Online stores are everywhere. In fact, more than half of the 10 million U.S. based small businesses say they run an online store. From fashion to crafts to health and tech, nearly every conceivable product or service is available in an online market.
How do you feel about starting a business? Whether you use a full-time job or someone else’s, the process of starting a business is a bit intimidating. With new technology, social media, and cloud-based services like Shopify, you can start a business in a few clicks and without much overhead. What are the best ways to start an online store in the year 2023?
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Online shopping is more popular than ever, and I don’t think this process will slow down. If you are considering opening an online store, there is no better time to find one.
Yes, many people are trying to get into e-commerce now, but that shouldn’t stop you. Many of the most successful online stores were established only a few years ago.
The sooner you take the first step, the sooner you can build your brand and grow your business.
In this article, I’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to start an online store. You can go from zero to your first sale with as few mistakes as possible.
Your 2-minute cheat sheet
Want to skip the details and get a quick reminder? It’s right here.
You have to decide what you want to sell and how you want to get the products. You should also consider the price of the product, your target audience, and whether or not there is an audience for your product.
Because why would you want to sell a product that nobody wants to buy?
You can choose a product that, metaphorically speaking, scratches your own itch. You can also buy an existing product, improve it, and then market it better. This is also called dropshipping.
Personally, I would recommend the second option to aspiring entrepreneurs as it significantly reduces the risk of selling.
If you agree, go to Alibaba.com to find the suppliers of your chosen item. Although Alibaba is one of the most popular trading platforms, that doesn’t mean there aren’t scammers on the platform.
To make sure you are dealing with real suppliers, look out for the gold supplier badge. This means that a particular supplier has taken out a paid membership. Therefore, a scammer is less likely to have a gold supplier badge on their profile.
When choosing a supplier, be sure to order product samples to determine the quality you can expect. Discuss payment terms and other details so that you and the supplier are on the same page.
If there are products available, you need to find a good name for your brand and find out if there is a domain name available.
It is very easy to buy a domain name. It may take longer to get the domain name of your dreams.
Consider your domain name as a long-term investment and try to get the most out of it. Here are some strategies you can use if your desired domain name is not available.
Next, you need to install the platform for the online store. Consider selling your products on Shopify or Amazon – both are good options.
Finally, work on optimizing your website by including targeted keywords in product descriptions. This is a great way to drive more organic traffic to your website than engaging in heavier marketing strategies.
But to be honest, you should always look for other ways to promote your business, for example. B. on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Let’s take a closer look at each step. If you have already done the first steps, you can skip them:
- Define your niche
- Source of Alibaba products
- Choose a name for your brand and get a domain
- Setting up a platform for an online shop
- Optimize your website
Step 1: Identify your niche
Since you are going to create an online store, you will need merchandise. The very first thing you need to do is decide what you are going to sell and who you are going to sell it to.
Many budding entrepreneurs make the mistake of not paying enough attention to choosing their niche. These include the price of the product, the target group for which it is intended and the market potential.
Don’t make that mistake.
Never forget that your product is the most important – both in terms of quality and relevance. You have two choices: Either you create something you like yourself, or you take something from other sources, improve it, and then market it.
I recommend choosing a niche that is not already dominated by multiple brands.
Let me explain this using two scenarios.
- Scenario 1: Your headphones don’t work anymore. You want to replace him, so what do you do?
You can order online from sites like Sony, Bose or Beats. Or visit the physical stores of these brands.
- Scenario 2: You have moved into a new home and realize that you need decorative lighting for your room.
Chances are you are googling decorative bedroom lighting or buying decorative lighting with free shipping.
Do you see a difference in your behavior?
Niches dominated by multiple brands are not very profitable for new market entrants. Believe me, customers don’t even think about the alternatives because their loyalty to the brand is clear almost immediately.
It is best to stick to niches and products that are not associated with specific brands.
You can also use Amazon to check out competitors in your niche. Try to identify common features that can help you improve your product.
For example, you may have heavy paper notebooks or reinforced steel bottles. In general, things that help improve the quality and effectiveness of your products.
Then you have to ensure the supply of products.
Step 2: Source of supply of Alibaba goods
Alibaba.com is one of the most popular marketplaces when it comes to finding products. Many people in the e-commerce industry already use this site, so it makes sense for you to put your products on it as well.
But how do you do that? Let’s say you want to sell steel cylinders.
Find the steel cylinders. You will now see a list of suppliers selling all types of steel cylinders at different prices.
You will then need to contact some of them to see if they are right for you. Before you contact them, you need to know what you need. Otherwise, you’re just wasting everyone’s time.
To distinguish the real sellers from the scammers, you need to look for the sign of the gold seller. Gold supplier status is a paid membership for suppliers on Alibaba.com, indicating that the company is serious about trading with other international companies.
Take a look at this screenshot:
This shows that this supplier has been a gold supplier for three years. Since they have to pay for this recognition, you can be sure that they will seriously negotiate with you.
You should discuss the payment terms, minimum amounts and other points so that all the details are clearly laid out to avoid any misunderstandings in the future. I also recommend ordering product samples before placing a large order, to get a better idea of what you will receive and how long it will take to deliver.
Step 3: Choose a name for your brand and get a domain name
Now comes the exciting and sometimes frustrating part of the process of creating an online store: Choose an appropriate name.
When you start looking for options, you will find that the best names are already trademarks and website domains are already registered.
It’s like hitting one dead end after another!
But don’t give up yet, because finding a good name is hard work and worth the effort (and tears).
Here’s a quick checklist you can follow:
- It should be easy to spell and short – three words or less.
- It must have a .com domain
- It should reflect the niche you have chosen
- It cannot already be patented by others – the legal battle would be costly and very tedious.
Let’s take the example of my field. NeilPatel.com is short, concise and reflects my brand. You do not have to use your own name. It was the right decision for me.
The good news is that there is a way to get a domain without paying registration fees. Most web hosting services offer users a free domain – provided you choose a company that offers this option, for example. B. Bluehost or Wix.
I highly recommend this method because you get free .com domains that you fully own, making you look more professional and credible to your visitors. If you already purchase a hosting plan, why not choose a plan that offers a free domain?
You will need to purchase a hosting plan, usually in the form of a one, two or three year contract. Consider the free domain as a bonus for your investment.
The next step is to create your online store on a platform that is easy to use and offers great customer support.
Step 4: Implementation of an online sales platform
Shopify and Amazon are two of the most popular and user-friendly e-commerce sites.
You can also use WordPress + WooCommerce if you wish. However, this solution is preferable if you already have a blog with a large audience. This way, you don’t have to make extra efforts to attract visitors to your online store.
Option #1 Create your Shopify account
Shopify has over 218 million shoppers in 175 countries. So you can imagine how many people trust this e-commerce site.
You can start a free 14-day trial to get an idea of Shopify’s capabilities. If you decide to continue, switch to a paid plan.
The first step is to enter a store name, which will also be the default URL to start the test. For example, if you want your Shopify store to be called JoshBeans, your URL would be joshbeans.myshopify.com.
If you buy your own domain (joshbeans.com), you can get rid of some of myshopify.
Follow the remaining instructions as indicated. You will then have your own Shopify account.
To further customize your store, go to the Shopify theme page and choose an option that fits the brand you sell.
You can also contact a Shopify expert if you need help with the technical aspects of setting up your store or if you get stuck on a particular point.
Option #2 Create an Amazon account
You also have the option to list your products on Amazon.
Go to the Amazon website and scroll to the bottom of the page. Select Sell on Amazon.
Sign up to become an Amazon seller. You can register as a sole proprietor or as a trader. In my opinion, the best way to become a professional salesperson is to be in it for the long haul.
After setting up and confirming your identity, you can start offering your products. Before you do, you need to familiarize yourself with the details of the Amazon sales process.
Then click on Inventory and then on Add a product. The Amazon catalog opens up and you need to find the item you want to sell.
You can also create a new product listing if you can’t find anything suitable.
And that’s it! You can now start selling your product on Amazon.
Make sure you have high quality photos of your products, preferably on a white background, before listing them. Also:
Step 5: Optimise your website
If you think customers will come to you as soon as you launch your website, we have news for you: It’s not going to happen.
Instead, you should optimize your website to attract visitors through search engines by using SEO keywords in product descriptions.
Write a good text for each product listed and make sure you mention and clearly describe the WTU.
To achieve this, you need to focus on two main areas:
- You should target your product pages to specific terms that are frequently searched on the platform.
- Try to get as many five-star reviews for your products as possible.
The two tips above will help improve searches and reviews so that more people can see your products on the platform. That means more sales and revenue for you, which is exactly what we want.
Congratulations! You now have your own online shop.
Whether it’s figuring out what you want to sell, finding suppliers, or choosing a reliable e-commerce site to showcase your products, you’re now an expert at creating an online store.
But don’t get too excited: you still need to work on raising your company’s profile to persuade customers to buy your product or service. When the money comes in, I can’t wait to party.
We wish you good luck!
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Frequently Asked Questions
How do I start an online business in 2023?
The best way to start an online business in 2023 is to create a website that offers a service or product that people are looking for. You can also start an online business by creating your own product and selling it on Amazon, Ebay, or Etsy.
Is e-commerce still profitable in 2023?
The answer is yes. The e-commerce industry is expected to grow by more than 20% in 2023. The e-commerce industry is expected to grow by more than 20% in 2023.
How do you start a successful ecommerce store in 2023?
The best way to start a successful ecommerce store in 2023 is to focus on the customer. The customer is always right, and you should always be listening to what they want.