In this short guide, I want to give you an overview of what you have to do to start your first online shop as fast as possible and become successful with it.
Of course, we can’t go into much detail here, the guide should only serve as an overview of your first tasks which you will have to manage when starting an Online Shop.
To get the most important tips about building an Online Shop, subscribe to Understanding eCommerce.
Decide what you want to sell
First of all, you have to decide what you want to sell online. In General, you have two opportunities.
You can sell a commercial product, that already is available on the market, or you sell a unique product that you have designed by yourself.
I would recommend that you choose the second option in this case. Offering a product online that already exists over a thousand times is usually a backlash.
If you manage to offer a unique product that your customers can only buy from you, then you will have a competitive advantage against other competitors, because customers are only able to buy this specific product from you.
Google Trends helps you identify trends and develop your product ideas.
However, the complete development of unique products requires your creativity.
Dropshipping vs. Self-Shipping
The next step is to decide which E-Commerce model you want to use. Do you want to start a dropshipping business or do you want to run your online shop with your own products?
Dropshipping means that your business partners send the products directly to the customer, so you have no physical contact with these products.
As soon as you receive an order, you send the invoice to your so-called Dropshipping partner, who then delivers the products to your customers.
Therefore, you have to pay a small fee to your business partner for these logistics services.
If you decide not to use Dropshipping, you will have to master your logistical tasks by yourself.
It just depends on what you want to achieve with your online shop. If you want to sell non-commercial products, then Dropshipping is unsuitable.
Make certain you’ll be able to sell your desired product
Once you have found a good product idea, you should check if you can actually sell the product, i.e. if you need certain patents or certificates.
But also, other factors are important when it comes to ensuring the retail of your product.
For example, have you thought about the weight and size of your product?
Sure, you may be able to sell your item for much less than your competition, but will the shipping costs ruin your margins?
They will do it if your item is too big or too heavy.
Do you perhaps want to sell some food, for which you have to observe further regulations?
In any case, be sure that you can comply with all financial and legal requirements.
Analyze what your nearest competitors do
Why would you want to reinvent the wheel? By analyzing your competitors you can save valuable time and money.
Now you know which products you want to sell. Research online for your competition and look at their marketing strategy to design one for yourself.
You should also pay particular attention to the SEO strategy of your competitors. But we will discuss this aspect in more detail later.
For now, you should be able to answer the following questions:
- How many products do they offer?
- What are the strengths of your competitors, what are the weaknesses of your competitors?
- What can you do better?
- Which products do your competitors not offer yet?
- Which variations do your competitors offer?
- Which additional services do your competitors offer?
The answers to these questions provide the basis for your business strategy. You know about the strengths of your competitors.
So you should keep these points in mind and implement them just as brilliantly.
Do you know the weaknesses of your competition?
You should do these things better.
Do a detailed Keyword Research
After you have analyzed your competitors and their products, you should do a detailed keyword research.
You can do this with tools like Ahrefs or Semrush. But you can also use free tools like Ubersuggest.
If you use Semrush or Ahrfes, you can analyze which keywords your competitors use or for which keywords your competitors are ranking.
This will probably prove to be very useful because you will get a deeper insight into the entire market situation.
The best thing is to create a Top 100 list with the most important keywords.
Remember that you want to rank your product detail page in Google search results. Accordingly, your keyword research should be focused on this.
Choose your E-Commerce Solution
Choose the most effective E-Commerce solution for you. Reckoning on your budget and level of experience, the succeeding step is to make your mind up which sort of E-Commerce solution is right for you:
- Hosted: Hosted solutions house your website on their servers, also as give web-based software system to make and power your online store. This sort is best-suited for beginners in website building.
- Licensed: Authorized solutions are out-of-the-box platforms that you just install onto a laptop. Not like hosted solutions, you are needed to seek out your hosting and security protections, which might be tough.
- Open: Open source solutions are software that you can download for free to make your web site from scratch. Whereas this can be an excellent selection for full customization, keep in mind that you have to do some significant programming to set up the site – which might mean you will need to hire somebody, who can code.
PS: Of course, you can also consider selling your products on Amazon. If you want to inform yourself about various Amazon tools, a good start is the article Helium 10 vs. Viral Launch (https://www.smart-minded.com/en/business/helium-10-vs-viral-launch-2/).
Build your online store
Start with the creation of your Online Shop. Based on the type of solution you have chosen, you should find out about its functionality and start customizing your important pages, your product and class pages, your homepage and content pages, and more.
Create Content & Build Links
Finally, of course, you need to attract visitors to your website. But, what is the solution? – Content marketing and Search Engine Optimization.
Start answering certain questions of your customers by writing articles, which provide useful information.
Of course, at the beginning of your Online Shop, it will be hard to place your articles high up in the Google search results.
Therefore you should invest urgently in the acquisition of Backlinks, also to rank your product pages. Backlinks are absolutely essential when it comes to SEO.
Moritz Bauer is a student of industrial engineering with a passion for e-commerce and online marketing. Besides her studies, he runs the blog smart-minded (https://www.smart-minded.com/en/).