How to Start an Online Store in 10 Steps
If you are looking to start an online store and have no idea where to begin, this guide is for you. Learn how to start an online store and succeed in it.
There are so many factors to consider when starting an online store from finding the right product to choosing a platform. This guide will walk you through the 5 essential tips on how to start an online store, from finding the right product to choosing a platform. By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to earning your first dollar from eCommerce!
How to Start an Online Store
You can sell anything online these days, including handmade products, courses, graphic design services, custom printed t-shirts and other apparel, and more. Creating an online store is easy when you follow these simple steps.
Step 1. Determine your Target Audience
One of the first things you should consider when opening an online store is your target audience. Knowing who you want to sell to is your starting point and will help you build a successful business.
If you have a product idea, consider who your ideal customer would be and what they would value most about your product. If you don’t have a product idea yet, think about an audience that you’re familiar with and what they might need or want.
I use a variety of products on a regular basis, but I value quality and durability most in my favorite brands.
Who do you want your products to serve?
It’s important for any business to have a purpose that will keep the owner motivated in the long run. Ecommerce can be tough, and it’s not always easy. There are many logistical and financial questions you’ll need to answer.
What are some logistical and financial questions you may have to address?
Keep your business goals at the forefront of your mind to ensure you stay on track. Part of achieving this is taking the time to establish buyer personas. By understanding who your target market is, you can make better decisions about things like messaging, website design, and marketing strategies.
Step 2. Select What to Sell Online
The process of choosing which products to sell will be detailed and require thought.
In order to figure out which type of brand your audience will like, you’ll have to do a little bit of research. Start by figuring out which brands are popular in your market.
What unique pain points can you help to solve? How do you plan on sourcing your products?
Look for a niche within a niche. When you’ve found an opportunity, look for ways to further specialize. This could be by selling products for a specific type of customer or by targeting a particular location. For example, you could sell pet supplies specifically for dog owners in New York City.
Choose what to sell online by analyzing popular products, finding niches within niches, and considering your target audience. By doing your research, you can create a product that meets the needs of your customers and stands out from the competition.
When you’ve found a product with potential, it’s time to validate your idea. The best way to do this is by testing the market with a small batch of products. You can create a professional-looking landing page with Wix Stores and drive traffic to it with targeted ads.
When people click on your ad and land on your page, they should be able to learn everything they need to know about your product in less than 30 seconds. If you’re not sure how to get started, check out our guide on how to create an effective product landing page.
Don’t just look for products that have a ton of reviews. Look for products that don’t have many reviews and see if you can be the first to write a review.
What’s the coolest thing your brother owns? You could sell that!
Steven Sedlmayr, the founder of DIVINIA Water, had a lightbulb moment when he realized that there was a gap in the market for drinkable water—particularly pure water with functional benefits. He took this opportunity to develop DIVINIA Water into an international business. By offering a product that met a need that wasn’t being fully met by other businesses, DIVINIA Water was able to find success.
Keep your eyes peeled for an untapped market. Have you ever gone online to look for a product, only to be unimpressed with what you find?
Step 3. Decide on your business structure
Now that you’re excited about your business, there are a few legal steps you need to take to make it official.
Registering your business with the government will ensure that it is officially recognized. This will have an impact on your eligibility for business funding, tax obligations, and other important aspects of your business.
Sole proprietorship – This means you and your business are legally and financially linked together. This is the simplest form of business to start.
Partnership – This is when two or more people go into business together. You and your partners will share the profits, losses, and responsibilities of the business.
Corporation – A corporation is a legal entity that exists separately from its business owners. This means that the business can own property, enter into contracts, and sue or be sued.
Limited liability company (LLC) – An LLC is a hybrid between a sole proprietorship, partnership, and a corporation. It offers limited liability protection to its owners but is not taxed as a separate entity.
Once you’ve decided on your business structure, you need to obtain the necessary licenses and permits. Depending on your business type and location, this could include a sales tax permit, health department permit, zoning permit, and/or other licenses or permits.
A corporation is an established business that includes shareholders and employees. You can create various types of corporations, depending on your business needs. An individual or group of people can start a corporation.
Check with the US Small Business Administration to determine what you’ll need. If you’re looking to set up your business as a sole proprietorship, there’s no need for any formal action. However, you will still need to apply for any relevant licenses and permits based on your business and location. The US Small Business Administration can help you determine what exactly you’ll need.
The US Small Business Administration can provide you with information on what you need to start a business.
Step 4. Pick an eCommerce Platform
If you have figured out what products to sell and how to source them, then you are almost finished.
To create a website to sell your products, you’ll need to create a brand first. Your website is the face of your company and will be what customers see when they are looking for your products.
It’s important to have a platform for your eCommerce store that you can control the branding and the buyer journey. You will also be accepting payments and handling essential tasks on this platform.
What are some things to look for in eCommerce platforms? Some things you may want to consider when looking for a reliable eCommerce platform are: -How easy is it to use? -Is it affordable? -Does it have good customer support? -Is it secure? -Does it have the features you need?
Step 5. Partner with a dropshipper (optional)
Dropshipping is a great way to start selling quickly and with minimal upfront costs. It is easy to manage and you don’t have to worry about storing or shipping products.
You choose the products you want to dropship from your supplier’s catalog. When you own a dropshipping business, you partner with a supplier who takes care of manufacturing, warehousing, and shipping on your behalf. Here’s how the dropshipping business works: You select the products you want to sell from your supplier’s catalog.
You add those products to your online store. When a customer orders from your store, you place the order with your supplier and they ship the product directly to your customer’s door. Dropshipping is a business model in which eCommerce entrepreneurs sell products without having to carry any inventory.
When a store owner receives an order from a customer, they simply contact the supplier, who will then ship the products directly to the customer’s door. Dropshipping apps like Oberlo let you add products from various suppliers into your shop to fuel your product offering.
When a customer buys from you, you purchase the product from your supplier at a wholesale price and have it shipped directly to the customer. You keep the difference between your retail price and the wholesale price as your profit. Dropshipping is a great way to start an eCommerce business with little up-front investment. You can choose the products you want to sell from your supplier’s catalog and list them on your site.
The shopper’s order is then forwarded to the dropshipper. The dropshipper ships the product directly to the shopper. If you choose to partner with a dropshipper, you will need to take the following steps:
- Forward the customer’s order, along with payment, to your supplier.
- Your supplier ships the product directly to your customer’s address.
- You make a profit on the difference between what you charged your customer and what you paid your supplier.
Step 5. Connect a payment provider
If you want to make your first eCommerce dollar, you need to decide how you’ll be paid. Offering multiple payment methods is always a good idea.
Now think about the last time you walked into a store or restaurant that didn’t accept credit cards or Apple Pay. You likely expected them to accept cash.
If a store only accepts cash, then you may not be able to shop there unless you have the right amount of cash on hand. In this case, it’s important to know what payment methods are available before you go into a store.
The same concept applies to your online payment forms, where you can accept payments from customers using a variety of methods.
If you’re selling products or services online, you need to provide your customers with a way to pay. The most common payment options are credit and debit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and bank transfer or direct deposit. All of these options are safe and secure, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.
You can connect a payment provider to your account in order to receive payments for your services. The most common payment providers are credit-debit cards, digital wallets (like PayPal), and bank transfers. You can also set up in-app purchases in order to receive payments for goods or services that you sell through your app.
You can also use a point of sale (POS) system, which is a software that allows you to take payments and manage your inventory. Finally, you can use a buy now, pay later solution, which allows customers to pay for their purchase over time.
If you’re looking for more payment gateway options, you can select from one of the many third-party plugins. With over 50 gateways to choose from, Wix has got you covered no matter where in the world you are. Plus, there are no additional transaction fees and you can integrate with your gateway of choice immediately.
Step 6. Name your store and get a domain
Now is the time to start working on your brand.
Come up with a name for your business.
Come up with a list of words that describe your business, product, or brand. Or, use a business name generator to come up with some creative names.
To choose a good name, think about search engine optimization. Think about the terms that your customers are searching for.
It’s always a good idea to be clear about what kind of products you sell in your store name. This way, shoppers will know exactly what you offer as soon as they see your name.
This text gives examples of ways to include words in a business’s name to help attract customers. If the business is selling hats, it can use words like “accessories,” “fedoras,” or “caps” in its name to attract customers.
But most importantly, ensure that your business name is unique and not already in use. You can do this by:
Use a domain name generator to help you come up with ideas Your business name is important as it will be one of the first things potential customers see. It is worth taking the time to choose a name that is not only unique but also represents what your business is about. There are several ways to ensure that your chosen name is available.
- Find out who your top 3-5 competitors are.
- Check your local online business registry.
- If you have decided on a name for your business, try to find a domain name that matches it as closely as possible.
Your store name is important for helping customers find and remember your brand online. A domain name is an important part of your store’s identity on the web and can help you promote and brand your business. You can expect to pay around $10-$15 per year for a domain name.
Setting up a store with Wix eCommerce is simple and straightforward. You can register and connect your domain name directly from the site. Once you have your store set up, you can get your domain name for free for one year. This makes it easy and convenient for customers to find and remember your brand online.
Examples Of Successful Online Stores
Are you curious about how other entrepreneurs have made it through the process of creating online stores? These are two inspiring stories from our customers.
Justin Wang, an eco-activist who is also an avid hiker, realized that it was very difficult to get rid of plastic water bottles. The reusable plastic bottles that were available weren’t very good either. Many of these bottles were difficult to clean after being used often. He created LARQ, a self-cleaning reusable container that can be reused over and over again. He also started selling a product line online.
His online business grew quickly with a 400% YoY growth in revenue. LARQ began international expansion in 2019 and drove an increase of over 80% in conversions in 3 months. This was achieved by adding multi-currency checkout to BigCommerce.
Burrow’s cofounders struggled to find furniture of good quality at a reasonable price while they were in business school. They didn’t want cheap, reusable items that pollute the environment. They also didn’t have the money or the patience to spend on custom furniture. They came up with the idea of modular out-of-the-box (literary), items that can be assembled quickly.
The duo launched online operations in 2019 with BigCommerce, an eCommerce platform that is as flexible and user-friendly as Burrow’s products. Kabeer Chopra said that their headless commerce solution enabled them to create an exclusive shopping experience, which was effectively linked with their operational backend.
There are many things to consider when opening an online store. It all depends on what type of business you own and whether you are building a new company or a brick-and-mortar business. These are the most frequently asked questions about starting an online shop.
How can I start an online shop with no money?
Square Online offers a lifetime-free option that allows for multipage online shops. You can upgrade your plan to get more advanced features once you have gained traction. You should expect to put in a lot more work before your store becomes profitable.
Do I need a business license to open an online store?
Most states require a business license, regardless of whether you are opening a brick-and-mortar store or an online shop. This license is required to collect taxes from customers and track tax revenue. The information you require should be available from your state’s revenue department.