July 28

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How To Start An Online Store With A Bang

By Hanson Cheng

July 28, 2021


It's no secret that the Internet has changed the way we do business forever. 

Today, you can start your online store in less than an hour and sell products to a global audience. Whether you want to do drop shipping, affiliate marketing, or an eCommerce startup, it’s all doable. This post will walk you through some tips for launching your online store from setting up a domain name to getting your site ready for launch day.

What are you waiting for? 

Let's get started.

9 Benefits Of Starting an Online Store

Source: Pixabay

Launching a successful online store has many benefits including:

  • Speed: You can launch your eCommerce store site in less than an hour.
  • Accessibility: Your eCommerce site is accessible from any device with internet access, so you don't have to worry about missing out on sales when you're traveling.
  • Convenience: It's easy for potential customers to compare items and find the products they want in one place.
  • Quick Delivery: No matter your small business model, niche, or what you want to sell, there’s no more waiting for inventory to arrive.
  • Open 24/7: Customers can shop any day at any time—your eCommerce business never closes, you make money while you sleep.
  • Flexible: starting an eCommerce business is a great way to launch your business and make money doing what you love.
  • Global: you sell your products to a huge global audience which hikes your profits.
  • Zero Paperwork: less paper waste since everything is digital.
  • Personalization: digital sales channels and online stores are easy to optimize and personalize, thus improving customer experience.

As you can see, starting an eCommerce business is worthwhile.

How To Start An Online Store In 14 Steps

Setting up your store isn't as daunting as it seems if you follow these steps.

Step 1: Choose A Domain Name

Source: Pixabay

To start an online store, choose a domain name that matches your business name. There are many options out there that you can register for and each one has its pros and cons. You'll want to make sure that you select a domain name that is memorable, easy to spell, and will be recognizable for the company. It's important not to use common words or phrases in your brand so we recommend coming up with something original.

Step 2: Pick Your eCommerce Platform

There are many eCommerce platforms out there to choose from. 

Some of the more popular options include Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce. These platforms have everything you need for launch day including themes (or templates) that will allow your store to look professional and inviting while also offering all the features needed for running an online business such as e-commerce, customer management, and analytics.

The best part?

Most of the platforms offer a free trial so you can create an eCommerce website without paying a dime.

Step 3: Set Up Your Website

You should have a fully set up website with all the required pages. Before going live, it's important to go through each page and make sure everything is how you want it for your launch day. We recommend getting feedback from friends or coworkers before launching just in case there are any changes you need to make. This will help the opening day go smoothly and you won't have anything embarrassing on your website like typos or missing pages.

1. Design Your Site:

Designing your site can be one of the most challenging parts of launch day. You'll want to create a custom design for your store that looks professional and is also easy for shoppers to navigate. This includes picking colors, fonts, designing logos, and coming up with taglines or brand names. Your store should have a recognizable brand. This will make it easier for shoppers to find you online and build trust with your products because they know what to expect from you.

2. Set Up Your Brand's Logo:

Setting up your logo is a big step in launching an online store. The logo will be the face of your company and it must represent what you do, how you do it, and who you are as a brand. You'll want to make sure that when people see it they know exactly who you are and what your company does. Whether it's a personal logo or one for the entire brand, coming up with an original idea that stands out is important.

3. Easy Navigation:

Make sure the navigation is easy and intuitive so that customers can easily find their way around.

4. Good Design:

Take the time to design a site that looks professional and inviting for your customers. This is also one of the first things they will notice when they land on your page so it's important to make sure you put as much effort into this aspect as possible!

5. Mobile Optimization:

Mobile optimization is essential in today's world and will help to increase your traffic. If you open without a mobile-optimized template, you could lose money because of site unavailability for all devices. Plus, over half of the Internet population now accesses the Internet via their phone or other handheld devices.

Brainstorm Ways to Make Your Website Unique

This may not seem like an important step at first glance, but coming up with ways that your website will stand out from the rest is an essential step on launch day. You want people to remember your website when they're browsing for a new product or service and coming up with differentiating attributes can make all the difference.

Step 4: Set Up Your Storefront

Source: Pixabay

There’s a page store owners mustn’t ignore.

The home page. 

You'll want to set up your site so that it's easy for customers to find what they're looking for from the start. This means making sure you have a well-designed site with high-quality product images and helpful descriptions. 

You also want a prominent hero image that showcases your signature product.

If you have massive discounts, the homepage is where you want to feature them prominently. They should be apparent to shoppers as soon as they arrive on your site.

Another important issue you must work on is the number of clicks it takes to reach product pages. Ensure shoppers make only two clicks to get to your product pages. This boosts conversions and sales.

All of this will help shoppers navigate your store quickly to find what they need which is important for launch day.

Step 5: Set up eCommerce Features

Source: Pixabay

Once the site design has been finalized, it's time to launch the eCommerce features. This includes setting up shipping and payment options, inventory management, customer data, and analytics.

Let’s explore each one.

  • Shopping cart: make sure you set up a reliable shopping cart for a frictionless checkout experience.
  • Shipping: shipping costs are one of the key considerations for buyers so make sure it’s set up accordingly so people know upfront how much they will pay.
  • Customer support: incorporate modern customer support systems like self-service, live chat, omnichannel support, and chatbots.
  • Payment Options: set flexible payment methods that take many credit cards to widen customer options.
  • Analytics: add Google Analytics and other specialized eCommerce analytics tools for valuable data insights to help your store grow.

Step 6: Choose Your Products and Pricing

Source: Pixabay

Select the right products to open with and price them accordingly.

You'll want to make sure that you have a wide variety of products so that your customers can find what they are looking for, but also keep in mind the profit margin at which you will sell each item. 

Pricing strategies differ depending on how much volume is being purchased by your customer. If someone buys many products, you can offer them at bulk prices. If someone buys just one product,  look up the going rates online and price your items accordingly.

Step 7: Find Your Suppliers

Finding your suppliers for the items that you're going to be selling on your site is one of the most important steps in starting an eCommerce business. 

The first place I recommend looking at is Alibaba's "Manufacturers" or China wholesale providers like Made In China, DHgate, and Focal Price.

Step: Find Packaging And Shipping Companies

Source: Pixabay

Packaging is a key component in launch day because you'll need to send your products off to customers. 

There are many options out there that offer fulfillment services that allow you to ship orders straight from their warehouses with the click of a button. This is especially important for launch day because you'll need to make sure you ship off all of your products to customers as soon as possible.

Step 8: Add products To Sell

Add all the products you will sell to your website.

  • Product photos: Make sure you use high-resolution product photos that’ll lure customers and whet their buying appetites.
  • Product descriptions: Photos alone can’t convince consumers to buy. Besides top-drawer product photography, write a tantalizing product description for each product.
  • Product categories: Group your products into categories according to their similarities for easy navigation.

Step 9: Decide On Your Opening Day Deals

Source: Pixabay

Deciding on launch day deals is an important decision for any eCommerce store.

If you decide to launch your site with a promotion or sale, make sure that it will be something worth celebrating! On launch day, try not to do anything too drastic (like marking everything in the store down by 50%) as this could cause problems with customers and their expectations. 

It's best to start with a promotion that will still leave you room for growth in the future, like offering free shipping or discounts on your top-selling products.

Step 10: Optimize Your New Store For SEO

Search engines can drive throngs of visitors to your site.

An SEO-optimized store can help you sell online on autopilot.

Business owners with a smart SEO marketing strategy work on the following aspects of their online shops:

  • Store Architecture: organize your website pages in a way that makes it easier for shoppers to find what they are looking for. Like this.

Source: Backlinko

  • Keywords: massage keywords into your product description tag, product categories, and product copy.
  • Link Building: build links to your online shop to give yourself a better chance of ranking for competitive keywords.
  • Site Audit: run a technical SEO audit to make sure every search engine optimization detail is taken care of. Use tools like Screaming Frog or Raven Tools for the task.

Step 11: Do Last Minute Checks

Here are some last-minute tips for the launch of your eCommerce store:

You want to launch your store with a bang, so make sure you check every detail. Double-check that you’ve set up your opening date properly on Google calendar and syncs across all of your devices.

  • Check if all items are in stock and ready for purchase at launch time; be wary of any products where the launch date is too far in advance.
  • Check the display settings on your site and make sure that they reflect how you want your store to look for launch day.
  • Check up on any social networks profiles where you will post photos or announcements about the launch of your eCommerce store so all links are active!
  • Ensure that you set up shipping rates for the opening day, including international pricing (I recommend setting up zones at this point).
  • Confirm that all of your links are working and there's nothing broken on the website before the launch date.
  • Create a launch email blast list–send emails to internal staff members and customers with an announcement about launch day.

Step 12: Get Traffic On Opening Day

Source: Pixabay

Your big day has finally come. It's time to promote your website like crazy. You'll want to make sure you followed all the previous steps so everything is ready on opening day. It's important to promote the launch of your site so that you can get as many people interested in what you offer.

Tap traffic from three sources:

1. Email Marketing

I’m sure you know that your email list is a vital asset in digital marketing. You must grow it from day one of your venture. On launch day, send an email blast letting subscribers know you are now open for business.

2. Social Media

Social media is an important tool for marketing these days because it's how most people find out about new products or services. It's important not just to have a social account but to start with a significant following and reach. Add as many people on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram that you think will be interested in what you're doing.

3. Paid Advertising

Don’t just rely on organic traffic to get buyers otherwise you may be disappointed. Spread the word about your shop through paid adverts such as Facebook Ads as well.

We recommend sending out a few last emails, updating your social media, and making sure you're getting traffic.

Step 13: Explore Additional Marketing Tools

It can be difficult to start your online store and keep up with all the marketing tasks necessary for success. We recommend using a tool like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, which will help you automate some of these tasks and launch your marketing campaign with aplomb.

Step 14: Keep It Going!

It's important to keep your site updated so that people are still interested in following it after launch day.

The best eCommerce stores don’t just announce themselves on the market with a big splash. They keep doing the right things, day in day out, week after week, month after month, year after year. 

Launch day is not the end of your journey. You'll need a marketing plan in place to keep the hype up after launch day and make sure that people are still talking about you months down the road! We recommend setting aside time for marketing well in advance of launch day.

Want a shortcut to starting a virtual shop? A tool that does all the above for you and more?

Then use Shopify Store.

Shopify Store Templates And Tips

One of the easiest ways to start an eCommerce store is to use Shopify, one of the most popular e-Commerce website builders on the market.

Shopify offers many free and premium templates to launch with, but you may also want to consider hiring someone from an outside source for more customization. If you're launching on WordPress, there are many themes available as well that can give your site some flair without taking a lot of design work.

Here’s why you must build your store using Shopify:

  • Customizable Themes: you can personalize the websites to fit your brand color scheme and feel.
  • 3000+ Apps: Shopify Store has an app for every eCommerce occasion from their array of free and paid apps.
  • Shipping Costs: the system automatically calculates shipping costs for each customer so you don’t have to.
  • Abandoned Cart: you will quickly recover lost sales through the abandoned cart feature.
  • Inventory Management: easily set up inventory tracking, change inventory quantities, view product inventory history, and more.
  • Social Media: add share buttons to your blog posts and other pages of your site.

For a quick launch, use Shopify to build your store because they have all the tools you need and more

Thinking Of Starting An Online Store?

If you want to start an eCommerce, take a look at this checklist of considerations before deciding:

*Do I have the time to launch?*

If you're already running a business, launching a digital store may not be the best idea as it will take up more of your time.

This is especially important if you have employees or other obligations outside of your company and personal life. It's also worth considering how much money you can put upfront, your opening day costs, and how will you generate revenue.

*Do I have enough money to launch?*

Just because anyone with an idea and the know-how can start an eCommerce store doesn't mean that they should do so if they're not financially sound. Think about what type of return on investment (ROI) you think the launch will have and how much money you'll need upfront.

*Will I be able to generate an income after opening day?*

This is a difficult question, especially if you're unsure of your product's potential or marketability. If it takes time for customers to come back to your store again (or buy from you again) then it may not be worth launching at all.

*Do I have the expertise to launch my site?*

If this is your first time starting a virtual shop, chances are that there will be some bugs or mistakes. It's important to make sure that you're equipped with enough knowledge and understanding of how your site works before launch day, or else you'll be overloaded with work after you open your doors.

*What is my budget for launch?*

Launch day costs can vary drastically depending on what type of eCommerce store and how many products are being sold but the most common cost factors include domain names, hosting fees, designing your website (for both mobile and desktop), eCommerce software, and launch day marketing. These opening costs can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands so you must have enough money in your budget for opening day.

*Am I focusing on the right target market?

The products or marketing strategies won’t help you if you are not targeting the right people. Double-check your buyer personas so you attract the right crowd for a successful online shop.

Create An Online Store And Bring In The Big Bucks

It’s undeniable that starting an eCommerce store can yield significant profits.

Use these tips to start an online store that’ll boom and make you bucket loads of cash faster than you imagined.

Starting is the simple part.

What’s vital is to keep doing the right things to sustain growth and keep raking in the sales long after opening day.

Last Updated on September 13, 2021 by Hanson Cheng

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Hanson Cheng

About the author

Living in Bali with my Fiancee and puppy, (Alina and Pickles). Scaling online businesses and sharing lessons learned on this website and in our email newsletter. Always happy to hear from you, so find me on Instagram if you want to say hi!

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