5 things to do before starting an online store

5 things to do before starting an online store

  1. By
  2. eCommerce

An online store is no different than any other business. It requires products, a carefully thought out business plan, financial support and a staff to help with operations. Once you have all those things in place, you can start to think about how to create the store itself. Here are five things you will need to know in order to get your store up and running.

1. Choose your system carefully
The online shopping system you choose will be critical to your success. A store that takes too long to load, doesn’t offer enough flexibility, or is difficult to use, will hinder your business, and in some cases may be enough to make you throw your hands up in defeat. The ideal eCommerce solution will be able to offer you flexible solutions, and be able to handle fast filtering, navigation and searching, which can drastically improve a customers’ experience. Not only that, but adding and managing products should be easy to do, and have the flexibility to expand as your store grows. One of the best eCommerce enterprise solutions available is Storebuilder.

2. Find unique products
Finding unique products that appeal to a wide range of customers is one of the best ways to become successful online. Look for products that are not already sold by other online retailers, or, find products that allow you to set up exclusive distribution rights with the manufacturers. Another way to be unique is to be first. Look for niche markets and products that may not yet be available online.

3. A store is not enough
Just like retailers who have physical storefronts, setting up an online store and waiting for traffic is not enough. You must drive traffic to your location, no different than a retail shop in the mall. In order to build awareness and get people to visit your store you must use multiple avenues to get the word out. Advertising, social media, referrals and PR through professional bloggers are all crucial to increasing traffic. Using search engine optimization to increase your search rankings, and building email lists are also important tools. Research and prepare your marketing plan to ensure your success.

4. Don’t forget the logistics
Sometimes, the devil is in the details. You have been so busy obtaining products and setting up your online store, that you forget about some things that are truly crucial to your success. These include things like figuring out what payment methods you will accept and setting up payment gateways, finding reliable shipping providers and working out rates, and, coming up with a plan for who will fulfill the order. Will it to be you, or do you need someone to pack and ship the order, and send shipment confirmations? Make sure you examine every aspect of your business, from the initial idea, right through to final delivery of product and customer satisfaction.

5. Branding is key
An online store may have great products, but what if a customer doesn’t trust the brand? If your site looks old, dated and unprofessional, you may be losing customers before they even start shopping. A modern, well designed site is key to building your brand, and should be considered before you even start building your shopping cart. Having a professional looking site instills trust and actually helps in keeping and attracting buyers. Don’t let all your PR and advertising tactics go to waste, get your site professionally designed to ensure customers will click through to see more once they get there—whether they are on their computer, tablet or mobile phone.

Share This Page:

Signup for out-of-this-world eCommerce tips & the latest StoreBuilder news.