Woman entrepreneur processes online sale with product in hand
Opening an online store can get your product or service in front of a global audience. — Getty Images/amenic181

In 2020, over 2 billion people bought a product or service online, so there’s never been a better time to start an online store. The following steps will show you how to set up an online store.

Purchase your domain name

A domain name is an address your customers will type into their browser to visit your website. Coming up with a memorable domain name is a great way to help your store stand out.

But don’t overthink this step. Domain names are relatively inexpensive to purchase, and you can register them for a year. So in a year, if you come up with a better idea, you can always let your domain name expire.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when buying a domain name:

  • Choose a .com extension.
  • Make sure the domain is easy to spell.
  • Don’t add numbers or hyphens.
  • Try to add keywords that relate to your store.

[Read more: How to Register a Domain Name]

Choose your product niche

Choosing a product niche is one of the most important decisions you’re going to make because it will affect the profitability of your store. There is a lot of opportunity in the e-commerce market, but there is also a lot of competition.

If you choose an oversaturated market, it will be hard for your business to stand out. But if you choose a niche where there’s no demand, it’ll be next to impossible to find customers.

Start by identifying a product that solves a problem for your customers. This could be a product that serves as a guilty pleasure for customers, makes their life easier or evokes some kind of emotion.

Once you’ve identified your product niche, start looking for ways to uniquely brand your store to differentiate yourself from your competitors. How can you offer that product in a way that your competitors can’t?

How can you offer that product in a way that your competitors can’t?

Select an e-commerce platform

There are a few things you need to keep in mind when choosing your e-commerce platform. First, how big do you want your business to grow? Do you want to build an online store that eventually brings in millions of dollars in revenue, or do you want to keep it intentionally small?

You also need to think about how much it will cost to build and maintain your store. And you need to think about the key features you’re looking for in an online store, like Facebook integration or the ability to calculate taxes automatically.

Here are a few e-commerce platforms you can consider:

  • Shopify: Shopify is a great option for beginners because you can set up your store with zero coding required. There are a variety of plans to choose from, so your store can grow as your business grows.

  • WooCommerce: WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress, and it’s one of the most powerful e-commerce platforms available. The company also updates the template files regularly to ensure the highest level of security.

  • BigCommerce: BigCommerce is a hosted e-commerce solution, so you won’t have to pay for hosting or download anything to get started. Your online store will come with 12 free templates, and the drag-and-drop page builder makes it easy to set up.

[Read more: How to Open a Shopify Store in 5 Simple Steps]

Come up with a plan for driving traffic

One of the most challenging aspects of starting an e-commerce store is finding ways to drive traffic to your site. Fortunately, there are strategies you can utilize, and many of them don’t cost a dime.

First, you’ll want to optimize your store for SEO. Potential customers are already searching Google for products like the ones you offer. The better your search ranking, the more likely it is that those customers will find your store and buy from you.

Make sure you include relevant keywords throughout your site. You can add these keywords to product descriptions and headlines. If you’re unfamiliar with SEO, it may be worth your while to utilize a paid tool like the Yoast plugin for WordPress.

Another way to drive traffic to your store is by implementing a content marketing plan. Content marketing involves creating valuable and engaging content for your customers. Regularly putting out content like blog posts will also help your SEO ranking.

You should also plan on utilizing social media channels like Facebook and Instagram. Many e-commerce platforms will integrate directly into your Facebook shop to make this process seamless.

[Read more: How to Drive Traffic to Your E-Commerce Store]

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