Dec 21, 2022

10 Steps How to Start an Online Store

Business Model Innovation
by Stefan Lemmerer

What Are the Needs for Starting an Online Store?

Establishing an eCommerce business is simple. Anyone can do it.

You only need these three things:

  1. A computer with internet access

  2. A domain name idea. This will be your company's name.

  3. A commerce-based platform. Here, your website resides online. For instance Shopify.

Oh, and some time to set everything up.

That is all that is required to create an online store.

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How to Create an Online Shop in 10 Steps?

It just takes 10 simple steps to start your eCommerce website.

1. Select an eCommerce Platform

You must first create an eCommerce website. Additionally, there are numerous options available.

Your eCommerce website is indispensable. It is the face of your brand, the storefront your customers will visit, and the revenue-generating platform.

The eCommerce platform you select and the features it provides will have a significant impact on the way you manage your business.

There are numerous eCommerce platforms available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

2. Select a Web Hosting Provider

If you choose to build your online store yourself, you will need a web hosting provider.

Hosting is the location where your website resides on the internet. Every website needs hosting, and a number of hosting providers are available.

Essentially, the web hosting plan you choose affects the performance of your eCommerce website.

There are advanced hosting options for enterprises and simpler hosting options for new online stores.

3. Give Your Store a Name and Select a Domain

Your online shop requires a domain. This is the name of your online store and serves as its address online.

When you sign up for hosting services, you will receive a free domain name. If you are using a fully-hosted eCommerce plan, you will enter your domain name using this plan.

You must employ strategy when selecting a domain name. Your business's name should be simple, memorable, and straightforward.

Consider the keywords associated with your market and products. Create a few ideas around this topic. Consider what makes your business unique, as well as any other terms that describe your store.

You could also consider SEO and determine which search terms customers in your niche employ. This is a possible starting point for your business name.

If your store is focused on a single product, such as shoes, hats, or bags, it is always a good idea to include this product in your domain.

The alternative is to choose a catchy, random name that has nothing to do with your brand, such as Lululemon.

4. Setting Up Your Online Store

If you're utilizing a hosted eCommerce platform, you can skip this step. After selecting a plan and registering your domain name, you can immediately begin uploading products and designing your store.

If you choose to do it yourself, you will need to install WordPress and WooCommerce.

Let's proceed with this.

After setting up your hosting, the next step is to install WordPress. Upon signup, the hosting provider will guide you through this process.

You only need to configure your site's title and description and add an SSL certificate.

Use the name of your store as the site's title, and include an engaging description of your business. The description is optional, so it can be added at any time.

Then you must activate your SSL certificate prior to selling online.

This security measure converts your online store from HTTP to HTTPS.

Change your WordPress address and Site address to HTTPS via Settings > General.

Click the Save button at the bottom of the page. Now WordPress is configured.


WooCommerce is the most popular e-commerce platform. It is built on top of WordPress, making it simple to begin selling anything from your WordPress store.

Install and activate the WooCommerce plugin via Plugins > Add New > Search > Install Now.

WordPress retrieves and installs the plugin on your behalf. Activate it and initiate the installation wizard.

WooCommerce will guide you through all of the essential configurations. Add your basic information, choose the industry your store will serve, select the type of products you'll be selling, and add a few useful business details, such as the number of products you intend to sell.

Uncheck the option to add recommended business features to your site in the Free Features box. These occupy space, but they can always be added later.

Then, you select a topic. This step will be discussed in greater detail in a later section.

Continue with the default theme or select a storefront from the available free options.

WordPress and WooCommerce have now been successfully installed.

Let's proceed to the subsequent phase of establishing your online store.

5. Integrate a Payment Service

To transform your website into a functional online store, you must accept payments.

When opening an online store, one of the most important factors to consider is how you will be paid. Accepting payments must be a seamless process if you want your business to operate efficiently.

Determine which payment methods you will accept first.

Providing multiple payment options is a good idea because it provides your customers with greater flexibility, resulting in a more satisfying shopping experience.

Typical eCommerce payment options include the following:

  1. Credit-debit cards

  2. Digital wallets

  3. Bank transfers

  4. In-person payments

  5. Purchase-now, pay-later options

Once you have determined your business goals, it is time to select a payment provider.

There are a number of payment gateways that can be set up very easily with WooCommerce.

Simply navigate to WooCommerce > Settings and select the 'Payments' tab. You can choose between PayPal Standard, Cash on Delivery, Checks, and Bank Transfers by default.

Setting Stripe and PayPal as your standard payment options is a good strategy.

Simply click the configuration button for each payment gateway. Here, you can add all of the required information.

A fully-hosted eCommerce platform will provide its own payment processor. You can select these for added convenience, or you can utilize alternative payment providers.

Always be mindful of any fees the payment provider may charge. Compare various alternatives to ensure suitability for your business. For instance, it would be prudent to open a multi-currency account so that you can make and receive global payments much more easily.

Before you can begin accepting eCommerce payments, you'll also need to become verified by your provider.


Design your site to generate sales

At this point, you have all the essential components in place to launch your online store. Before you do so, however, let's make your store look magnificent.

You want to ensure that your storefront is visually appealing, but you must also optimize it for conversions. This involves ensuring customers have a seamless shopping experience and guiding them to a simple checkout process.

Here are the steps necessary to make your store look and feel fantastic.

Utilize the Proper Template

There are thousands of free and paid themes accessible, irrespective of the eCommerce platform you employ.

The theme is the foundation of your website's appearance. Always select a theme that has been created specifically for eCommerce.

Themes, also known as templates, include all of the most essential features required by an online store. You can always modify these themes to match your brand precisely, but each theme offers a distinctive experience.

Themes of today are highly customizable and compatible with both desktop and mobile devices.

Clarify Your Offering

This may seem obvious, but many new online retailers ignore it.

Customers must immediately understand what you are selling upon entering your website. Never leave them in the dark.

Place your products at the forefront of your homepage and clearly describe what you sell in a simple, bold banner.

Additionally, it is prudent to update your metadata to include the type of store you operate. For instance, if your store's name is Wicker King and you sell cane furniture, your meta title should read "Wicker King | Cane Furniture."

Employ High-Quality Product Images

If there is one thing you should invest in when opening an online store, it is a skilled photographer.

Your product images have the ability to make or break your business.

These images are the only real connection a customer has to your product, so they must be stunning. Low-quality photography does your products no favors and will result in many lost sales opportunities.

Use professional photographs and videos to showcase your products effectively. These images should convey what your product looks like, its dimensions, how it feels, its weight, etc.

Include a mixture of plain product shots (with a white background) and product shots featuring a model.

Intelligently Organize Your Store

There is a reason why so many online stores are organized in the same way: they are effective.

Create a navigation bar at the top of your website that directs visitors to the desired pages. Add a shopping cart link to the top right corner of your website to make it simple for customers to monitor their purchases.

Include pertinent navigation tabs, such as "jackets" and "shirts" under the main "clothing" menu.

Include links to your shipping policy, return policy, social media pages, and contact information in the footer of your website.

Create Effective CTAs

You must ensure that your customers are aware of the next step in their buying journey.

The best CTAs are intuitive and motivating. They should add value and make the next step for the customer crystal clear.

Each product page should contain a prominent Buy Now (or equivalent button, such as Add to Cart) button. Your homepage must contain a prominent Buy Now button.

7. Add Products in Your Online Store

You are prepared to add the initial products to your online store.

How you accomplish this will depend on your eCommerce platform.

Go to Products > Add New if you are utilizing WordPress and WooCommerce.

Add the product's title and a thorough description. Then, add the product to a relevant category on the right in the Product Categories box. This makes it simpler for customers to navigate your store and locate the desired item.

The Product Data box is further down. Here, you should include all pertinent product details, such as pricing, shipping, and inventory.

Add product images (a primary image and additional images are required), publish the product, and repeat.

This procedure is virtually identical across all eCommerce platforms.

It is crucial that you include sufficient product information in your product descriptions. Customers should not be left with unanswered questions when viewing your products. Consider any questions they may have and include the answers in the text.

Attempt always to include:

  1. The product advantages

  2. Product specifications, including size, weight, and materials, among others

  3. Detailed product information, such as whether batteries are included.

  4. How to use the item

Additionally, you can optimize these product pages for SEO. Include these keywords in your product descriptions if you're able to find them. Longer descriptions allow for increased keyword density.

8. Expand Your Online Store's Capabilities

All eCommerce providers include plans with basic features and the ability to extend these features with plugins and applications.

The majority of online stores will require a few additional features to enhance the customer experience and simplify business operations.

These capabilities are available as plugins if you're using WordPress. Simply visit the plugin directory to search through thousands of available plugins.

These platforms have their own apps and additional features if you're utilizing a fully-hosted eCommerce solution.

Consider everything you want your online store to accomplish. If your current eCommerce platform lacks these features, there are both free and paid plugins available to assist you.

This includes customer support tools, cart abandonment tools, coupon tools, security tools, and an abundance of other tools.

Do not add an excessive number of plugins to your website simply because you can. Consider the customer journey and the functionality of your store, and ensure that you have a tool for each process.

As your store grows, you can always add additional plugins and features.

9. Establish a Powerful Brand

Branding is crucial to the success of your eCommerce endeavors.

If you want to attract customers and grow your business, you must have a solid branding strategy in place. Your brand must be recognizable, and it must be recognizable across all of your channels (website, social media, etc).

Your brand must also align with your target audience, the type of business you operate, and the products you sell.

Initially, you will need a logo.

Don't fret if you're not a graphic design expert or lack the funds to hire one. Using a simple design tool like Canva, you can access numerous logo templates and easily modify them to suit your business. Alternately, you can utilize an inexpensive graphic design subscription.

You will need a logo to display on your website and a small logo icon to appear at the top of the browser window.

When putting this together, choose your colors with care. These colors must complement your brand and convey the emotions and feelings that your brand represents.

Once you've chosen a color scheme, add the exact color codes to a simple document outlining brand design guidelines.

Include the typeface you intend to use as well.

Lastly, ensure that any images you use on your site, whether they are original or stock, are consistent with your brand identity.

Developing a strong brand identity is essential for online retailers. You may utilize this branding on:

  1. Website/Emails

  2. Social media pages

  3. Product wrapping

  4. Shipping materials

Marketing campaigns and all other points of contact between your brand and its audience.

10. Begin Your Marketing Campaigns

At this point, you are prepared to begin selling!

You have set up your store, your products are prepared, you can accept payments, and your store has all the necessary functions to fulfill orders.

There is only one issue; you need customers.

Marketing is essential to the establishment and maintenance of an online store. It is a vast field that can involve a variety of processes and strategies.

As a brand-new online store, your initial marketing efforts should concentrate on building brand recognition and attracting customers.

How do you do this?

Here are a few marketing strategies that every eCommerce business should implement:

  1. SEO (keyword-optimized product pages) (keyword-optimized product pages)

  2. Social media promotion (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok)

  3. Content marketing for blogs

  4. Email marketing

All of these marketing strategies are free, and they form the foundation of your eCommerce marketing strategy.

However, you should not limit your eCommerce marketing to just these methods. Especially when launching your first online store, attracting new customers can be challenging. Herein lies the role of paid advertising.

Paid advertising requires a budget, but it allows you to quickly reach the first page of Google and your customers' social media feeds.

Paid advertisements on Google and Facebook are the optimal starting point.

Your marketing strategy will depend on your target market and the products you sell. The first step in creating an effective marketing plan for your online store is determining who your customers are and where they can be found.

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