How to Start an Online Store in 2022: Easy Ways to Rank Higher and Drive Sales
Starting an online business is no more as easy as it was five years ago. Although with advancing time, more and more tools are sprouting up, the increasing range of choices is only making it difficult for businesses to choose their paths.
If you’ve recently set your foot out in the business world, then you might be able to get what we mean by that. On each step, you face ten different doors. Each door leads you to a different strategy for making your business successful. And each door demands the use of a different set of tools.
It becomes difficult to choose which of the ten will turn out the best for your business. Being in your early stages, you cannot risk your time and resources.
And in this treacherous chain of choices, taking your business forward becomes a tiring process. You get all drained before even reaching the launch stage.
So, what to do? Are we going to step into 2022 with the same tiring process?
To prevent any future business from suffering, we have drafted a universal method of successfully setting up an online store. Although you may have to make individual choices in each step (specific to the niche of your business), you can follow this strategy on broader terms.
Allow us to convey that to you in greater detail – let’s jump in.
Why Sell Online?
First, let’s get it clear. With the world’s situation changed and much improved (as compared to the pandemic times), is it a wise move to set up an online store? People are stepping out of their houses now.
Some were vaccinated and some entrusted their masks. Should you set up an online store? Or should you invest in a brick-and-mortar store?
That’s a fate-determining question.
According to the statistics, by September 2022, 50 percent of smartphone users all across the globe will be shopping online. Plus, 90 percent of people have discovered, explored, and loved online shopping during COVID-19. They’re highly likely to continue with it.
Conclusively, the horrors of the pandemic might have faded out. But the discoveries and blessings that it brought will stick around for a long time.
The newly found love of online shopping will only continue to increase in the near future. There are high chances that it may even outshine physical shopping completely. And that’s primarily because of the convenience it offers. Plus, online shopping conserves loads of energy, time, and money as well.
So, summing up, online selling is the only road to success in the present times. Unlike physical stores, it’s meant to rise in terms of popularity and usage.
You are making the right decision. Stick to it!
How to Set Up an Online Store?
Alright, so you’re making the right decision. But how do you put it into action? How do you proceed forward?
It’s simple. Follow these steps:
#1. Sketch a Business Plan
Be it physical and online, step one is always the idea. What’s your idea? What do you want to sell?
If all you know is that you’ve to begin an online business, then sit back and relax. We’re going to find you a niche.
Ask yourself the following:
- Q. Do you wish to sell something based on your experience or interests?
- Q. Are you establishing an online store for quick money or a strong community?
You can also pick both possible answers to the above two questions. However, having a clear, direct, and specific answer will smoothly bridge the gap between you and your goals.
Once you have your answers proceed to the SWOT process. SWOT refers to:
Now study these four domains in your selected niche or industry. It’s best to go for a unique niche, i.e., a niche for which there aren’t many ecommerce stores already.
If you’re wondering how you will find this unique niche, it’s simple. Study the Google Trends’ results for your selected niche. Check out the social media data for your niche. Assess the demand by looking for customer queries, complaints, and reviews.
Is your business idea bringing new solutions to a raised (but unanswered) concern? If so, it’s a green light. Proceed further.
#2. Give it a Structure
Step two to set up your online business is giving it a skeleton. You have an idea in hand – but how do you reach out to your audience?
Who is your audience?
To pull yourself out of the blank spaces that surround, study customer demographics. You can get your customer demographics from the same place where you got your initial idea. Go back to the same reviews and complaints which brought you your unique idea and study those profiles under the following categories:
- Pain Points
You can use tools like Hotjar to get your hands on solid data.
If your idea was an invention of your own head, then derive your ideal customer demographics from the same place! Imagine and design your ideal customer personas and set them up to your benchmarks. Imagine these are the people you have to cater to, and now proceed forward with your online store. It will give you a better head start.
Once done, pick a business model from the following:
- B2B ecommerce: You sell to businesses, i.e., wholesalers, retailers, etc.
- B2C ecommerce: You sell to customers directly.
- Dropshipping: You become the bridge between seller and buyer.
#3. Get Yourself a Virtual Place to Sell
Step three is to pull the drafted stuff into action. Begin with choosing a domain name.
Your domain name should be:
- Easy to pronounce
- Easy to remember
- Short (preferably 12 characters)
- Comprising of the keywords
Good to Know:
Keyword in domain names refers to words that define your business, product, or service. For example, if you sell swimming suits, swimwear.com is a good fit. It uses two keywords of your business, i.e., swim and wear.
Next, choose a good website builder. As an early business, you might find it very tempting to go for a website builder that’s cheap or free of cost.
So, here’s a warning beforehand: you will have to invest twice as much in shifting the entire store to a dedicated ecommerce website builder.
Opt for an ecommerce website builder that offers:
- Necessary Plugins
- SSL Certificate and Guaranteed Security
- Mobile Optimization
Our recommendations include Magento, Woocommerce, BigCommerce, Shopify, and Wix.
#4. Design a Consumer-Friendly Design
A study states that 94 percent of people reject a website based on its poor UX design. If it’s difficult to navigate or possesses unwelcoming colors, they’re likely to leave.
So, choose a theme that matches your brand’s personality and your mission & vision. Opt for readable font style and size. Also, pick and abide by a color scheme.
Most importantly, design pages layouts that eliminate confusion. When sitting down to design the layout, imagine yourself as the user and assess how well you take yourself to your desired product quickly and easily.
#5. Market While Building
It will take a bit of time before you’re ready for launch. The product pages (we’ll discuss this below) will demand time and attention. But during this time, your motivation will go downhill a lot of times. Your business might not seem worth running.
To tackle this, we suggest marketing as you build. Do not wait for the big day. Instead, begin building your community right away.
Well, you’ve got the basics ready, i.e., your place, purpose, and design. Now, draft and launch your foundational landing pages. Update your audience with your purpose and upcoming things. You can also rely on social media to market and build your community.
At this stage, we recommend making use of tools like Hotjar and Google Analytics. These will give you solid data about your visitors and potential visitors, which will assist you in optimizing, upgrading, and designing your website as per their behavior.
We know things can get a bit complicated when you use multiple web analysis tools. So, here’s a guide to help you pick the one from the best two: Hotjar VS Google Analytics. Give a read and check out which fits best with your needs.
#6. Create Winning Product Pages
Your product pages are the key to sales. So, for greater profits, you ought to have killer product pages.
We recommend crafting descriptive product descriptions. The description should include:
- Characteristics and features
- Who can make use of it?
Include catchy and impressive product images and categorize your products well. Ensure it’s easy for your user to land to the right conveniently.
Also, make your shipping policies very clear. Since you’re only beginning with your business, offer flexibility to win your customers’ hearts. You can offer multiple ways of payment and generous refunds & return policies.
Launching your website is not limited to clicking the publish button. It’s a mix of your homework and upcoming work.
Put your pre-launch promotion to use and hype up the launch date in the community you’ve built. You can set up a timer, offer discounts on the first day, and market the big day via email marketing. You can even make use of paid advertising.
As you launch, give your website a quick review. Check out the layout, content, functionality, and then take a deep breath before you launch!
Once your site is up and running, associate your website with rank checking software by RankActive to closely monitor the performance. It will help you assess your growth effectively.
Lastly, we’ll say, your business runs more on the energy you invest in it rather than the money you invest in it. So, manifest positive thoughts. Give it your best, measure the results, constantly upgrade to improve, and most of all, believe in yourself! Good luck!