Do you think that online stores are only about showcasing your products to customers?
That’s not all.
A fully functional WordPress ecommerce store handles nearly every process involved in transacting with a customer. It handles payments, facilitates checkout, and updates orders.
How to Open an Ecommerce Store
Whether you’re looking to move your brick-and-mortar store or start a new business, starting an ecommerce business will help you scale and grow revenue.
Even if you have closed your physical store due to the pandemic, you can still serve your customers with their shopping needs.
If you are having a hard time understanding how to open an ecommerce store or feel that it’s too much to handle, we have got you covered.
Read on to learn about setting up an ecommerce business.
Ecommerce Store 101
An ecommerce store is an online business platform to sell products and services over the internet.
It enables customers to purchase products and services without leaving their homes or offices.
You can sell anything you want — from physical goods like shoes and jewelry to digital products like ebooks and music. Amazon, eBay, Shopify, and AliExpress are some prominent examples.
Starting an Ecommerce Business
Setting up an ecommerce business starts with having a clear plan on how to build a dynamic online store. Here are all the steps we’ll discuss to help you get started:
3. Determine Your Source for Products
7. Apply for Permits and Licenses
9. Choose an Ecommerce Platform
12. Market Your Ecommerce Platform
13. Continue to Improve Your Platform
1. Understand Your Niche
A niche is your intended market audience. It includes the people you would sell your products to — your prospective customers.
To convert these potential customers into your clients, you need to:
- Recognize your customers’ needs.
- Find out the target audience’s desires.
- Understand your audience’s values.
An easy way to do this is to identify your competitors and check on what they’re up to. Analyze their strategies to develop your business plan and start marketing your ecommerce site.
When deciding your niche, avoid overcrowded and brand-dominated niches. While competition lets you know that there is an existing market for your product, a crowded market does you no good.
2. Decide Your Product
When opening an online store, you need to decide the products you want to sell.
You can sell:
- Physical products
- Digital products — software, ebooks, apps
- Courses and subscriptions
You can perform further research on your competitors to decide the range of products to sell.
Research their business models and their trending products. Find out what you can emulate and pick actionable ideas.
Also, look for social proof for your business ideas. Go to popular online stores and see which items sell better in your niche.
You can also try Google trends for brainstorming product ideas.
Nonetheless, pick a product you’re interested in and are familiar with. It will make it easier for you, as a business owner, to relate to your customers and deliver the best products.
3. Ascertain Your Product Source
Depending on what you’re selling, you need to decide your sourcing for your products. You can opt for:
- Buying in wholesale — and operating as an online retailer.
- Partnering with a manufacturer.
- In-house manufacturing — for new products.
- Dropshipping the product.
4. Set a Budget
Before you create your online store, you need to plan your finances upfront.
Depending upon the niche and the nature of the business, it can cost you between $100 to $100,000 to set up your online store.
Plan your budget for:
- Ecommerce hosting
- Ecommerce software
- Plugins and extensions
- Getting your business licenses and permits
- Payment processing costs
- Domain name
- SSL certificate
5. Name Your Business
Your business name should fit your business. Either go for a unique name that stands out in public or a relevant name that describes your business.
For example, business names like Target and Yahoo stand out. In contrast, names like Diehard Batteries and MyFitnessPal let the customers know what they are about.
You can also try a business name generator to brainstorm names for your business.
Once you have selected a business name, get a domain name — the permanent online address to your ecommerce site. It allows customers to find you on the web.
6. Register Your Business
While it depends on local rules and regulations, it is usually better to register your online business.
It helps you with credit card processing and product sourcing. Also, it lets the buyers know that your startup is operating legally.
7. Apply for Permits and Licenses
Depending upon your location, you may require business permits or licenses to operate your online business.
The exact permit depends upon the ecommerce business and the business regulations in your state and country. It is better to get legal consultation.
8. Define Your Brand Identity
Everything from your business name to your web page design should be consistent with your brand.
For that, pay close attention to:
- Page layout
- Color scheme
- Business logo
9. Select an Ecommerce Platform
It’s time to choose an ecommerce platform and create your online storefront.
While there is a wide range of ecommerce platforms to choose from, you need to consider the budget, ease of use, and features — like templates, tutorials, and support for SEO and social media — to decide the one that is best for you.
As a feature-rich ecommerce platform with low costs, WooCommerce is a great choice to create and manage your store.
10. Choose a Website Host
In your quest to learn how to open an ecommerce store, a good website host is vital.
While the domain name points to your shop, the strength of that shop — how many visitors it can support, how secure it is, and how fast it is — depends upon the website host.
If you are working toward a secure, fast, and high-performing WooCommerce store, check out Nexcess-managed WooCommerce for free.
11. Showcase Your Products
You have reached the final step of our guide to how to open an ecommerce store and have built your online shop.
It’s time to configure your product pages:
- Add photos
- Place logos
- Write engaging product descriptions
If you chose Nexcess to create your WooCommerce store, you can create your product pages and publish your store easily without doing things from scratch.
12. Market Your Ecommerce Platform
The success of your online store will depend on how well you continually attract new customers and retain them. To do this, you need to focus on creating a marketing strategy that covers all aspects of customer acquisition and retention.
There are many facets to marketing an ecommerce store, but some of the most important include:
- Search engine optimization (SEO): In order for customers to find your store, it needs to rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs). This can be accomplished through optimizing your website’s content and structure, as well as building backlinks from high-quality websites for ecommerce optimization.
- Pay-per-click advertising (PPC): PPC ads are a great way to get your store in front of potential customers who are already interested in what you’re selling. Through strategic keyword bidding, you can ensure that your ads are shown to people who are most likely to convert.
- Social media marketing (SMM): Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to build relationships with customers and promote your brand. By creating engaging content and running targeted ad campaigns, you can reach a large audience of potential customers on social media.
- Email marketing: Email is still one of the most effective ways to reach customers and promote your store. By sending out regular newsletters, special offers, and other promotional materials, you can keep your store top-of-mind for existing and potential customers alike.
- Content marketing: A well-written blog or article can do wonders for your ecommerce store. Not only will it help you attract organic traffic from search engines, but it can also build trust and credibility with potential customers.
13. Continue to Improve Your Platform
Even if you have a great marketing strategy in place, it won’t matter if your ecommerce platform isn’t up to par. To keep customers coming back, you need to continuously improve your store and the user experience.
Some of the things you can do to improve your ecommerce platform include:
- Making sure your website is fast and responsive.
- Improving the navigation and search functionality.
- Adding features such as customer reviews and product videos.
- Making it easy for customers to checkout and providing multiple payment options.
- Offering excellent customer service and after-sales support.
By continually working on improving your ecommerce store, you’ll be able to keep existing customers happy and attract new ones.
Tips for Starting an Ecommerce Business
If you’re thinking about starting an ecommerce business, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Start Simple
When you’re first starting out, it’s important to keep things simple. Don’t try to offer too many products or services, and don’t make your website too complicated. You can always add more products and features as you grow.
It’s also important to find a niche market that you can focus on. This will make it easier to stand out from the competition and attract the right customers.
2. Share Your Platform Across Multiple Channels & Market It
In order to reach the widest audience possible, you need to share your ecommerce platform across multiple channels. This includes things like social media, email marketing, and paid advertising.
Make sure you’re also investing some time and effort into marketing your store. You need to let people know that it exists and that they should check it out.
3. Invest in Multichannel Selling
One of the best ways to reach more customers is to invest in multichannel selling. This means selling your products on multiple platforms, such as Amazon, eBay, and your own website.
By selling on multiple channels, you’ll be able to reach a wider audience and boost your sales. Plus, you’ll be able to take advantage of different marketing opportunities on each platform.
Final Thoughts: How To Open an Ecommerce Store in 13 Steps
You know how to open an ecommerce store for your business. Don’t postpone this opportunity — take a step to launch your ecommerce website now.
All you need is to determine the right product for the right market. After that, you can develop your online store without coding.
Ready to open an online store for your small business?
Start your journey today with WooCommerce, and put your online store in good hands with fully managed WooCommerce hosting from Nexcess.
Check out our plans to get started today.
This blog was originally published in August 2021. It has since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.