In today’s modern business, operating a physical store can be a challenge. You must deal with high operating costs, limited reach, risk of theft and many other challenges that deter modern entrepreneurs from opening a physical store.
This is where online stores come into play. Selling your products or services online will eliminate most problems that small business owners have with physical stores, such as those identified above. However, while online stores are great once they are up and running, they can be quite a challenge to setup and manage to begin with.
The basics of setting up your online store
The hardest part of setting up an online store is the beginning, where you start lost and confused, not knowing where to go. You will have many questions, like:
Is there a difference between e-commerce platforms?
What platform is right for me?
How will I make my online store unique?
These are all questions that will be answered by following three simple steps to get started with setting up an online store, these steps are:
Market Research– Before you start creating your online store it’s important to know your target audience and competition. Maybe your target audience prefers a certain platform? Or maybe your competitors are not present on a platform, leaving no competition for you? Keep in mind the region you are targeting—if it is too far away then over time shipping costs may add up.
Choose your platform – This is the next big step. You will want to think about what platform to choose. Keep in mind all your market research and other important factors such as your region, as some regions may have different online stores available. For example, Shopify is a well-known respected e-commerce platform but it does not support certain areas or regions for various reasons.
Design your online shop – The last step is to customise your shop to make it suit your company. Most e-commerce sites will provide a pre-designed template, or if you would rather be more hands on then there are sites like Wix that allow you to customise your site completely while making it simple to set up. Finally, if you want to save time you can hire a web designer if necessary. While designing your online shop make sure to be practical by highlighting certain products and make it easy to navigate.
There are only a few more steps you must take before you are ready to start selling online. Remember, if this seems hard you should think about the benefits that come with running an online store such as minimal maintenance costs, constant availability for your customers, global reach and countless more. If you are interested to learn more about the basics of e-commerce, read our article What is e-commerce?.