Description: Learn how to start online business using a step-by-step guide for beginners.
Online sales are a simple, fun, and effective way to make money and finally leave the exhausting rat race. But is everything really as simple as it seems from the outside? Let’s figure it out!
Where Exactly Should You Start Your Online Business?
In this case, “where” is not the physical location on the map, but your starting point on the roadmap to your business. If you have already purchased goods online or even sold them through common platforms, then, you know the process at least from one side. But there is a big difference between selling unnecessary things and running a business.
So, your first step is … choose a business model. This may seem obvious, but do not mistakenly consider this a preparatory or intermediate step – this is the foundation of your future online store. Carefully study the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed options: dropshipping, selling from wholesalers or manufacturers, promoting your own product.
Now … no, you still don’t have to rush to choose a platform. Now decide what exactly you will sell. Conduct marketing research or use ready-made data for your region to understand what products are most in-demand and what you can offer potential buyers.
Depending on which business model you choose, you will need suppliers of goods or supplies for your personal production. Find those with whom cooperation will be most convenient and financially beneficial for you. Contact them before you start setting up your business: the negotiation process can take a long time, and your customers will not wait long and will quickly go to competitors.
Time to Set Your Business and Open the Store
Now that you are ready, set your business. Start by choosing a name and registering it with the appropriate authorities, take care of having a license for your type of activity, and applying for a Sales Tax ID. You may need the help of a specialist with this issue – do not hesitate to contact one – this will be your first financial investment in success. Also enter into agreements with payment systems that will be used in your store. It would be nice if buyers had a choice: payment by card, PayPal, Stripe, etc.
Now choose the platform on which you will sell your products. There are a great many ready-made solutions for newbies in online sales, and the largest of them are Amazon, eBay, Etsy, etc. Using them gives you a greater reach of the audience, which means you can start selling faster since the customers are already there and waiting for you. However, the trap of such platforms is that your competitors are already there too and you will have to fight openly for each customer. Moreover, mandatory fees and the need to strictly follow the rules of the eCommerce platform await you as well.
Your other option is your own website. This gives you more freedom and opportunity to better represent your products and your brand as a whole. To create a suitable platform for your store, you can use ready-made solutions and templates available on the web or find programmers for your startup who will take into account the features and needs, and the philosophy of your store and create something unique.
Promotion and Marketing Strategies
Finally, your store is ready, all the settings are complete, and you can start selling. Where to start? Messages!
No, not mailing to a base of potential buyers or direct messages to those who, in your opinion, may be interested in your product. Message in your product description! Be creative, add fun and dilute the basic product characteristics. Talk not about its advantages, but about the benefits that the buyer will receive by purchasing the product. Be closer to those to whom you intend to sell, speak the same language. This is also where marketing research and the image of your ideal customer come in handy.
Take care of high-quality photos: multiple angles, good lighting, attach rulers, or other objects to show the actual size or scale. Since the product cannot be touched before buying, there should be as much visual information about it as possible.
Ask for feedback from those who have already become your customers so that potential buyers know that you are trustworthy and your products are as good as they are written about.
Think carefully about your marketing strategy. In the early stages, you can use free promotion methods if your budget is not too large. For example, use social media, have a blog or YouTube channel, negotiate barter ads with influencers, or arrange giveaways to attract buyers. But for a more serious promotion of your site, it is recommended to use professional tools: Google, Instagram or Facebook Ads.
Feel free to use this short guide as your checklist to start an online store. Please share your thoughts on what other important factors can impact startup at the very beginning.
About the author:
Kyle McDermott is a web developer, blogger, blockchain enthusiast, and business analyst. He loves to write about new technologies, business news, and sports events. Kyle is also a proofreader at Computools. Follow him on Twitter.