How to Start an Online Store

Setup your Online Store easily with these Steps

If you fancy opening an online store then you are lucky to land on this Article. You can quickly go through each step and have your store up in minutes. For the ease of things, I am classifying the steps into three headings i.e things to do Before Signing up on Shopify, Signup on Shopify & After Signing up on Shopify.

  1. Before Signing Up on Shopify :
  • Plan a little – Start with taking into account your actionable time-lines. Stick to a schedule with series of things you want to accomplish. No point of doing things half heartedly. If you really want to make it big, you need to give your 100% ! Have the right mindset and you can achieve everything. Don’t be intimidated by the work, competition or nay sayers. If you are determined and take action nothing can stop you from being successful.
  • Decide the Niche – Niche means the Product Category you’ll be dealing in. For e.g Beauty Products, Clothes, Sports Gear, Electronics or more specific items like Poker Chipsets, Dermarollers, Spa Salts etc.You should decide the category of products you want to sell, by doing some research. You can even keep it General with different product categories, but it is advised to concentrate on a linear base to start with. Why? Because it’s easier to target a narrow audience & make them convert. But this is totally up-to you and people have been successful with both the models. In the long run you have to Build your Brand name and cater to the audience who is interested in your product category.
  • Choose a Name – Simple! But not Quite. Although it’s a personal choice, however I suggest you to keep it easy to remember or catchy. Just fix on a name as soon as possible, don’t dwell too long on the process. Most importantly check the name availability of domain & social media handles. To check domain availability try searching on Google or Godaddy.
  • Team up with Suppliers – Now we are talking Business. You can reach out to multiple wholesalers, trade companies and manufacturers for supplies, they can be local or international (try AliBaba to find suppliers from all over the world). Check for product catalogues and ask questions like Shipping time, Minimum Order Quantity, Shipping cost etc. Keep a record of the conversations and then basis the pros you can short-list the best ones. This step needs proper time and research. You may also look into the option of Dropshipping, where you don’t have to purchase the supply beforehand. Dropshipping method has helped a lot of people with tight budgets or who don’t want to go through stock & shipping hassles themselves. You can read more about Dropshipping from here and then decide which model would work the best for you. The major drawback of Dropshipping is that there is no direct control of the stock , packaging & shipping time. In crux – shortlist your suppliers & fix the deal terms & conditions beforehand.
  • Arrange Pictures – Another thing that has to be looked into are the pictures of your products. In case you go with the Dropshipping method, it’s important to ask your supplier for product pictures. Or you can even order samples of the products and take the pictures yourself. The images should be sharp and it would be great to capture features and highlights.

2. Signup on Shopify : 

This is the easiest part. You can Signup on Shopify here and enjoy Free Trial for 14 days! That’s more than enough time to get things rolling. Seriously, the steps from here on should be done in a much faster pace. In case your store has not been added automatically, you can go to Shopify Settings > then hover to Sales Channels and at last Add Online Store as your sales channel. Note that there are other channels also through which you can sell with Shopify Account like Facebook Store.

3.  After Signing Up on Shopify:

  • Buy a Domain – If you want to gain trust of the audience then I highly recommend buying a domain. A domain name is commonly referred to as your web address or site name. Like Ispycash.com is the domain name for this site. I would also like to mention that this is optional. You can setup the shop even without the domain purchase but the link would include Shopify in the address for eg. [xyzstorename].myshopify.com ,which doesn’t really look great and may not gain the confidence of your audience. You can buy the domain from Godaddy, Bluehost or even Shopify itself. To buy a domain from Shopify, go to Shopify Online Store > Domains Section > Buy New Domain. A confirmation email would be sent to you which you have to confirm for activating your domain. You may purchase the domain at any stage. Hosting is included in each Shopify plan and they can help setup an existing domain name as well.
  • Finalize the Theme – You can easily find beautiful themes on Shopify. In fact Shopify automatically assigns a default theme to your online store, so you really don’t need to put in too much time. For beginners I would suggest to stick with the free theme options & customize it yourself with banners, fonts & other graphics. When you find a theme of your choice then click on the green button and Install the theme. Then click on Publish as my shop’s theme. The best part is that you can change the theme any time. Once you see that the store is getting decent traction then focus on improving the theme. Shopify experts can help you add different features and designs to your store.
  • Add Product Listings – Remember the pictures which were taken well in advance? Well now you can upload the product images & create multiple banners for marketing your store. Add in the description & details of each product listed from dimensions, materials, colors etc. Update as much you can in a crisp way.
  • Categorize – To help your customers find products easily, it’s important to categorize the items. For e.g if you are running a fashion store then the categories can be based on Gender, Occasion, Type, Size etc.
  • Fill in the Terms – Beside product descriptions there is a lot of content to be uploaded like Terms & Policies, Shipping, Payment & Refund process, About page of your store , Contact Page, FAQ page and all. Don’t worry though because Shopify offers a tool for generating terms and conditions and return policies. You can access them from going to Shopify Settings > Checkout > scroll down to Refund > Privacy > TOS statements section to generate each policy sample. You can also hire a legal professional to draw up the policies if you want to be 100% sure about the rules & regulations in your country.
  • Payment Gateway – Shopify has multiple payment gateway options. But I would suggest to also add PayPal as one, so that you can cater to international markets. Add your PayPal email id under Shopify Settings > Payments Section. Later, you can remove or add other payment options.
  • Shipping Cost – Free shipping definitely helps in converting the sales so try to include your final sale price along with the shipping cost. Another effective way is by offering free shipping after a certain buying amount. It’s best to show your customers the different shipping options & estimated delivery time upfront.
  • Marketing your Store – Congratulations! Your Store is all set up… but is that enough? Not really. You have to bring in traffic to your store and create awareness. Thankfully there are numerous ways to reach out and in fact the scope of targeting is insanely accurate now days. You must have social media pages of your brand and start advertising on the same. The best options are starting with Facebook & Google adwords. Now days there are so many articles, videos and courses on digital marketing. Do learn this in-order to grow your business. I will soon be covering this topic in detail so watch out and subscribe for my newsletters.
  • Fulfilling Orders – Now when an order is placed you can either manually fulfil it or use a third party courier service depending upon your area. You can also add or delete fulfilment service partners in Shopify.

Finally I would like to conclude that even though I have tried to simplify the process but unless you take action, you will always keep wondering and delaying stuff. Sometimes you need to explore things on your own in addition. I mean what do you have to lose? Use the free Trial. Still have some questions? Comment or mail me at [email protected] and I will try to answer them as soon as possible.

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richasuri

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