How to Start Your Online Store

So, I just opened my online store, ShoppHer.com, and I have been getting questions from you guys about how to start and open your own online store (for beginners).

This question made me create a blog post about it!

I will give you 5 basic steps to create and start your own online store.

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1. Research the Market

The very first thing you should do (apart from obtaining your legal licensing {DBA, LLC, Seller’s permit, etc}) is create a business plan.

I talk to so many entrepreneurs who have great business ideas, but no business plan.

A business plan is the blueprint for your success. In your business plan, you should write out your ideas, your marketing strategies, and most importantly – your research about the market and your competitors.

It is important for you as a business owner to know the market you are planning to do business in. This step is crucial! So don’t skip it.

2. Know Your Niche

Your niche is basically your tribe – the unique group/ section of the market that you are selling to.

Are you looking to sell to children? teens? young adults? business professionals? creatives? women? men?

Ask yourself these important questions before you get started so that you are very well prepared to know who your target audience is, and how you’re going to market to them.

3. Find Your Host

There are many great hosting sites available for you to choose from. The best way to find the hosting site that works best for you is to know your inventory.

For example, if you are planning to sell many different products, Shopify may be your best hosting site. Just note that this hosting site is more costly and may require separate plugins that you may have to pay for, so implement a strategic plan into your business plan to offset this cost.

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If you are planning to sell a smaller variety of store items and are selling for your personal brand, Big Cartel may be your best option (My store is hosted by Big Cartel for example: shoppher.com). It is also a more cost efficient platform (if that’s what you’re looking for).

If you are a tech genius, or if you just like the idea of self-hosting, WooCommerce may be your better option. It is also an open source e-commerce plugin for WordPress self hosted sites. So if you already have a self-hosted website using WordPress.org, this may be great for you.

Another option (if you create your own products by hand) is to try out Etsy. I think this platform is a great starter for those of you who create your own products and are looking for a popular online community to ease into the e-commerce world. You may want to start off selling on this platform to get your feet wet, and then transition into using one of the other sites mentioned.

I also recommend purchasing your own site domain. It’s a great investment for your store and your brand.

4. Find Your Merchant/Manufacturer

This is probably the more trickier part of becoming a store owner – finding a manufacturer or wholesaler.

There are many ways to find wholesalers (either in your country or overseas), so I would advise you to do your research in this area to find the best deal for what you are looking for. Surfing the internet and asking around will be your best options for this.

My biggest tip is to think like a business owner – you want to think quality and cost efficiency. The manufacture you choose to buy from will either make or break your business, so be careful about who you buy from. You want to make sure that your customer is getting great quality for the price you are selling your merchandise to them for.

5. Set Up Your Store!

Once you have prepared and created your business plan (and legalized everything!), determined your target niche, found the right hosting platform, and found a wholesaler, you are now ready to set up your store!

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If you are into website creating, this part will be fun for you. If this is not your strength, the hosing platforms I listed above have many great templates for you to choose from (YouTube is great to help you navigate this).

You can also look into hiring someone to create your store page for you.

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Bonus Tip: My last tip for you when it comes to setting up your website, is to invest in your marketing and product promotion. ย I am a firm believer in quality over quantity, so if you are able to invest in great visual marketing for your website – do it!

If you are low on money, no problem! There are still many great ways you can create high quality content for your website using apps, social media ย and free online software (Learn More: HERE).

When creating your product pages, be as descriptive as you can and be sure to give size and material details. (Also be sure to include a sizing chart page for reference)

Be sure to checkout my online storeย ShoppHer as a reference for product descriptions, important site pages, and find you something nice! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Also, be sure to subscribe to my blog for more helpful blog posts just like this to help you with business and branding.

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Fun Printed Two-Pieces

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Bold Cropped Minis and Reflective Shades

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I hope these steps and tips help you in getting started creating and launching your own online store.

Many people have dreams – but few people actually live in them. Be apart of the few, and get started creating your dream online store today!

Need branding help? —> ASK HERE

 

God bless,

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6 Replies to “How to Start Your Online Store”

  1. I wish you the best with your new business and online store. It is a lot of upfront work for sure!

    Like

  2. Love what you have to say here. It’s really important to know your market before you get a store started. Otherwise, you won’t really know what to stock it with.

    Like

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this. You have given me some things I never considered before until I read this. I appreciate your help. Thanks again.

    Like

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