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How To Start An Online Store
Wondering how to start an online store? You’re not alone. Now, more than ever, people are looking for solutions that allow them to work from home. Whether you resell vintage clothing, specialize in antiques, make killer coffee mugs, or design on-trend t-shirts, you’ll be happy to know that online selling can be both lucrative and satisfying.
Today, we’re going to look at how to open an online store step by step. We’ll also address some of the most common questions about E-commerce, like how to start an online store legally and how to create an online store for free.
Without further ado, let’s dive into how to start an online store business that matches your creations, designs, or collection with a customer’s need. We’ll focus on building an online Shopify store, but also cover some alternative marketplaces.
Learn As You Go
Remember – nothing is as hard as it seems at first. That includes starting an online shop! With Ecommerce, it’s smart to start and learn as you go. Build better as time goes on, learn from your mistakes, take advice from experts, and appreciate that it’s all a part of the journey.
You don’t have to have all the answers before you dive in.
What Is Your Business?
This is an excellent place to start. Ask yourself the following:
- What do I want to sell?
- What will I name my business?
- Who is my customer?
If you get stuck coming up with a name for your business, don’t stay there. Use the free Oberlo Business Name Generator and keep moving.
Create A Shopify Account
Other online marketplaces that may work just as well: Etsy, Ebay, etc. To simplify things, we’re going to focus on Shopify for now.
Shopify has really streamlined the entire process of creating an online shop. Just go to the site, start your FREE TRIAL and take the easy-to-follow steps to create your account.
Complete Store Details
Having an orderly, complete store is essential to your online reputation. Don’t rush the entry of your store details. Enter your store’s name and any other info that might help a customer better understand who you are and what you sell.
Next, you’ll set up payments through Shopify Payments. This will enable you to accept all types of payments from all over the world: Google Pay, credit cards, Shopify Pay, and more. If you like, your company can also accept payment via PayPal.
You’ll also be prompted to set up the Checkout and generate your Store Policies. This covers things like refunds and returns.
Add Your Content And Products
Nothing is more important than what you add and how you add it. Presentation is everything with an online shop. The customer can’t touch, feel, or try the product in-person. How your product presents online determines whether it will sell.
Here are some points to consider:
- Upload plenty of clear photos that show the product exactly as it is
- If measurements are relevant, make them prominent and clear in your ad
- Have fun with your descriptions – create excitement
- Address any way in which your product might outshine your competitors
- Add keywords to your product descriptions
For photos in particular:
- Keep it simple – highlight your product
- Show the fit if it’s an article of clothing – on a mannequin or on a person
- Try to show the product from all sides and angles
- Stick with high-resolution photos and make sure none are blurry
- Invest in a small tripod
- Edit your images to make them clean and appealing (but not affected by filters)
The About Us portion of your online shop is an excellent space to distinguish yourself from everyone else. Tell a human, relatable story about who you are, why you believe in your product and your vision for your shop.
A great About Us page instills trust in your customer and makes them feel like they’ve made a new friend.
Perform the necessary research to know your product’s worth, who your competitors are, and how much you’ll spend. Figuring out your profit margins will take time, but putting in the time to understand how similar products are priced will go a long way.
Create Your Page Layout
Other than your product photos, your page’s layout is probably one of the most critical aspects of your shop. It’s your customer’s first impression, and it either comes across as professional and creative, or haphazard and disorganized.
You don’t want to scare people away before they even get a chance to shop, so take your time creating a page layout that looks clear, organized, and attractive. You don’t have to be a design expert to do this.
Shopify makes it easy by assigning you a default theme. Then, you just create a menu, upload a nice banner, choose to highlight a collection of Featured Products, and set up your footer.
Congratulations! You just opened an online store!
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
How much does it cost to start an online store?
This all depends on what you’re selling. For some people, it costs next to nothing. For example: take someone who has been collecting vintage clothing for decades and now wants to sell. Other than shipping costs, they aren’t spending anything.
If someone is selling their pottery, custom t-shirts, or quilts, you’re looking at the cost of materials used to make a product. It’s always best to start small and invest more money as you make more money. Many people who spend too much at the start become quickly frustrated and panicked about recovering the costs.
How much inventory to start online store?
You can start a store with only a few items. But you should fill your store with enough pieces to make it look thoughtful, professional, and legitimate. Customers will want to know you’re serious about setting up shop and you won’t disappear two weeks from now.
How to start an online store with no money?
Many people start an online store on Ebay, Etsy, Shopify, or elsewhere with little-to-no money. It all depends on what you’re selling. But some investment is almost always necessary. You’ll want to stay on top of shipping, use the right materials, include a thank-you note, and possibly pay to have your listings promoted.
All of this is in addition to the money you might spend on supplies, inventory, and equipment.
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