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How To Start A Profitable Online Store

Online Store
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Do you want to start an online store? Do you know the steps to take? Have you thought about what it would cost you to start one and the process of managing the business?

Well, here is easy to follow startup guide that has the precise details you need to know to start an online store. You will also learn what makes an online store successful. And what other online store owners are doing that you can copy.

Just like starting a blog, starting an online store has been simplified with one-click marketplaces. Where you can just set up in less than 30 minutes, and you are selling your products to the world.

The difficulties of designing a site, providing for marketing and hiring staff to handle a different aspect of the store is reduced to a unified online store. With a shared advantage of an already existing customer base.

You can choose to start on marketplace platforms, which is quick. Or you can set up directly on your server using e-commerce engines like Magento, Woocommerce, BigCommerce, Tiscali, etcetera.

The internet growth over the years through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, etcetera, made selling online faster and cost-effective. So, starting an online store is the right decision to start selling your products.

How to Sell Products On Online Store

There is no doubt that you can sell much more product from the online store. The market is there, and the reach is broad. It’s a global market from anywhere you are in the world. The only thing you need is knowledge of how to tap into the potentials of the online store.

Your online store is everything you need. It’s your storefront, your display publicity, and your cashier. It reduces much of the workload and frees up your time for family and fun.

But there is a way to leverage an online store to sell your products. Since the potential is enormous, it’s a competitive market out there. You need to know how to harness the technology of today to your advantage.

Niche Product For A Niche Market

The dominance of big online stores like Amazon and Walmart entry with its full offline strength makes niche product your competitive advantage.

While the big stores are competitions on varieties and stock capacity, you are competitive on ease of transaction, prompt response and less complication.

Finding the right niche to sell online is your winning strategy. The best niche is not really the most selling products. But the most effective solution to the problems of your target customers.

Note that what wins in the marketplace is not Products but solutions. People naturally gravitate to their solution. If you have what they need they will find you.

Using Technology To Explore Sales

If you are going to win with an online store, you need to master the technology that helps drive sales to it. The internet is built on cult and affinity. The social media idea of like, follow, share are examples.

Learn to turn this technology to your advantage. Create product following using these tactics in cult and affinity groups. Don’t just sell to people, win them into following your product religiously.

Moreover, people are looking for something to believe in. Give them your product as one of them. You will be amazed how a simple birthday celebration of your customers can keep them as fans forever.

Tap Free Web Traffic From Search Engine

Search engines are a profitable source of free web traffic. You should explore it successfully. Every day Google sends hundreds of millions of free web traffic to websites and blogs.

You can benefit from this Google benevolence. Although the competition for search engine ranking is stiff, you can still find your share of the free traffic to your online store.

Understanding the ABC of search engine optimisation would be an advantage. You can gain more knowledge on how other online store owners are driving free web traffic from Google.

There is two kind of sites that Google favours most with free traffic. Number one is news blogs. Google has a knack for news and trending topics. You gain much traffic from Google if you are in the news media.

And the next group is an online store. Google likes to help online visitors find the best deals at the price they want. It loves to index online stores and capture their product offering, including costs and ratings.

Challenges Of Starting An Online Store

Starting an online store is not without some problems of its own. Identify these challenges and plan for them ahead of time. Don’t get caught up because you didn’t know about the issues earlier.

Know what you are up against and plan for it. For example, using marketplaces means you are not in control of your store. The marketplace administrator controls the decisions about the store being online. And can delist you for non-compliance with the rules of the marketplace.

You do not have control over the customers that by from your online store on a marketplace. Most marketplaces don’t give you access to these customers.

Return products can be a huge problem sometimes. They are either demanded in transit or unpacked, making it difficult to resell. You should factor that into your revenue formula.

Moreover, you have to offer excellent customer service, if you are hosting the online store on your own. Excellent customer service will help you keep up a good relationship with your customers. And that would translate to repeat sales.

Available Solutions For Online Store

You need to take advantage of platforms and features to grow your online store. A marketplace is an advantage to leverage existing customer base to drive sales for your products.

Amazon, such as, has an advertising program that lets you market your online store within the Amazon platform.

Facebook and Instagram is also an excellent way to promote products online. You can create a video about your products and share on Instagram. Video enjoys massive following on Instagram in particular.

You can also apply viral marketing tactics to get your customers sharing and promoting your product videos on social media as well.

Most importantly, ask for sign up during your online promotions to build your own customer list, if your online store is in a marketplace.

Digital Marketing For Online Store

You can explore digital marketing with a focus on tools that can help your drive more sales for your online store. I have made a list of aspects of digital marketing you can explore for your online store success.

  1. SEM
  2. App Development
  3. Web design
  4. SEO
  5. Video Production
  6. Email Marketing
  7. Content Marketing
  8. Social media
  9. Branding
  10. PR
  11. Viral Marketing
  12. influencers Marketing
  13. CRM
  14. AMP
  15. Referral Marketing
  16. Affiliate Marketing
  17. Web Analytics
  18. Blog Marketing
  19. Digital Currency

Example of A Successful Online Store

With billions of phones in use around the world, buying products online is faster than a click away. According to online reports, Amazon generated almost 178 billion US dollars in revenue in 2017.

Amazon has shown that the future of e-commerce is fantastic. And it’s not the only company enjoying the e-commerce space. Other companies like eBay, Walmart, Shopify, Jet.com, Alibaba, Jumia, Flipkart, Etsy, Rakuten, Snapdeal, Myntra, etcetera.

Jet.com Amazing Success Story

Jet.com started with a promises to make online shopping even cheaper, challenging Amazon. It’s also beginning to offer grocery deliveries. And a significant discount (up to 15 per cent) over other e-commerce sites.

Jet brought wholesale shopping experience to online retail shopping. It gets a cut from retailers on each sale, and use that to give an initial discount to customers on all products.

Let’s say customers add items in their cart, like a tablet such as, with a headphone from the same merchant, it prompts for more discount. Jet saves more by finding a merchant that has both items. And this saving it further gives to customers as more shopping discount.

The Jet.com online store is a typical example of innovation in service delivery, instead of technology application. It drives for a cheaper cost for the customer by reducing the cost of transaction for merchants and utilising the savings to give discounts back to the customer.

However, Jet became a part of the Walmart group after a $3 billion buy.

Action Points For Online Store

Starting an online store is in two parts. The first one is opening a store on marketplace stores like Amazon, Shopify or Jumia. While the other aspect is set up your own store on your own server.

While the former is easy and straightforward, the latter requires some investment to go ahead. I will include the two parts in the Action Points. But you will choose the steps that only applies to your need.

Step one: choose a store name or domain name

Step two: register with a marketplace or register your domain name with a domain registrar. Your store name or domain name should be directly related to the kind of products you sell. It helps to build affinity with buyers even before they buy from you.

Step three: setup your marketplace store and provide the necessary information. Or buy a hosting server from Bluehost and install WordPress and an e-commerce engine like Woocommerce.

Step four: start uploading your product details and image. Use quality images. Write a good description of your products. Product descriptions are essential in giving the buyer more clarity on the product. It also helps in Optimizing each product for search engine free traffic.

Step five: start promoting your online store using your digital marketing knowledge. The more people that know about your online store, the more sales it can generate. It doesn’t matter if you are using marketplaces or created your own store. You should promote your store.

Conclusion On Starting An Online Store

The secret of online store success is meeting the needs of the customer. The only reason customers would buy from you is if the product meets their need. Finding out what needs people have and providing the right products to solve those needs is key to online store success.

And you can use the online marketplace and reach already existing customer base. Or you can set up from scratch, building a bold new concept of customer satisfaction. It’s up to you.

Jet.com was not afraid of Amazon’s existing online greatness and reputation when it opened its doors to compete against the giant. It was a bold move but one that yields a $3 billion buy from Walmart.

Instructions On Starting Online Store

  1. You can start by opening a store on a marketplace to test your product demand
  2. But never miss out on the experience of having an online store that gives you full control over your customers. Take it as your insurance into the future.

Important References

Signup with Amazon retail services.

Join Jumia merchant program

Learn more about Woocommerce and how it works.

Chinedu David
Chinedu David is a business consultant, trainer, marketer and strategist. I founded Mystore, an eCommerce business in 2013. I have a vast experience in eCommerce, digital marketing and startup consulting. Having worked with SuccessDigest newspaper for over 10 years, as a telecom editor. You can contact me by phone, email or social media.You can also reach me via email: nedu@myblog.com.ng or Call/Text/WhatsApp: 07087770518
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