10 easy steps to starting your very own online store

10 easy steps to starting your very own online store


If you’re looking to start your own online store, there are 10 important steps you must follow before hitting the launch button. Follow these steps closely and you’ll be sure to avoid common mistakes made by other people who have started their own e-commerce websites or blogs without proper preparation.

Step 1: Choose Your Niche

The first step to launching a successful online store is choosing a niche. Do you want to sell sportswear, pet food, or cosmetics? It’s important to find an area where you have expertise or at least an interest. It will make it much easier for you when writing content and producing products.

Step 2: Create Your Brand

Whether you’re selling widgets or promoting a cause, creating an identity for yourself is key. You’ll have more impact and it will feel more authentic if you put in time up front crafting your brand. Think about what makes you different from everyone else out there. Why should anyone care about what you have to say? What’s in it for them? How can you make that clear in one sentence? Consider using a branding guide (or even an entire brand book) as part of creating your brand, but don’t forget these three rules: a strong brand is much more than just a logo; good design shouldn’t get in the way of good communication; and be consistent with every piece of content, whether it’s video, images or written text.

Step 3: Set Up Shopify

It’s one thing to have a lot of products, but it’s another thing entirely to list them. Setting up an account with Shopify will give you access to ready-made templates and tools that can help you build out a website within minutes. Since Shopify is a do-it-yourself solution, you can set up everything yourself; no outside software is required. To get started with Shopify, sign up for a free trial today.

Step 4: Decide on Payment Methods

PayPal, Apple Pay and credit cards are among some of the most commonly used payment methods. If you want to start an online shop that’s based on digital products like e-books, mobile apps or software licenses, then you should look into using a service like PayPal or Stripe. And if you are selling physical goods such as t-shirts or accessories for smartphones, you can use Apple Pay or any other form of contactless payment. Finally, if your target audience isn’t looking for anything in particular but they simply need a new website design—with hosting and SEO included—then consider accepting credit card payments directly on your site through platforms like Shopify and Squarespace.

Step 5: Find Suppliers/Connect With Drop Shipping Companies

If you’re planning on running an ecommerce business, then you are going to need to find suppliers for all of your products. It’s also important that you decide whether or not you want to deal with drop shipping or start out on your own with a warehouse. There are benefits and drawbacks with both but, either way, these are things that will be highly dependent on what kind of business you plan on starting. If it’s a brick-and-mortar shop, drop shipping might be a smart choice but, if it’s something like an Amazon FBA business where there is already an established system in place, then holding onto inventory might be a better idea.

Step 6: Create an Attractive Shopify Store

In order for people to buy your products, they need a place to look. The most common way of doing that is setting up an e-commerce website. From there, you can add additional products and photos, so buyers have as much information as possible before making their purchasing decision. It’s also important to make sure you have all of your legal information in place; Shopify has a great page on what to consider when researching which type of product liability insurance is right for you. For more tips on building an attractive store, check out How To Build a Beautiful Online Store (Without Spending Any Money).

Step 7: Design and Price Products

Get with a web designer who specializes in e-commerce platforms. Make sure he or she is familiar with Shopify (or whichever platform you’re using). This should be your top priority because, without a custom designed and developed website, you don’t have an online business. Additionally, it will take a bit of time for someone new to Shopify (or whatever platform you choose) to get up to speed on how it all works, so give yourself ample lead time and budget for those hours. Hiring a good web designer is well worth it if you are serious about making money selling things online.

Step 8. Promote, Promote, Promote!

Starting a business takes hard work, passion and perseverance. The next step is finding customers, which can be a daunting task. However, there are many ways you can promote your business and create buzz around it without hiring an advertising firm: social media, blogging, community involvement and word of mouth (to name a few). Find out how you can get started with these tactics in our post How to Promote Your Small Business Online.

Step 9. Customer Service is Key

Without a doubt, customer service is an integral part of running any type of business. If you don’t have great customer service, it will be extremely difficult for you to keep your customers coming back for more. Having good customer service does not mean that you should bend over backwards trying to satisfy every customer request and complaint; however, if someone has a valid concern or complaint about one of your products or services (or even if they don’t), it is important that you take it seriously and resolve their issue as quickly as possible. By taking care of things immediately, you are ensuring future sales and loyalty from that particular customer. Your customers could be lost at any time.

Step 10. Celebrate with Some Me Time

You’ve done it! Your dream of starting a business is one step closer. This may be cause for celebration. But don’t get too distracted by Champagne and caviar. You have an e-commerce empire to build! Now that you are in business, try setting aside time every week (or at least every month) where you can just focus on what you want out of life—for yourself and your family. Take time to reflect on where you’ve been, what went well and what didn’t, so that as much as possible going forward, things will always be great…for you, for your family and for your customers. Business is all about building relationships with people—and friends help friends succeed!

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