How to Set Up Your Online Store: 7 Handy Tips
As the Internet keeps broadening the horizons for eCommerce, more and more entrepreneurs are thinking about opening their online stores. Web-based businesses offer nearly limitless opportunities.
For example, they increase the number of customers, expand the geography of service, make it simpler to expand the assortment, don’t require rental costs, and allow you to enter new markets quickly.
But is everything as easy as it seems? Of course, not. Running an online store means you need to create your website from scratch, deal with a highly competitive environment, pay for delivery and payment services, as well as settle disputes with clients.
But if you know where to start with creating your online business, you’ll be ready to cope with difficulties!
Tips to Create a Successful Online Store
Creating an online store seems like a complex and time-consuming task. But in fact, you can open one in just a couple of clicks.
Let’s take a look at what’s important for an aspiring entrepreneur to consider when starting an online business.
Tip #1. Choosing a Niche
Start with analyzing your preferences and skills. What are you good at? What are you more interested in? When you’re an expert in your field, you’ll be able to give the buyer more than just a product. Visit websites like eBay, Amazon, or Aliexpress and see their approach to selling.
Tip #2. Forming a Consumer Profile
When you sell to everyone, you’re not selling to anyone. Therefore, it’s important to consider a few points:
- Demographic characteristics. You need a detailed description. “Men aged 25 to 40” won’t work. List everything in order: gender, age, income level, education, place of employment/residence, marital status, etc.
- Consider the customer’s hobbies and interests. How do they spend their free time? What are they interested in?
- What personal qualities drive them when making decisions? Is this person ready to try out something new? Or are they driven by habits?
- What goals do they pursue? How can your store help them?
- What social networks do they use (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc.)?
Tip #3. Choosing a Name for Your Online Store
The domain is one of the first things customers remember. A good name must be simple, catchy, and related to what you’re going to sell.
Your business name should be short and distinctive to stick in the memory so that buyers can easily find you by entering it in the search bar.
Tip #4. Customizing Your Online Store Design
The key purpose of an Internet store is to sell and, naturally, be profitable. And it directly depends on its homepage design. It takes five seconds for a customer to decide whether they’ll stay or leave the site.
That’s why at first glance, a potential buyer should feel certain about your online store. Try to simplify your design and focus on functionality. With such a website, you’ll start selling in no time.
The simplest and most effective way of customizing your business is to use template design solutions at specialized eCommerce platforms like Shopify.
When purchasing a template for your store, you don’t have to describe its concept or come up with brilliant ideas. You can apply the template to your store in moments and start your business without any extra costs and problems.
A few tips will help you create a selling design for an online store:
- Simplicity. Restful colors, simple geometric shapes, no annoying info – this is how your online store should be. Out-of-place animations, bright backgrounds, “Click here!” banners, etc. are your enemies.
- Sustained style. Make sure that all design elements of the online store are in a single, recognizable style that fits for offline use (for printed materials, flyers, etc.). Buyers need to feel the integrity of the brand – this increases trust.
- Easy navigation. Place website elements where customers are used to seeing them. An intuitive site is more pleasant and easier to work with. The logo, search, contacts, and shopping cart are best placed at the top.
- Call to action. Site pages should encourage a user to take action. Place graphic elements in such a way that the visitor would have an interest and the desire to buy the product the first time they view the pages. Use buttons like “Order here,” “Buy now,” “Subscribe,” and so on.
- Colors. As a rule, proper design is limited to 2-3 colors. Banners and photos of products may be bright to attract attention.
- Product description. In an ordinary store, a person can look at the product from all sides. But there’s no such possibility in an online store. So the description should be as detailed as possible, with high-quality photos from different angles.
- Quick search. Every customer needs the ability to easily look through the online store and find the product they need. A better search can boost sales, so you can add product categories to narrow buyers’ searches.
Tip #5. Adding Goods to the Catalog
When uploading a catalog with product descriptions, make sure to properly specify the categories and subcategories for the products, including descriptions and headings. Use the semantic core for this purpose.
The user should be able to scale the pictures of your products to take a closer look, so the quality of photos is essential.
In some cases, video presentation might be a better option. To properly develop your store catalog, you may need multimedia software including video/photo editors, slideshow apps, etc. Fortunately, there are programs with a free trial to download. So, you can find what suits you and your business better.
Tip #6. Choosing Payment & Delivery Methods
The most important thing here is simplicity and convenience. The checkout process should ideally take no more than 2 minutes. The site should determine the place of delivery automatically so that buyers can see the cost of delivery to their region.
Naturally, you must offer customers the opportunity to choose the appropriate payment method. The most common mediums for purchases in online stores are:
- Payment in cash upon pickup or courier delivery;
- Transfer to a bank card;
- Transfer via an electronic payment platform like Paypal. The main advantage is instant deposits and withdrawals.
For the convenience of customers, we recommend setting up several delivery methods. The most requested of them are:
- Courier delivery – implies additional costs for the maintenance of the courier and transportation;
- EMS (Express Mail Service);
- Shipping companies.
Tip #7. Attracting Buyers – Setting up Ads
Here are a few sources of attracting visitors that you need to pay attention to first:
- Contextual advertising in Google Adwords. If you use the right keywords in your ad, you’ll get more leads. The cost per click won’t be as high, and the leads will be more reliable because they’re already looking for your product.
- Email newsletters. Send regular emails with useful content, new product reviews, and direct promotions.
- Social networks. Targeted advertising in social networks offers flexible options for audience segmentation and, most importantly, ad settings for each mini-group.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) in Google. Your online store must be in the top 10 results because a large number of potential buyers come from search engines. SEO is a tool that you need to invest in at the beginning so that you can reap the free rewards for a long time to come.
SEO promotion includes the selection of popular queries, according to which promotion will be carried out.
Note that the first results will not be visible immediately. Sometimes, you need to wait for three months, sometimes – half a year. But later, the work done can bring free customers almost endlessly.
Running an Online Store: Analyzing Indicators for Profitable Business
So, the main work is done! Now, you need to determine how the online store will develop. Analyze which areas of your business require effort. Here are the metrics to keep track of:
Calculate the average daily number of unique visitors to your store and purchases, the average transaction receipt, income per customer, conversion rate, revenue, the number of returned visitors, the share of new visitors and buyers.
Also, track the sources of attracting visitors to the site. With it, you will understand which acquisition channels are effective and which are costly. Analyze the indicators for abandoned carts and incomplete orders. Look at what stage people leave.
Accurately track such economic data as the total cost of completed orders, average deal bill, average profit per order, net profit, advertising costs, and cost of customer acquisition. This will give you a clear picture of the performance of your online store and will help you allocate costs in the future.
The main sales metrics are the total number of completed orders in quantitative, percentage, and value terms. They also include the number of product returns, the reasons for unfulfilled orders, the number of orders through the website and by phone.
Indirectly, sales figures allow you to assess the performance of your store. The dynamics of this indicator should not differ from the dynamics of profit. If your revenue is declining and wage intensity is growing, it means that you have organized business processes inefficiently, and the business as a whole is at risk.
By analyzing such important indicators, you will understand how quickly and efficiently your business is developing.