Are you excited about the idea of starting an online store? Is this something you hope to launch in the near future? Do you have concerns about jumping into the ecommerce space?
Starting an online store is every bit as fun as it sounds. Of course, there are quite a few challenges that could stand in your way as well. For example, you may need to spend some time comparing wholesale dropshippers, or maybe you need to learn more about your competition to ensure you develop a unique selling proposition.
Before you do anything, take the time to search online for stores that are already doing big things in your desired industry. For example, if you’re providing an alternative to traditional cigarettes, take a closer look at what JUUL and other trending brands are doing to brand themselves and stand out from the crowd.
If you’re ready to start your online store and need a push in the right direction, here are a few tips that can help you start your business on the right foot.
- Compare Software
This can be the difference between success and failure, so don’t hesitate to spend as much time as necessary on this researching and comparing different software models. There’s more than one type of ecommerce software, and each has its own pros and cons. Website Builder Expert shares a breakdown of their choice for the five best software options for ecommerce brands.
When comparing software, pay close attention to the features, pricing, customer reviews, and overall reputation. It’s these points that will help you decide which technology to rely on.
- Find the Best Products
If you plan on manufacturing your own products, this isn’t something you have to concern yourself with, but if you’re sourcing products from a manufacturer or wholesaler, you’ll need to do quite a bit of homework.
As you’re building your business, it’s important to remember that Rome wasn’t build in a day; even online retail giants like Amazon weren’t as big as they are now in the early days. In fact, Amazon started by selling nothing more than books, but now boasts nearly 400 million products available for purchase. You may not find exactly what you’re looking for the first time around, but you can always continue to add to your store over time.
- Create a Business Plan
Don’t let anyone tell you an online store isn’t a real business, because it most certainly is. For this reason, you need to create a business plan before you make any major moves. Entrepreneur shares a step-by-step template to walk you through creating your business plan. With this guiding you, it’s easier to create a plan that covers the most important details of operating an online store, even if this is the first time you’re taking on a project of this magnitude.
Just remember that the business plan you create today may not be the same one you will rely on in the future. You must become comfortable with the idea that your business plans will change over time.
- Focus on Conversion Above All Else
There is no denying the importance of driving as much traffic as possible to your website; however, all the traffic in the world doesn’t really mean anything if those leads aren’t converting into sales once they land on your website. This is why you need to focus most of your attention on your conversion rate.
According to Word Stream, “the average landing page conversion rate [is] 2.35 percent,” so if you can pull those numbers or do even better than this, you’re in business. If your conversion rate is less than 2.35 percent, though, you should probably invest some resources into figuring out why your leads aren’t becoming sales.
As exciting (and important) as it may be to drive as much traffic as you can to your website, browsing doesn’t pay the bills. Even a small percentage of your total traffic converting to sales is all you really need to get your business moving.
Starting an online store is a challenge worth taking on, even though it can be frustrating and overwhelming at times. Once you begin to make sales, you’ll realize your goal of owning your own business and being your own boss is worth the effort.
With so much competition in the online business space, your success will be based largely on the amount of time you invest into your business. So rather than watching People You May Know and chatting with friends on Facebook, focus your energy on the things you can do to grow your store and reach your goals.
Do you have any experience starting an online store from scratch? Were you able to reach your goals? To what do you attribute your success? Share your thoughts on starting and operating a successful online store in the comments.