How to open an online store

The first thing that most people assume when they think about opening an online store, is that this implies a considerable economic investment and certain knowledge that will allow the business to grow, not only to have the return on investment, but to obtain profits.

Opening an online store doesn’t require a very expensive economic investment. The biggest investment (and the most necessary) will be time. Today, the internet is the place where you can sell everything, to everyone, and without the need for extensive computer skills. Even wholesalers or dropshippers can send your products directly to your customers. There is a lot of information about digital marketing and services such as PayPal that facilitate effective payment systems.

Products and services needed to start an online store:

To start an online store there are certain products and services in which you will have to invest:

  • A domain name.
  • A web hosting service that can grow with your store.
  • A means to build your store, such as Offerer.com.
  • Capital to create a prototype and the initial product line.
  • Shipping system.
  • A budget for paid advertising.

A small initial investment is required to build your online store, but, compared to a physical one, it is minimal.

Step 1: Market Research.

It wouldn’t make sense to start an OS if nobody wants to buy what you sell. Choosing the right product and the right market to sell is the most difficult step. You must identify a pressing need and solve it with your product. Looking for is a niche in the market that is being neglected is a good way to start.

1.1. Align with products and ideas that are trending. You can sell products or enter a market that is currently trending. This will help you earn money in short and long term. Take some time to answer these questions: 

  • What problems do I have in my daily life?
  • What products do I have that I love?
  • Are there any groups of people with whom I relate deeply?

With those answers, you can use some tools that help you discover trends, for example:

  • TrendHunter: This site shows new and future trends in a large number of different niches. You can filter by different industries.
  • Google Trends. Here you can see the trends in certain markets, both in the present and in the past.
  • Instagram Influencers. Countless brands have been created thanks to Instagram’s influencers’ marketing. When you investigate a niche, you will discover who the influencers are. Look for the products they tend to promote more frequently. 
  • Products that are trending in 2019. If you are still not sure where to start, analyze these products. Each product is linked to the result of Google Trends so you can see how popular they really are.

1.2. Validate your idea. You must make sure that there is a real market for your products or ideas. There are many ways to do so, but the most popular are Amazon (the lists of the top selling products) and Google. You can do a keyword research on Google, either through AdWords or organic search. 

Also, make sure to look for good factories to make your products, or known wholesalers if you want to do a retail online store. 

Step 2: Create the store.

You can hire an agency or a freelancer to do this for you, but, if you decide to do it on your own, these would be the steps to follow:

  1. Choose the name and domain of your online store. Both the name and the domain must be easily remembered and written. In the case of the domain, if it also contains any of your keywords, it will help to position the store in the search engines for those terms.
  2. Use a good Content Management System (CMS) for e-commerce. If you want to sell without worrying about technical things, it is best to use an online store service like Offerer. Don’t skimp on this. The speed of your online store is key, both for users and for search engine positioning. You even have to pay more in AdWords for having a slow page!
  3. Add all possible payment methods. Credit cards, transfers, PayPal, Apple Pay […].
  4. Create a blog that accompanies the store to attract some traffic, and also to promote your products.
  5. Shipment of the products. You can send yourself, or do it through wholesalers or dropshippers services (Redbubble is an example of DS service).
  6. Regulate your legal situation. You cannot legally sell products unless you do it as a freelancer or as a company. 
  7. Create online advertising campaigns. By using the free analysis tools correctly, we can know exactly which advertising campaigns work and which don’t, thus obtaining benefits in a short time, and reducing the investment.
  8. Online marketing. Create your own strategy: make special offers, prepare a social media strategy, organize competitions, make a personalized follow-up of your clients. Do everything possible to publicize your brand and your products. 
  9. Or buy an existing online store. If you have the budget and want something faster, you can buy a store that already generates income.