How to Start an Online Store in 2021 (Step by Step Guide)
COVID-19 pandemic has affected more than 200 countries throughout the world. It severely impacted the global economy, and global stock markets have suffered drastic falls due to the outbreak. According to Statista, almost 3.5 trillion U.S. dollars have been lost in economic output. People got locked down in their homes, which was the only way to stay safe from the deadly virus. Stores, restaurants, and shopping malls were closed, and there was no business at all.
On the other hand, the biggest online stores like Amazon doubled its sales during the pandemic. That brought $5 billion to the company as net profit because people had no choice except to buy online. Due to the pandemic, we learned E-commerce businesses and remote work as the new norms. The online stores survived, and their profits increased as the pandemic pushed more shoppers to these retailers.
There are many opportunities in the e-com industry, but it needs hard work, the right decisions, and adapting perfect strategies to survive and grow a profitable online store. To help, we’ve combined those checklists all together in this short guide to research, launch, and grow your first E-commerce store.
1. Product Niche Research
This is the first and foremost step in bringing up your online selling adventure. It’s essential to know about your products and it’s features in-depth. This is a crucial step, and hundreds of profitable niche business ideas will hit your mind. To get a detailed picture, we need to consider some of the key factors. For instance, market demand, target locations, selling price, and product durability. I know it sounds overwhelming, but the good news is that Google Trends can help you narrow down the research process. You’ll be able to see the trending searching around the world with detailed insights.
2. Validate the Product According to Client Needs
After conducting the competitive analysis, it’s time to finalize the business product and pick up the right one. There is no doubt about the competitors that have already grown. It can be discouraging, and the first step is always the hardest.
As Kinga Odziemek, CEO at social media marketing agency BrainyBees, says:
“Your clients need to understand not only what you will deliver, but also what’s in it for them.”
It will definitely help you to generate leads for your store. The quickest and effective ways to validate a product are collecting pre-orders, crowdfunding, and email collection.
3. Bring the Store Online
It is up to you to choose between Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress. However, WordPress is more powerful, and it has the best E-commerce and shopping cart plugins. So, after you get a hosting plan and install WordPress, choose a responsive and mobile-friendly theme. Your website must look impressive on mobile devices because you’ll have more visitors viewing your site on mobiles as compared to laptops or personal computers. Google does not bring up those websites which do not pass the mobile-friendliness test. Therefore, choose your website theme carefully and wisely.
4. Add Products to the Store with Features
Well, I hope you’ve visited Amazon and eBay stores online. We can learn a lot from these leading platforms, but here are the key takeaways:
- Write a complete product name
- Categorize the products properly
- Write the best description
- Add meta
- Mention features, schemes, colors
- Write original price and discount
- Tell people about shipping— either free or paid
- Update product availability in stock
- Expected delivery time
Never forget about SEO— use Google to see how people are searching for a specific product. Long Tail keywords can help your product pages to rank higher.
Do you want more? Well, read our exceptional guide to launching a product successfully.
5. Create Product Bundles
Creating product bundles is ultimately the fastest way to increase sales and boost revenue. Additionally, it reduces the whole budget spent on marketing. Let me give you the most common example of KFC burger deals. These deals never stop running though, you can get them anytime. They offer brilliant packages. For instance, in a family bucket offer, you can have 9 chicken pieces, 2 coleslaws, 1 fries bucket, and a 1.5L drink at an affordable price of $10. It works every time, attracts more customers, and multiple products are sold at one time.
6. Optimize Your Products for Search Engines
It has become tough to rank on Google against highly competitive keywords without proper SEO. Search engine ranking for your online store is the only way to get organic traffic. No traffic means no sales period! One more thing to keep in mind that Google always keeps changing its search algorithms, bringing more fresh content on SERPs.
“Successful SEO is not about tricking Google. It’s about partnering with Google to provide the best search results for Google’s users.”— Phil Frost.
7. Introduce Multiple Payment Options
People tend to be more interested in buying stuff when they have multiple payment options and easy checkout. If more payment methods are integrated with your online store, you will get more sales.
Interestingly, if your online store is running on WordPress— install the WooCommerce plugin, which integrates 100+ payment gateways to accept payments.
8. Add Legal Policies
It is required to add legal pages to the store. You can find the templates or, better to create them on your own. Some of the recommended legal pages are:
- Terms and Conditions
- Standard Privacy
- Return Policy
- Shipping Statements
- Refund Policy
Shopify offers great tools to generate terms and policies. It only takes a few minutes, so make sure to check it out.
9. Bring Your E-commerce Store to the World
We are heading towards the final stages of launching the store. All of the above strategies seem pretty complicated, but if you affirm and know the product’s ins and outs, it can turn out to be a great success. Before the launch, check for broken links and fix them right away. Ask your friends and family to open the website on mobile devices and get their feedback. Make some test sales to improve the user experience. Keep tweaking and fine-tuning the store by adding more collections. Additionally, create navigation links for the main menu and add the potentially best-selling products to your homepage.
Get going, get better!
10. Invest in Digital Marketing
Marketing is about letting people know about your product. Stories play a key role in product marketing, and more importantly, customers love products with interesting stories to back them up. Focus on the right targeted audience who are so choosy about brands. That means your product needs a continuous elevation through multiple digital profiles. Set marketing goals, build a marketing strategy, and utilize the right marketing tools— for instance, social media, content curation, email marketing, event marketing, ad campaigns, and so on…
The coronavirus had drastic effects on the economy, and the whole world suffered from an economic blow. Even the biggest economies are still struggling with the pandemic. The pandemic brought up many changes, and now everyone would like to have some passive income resources. During these trying times, only e-commerce seems to be in a pretty good spot. Prepare yourself, address the technological issues, improve the site’s speed, and optimize the checkout process. These small adjustments will make a big difference. Above all, stay focused, be positive, and avoid over-thinking — success awaits you.
About the author
Faisal Rehman is a Freelance Systems Administrator and a writer at softwarespice.com. With 10 years of technology and systems experience, he writes about the best web hosting for small business and how to start a successful blog.