Have you always dreamed of having your very own online business? Have you got this grand image of yourself managing a successful Ecommerce store amassing sales from all over the world?
It doesn’t matter if you have been in the online game for some time or this is your first try in setting up a business, this short guide is meant to show you how to start your online business in several simple steps.
1. Decide on Your Products
Before you can do anything, the very first thing you should do is decide on the types of products you will be selling online. No matter what you choose, it is a must that you choose products related to your passion and interest. There is a chance that you will work with these products all day long. Thus it is important to ensure that this is something you won’t find boring soon.
2. Select your Business Model
Just as important as deciding on what product or services to sell, is the way you will be offering the products or services to your audience, and the way you will gain income from it. A short summary of some of the most popular ecommerce business models include:
- Create your own products. If you have creative or technical skills, you can create your own products, including jewelry, clothing, paintings, software, cakes, among others.
- Branded or personalized products. Purchase standardized products, such as cups, plates, or even headphones, and personalize them with your own brand.
- Offer imported technological products, such as drones, gadgets or smart locks.
- Affiliate marketing. You do the sales, they do the selling. Today there are tons of effective affiliate marketing programs allowing you to gain a commission on forwarded cusomers from your website.
- Dropshipping. Without having any inventory, you sell products that you don´t touch. After every sale, you order the products yourself at any of your suppliers, and let them send it to the customer, with your brand on the package.
3. Pick the Best Ecommerce Solution
The third step is deciding on the type of ecommerce solution that suits your products and business model, and depends on your expertise level and budget. The most popular ecommerce solutions:
- Hosted solutions, such as Shopify. Making store creation easier, yet compromising on flexibility.
- Flexible DYI solutions, such as Woocommerce. Requiring a bit more time investment, but opening new opportunities for customization and scalability.
- Professional solutions by a Web Designer. For example, we at DBM Digital offer Ecommerce solutions, starting at only €45 per month, and offering professional-guarantee and Google-optimized pages and products.
You might want to research about these solutions to find the right one for your needs and budget.
4. Choose Your Brand and Domain Name
Setting up your brand and business name requires careful brainstorming. What niche market are you in? What keywords do potential customers look for in search engines? Do you offer competitive prices, or luxury products? All these factors will determine the words and color schemes used for your brand and logo creation.
Do not forget to check whether the chosen brand name is not already being used by someone operating in the same industry. You should check your shortlisted brands in several trademark databases, such as the TESS database in the USA, the IPO database in the UK, and European Union´s EUIPO.
The domain name refers to the URL or web address where your customers will find your online shop. It is a critical business decision, so never take this lightly. If possible, go for a simple and short domain name that best describes your business.
Once you have selected a domain name, decide on the extension (for example, .com, .net or regional extensions such as .co.uk, .nl or .pt) and register this with a domain name provider. A non-premium domain name today only costs about € 10 a year, at popular websites such as Namecheap or Godaddy.
5. Start to Build Your Online Store
This is the time for you to start to build your own shop. Depending on your chosen type of solution, you might want to be familiar with its functionality and start to set up important pages such as your category and product pages, content pages, home page, and more.
Remember that you need to consider design and branding throughout the process. These are essential elements to guarantee the success of your ecommerce site, and confidence generated towards your visitors.
This will most likely be the most time-consuming step, as developing an online shop requires getting into details, layouts and user experience. Remember that turnkey, professional or hosted solutions will take care of a lot of the technical and UX aspects.
6. Identify the Payment Method
Making money is the main reason why you are doing business, right? Before you launch your online store, you have to determine the right payment method so you can receive payments from customers. Most first-timers use PayPal or Google Checkout. You should also consider accepting credit cards on your website as it is considered a more professional method and preferred by many customers. If this is the route you choose, it is best to research on options for credit card processing, especially merchant accounts, to ensure that you know all the fine print, fees and rates. Moreover, do not forget regional payment methods, such as iDeal (the Netherlands) or Sofort (Germany).
Hosted and professional solutions may take care of the technical part, and deliver easy tools and verification methods to get your payment methods online within hours, or even minutes.
7. Market Your Online Store
Once your store is ready for the whole world to see, you will need to use marketing to drive customers to it. Marketing your store with the public is crucial whether you use SEO, social media, email, or other types of marketing. It is very important to have an SEO-optimized site, coupled with high quality and recently updated content for visitors to keep returning to your store. Also make sure that your social media accounts are regularly updated, and steadily increase its number of followers. Depending on your budget, sponsored ads in both search engines and social media platforms might be able to boost your brand and store in the earlier stages of your digital strategy.
At DBM Digital we are experienced in delivering high quality online stores that attract and maintain customers, and increase confidence with potential buyers. Are you ready to start your online store? Take a look at our pricing packages.