The tools available to entrepreneurs today make the process of creating an online store very affordable. That and free WordPress hosting is the best news. Anybody who wants to learn how to start an online store can master the process without any programming skills.
Still, you need some tips to alleviate your journey. Did you know that…
Creating an e-commerce store is not free?
No, it isn’t. Building the store itself is free, but you won’t be able to accept payments. To get a system in place, it will cost around $70 a year. This price includes a hosting plan and a domain name.
Budget models rely on WordPress hosting and sometimes WooCommerce because both are open-source, user-friendly, and free.
What can you sell?
You can sell material goods, digital products like software, files, images, and e-books, or various types of services. You can sell practically anything as long as it’s in line with your store type. But how do you know whether it is?
It starts with knowing what you want to sell – clothes, jewelry, apps, or handbags, etc. This is a crucial step because it will affect the tools you’ll use to make your online store, as well as your general approach and strategy. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I want to sell services?
- Do I want to sell digital products and let customers download them directly?
- Do I want to sell and deliver physical products?
In relation to the goods:
- Do I want to handle them myself?
- Do I want to drop-ship?
- Do I want to sell overseas?
- Do I want to use third parties?
- Do I want to display wholesale rates as well?
Every positive response requires your online store platform to be able to handle that specific demand.
This is the biggest challenge for every online store. The competition is a mere click away. If you are the only brick and mortar store selling accessories in the neighborhood, your customers are practically guaranteed. Not so with online stores. There are thousands of other stores available, and they all ship.
You need a better focus in terms of your target group. Research is very important at this point. Start by identifying what keywords people use to look for services or products like yours online. People just looking for “accessories” are likely to go to the cheapest place, which is usually Amazon. Since your store can’t viably compete with Amazon, you need to look for a niche. Car accessories? Dress accessories? Type of dress accessories? And so on.
Take these keywords or key phrases and put them through Google Keyword Planner (GKP), which will let you know often they are searched for each month. The planner will also suggest other keywords.
Replace “accessories” with your product names and do further research to find out which phrases correspond to what you want to sell. These phrases need to have over 1000 searches a month.
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After you have some keywords and phrases, start digging deeper. Do you want to sell accessories to men or women?
Research the Competition
You need to find out what your competitors are doing to promote their organization. What sort of links are they getting? Which keywords are they pursuing? Should you be pursuing the same ones? Should you try to get similar links? Invest some time perusing the data SEMRush has on your competitors. Another useful tool to this end is Buzzsumo. It will show you what the most popular pages and products on your competitor’s website are.
Other questions you need to ask:
- What kind of updates do they post, and how often?
- Does their coverage extend only to the niche, or do they also comment on related news?
- Do they engage with their followers?
Knowing this information can tell you what sort of activities you will have to take up if you want to be relevant. Forums or groups can yield indispensable information. What’s more, you can use your sources of research as places to promote your online store.
It’s not easy to set up a successful online store by any means. It takes hard work, practice, and dedication, but ultimately, it’s worth it.