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A Step-By-Step Guide to Starting Your First Online Store

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Notes on starting your first online storeOpening an online store takes some prep work to pull off properly. As such, it is not something you can decide to do and then be done by the end of a week! To help you get through the process, here’s a step-by-step guide to starting your first online store.

Think about your products

The first step to starting your first online store is to finalize and perfect your stock of goods. Now, having a good product is not enough. What you need to do is to make it appealing, too. That is why aesthetics are so prized when purchasing even essential daily items. Of course, another aspect of preparing your products for sale is appropriately listing their characteristics in a comprehensive and easy-to-understand manner. That is because you’ll need to convince people that your products are high-quality.

Settle on your ideal target audience

When starting your first online store, the next thing to consider is your ideal audience. That may not seem important initially, but your later decisions depend on this step. After all, everything from branding to picking out the right platform to the social media app and marketing all depends on the audience you wish to target. And why is it essential to have a specific audience, you might ask? Well, it’s because your products can’t be appealing to everyone. A teen and a forty-year-old will look to buy different items and prize other characteristics even if they both shop for the same thing. By figuring out who’s most likely to buy your products, you can better aim your promotion and marketing at them and generate more sales.

Work out your branding

Branding is a crucial part of every business and will make you memorable to your customers. After all, a nondescript site with no branding will not leave much of an impression, even if they like your products. You don’t want them to be unable to find you again just because you didn’t leave enough of an impression! Therefore, there are three main parts of a good brand.

  • Font
  • Colors
  • Logo

All three need to complement each other and work together. Remember that when picking out a font, you want it to transfer correctly to all your promotional merchandise, such as shirts, hats, badges, and similar, without becoming illegible.

A site page
Remember to settle on a site design that matches your branding and product.

Look into the marketing methods you want to use

As important as picking the right platform is picking your preferred marketing method. Since you are just starting and need to generate sales leads cheaply, you can’t go crazy here. Honestly, there are three venues you should pursue above all else. Generating organic leads, PPC ads, and social media marketing. Generating organic leads can be done by posting engaging content and improving your site’s Google ranking through decent SEO. PPC or pay-per-click ads are excellent because you only pay when they generate leads. And finally, social media marketing is a great way to draw attention to your store without spending any money.

A light bulb drawing
Note that coming up with good content will take a bit of inspiration.

Decide on the social media apps you’ll main

Using multiple social media apps is fine to get better outreach and coverage. However, you want to have one selected as your ‘main’ platform for social media simply because the bulk of your interactions with your customers should be focused there. As the experts from the base of different providers and services Consumer Opinion can attest, interaction with customers can boost your reliability in their eyes, make your brand more popular, and do wonders for your marketing. It is even useful for your SEO and will improve your Google rankings. As such, having a social media platform where they can easily comment and know you are active is a requirement.

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Work on your site’s design and optimization

One of the most important things to work on when starting your first online store is your site’s design and optimization. We’ve already mentioned SEO, but here, we’ll explain it more thoroughly. Simply put, SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is merely the process of tuning your site to better conform to Google’s standards. In turn, Google will rank your site higher and offer it to people who look up keywords relevant to it among the first few results. At the same time, site optimization is required if you want it to run properly. You can’t precisely leverage video marketing if trying to upload a video to your site causes it to crash.

Designing a page
Page design is as important as your overall site design when starting your first online store.

Choose the payment methods you wish to use and streamline the ordering process

Securing a safe way for your customers to pay is one of your priorities. If you only provide them with relatively unknown or sketchy-looking payment methods, then they will likely abandon their shopping cart there and then. Of course, with the availability of PayPal, Payoneer, and similar payment options, this is not as much of an issue nowadays. You need to focus mainly on automating the order placement process instead. Your customers should not wait days for an employee’s confirmation email, especially since this would typically mean longer waiting times for the delivery! There’s excellent software available for automating most of this processing, and you need to find one that works for you.

Test your site and store thoroughly before launch

The final step of starting your first online store is testing everything before you launch. You can easily do this by opening up the test version of your site, available through either the dashboard of your hosting platform or sent to you by your hosting provider directly. With it, you can take the time to build a quality site and check to see if everything works as intended. Once you are reasonably sure there are no weird bugs or crashes, you can launch your online store officially!

Final comment

With a step-by-step guide to starting your first online store under your belt, you will have a much easier time opening your online store. Of course, note that it also takes a lot of work to keep an eCommerce up and running!