We are living in the digital age. Whether you like it or not, technology and the internet are slowly taking over the world, with the digital replacing the physical. Like banking, blogs, and even money (crypto), many shops have also built their online presence. However, it’s not just physical stores that can go digital—you can start an online store without a physical address as well.
According to a study done by Oberlo, there’s an estimated 2.14 billion digital buyers in 2021, which is more than a quarter of the people in the world. Since there is such a huge number of online shoppers, there is a huge potential to make it big with your very own online store. If you’re unsure of where to begin, here are 5 tips to get you started.
Figure out your niche
The first step is, more often than not, the most important one. Firstly, you’ll need to find out which market you’ll want to enter. This could be tech, fashion, or any industry that has buyers and sellers. The next step will be to find your niche, which is to go in-depth into a specific market. Before choosing a niche, you should consider your passion, budget, and opportunity. Most entrepreneurs strive to pick a market with high demand, but low supply.
Take, for example, health and wellness – one of the most popular markets. This would be too broad a category, so you can consider niching down into more specific markets, like vitamins or essential oils. You can then use Keyword Research tools to search for trending products. Through my keyword research, I found that CBD oils were in high demand, with many shoppers looking to buy CBD oil online. You can find your niche using this technique as well.
Choose your business model
The next step will be to choose your business model. There are 2 main business models – Making and selling your own products, or dropshipping. If you want to start a mini arts-and-craft business, the former would be your choice. However, if you’re more of a business person and don’t have a product to make, you can try dropshipping. Very briefly, dropshipping is being the middleman; buying a product, marking up the price, and selling it to customers.
Source for products
After selecting the right business model, you should start looking for products. Many newbie entrepreneurs try to build up and beautify their online store before finding products, and to be honest, I made the same mistake. Sometimes, you just can’t find the right product for you, so no matter how much you’d like to sell something, you won’t get any sales in the end.
Sourcing for products will differ with regard to your business model. Taking the example mentioned above, if you’re selling your artworks, you can source for wholesale suppliers to get cheaper materials in bulk, lowering your overall cost. If you’re dropshipping, finding a retail supplier on e-commerce platforms like AliExpress would be better. On such sites, they provide cheaper goods that can be bought individually, unlike wholesale suppliers.
Find an e-commerce platform
To start your online store, you’ll need to find an e-commerce platform or start your own website. For veterans with an existing clientele, starting your website should be the way to go. But for most of us, e-commerce platforms provide extensive exposure to millions of potential buyers around the globe. Some online stores have even started on online marketplaces, generated huge revenue, and subsequently shifted to their personal website!
Like any other service, there are free and paid online marketplaces. Some free options include eBay and Facebook Marketplace, but are all limited in some way or another. On the other hand, marketplace giants like Shopify can offer a range of benefits that will come in handy if you’re new to starting an online store.
Add the details
Last but not least, build your store. You’ve picked a niche, found a business model, sourced products, and chosen an e-commerce platform, now all you need to do is customize your store. This includes crafting your store name, designing the right logo, and even exporting the products to your online store. You’ll also have to add your payment details, contact information, and any necessary legal documents.
If you’re starting your own website, you’ll have to build it from scratch, hopefully with the help of a few templates. However, configuring your website into an online store may be more challenging, as you’ll need to integrate extra shopping plugins like Woocommerce into your site. Anyway, that’s a story for another day.
In a nutshell, starting an online store isn’t just for professionals, with the power of technology, anyone can do so. As long as you follow the 5 steps we’ve gone through, and persevere despite any setbacks, who knows? Maybe someday, your online store will be the next big thing.