shopping carts                                                                                   image credit

If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably got a great idea for an online store in mind. Perhaps you’re a creative person who makes their own crafts to sell. Or maybe you’re just looking to break away from your 9-5, and start selling something you’re passionate about. Whatever the reason, the practicalities are the same.

ear rings                        Sell your hand-made jewellery (image credit)

Today, we’ll walk you through the process of setting up an online store. It might sound daunting, but trust me, it’s easier than you think. In a few short months, you could be selling hundreds of products. You could be on your way to running your own business. Ready to learn the basics? Let’s jump in and find out.

Choose your product

Of course, you can’t start an e commerce empire without a great product. You have two main options here. Number one, make and manufacture your own products. This is the perfect route for those who are creative. You could knit bespoke scarves or hats. You could make greetings cards or sell hand-made items. Option number two is buying your products from a wholesaler, and selling them on. With this route, you’ll have to start setting up meetings with wholesalers in your area. Try to keep the product range simple to start with.

Website and platform

shopping cart                         image credit

Next up, you need a website to command your empire. Again, there are a variety of options available. First up, you can set up a market stall on the likes of Etsy, eBay, and Amazon. These platforms have a built-in audience, so it’s great if you’re just getting started. However, if you’re looking to build an empire, you’ll need your own slice of the internet. If you’re building an e commerce site, we suggest using Magento; it’s a platform designed for online shopping. It’s a simple platform, and you can even sign up for Magento support, for when things go wrong!

Market research

Before you launch your e commerce empire, it’s worth taking a step back, and doing your research. The more thorough you are in the early days, the stronger your foundations. First up, where are the gaps in the market for your product? Do you have a niche sector, and is there a demand for this product? If not, go back to the drawing board, and tighten the proposition. Secondly, do some customer research. Who is your target audience? Let them test your product, and take their feedback on board. It’s a slow, but essential, process.

Marketing

The last piece of the puzzle is an effective marketing campaign. Opening an online store isn’t enough. You’ve got to actively chase customers, and create a digital marketing strategy. Start by building some high-profile social media accounts. Use them to create a community, share images of your products, and offer exclusive sales. Word-of-mouth will begin to grow organically. You can also harness the power of online advertising, and improve your Google ranking with SEO tricks.

It’s entirely possible to turn your small idea into a multi-million dollar business. Follow these steps, and you’ll put yourself on the right path.