The online shopping craze that was ignited several years ago shows no signs of slowing down, and you may feel like now is the time to get yourself a piece of the action. Though there is no doubt that it is much easier than setting up a real-life store, there are still a lot of things that you need to do to give yourself the best chance of success. In this blog post, we will look closer at a step by step guide that is designed to get you started in this highly competitive world.
Step one: Do your research
It sounds like an obvious point to make, but so many people try to launch their own online store without having done the proper amount of research. Even if you are naturally impatient, there is no point launching an online store full of things that people don’t want to buy! Look at your potential competitors to see what they are doing – the things that work and the things that don’t. If you can speak to potential customers directly, this will put you in a much stronger position.
Step two: Create your website
Obviously, your website is your most important tool when you run an online store. First of all, you will need a good back-end platform. If you don’t have a background in web development, you need to choose one that makes it easy to design your site and conduct the day to day running of it. There are plenty of off-the-shelf starting points which you can use. Alternatively, you can hire a professional to take care of this for you.
Step three: Logistical details
Your products aren’t going to pack themselves and delivery isn’t always a cheap option. So, whether you are going to box everything yourself, use custom stand up pouch packaging or bring in extra hands to take care of this for you, make sure that you have thought everything through properly. If you do take on any staff members, this adds a layer of extra complication to your business, but you may decide it is the easier approach to take.
Step four: Marketing
Now is the marketing stage when you actually need to bring in customers. SEO is a very important area, allowing you to gain visibility on the most popular search engines. And you may also want to consider PPC advertising as a way of getting off the ground. Also, you should be looking to set up social media accounts, and learn the basics of email marketing as well.
Step five: Learn the law
Ignorance of the law is never an excuse, so you need to adhere to the basics of online trading and not breach any of the areas that are designed to protect consumers. A lot of these are common sense, but the last thing that you want to do is to fall foul of any of them.
Though there are obviously more details that you will need to learn, these are the basics of running your own online store.
*This is a contributed post