How to set up an online store in 2023 (Step by Step)?

How to set up an online store
Image by katemangostar on Freepik

 

Do you want to set up an online store? Use our setting up an ecommerce website instruction and start online business in 2023.

Check list for setting up an online store

 

1. Raise some money

As they say, no money, no honey.

Of course, there are ways to create a free ecommerce website. Let's say. However, the product costs money (even in the case of dropshipping there may be a need to redeem the goods). Advertising costs money in any case. Creating banners for advertising is a separate service that also has its price.

How much money will you need at the start?

To set up an online store and make first sales on the Internet you should be prepared to spend about $3000 - $5000. This is the sum of the total costs, among which the main part will be the test of the advertising campaign. Naturally, the costs may be higher. And this should come as no surprise to you.

Where can you get the money?

  • Set aside 10% from each paycheck (or other income).
  • If you already have a small offline business, set aside 10%-15% of your income to start an online store.
  • Borrow from relatives and friends (better a few at a time than one round sum from one)
  • Sell your car or jewelry (or pawn them)

2. Find a product to sell online

There are different ways to choose a product for sale in an online store: choose a product that you understand; choose a trendy product, etc. But, as marketers say, it's all just a hypothesis, which is worth nothing without a test.

It's most profitable to sell what sells well.

And to understand what sells better, you need to create at least 5 different stores of different topics, add some goods (even if you do not have a supplier yet, you can take goods from other sites and just put them in their place) and give test advertising. In such a way you get an idea of what product you can best sell.

3. Analyze your competitors!

Accoridng to a research study on online shopping failures, 23% of ecommerce startups got outcompeted and 19% of them closed because retail giants dominating a large share of the market.

You have to study the sites from the top 10 of the output on the topic of your products. Your site must be as good as the competition.

Also look at those who advertise in search for the same queries. If there is a lot of advertising on your topic, and there are big market players, it will be difficult for you to compete with them in contextual advertising. But if the niche has no competitors at all or no one is advertising, then it's probably just not profitable. Or it could be that the niche is not yet occupied by anyone, which is much rarer nowadays.

You need to research what your competitors offer. Also try to identify what they don't have, although customers may need it.

4. Choose an e-commerce platform that's right for you

There are many platforms for creating online stores. And there is no single answer, which platform you need to use exactly. It is necessary to choose a platform for the specific situation in which your business is.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How much does it cost at the startup stage? And how much does it cost if I test 5 different niches to find my best product?
  2. Will there be an opportunity for SEO promotion? Is the site open for indexing or not?
  3. How many products will I sell? What are the product limits in the store builder package?
  4. If I have a lot of products, how can I import them into the site?
  5. What will happen if I have employees? How much does it cost to have access to multiple employees?
  6. Will I pay a commission to the platform for each sale and am I happy with that?
  7. Will I be messing around with design blocks in the website builder or am I better off using a CMS where the information is filled out in a simple form?
  8. If I like a self hosted solution, how long will it take to get it ready? And what technical knowledge will be needed?
  9. Does the site really belong to me or does it belong to the platform?

5. Create Your Brand Name and Brand Assets

Brand Name

Come up with a name for your brand. Ideally, the name should be easy to remember, clearly identifiable with the product. 
There are special generators of names on the Internet. You can use them. 

Still there are options when a company is called by the name of its creator. The famous advertising man David Ogliwi argued that a brand like Harley and Davidson is easier to promote than a name made up of arbitrary syllables like Kodak. It has to do with personification.

You can also use abbreviations like KFC.

Important!

  • The name must not resemble the name of your competitors.
  • The name must be written unambiguously, so that people can write the address of your site from memory. However, finding a suitable and free domain name these days is quite difficult.

Logo and brand identity

There are requirements for logos such as:

  • Few elements to be hand-drawn (but Versace does not follow this rule)
  • Color must create some kind of mood for a given target audience (although in fact, there are logos with a full range of colors in any field of activity)

In my personal opinion, the most important thing in all this is that once the chosen style would be followed in everything that relates to your online store. You should not use different fonts when writing the text of the product than are provided by the site design. This gives a bad impression. Whereas compliance with the same style of design everywhere from the site to the brochure and registration of e-mail lists gives the impression of professionalism. It is more important that clients understand that they are dealing with professionals.

6. Look for suppliers & dropshipping partners

You can find partners by simply writing in the search:

  • Product name + wholesale
  • Product name + dropshipping
  • Product name + trading company
  • Product name + manufacturer

Alos you can use ebay.com or alibaba.com

7. Register your business

To process payments for your online store, you need an EIN (or Employer Identification Number). To get an EIN, you need to register your online store as a business in your state.

Plus, it will help protect your personal savings if something goes wrong. You can also get a lower tax bill and separate your personal credit history from your corporate credit history.

The following types of business ownership are common

  • Sole proprietorship. An unincorporated business with no legal distinction between the company and the person operating it. It qualifies as a business without an employer and is the easiest to create and manage. About 40% of small business owners have a business without an employer as their primary source of income.
  • Partnership. A partnership is a single business with two or more owners. Each owner contributes to the business through financing, property, labor, or skills. The partners share responsibility and profits. 
  • Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). An LLC is a hybrid business structure that combines partnership with the liability protection inherent in corporations.

More information you can find on https://www.irs.gov/businesses.

8. Set up your online store and add products

  • Buy domain name for you online store
  • Choose design theme
  • Set up email, taxes
  • Add Terms & Conditions page
  • Add Privacy Policy page if it is required in your state
  • Import products by XML, xlsx or CSV file
  • Connect a payment gateway

9. Make SEO

9.1. Learn what relevance means in search engines

Users with different levels of interest in a topic may use different keywords in their search query. For example, postcard collectors are more likely to search for postcards by genre, year, or author, such as [50s postcards], while users who are simply looking for a service that sends e-cards are more likely to enter holiday names or general descriptions, such as [funny birthday cards to a friend].

Also, people can call the same things by different names. For example, you may sell "kitchen boards", but people want to buy "cutting board"... If you call your page "kitchen boards", you won't get shown to the largest portion of the interested audience. That's why I think that understanding of the relevancy is the basis for ecommerce. If you don't know how search works and what relevancy is, you'll have a much harder time making sales.

Google AdWords provides a handy Keyword Analyzer that finds new combinations keywords for your page and allows you to calculate their search frequency.

Checking relevancy in the Google AdWords

9.2. Use low-frequency and mid-frequency requests

This is especially important if there are many competitors in your niche. In this case, all your competitors are already using high-frequency search queries in their ads or have already optimized their sites for these queries.

It is always more difficult for a new site to rank for a high-frequency query. Therefore, you need to choose low-frequency queries

9.3. Make SEO according 2 step marketing strategy

In other words, promote your online store with articles.

  • Often before making a purchase people first look for information about a product (that is, read articles on a given topic). And there are as many such requests as there are products. But the competition for them is often less
  • It is easier for articles to get to the top of search queries than for products. Of course, provided that the articles are well-written and cover the chosen topic in a high-quality manner.
  • People trust articles more than direct advertising.

Videos work even better than articles.

Of course it is not that easy to create content. But it is required.

Look for keyword to promote your online store by articles

10. Make promo

SEO is slow to bring results. Immediately after opening, you should advertise on social networks, search, and the display network.

You should know that Google use the Artificial Intelligence for Smart Display advertising (it is recommended for newbies). But Google warns that the best results are achieved only after three weeks of machine learning. So you should have a budget to spend 3 weeks of advertising funds not very efficiently.