised by the slower speed (which can affect your SEO rankings).
The eCommerce plans start at $12.50 per month.
This specialized eCommerce website builder is designed to help you sell online. Boasting with big brand names like Toyota, Kodak, and Ben & Jerry’s as their clients, this platform offers tons of features and high flexibility in many areas. If you’re looking for a platform you won’t outgrow anytime soon, this is one of the most successful ones.
Pricing starts at $29.95 USD per month for the standard plan. It comes with unlimited products, file storage, and bandwidth, as well as various payment features and shipping discounts.
With this eCommerce platform, you get unlimited products and orders regardless of the plan, an integrated Facebook store, a built-in Blog, and unlimited bandwidth, among other things. You can choose from free or paid themes and customize them, and you get a long list of features you can use.
Pricing starts at $17.10 USD per month billed annually (or $19 monthly). The Startup plan covers many useful features to start with. However, the more advanced ones are reserved for the more expensive plans.
This is one of the largest eCommerce platforms. Partnered with Amazon, Uber, and Facebook, this platform offers full social media integration, a variety of payment options, and a fully customizable storefront, as well as a blog platform. It caters both to first-time eCommerce retailers as well as large businesses.
Aside from building an online store, Shopify also offers a Lite version which lets you sell on Facebook, chat with customers on Messenger, and feature your products on your own website or blog.
Pricing starts at $9 USD per month for Shopify Lite. If you want to build your website on Shopify, the Basic Shopify plan costs $29 per month.
This eCommerce platform offers unlimited bandwidth, social media integration, and advanced shopping cart software. It’s highly user-friendly, offering free and paid themes you can customize. The downside is that you need to pay for transaction fees at a competitive 2.15% rate if you don’t have your own payment gateway (in which case, there are no transaction fees).
Pricing starts at $26.10 per month billed annually (or $29 monthly) for the Personal plan, which comes with the basic features.
If you’re into selling handmade goods, vintage, or craft supplies, Etsy is the best place to be. It’s free to set up your Etsy Shop and there’s no monthly fee. Etsy charges you per product listing ($0.20 USD), as well as a 5% transaction fee + the PayPal fees.
You can also sell products and services by creating a Facebook Store. This allows you to sell your products through your Facebook Page. You use Facebook’s platform itself to list your products and set up a shopping cart.
Alternatively, you can link products from an eCommerce website builder to your Facebook page. This comes with the traditional online store service, at no extra cost.
Setting up a Facebook store is free for up to 10 products. You do pay for credit card processing fees, and if you want to expand your inventory, you need to pay $15-$30 per month, depending on what store service you use.
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