6 Steps to Opening an Online Store

Opening an online store without a plan is a recipe for disaster.  There are a lot of companies that pop up quickly, then die out two months later because they didn’t plan properly. Considering opening an online store? Follow these six steps!

Product Idea

If you’re attempting to break into a market that’s already over saturated with brands, try to take a different approach to your product. A good example of this is sunglasses. Companies that produce expensive sunglasses are everywhere. And just a few years ago, up-and-coming companies were trying to get innovative by producing really cheap ones that still looked good. It worked for awhile, but the market quickly became even more over saturated. A new wave of companies are now starting with a different approach: wooden sunglasses.

I truly believe online sellers have a much higher success rate when their products have a story. Slapping a cool design on products won’t sell them. People want a reason to buy something. One of the major reasons TOMS Shoes is a successful company is not because of how the shoes look. It’s because buyers know they’re helping a good cause.

Research Competitors

Once you have an idea for a product, thoroughly searching Google for competitors is a good place to start. You’ll also want to monitor interaction on social media networks. Then, talk to family, friends, and potential buyers. Conduct surveys. Even call your competitors and ask them questions.

Once you’re ready to turn your idea into something real, you should be doing all the legal/tax paperwork to register your business.

Set Sensible Pricing

When your online store is brand new, you’re the little fish in the big pond. You need to build up your credibility. Just because you think your products are worth $200 a piece, doesn’t mean everyone else will. Research pricing and set it sensibly, but not too low, or people will fear that they’re buying a low quality product.

Catalog Development

Developing a thorough catalog is an absolute must. Hire a professional photographer to take high quality photos of your goods. It will be well worth your money. Make sure your product descriptions are short, but packed with good content that will really make people want to buy your products. Make sure the catalog is well organized.


Once you get your store off the ground, you need to promote it! Get your brand on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and start advertising it. Also consider e-mail marketing, or traditional advertising tactics like magazine advertisements. Keep your customers engaged with unique, fresh content that they’ll want to keep coming back to see.

Customer Service

Customers can’t truly see the product they’re ordering until it arrives at their doorstep. And they want to be sure that all issues will be taken care of if something goes wrong. Make sure you have superior customer service. Big stores like Amazon and Backcountry.com are known for their good customer service. They’ve built a following of people that will always buy from them, even if they can find the price cheaper somewhere else.

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