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How to Start an Online Store in 5 Steps for Small Business

    Today starting a small online store is not so difficult. E-commerce technology has improved a lot. It is far easy and simple to start an online store of your own and start selling. However, understanding the basics of e-commerce is a must if you are interested to enter into a small online store business.

    First be informed as much as possible through tutorials, e-commerce articles, trade shows, and finally talk to people who are already into online business and selling. And yes shop online yourself so that you get friendly with e-commerce transactions and market opportunities.

    Read: Best Online Store Builders for Your Small Business

    For a newcomer, it is better to start a small online store. Here are a few things you must consider before starting a niche online store

    Here are the 5 Steps to Create an Online Shop

    1. Find the Right Product for your Online Store

    Choosing the right product for a niche product-based small online store is extremely critical for success. Though it may sound cliche, the most important factor leading to the success of your business venture is your passion for the product you are selling.

    A lot of people make the mistake of selling a product only because it is selling much. If the product is selling much, the obvious consequence is a high degree of competition.

    If you are passionate about your product, then only you will be able to differentiate yourself from others. Always try to choose a product which you believe is worth buying and your knowledge is more than an average buyer.

    Read: How To Decide What Business To Start?

    Think about why people would buy from you. You need to provide them with something they believe will offer more value than the amount they pay, which you can supply at a profit.  Yes,  selling a product that has high margins or a greater perceived value is always a killer proposition.

    Items that are handcrafted or personalized will carry a much larger premium whereas technology items tend to face constant margin pressure and price drops over the lifetime of the product. If you have already made up your mind and want to plunge into the e-commerce boom, you are welcome, and let us proceed.

    2. Select a Domain Name

    Choosing and registering a domain name for your eCommerce business is the first step towards launching an online store. It is because you need a website address URL to create an online shop. It is most essential to select a catchy and SEO-friendly name as it not only enhances brand growth but also helps in the high ranking of your website in search engines like Google.

    Suggested Read: How to Name Your Business? Step-By-Step Guidelines

    3. Choose the Ecommerce Platform

    You have mainly two options when it comes to selling online:

    1. Sell on Marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Flipkart, (and other big brands)
    2. Sell from your own Niche Online Store

    4. Marketplace vs Your Own Small Online Store

    Marketplaces have customers because of their brand and the ability to invest money in promoting products. They invest heavily in marketing, infrastructure and take care of support and other important stuff. You just need to upload your products there and the rest is taken care of them.

    Creating a small online store requires a lot more effort. You not only sell here but also build a brand of your own  You are not lost in the marketplaces with other merchants.  The marketplace might be a cheap option initially but in the long run, you compromise a lot of profit when compared to selling your own niche product-based online store.

    However, for building a niche online store revolving around the one-man operation, my two favorites are Shopify and WooCommerce. Other popular alternatives are Zepo, OpenCart, and Magento.

    For small businesses involving one or two people, Shopify is the best option.

    Shopify is a self-hosted platform with low-cost pricing. Plans start from just $29/month. You don’t have to think about  Just choosing one of the themes, uploading products adding a payment gateway and you have your operation. Every technical and back-end operation including designing, development, hosting is taken care of by Shopify.

    You don’t have to be a programmer or even hire a programmer to build your store. Its knowledge base is extensive and support guys are awesome and help you at every point.

    Scaling is easy. You don’t have to worry about switching boats when you get large, just opt for a higher plan and you’re done.

    M-Commerce or Mobile Commerce is very important and Shopify got you covered out there. All of Shopify’s themes are responsive and its checkout is optimized well for mobile devices.

    More than 150,000 stores are using it and the list is getting bigger every day.

    5. Promote Your Online Store

    It is without saying the online e-commerce market is competitive. It will not be enough to just create a website and expect customers to buy your products. You must have a well-planned promotional plan to reach your target customers. There are some popular ways of promoting your online shops like social media promotion, pay-per-click ad campaign, and blogging. You must have some budget for promoting your online store in the initial phase.