Launching an E-Store – an Informative Guide for the Future Owners - Invoicebus Blog

Launching an E-Store – an Informative Guide for the Future Owners

The development of online business as a whole is attracting a growing number of people to launch their own online venture. The type and size of your future Web-based enterprise will mostly depend on market demand and the initial investment. Online stores can always be adapted to customers’ current needs and they don’t require investing too much money at the beginning. That’s why we’ve prepared an informative guide for people who would like to become online traders.

Define your goals in a business plan

Regardless of the niche, the first step in launching a new business should be setting your goals and including them in a business plan.

What you should decide first is whether you’re going to manufacture your own products and sell them through your store. If so, you should calculate the production costs in advance and see how to make such a business sustainable in the long term.

The next step is making an estimate pertaining to the number of additional staff you might need. For instance, if you decide to both make and sell products, you might need a few extra hands. Since it’s vital to keep your business expenses low, outsourcing might be a better choice than hiring full-time employees.

Also, calculate the fees related to the hosting service and the domain name. We’re going to talk about different types of e-store websites later in the text.

Further, it’s important to calculate the shipping costs before you send the first product to your buyers. At this point, you should communicate with a number of shipping providers and find the most suitable shipping plan for your products.

Apart from that, define who you’re going to target with your products. This is extremely important because this will determine the initial success of your business.

Test your sales potential prior to launching

Now that you know where you want to take your new business, you should test the potential of your business and the products you’re planning to sell.

The most efficient way to do that is to start selling the target items via some popular eCommerce websites. For instance, you can register to eBay, Amazon or Craigslist and start offering your goods there. It will help you understand the basics of eCommerce and build your initial client list.

Additionally, you can launch your first store on Facebook, using the Facebook Shop option. It will give you the feeling of running an online store but on a smaller scale.

If you notice that new buyers keep buying your products and that the demand is constantly growing, you’re on the right path to becoming a renowned e-store owner.

Opting for the right eCommerce platform

The number of eCommerce platforms has been growing rapidly over the last few years. If you’re a beginner, you might want to seek a less expensive solution for your online store. While this is a reasonable way of thinking, you need to be cautious when choosing this platform. Here are some of the platforms that have proven to be reliable and responsive to the needs of new, aspiring eCommerce entrepreneurs.

BigCommerce

If you neither have time nor knowledge to deal with codes for your website, you should think about BigCommerce. More than 55,000 e-stores are placed on this platform, some of which are famous brands, such as Ford and Cargill.

You can integrate your BigCommerce store with other websites, like eBay or Facebook. If you first opted for selling products via these websites, you can just connect these platforms and keep up the good work.

Also, there are no additional transaction fees for the sales performed via this shopping platform. Every single paid or free theme you choose is equally practical for all sorts of devices, due to their praised responsive qualities.

Apart from selling products via BigCommerce, you can create and send various vouchers and coupons, as well as newsletters.

Moreover, this shopping platform comes with a useful analytics tool, which will help you understand your market and improve your sales.

Shopify

One of the most popular eCommerce platforms on a global scale, Shopify also brings a number of convenient features.

Similarly to BigCommerce, your Shopify account can be connected to your Facebook Shop.

You can search more than 1500 different add-ons and apps, to find the ones that will improve the efficiency of your e-store.

Also, Shopify offers a responsive shopping cart, as well as an option to have a mobile app made for your e-store.

Numerous tutorials, videos, and forums are also at your disposal if you decide to launch your e-store on this platform.

Still, there will be some transaction fees, unless you opt for the Shopify Payment solution, which is a restrictive feature. In addition to that, a large number of plugins are charged, which will incur some additional expenses for your budget.

In a nutshell, this is the best choice for new e-store owners without too many specific requirements.

Big Cartel

The e-store owners who decide to present their own creative work to the online audience can sell their works via Big Cartel.

This platform is aimed at creative individuals with a tight budget. As such, it’s a simple and practical solution that offers esthetically attractive themes.

Again, you can integrate your Facebook store with this solution and use the eCommerce benefits of this social network, as well.

The help center provided by Big Cartel is responsive and supportive to resolve any issue you might come across.

The drawback of this platform might be a smaller number of visual options. While they’re meticulously designed, only 12 themes and a limited number of add-ons might not be enough for people who want to make their e-store more personalized.

However, the target audience of this eCommerce platform are artists and creative people who just want to start selling their works online.

Make the cash flow smooth and easy

Now that you’ve decided what to sell and how to sell it, it’s crucial to be clever when it comes to payments.

Many small businesses have problems with cash flow, mostly because they don’t manage to improve the payment process. What’s important here is that you work only with reliable suppliers, so that you don’t spend months biting your nails and waiting for the new batch of products.

On the other hand, the payment process should be nice and easy, meaning that you shouldn’t allow for too long payment periods. In line with that, the clients who buy items in bulk should have a 15-day payment period. That’s a fair amount of time for them to plan both the purchase and the payment.

As for the individual buyers, you need to offer them a reasonable number of payment solutions. From credit cards and online payment gateways to bank accounts for domestic buyers. Provide several options and improve both the payments and the sales.

Also, new e-store owners should offer their products at competitive prices, while still making profits. This is the right time to set your profit margins, as well. Your e-store needs to generate a certain amount of income to keep things rolling. So, bear that in mind when setting the prices for your products.

Conclusion

Running your own online store is a clever way to make money in the online surroundings. Although it takes some planning and additional education, it can be a great source of income and a ticket to other online business endeavors. Follow the steps presented in this article and launch a well-organized e-store that has a steady income.

Mark Thomasson
Mark is a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus - a simple invoicing service that gets your invoices paid faster. He passionately blogs on topics that help small biz owners succeed in their business. He is also a lifelong learner who practices mindfulness and enjoys long walks in nature more than anything else.
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