11 Easy Steps to Start an Online Store in 2023 [A Beginner’s Guide for Offline Retailers & Aspiring Entrepreneurs]
Online sales are taking on greater importance in today’s society. Every year, eCommerce accounts for a larger and larger percentage of online retail sales. Additionally, more brick-and-mortar businesses are contemplating online selling as more customers turn to online merchants and marketplaces.
Online selling is by no means simple, even though it is necessary. Establishing, marketing, and starting an online store is a huge task for most sellers. Therefore, we’ve put together a list of stages to start an online store that will also aid you in your transition into online selling.
- Why Should You Consider to Start an Online Store?
- Types of Products For You to Start an Online Store
- Step By Step Guide on How to Start an Online Shopping Store in 2023
- Decide on the Business Structure
- Choose a Niche and Develop a Business Plan
- Conduct Market Research
- Decide Target Audience
- Choose an eCommerce Website Builder
- Choose a Domain Name For Your Online Store
- Design the Website
- Optimize Your Online Store with Product Listings
- Setup Shipping
- Connect a Payment Platform
- Deploy Your Marketing Strategies
- What Makes WareIQ the Best Choice For Your Online Store’s Fulfilment and Distribution Requirements in India?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why Should You Consider to Start an Online Store?
More and more consumer spending is now being accounted for via eCommerce each year. Because more individuals are at ease with online purchasing, your pool of potential clients grows yearly. 22% of all retail sales worldwide will be made through eCommerce by 2023. If you don’t start an online store, you could lose revenue from people who prefer to purchase online. You should start an online store for various reasons, though! There are numerous extra advantages to setup an online store for your business. An online store can help you with the following:
Expands Your Customer Base Internationally
You can sell your goods internationally or nationally when you do so online. Thanks to this business model, you will be able to reach clients that were previously out of your reach.
Gives Customers the Option to Shop from Home
Today’s consumers are altering how they interact with brands. Nowadays, consumers like to do their product research online before buying. Then, when you set up an online store, customers can compare your products to your rivals.
Enhances Your Business’s Legitimacy
Setting up a website and starting an online store for your company offers a professional appearance. If your store has a solid online presence, customers are more likely to believe in it.
Enables Customer Reviews
Many online retailers provide customers with the opportunity to write reviews for the goods they’ve purchased. These client testimonials reassure prospective buyers that your products are good and could encourage more purchases.
Suggested Read: Why customer feedback’s are important?
Social Sharing of Products
Allows Customers To Share Products On Social Media: If you have an online business, each of your products has a unique URL. This enables customers to share your products on social media. Hopefully, this will help your products get in front of more people.
Protection Against Natural Disaster
Having an online store gives your company an extra sales channel and an extra layer of security. You will still be able to sell your goods even if your shop needs to close for whatever reason.
Suggested Read: Multiple Channel Selling Platforms
WareIQ, an eCommerce fulfillment company, empowers online brands with a superior-tech platform to compete with Amazon like service levels by bringing their average delivery timelines from 5-10 days to 1-2 days.
Types of Products For You to Start an Online Store
Online retailers can offer three primary categories of eCommerce goods.
As the name suggests, they are tangible items that must be produced, warehoused, and sent to clients. Selling physical products might be lucrative, but your profit margins may be minimal if you don’t control your operating costs efficiently.
A customer can download anything to their device, such as eBooks, audiobooks, online courses, etc., and can be sold as a digital product.
Higher profit margins are available for digital goods (compared to physical goods). But because they are frequently thought of as having less worth than tangible goods, pricing them can be challenging.
Online sales are possible for almost any distant service. The quickest way to establish an online business is to sell services (and turn a profit). However, the business concept involves you selling your time. As a result, your earning potential is constrained since you only have a certain number of hours each day. Unless you grow into an agency, that is.
Step By Step Guide on How to Start an Online Shopping Store in 2023
Starting an online store can help your business succeed. However, it is unclear to many merchants how to setup an online store.
Check out the 11 easy step-by-step guide on how to setup an online store below.
Decide on the Business Structure
Make sure your new business is legal before you start an online store.
Though it’s not the easiest step, incorporation is a requirement for your company. If something goes wrong, your assets are also protected by a legally valid organisation recognised by the government. It also facilitates:
- Your tax bill reduced
- Easily obtain business funding
- Separate and maintain your personal and professional credit ratings.
For new business owners, typical organisational models include:
An unincorporated business has no legal separation between the owner and the business. It is the easiest to setup and run and qualifies as a non-employer business. The primary source of income for almost 40% of small business owners is a non-employer firm.
A single company having two or more proprietors is called a partnership. Each owner contributes to the company through money, assets, labour, or expertise. Partners split costs and earnings.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
A hybrid business form, LLC, combines partnerships with corporations’ liability protection.
Choose a Niche and Develop a Business Plan
You must identify the market niche you wish to sell in before selecting your products. By specifying your niche, you may position your store differently by ensuring that you make product choices and build your entire clothing line business plan around the types of customers you want to appeal to.
Determining your niche can help you quickly find and advertise your potential customers. This will also assist you in creating a product lineup that appeals to your target market, reducing competition and increasing the likelihood of long-term client loyalty.
The eCommerce industry is incredibly diversified. Even the current behemoths, like Amazon, began as specialised retailers. So to decide which eCommerce categories to concentrate on, do some background study.
Performing a SWOT Analysis
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats are also known as SWOT analysis. It’s a quick and easy approach to evaluating various product and niche ideas.
- Strengths- Strengths include expanding interest, strong customer demand, various product verticals, and in-depth understanding.
- Weaknesses- Limitations on shipping, numerous regulatory murky areas, and complex cross-border expansion are weaknesses.
- Opportunities- Learn how to create partnerships to run B2B or B2C companies successfully.
- Threats- Regulatory problems when selling across borders and failing to source products with valid test certifications pose threats.
Identify Market Gaps
At first sight, it could appear that the best eCommerce categories have already been taken. But that is untrue.
Unfulfilled consumer demand can be found with specialised research even within well-liked product categories.
To identify gaps in your target market, utilize-
- Social Media- Analyze the concerns, grievances, and recommendation requests made by your target audience on social media.
- Google Trends- Use Google Trends to analyse and evaluate the evolution of search volume for various product categories.
- Look at the best-selling items on Amazon and eBay- Read the reviews to find out what the customers think is missing or what they have to say.
Conduct Market Research
You can find out what your target audience wants, needs, or lacks through internet market research.
The first step in launching your own online business is market research. It aids in determining the breadth, viability, and competitiveness of the chosen business vertical. You don’t want to launch an offer that no one will be interested in purchasing. The market research also supports your product concept, pricing, and demand validity.
How to begin conducting market research is as follows:
Check The SERPs
Analyze the search engine result pages (SERPs) for the different spellings of the keywords that describe your goods or services. What kind of material currently appears on page one of the search results? Which companies are spending money to advertise above organic search results?
You may evaluate your competition more effectively by doing this. Obtain data for a draught SEO and digital marketing strategy based on the types of content that your target audience enjoys.
Study the Competitors
Additionally, you should focus on your principal rivals (beyond SERPs). For example, what are the largest business endeavours in your specialised field? What kind of income do they earn? What are their advantages and disadvantages?
In addition, you should take notice of how and where your target market often purchases goods and the most effective ways to reach them.
- B2B eCommerce- Do you anticipate doing more business with retailers, wholesalers, and corporate clients?
- B2C eCommerce- Selling on popular online marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, or Etsy gives you access to various audiences right out of the gate.
- Dropshipping – With this business strategy, a third party fulfils orders instead of you, allowing you to avoid maintaining your inventory.
- DTC – The direct-to-consumer business approach does away with the middleman (multi-brand retailer or wholesaler).
Decide Target Audience
The population on whom your marketing efforts are concentrated is known as the target audience. Knowing your ideal customer is essential when you start an online store. It simplifies acquiring new clients and draws interested customers to your website, increasing conversion rates and boosting sales.
Depending on the kind of products you want, you can create an audience of any size or characteristic. As a new entrepreneur in e-commerce, you should focus on these three primary areas-
- Demographics- Age, gender, occupation, education, and income.
- Location- Groups segment the market according to location, allowing you to serve a particular region better.
- Interests- Built on psychographics and contains your audience’s views, personalities, ideas, and way of life.
Choose an eCommerce Website Builder
An eCommerce platform is essentially a website builder. However, it includes many other capabilities to help you expand your online business, improve the client experience, and utilise it to create your website. Most eCommerce platforms will almost provide you with everything you need, negating the need to invest in third-party programmes, from email marketing to inventory management to order fulfilment.
Here are a few key elements to keep an eye out for when choosing an eCommerce platform to power your site. It should be simple to use, to begin with. Look for a platform that has a drag-and-drop website builder if you are extremely new to this. This makes it much simpler to comprehend and apply.
If the platform has integrated web hosting, that is an additional bonus. If not, a third-party solution will be required.
You should also think about it from the viewpoint of your clients. Will they have an easy time making a purchase? Consider payment alternatives and page speed to help create a seamless customer experience. It is best to take a wide range of currencies and payment methods.
Additionally, setting up a demo or utilising free trials can be a smart move (most eCommerce platforms provide this). This will enable you to evaluate the responsiveness of the customer service as well as have a better understanding of the user interface. You might not think that customer service is essential, but if you have a problem later, you’ll see how crucial 24-hour support is.
A few of the top eCommerce website builders are Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Builder.ai etc.
Choose a Domain Name For Your Online Store
You probably already have an idea for a store name. If not, creating a list of phrases related to your niche and products will help you create a name for your online store that fits. Perhaps you can tie your name into a very special selling proposition.
The difficulty with naming an internet store is that you’ll also need to consider search engines. However, you can immediately experience a significant improvement in search rankings by incorporating words your target audience will probably use when looking for your products online. You may, for instance, include the product type or category in your company name.
The domain name, often known as the website address, needs to be still available, which is a significant difficulty. Be aware that many people purchase well-known domain names to sell them later. So you might need to use your imagination to discover an appropriate related domain name.
The ideal situation is for your domain name to match your company name perfectly, which is not required. However, it will not only be much simpler for your target market to locate your store, but it will also aid with brand recognition and awareness.
Design the Website
This part is interesting. Your originality can shine in this situation. Designing a store that is both well-branded and conversion-optimized is the key in this situation. In addition to being delighted by the appearance and feel of your store, your consumers should be able to locate your products with ease and confidently make a purchase.
Consider these points before designing your website-
- Consider the structure of your website very carefully. Look at how other well-known companies and merchants employ shopping carts, filters, breadcrumbs, and navigation menus to create a seamless user experience. Avoid overcrowding any navigation bar or page, and focus on the search habits and jargon that your target audience will understand.
- Adhere to the three-click rule. Generally, your products should be reachable in three clicks or less. In other words, it should be simple for customers to navigate from your homepage (or any other landing page) to the product page they’re looking for. To locate what they’re looking for, customers shouldn’t have to go through numerous layers of your website. Don’t forget to include essential links in your footer, such as those to your shipping details, return policy, and contact information.
- Use a template for an eCommerce website. No need to create anything altogether fresh. Many platforms provide a variety of templates for online stores that may be altered and personalised to ensure that your company has an entirely distinctive appearance. The significant components your store will require are already included in these templates, saving you the time and effort of starting from scratch.
- Make it clear what you are selling. When visitors arrive, they should already be aware of what you sell. While your off-site marketing and promotion initiatives need aid, you should reassert your area of expertise through straight page titles, unambiguous search menus, and compelling graphics.
Optimize Your Online Store with Product Listings
Setup your product category pages, create compelling product descriptions and upload photographs of your products that will sell them to make your store a pleasure to browse and your products simple to find.
Components to consider for optimizing product listings while you setup an online store-
In addition to being attractive, a product title should make it obvious what a customer is purchasing from you. Therefore, keywords are frequently used in titles to make it simpler for readers to search for the products using pertinent keywords. Along with the main keyword, you can include additional terms.
Describe the item you are trying to sell. A description frequently aids in decision-making. Therefore, you must make sure all the viewers’ inquiries are addressed. Surface descriptions, colour, size possibilities, variants, and other relevant parameters are all included in descriptions that are tailored to the products you are selling. Usually, the description is around 50 words.
For making decisions, a viewer searches for detail in the images. Ensure the images are crystal clear so clients buying the products have no questions. To finish poses, use close-ups and adequate lighting.
Mention the MRP at which you are supplying the final consumer with the product. Since this is the ultimate price you are providing, the MRP not only pays for your expenses but also gives you room for profit. Therefore, pricing must be done while taking into account many things.
The reviews left by past customers for the same products are located beneath the section. As is often said, nothing promotes a product or service like a customer’s personal endorsement. Positive reviews can be used as a marketing tool, and you can learn from negative ones to improve your product.
When you run an online company, you must ship every single order you get, unlike traditional brick-and-mortar stores where you might need to do so sometimes. As a result, you need to give shipping some significant care.
You should consider several things, such as it can make more sense to use a flat fee if you mainly sell small, lightweight items because it will be simpler to budget for your shipping expenses. In addition, the consumer can choose from various shipping alternatives, such as same-day delivery, shipment within one to three business days, etc., if your eCommerce platform interfaces with some of the top shipping carriers. As a result, customers will find the selections easy, and you’ll never experience a loss because of the live price.
Offering free shipping has a lot of benefits despite this. eCommerce data show that extra fees like delivery are the leading cause of online shoppers leaving their carts unfilled. Additionally, shoppers favour one online retailer over another due to its free delivery option. In actuality, customers favour free delivery over expedited delivery. If you only intend to operate one or two locations, you could also offer local consumers the chance to place an online order and free in-person pickup from one of your locations.
Connect a Payment Platform
As previously stated, offering a range of payment options is ideal when you start an online store. Although most people still make payments using credit cards, payment figures provided by Statista show that PayPal is the most popular choice for online shopping. It’s a good idea to look into using buy now pay later (BNPL) services like Klarna, Amazon Pay, and Afterpay, in addition to accepting Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal. Alternative payment options are now seen as a requirement for any online business.
Deploy Your Marketing Strategies
Marketing is essential for when you start an online store in the market and advertise your seasonal deals. Digital marketing, content curation, SMO, and SEO are a must and a constant effort for you if you are starting an online store. Well, it depends on the type of business you are pursuing. There has been much discussion around the online marketing and sale channels you may use to advertise and sell deals.
Considering that sales can now be accepted at your store. Now is the moment to begin proclaiming it through campaigns. Utilize a range of marketing techniques to draw clients to your online store.
The process of developing and sharing content for blogs, podcasts, quizzes, infographics, and videos is known as content marketing. Despite not openly promoting your brand, it helps raise interest in you and your offerings. Although content marketing is a long-term strategy, it is effective.
Building audience trust and interest in your brand by creating helpful content is essential. Additionally, the possibility of your material going viral is always present.
You can market to an email list, which is one of the finest advantages of email marketing. Your email list often includes subscribers or opt-in members, so you speak directly to those who are already interested in your business.
You can invite users to join your email list through links in your content, a form on your website, or your social media platforms.
Once you’ve established an email list, you can always remarket to your audience. Sending out newsletters, exciting updates, special deals, and other things is possible. Emails also enable segmentation and automation, saving time and adding a personal touch for your consumers.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) must be included in every list of internet marketing tactics. Although SEO isn’t the most entertaining marketing strategy, it does improve website visitors from organic search results.
And if you own an online store, you want as many high-quality site visitors as possible.
Understanding your clients’ language while looking for information online is the key to successful SEO. For example, what keywords may people enter to find related products?
What queries can your products address for them? First, create a list of keywords, then incorporate them into the pages and content of your website.
Additionally, it’s crucial to employ title tags and meta descriptions on each page of your website. With this information, search engines and users can better understand the page’s subject matter. If you don’t have much experience with SEO, you can work with a professional to develop a plan and improve your online store.
Paid Marketing Channels
Last, paid adverts are a tried-and-true method of making sales online. You might choose to launch a digital marketing campaign on Facebook or another well-liked social media site by your target market.
Spend money on retargeting advertisements, which go after customers who have previously visited your store but are left empty-handed. These advertisements frequently work since the viewer is already acquainted with your goods and has given them some thought in the past.
Most visitors to your website don’t buy anything on their initial visit; retargeting advertising encourages them to do so.
You will include a piece of code called a pixel to track who visits your website and what pages they view. Retargeting advertising then shows your ad to the visitor on websites like Facebook or Google, frequently prompting them to return to your store and make a purchase this time.
While often pricey, working with influencers is a social commerce technique that frequently yields impressive results. This is because influencers generally have a sizable online following and the power to “influence” the purchasing decisions of others.
If you collaborate with an influencer, pick someone whose fan base corresponds to your intended market. Additionally, you should research to ensure the influencer’s principles align with your company’s.
Influencers can write reviews, talk about your products at events or in videos, share pictures of themselves using your items, and create guest blogs for you. Link your selling platforms, as usual, to let influenced customers know where to purchase your goods.
Starting an online business need not be difficult. Consider each step as it comes. Investigate a market niche for e-commerce and popular goods first. Establish your business model and fulfilment plan next.
Start setting up your web business after that. Select an online store platform, customise the look, and add products to your collection. Pay attention to increasing traffic to your online store.
As soon as your company starts operating, be sure to gather as much information as you can. Analyze the data afterwards to learn more about what functions and what doesn’t. Adapt your company plan as necessary.
Nowadays, you can sell anything online, including handmade goods, courses, graphic design services, custom-printed clothing, baked goods, and more.
As you can see, when you follow the procedures outlined above, opening an online storefront will be simple.
What Makes WareIQ the Best Choice For Your Online Store’s Fulfilment and Distribution Requirements in India?
If you’re prepared to expand your online store’s geographic reach effectively and economically, WareIQ’s distribution and storage services can manage all aspects of inventory distribution. WareIQ employs its warehouse management system (WMS) and logistical know-how, along with its increasing fulfilment distribution network, which consists of numerous fulfilment centres and dark shops around the nation, to assist you in scaling your business more successfully and with less effort.
To improve supply chain efficiency, WareIQ, a 3PL distribution partner, offers ideal recommendations for the warehouse where your products should be stored. As soon as an order is placed, it is immediately sent to the customer’s nearby warehouse. WareIQ will then take care of order processing, order fulfilment, and delivery, allowing your team to focus on the more crucial goals of your company.
You can monitor inventory levels across more than 12 eCommerce marketplaces using a single dashboard in real time. In addition, it provides full visibility into warehousing costs, transit times, and other statistics. WareIQ is a best-in-class warehouse management system for brands that need assistance managing inventory in real-time, reducing picking, packaging, and shipping errors, and wanting to scale with simplicity.
- Pan India Fulfillment & Darkstore Network: Plug-and-play fulfillment infrastructure with no minimums, which is compliant with Amazon Seller Flex, Flipkart Assured, Myntra and other marketplaces
- Inventory & Network Planning Excellence: Best-in-class AI models for sales forecasting, product segmentation, and inventory management to reduce inventory by 40% and increase revenue by 10%.
- Vertically Integrated Fulfillment Tech Stack: Our Fulfillment Tech Solution supports integrations with 20+ top marketplaces & D2C platforms, and prominent national, regional and hyperlocal couriers, enhancing reach by covering deliveries for 27,000+ pin codes
- Supply Chain Productivity Applications: Integrate a host of supply chain productivity apps with a single-click to your existing CRMs, ERPs & accounting software to manage your logistics workflows from one command center. Use Apps like RTO Shield to get 100% RTO protection, Branded Tracking to turn your order tracking page into a profitable marketing channel, and many more.
Trusted by 300+ top Indian brands, we are helping them accelerate online sales and expedite their growth through a synergistic combination of advanced technology, robust fulfillment infrastructure & seller enablement services!WareIQ is backed by leading global investors including Y Combinator, Funders Club, Flexport, Pioneer Fund, Soma Capital, and Emles Venture Partner.