Starting an Online Store
A Massive Opportunity for Growth or Startup
I get it all of the time when it comes to starting up an online store online and trust me, it is not as easy as it seems. You really got to give your all like any other business to be making good sales on your online store. Let’s assume you have a model, products ready to go and a shipping method taken care of, you are ready to go, but do not know where to start. Despite having everything ready, you are going to have a massive amount of options about how you go about selling online. This is also assuming you are also wanting to expand from Etsy, eBay and Amazon with your products as well and want a site or brand of your own online.
You first need to get your branding taken care of behind the scenes. A logo, color scheme, font choice and how you are going to go about competing online for your growth. Should you already have a business or website, you should most likely already be ready to go. But assuming you are just starting up or do not have a budget I have a couple of recommendations out there for you.
You are going to need a competitive edge to get customers as there are millions of other stores like yours that is open online. Even if there is not stores like yours and you provide niche products, it will be bound to happen people follow if your niche products sell well. Getting a legit, fun and professional look for your business will convince the consumer, they are in good hands with your products. You are going to need a logo, color scheme and font set to get started before even choosing a platform.
There are plenty of options out there and many designers like myself that will design a logo for a good price. Before even starting on your store’s look, you will also need to look at what technology to use for your store.
I would hate to glorify a growing trend in simplicity in having an online store, but Shopify does really take the case here. I think anyone starting out or does not have a budget, there are plenty of themes to support your overall branding and design for dirt cheap price. Shopify would benefit those who do not have a website and would need an entire ECommerce package. Prices for Shopify vary depending if you want to hire a developer or not, it can be from 29.99 a month to 299.99 a month varying on the size of your store. This would cover your hosting and your SSL Certificate (which you will need to succeed online.)
A few negatives here is there are less developers at the time being that could support you. Shopify is a little newer than other ECommerce platforms so some developers are still even learning the language behind the platform which is a script based on Ruby on Rails I believe. This being said, you are going to need to know a little bit of programming to do some extensive things on your online store.
If you are comfortable with getting on a self-hosting platform which is more expensive and have more room for easier customizations online, then WooCommerce is your best friend. A PHP based platform, WooCommerce is basically ECommerce for WordPress websites. WordPress as we all know, has been around since 2003 and has been the leading Content Management System on the web for many years. Because of this history, you have an advantage for easier customizations, and SEO solutions. Another bright side is there are millions of companies and developers (me) who use this platform and have many years of experience with WooCommerce.
I think the edge Shopify has over WooCommerce any day is that Shopify sites are on a dedicated server which has proven faster speeds and included SSL Certifications for your online store which are massive SEO Points for your website’s stance online. WordPress can also be intimidating for those who are new to the platform and have little to no experience with Web Design or Programming. There is also not entirely a pricing plan and that all depends on the hosting provider you choose to support your WooCommerce website, so you will need to do more extensive research here.
I honestly think Shopify and WooCommerce are the best platforms out there in terms of simplicity and customizations. This goes into inventory management, order reports, sales reports and much more that goes behind the scenes in an online store. These interfaces from these platforms are the most simple I have seen online today.
Some other Online Shop Content Management Systems to mention:
Once you pick your platform, you would then need to get a design idea that is supported behind the platform of your choice. You either get your hands dirty and do a build by yourself or you hire a designer/developer to handle the case for you.
So you have picked your ECommerce platform rather it be WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento or any other I have mentioned before. You finish the build and you make some sales. Well, now what. You need all factors aboard. You need to be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn (if needed), Pinterest, YouTube and Google so that you have not just the website’s content brewing, but your many other legs running the show and getting your message across to gain more revenue. This being said, SEO is highly important to your business’ success. How do you go about it? Well, you need to make sure your website is following all standards of code, search engine standards, being up to date with your stock and content and also having all legs of your business running online which includes social media platforms.
You will also need to track your visitors to strategize and capitalize on opportunities based on metrics, so connecting Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel for your Facebook page is an extremely good idea. You will need to go on Google Search Console and submit your sitemap for indexing as well so you have a place on the Search Engine.
Shopify even has a quick connector to Social Media Platforms and other platforms if you are using already to sell online. However, there are always solutions for any other platform out there, it just depends on which you choose and how things are setup before you go about connecting everything. Video is also a trend in SEO nobody talks about, maybe it might be time to learn a little bit of video to promote online? That is up to you.
The fact is, other people are already online doing this and making sales, you are joining the party and competing with them, so you are going to need to edge you competitors one way or another like any business. There is a lot more to discuss and I have a lot more coming in terms of content for setting up your Online Store.
For me, I recommend using your gut and trust your instincts on the moves you want to make getting your online store up and running. If you need any help starting an online web store, I am always on your corner and am willing to provide all of my tricks!