Opening an online store may be an excellent start for a business. If you have a clear idea of some products you could sell and do not know where to start, an online store may be exactly what you need. In the following lines you will be offered a step-by-step guide on how to get started. Just follow the steps below and you will be ready to go.
1. First of all, since this is about selling goods, you have to start a company. The laws differ for every country, but the most important thing to remember is to ensure your company has the right to sell and import (if you are planning to sell products imported from foreign manufacturers). Once you do this you can move to the next steps, which will present the technical side of this scenario, the main goal of this guide.
2. Choose a domain name. This will be the address of your online store. The shorter and simpler the domain address chosen for your store, the better.
It would be preferable not to choose the company name as a domain name, as it usually does not express exactly what you sell. So, for example, if you are planning to sell flowers you could choose something like “www.natural-flowers.com”. If you address the local market your domain should end with the right extension (for example, .co.uk for UK), but if your goal is to attract as many international customers as possible, it would be ideal to choose .com. Hyphen separation is also a good idea for your domain, as the words separated in this way are recognized as separate words by search engines, so your website will not be omitted from search results.
3. Choose a web hosting package to host your files on a server. It’s best to buy hosting from the place you purchased your domain name because you will benefit from a discount in most cases. A Hosting Package should provide all facilities necessary for an online store (performance, stability and, most important, security). It is better to check with the web design company that will handle the creation of your store if you are not sure what features your shop needs.
5. Have your online store optimized. Once your virtual store has been created, you should include as many keywords as possible in its structure, particularly in the description of your products, so search engine can capture them easily. SEO optimization is done for better visibility of your site / online shop looking through search engines.
6. Shipping and payment methods are an important aspect when it comes to online stores. You must be aware of the ways in which you can deliver the orders received through the online store. The oldest and simplest way is by sending parcels. Use a Courier service in case the products you are delivering are fragile. As for the payment, there are various methods you can choose from. A good idea would be to let customers choose their preferred method (credit / debit card, PayPal, payment on delivery etc.).
7. Promoting your online store is vital. Without proper promotion your store will not exist. You must put strong emphasis on online marketing campaigns and set a monthly budget for this purpose. As time passes by you will see some improvements in terms of the number of orders and visitors of the website.