Thinking an Online Store: 15 Tips To Get You Started

With the Internet all around us, selling your product, service or even both is much easier and affordable than ever before.

But at the same time…

It’s vital to study all of your options first, before falling victim to one of many pitfalls. From finding yourself “trapped” in a contract with services you don’t need to building a website that doesn’t attract the customers nor convert them into buyers, you could wind up in the middle of a mess.

Here are 15 tips to setting up your first (or second or third or fourth…) online store, all while maximizing your profit potential.

1. Start with THE best offer

Before creating your online store, it’s imperative to have an offer which will blow your customers away. It’s time to figure out what your target buyers really want, and make your product or service revolve around that.

After that is accomplished, get busy crafting an influential  unique selling position (USP – what makes you different than your competitors), to go along with the can’t-believe-it value, and double-check your method of delivery.

2. What’s in a name?

When it comes to the Internet, consider your domain name as being the big sign outside your store broadcasting your business to the entire world. It is how many prospects will remember your site. While making your domain name easy to remember, you can also make sure it provides an accurate description of what your business has to offer.

3. Choose a website host with your success in mind

There are no two website hosts which are exactly the same. Some are just better suited for ecommerce purposes than others for example. Consider what you need for your own site, and start comparing notes.

A website builder like Internet Based Family makes building your online store a breeze. There’s even a built in shopping cart, so no more worries about compatibility issues. Plus, there’s really no need to worry about webmaster slavery ever again. Adding new products, or anything else for that matter, can be done without having to know how to code.

4. Maximum usability design

While thinking of your site’s image and design, consider it from the point of view of the user. Can they find what they need quickly? Have you provided enough product information for them to make an informed purchase? Is the order button easy to see?

Remember some of your personal online shopping experiences. Take note of the biggies, such as Amazon while also considering some of those you vowed to stay away from at any cost.

5. Creative copy conversions

Creative copy, from the headline right on down has a lot of responsibility on an online shopping page. Attractive headlines to keep buyers on the page, accurate descriptions with a little pizzazz added in. All the important aspects of success on a page, right down to the calling out to action “Click here to order”.

6. Great Services

When planning an online store, you can’t do it without a shopping cart to receive and process orders. Shop around for one, but be sure to remember the importance of reliability, affordability, the ability to manage affiliates and providing fantastic customer service.

7. A growing business needs a merchant account

To receive payments online, a merchant account is a must. PayPal is fine in the beginning. It’s important to remember that you may eventually need to upgrade and process credit cards directly. Ask about any online merchant accounts your financial institution may have to offer.

8. Balancing act between need and want

There is any number of options available to you, and it can get out of hand. With each set of options however comes a new price. It’s important to keep your budget as well as needs in mind, so you aren’t tempted to pay more than what is required.

9. Search Engine Optimization or SEO

Now that your store will be on the internet, making it easy for search engines to find you as well as rank your site high for level for relevant keywords. By the way, Internet Based Family can provide you with tools and free training to help you site rank well with search engines.

10. Systems you can use

You’ll have the need to update your website often, with new products and updates, so it’s important your site uses a system which will let you these things easily, as well as handling orders as well. If you’re calling on your webmaster to do each task on your site, it won’t be long before you end up overwhelmed with the online store.

11. Capturing leads

You’ll have many customers who won’t make a purchase the first time they see your site. In this case, you want to retrieve at least some contact information – their email address for example, in order to keep them updated on offers and other information they may find useful.

12. Keep it simple

Online stores covered in animations, images and graphics simply slow down your site’s loading time and can annoy potential buyers. Stay with the minimum elements to keep your visitors’ attention on your call to action.

13. Keep costs front and center

Marketing Sherpa has quoted 60% of buyers online will abandon their online shopping order at the shopping cart stage. This can be avoided by hidden charges. All costs should be stated upfront, where possible, so your customers don`t end up being caught off guard at check out time.

14. Interactivity works

Amazon.com is one of the most interactive sites there is. There are a number of steps you can perform, from submitting ratings or reviews to enquiring about other buyers. This is a positive note for online stores, as shoppers like this type of interactivity.

15. Always leave the best for last…

Your online store is up and running, but your work is far from complete. Now it`s time for marketing, using such methods as article marketing, sending press releases, video marketing and social networking.

Alice Seba

Alice Seba earns a full-time online income as an entrepreneur and loves to help others achieve the same. With a focus onusing content to create relationships, loyalty and results from the written word, she co-owns both a ghostwriting service and a private label content business. To get more tips for your content marketing, visit Contentrix.com - your free resource with plenty of tips and strategies.

Comments

  1. Paul the accountant says

    It’s a good point that you will need to look at different payment gateways, PayPal serves a purpose for a small site but if you going to grow you need to be able to accept credit cards

  2. Excellent article. Good advice for everyone interested in starting a new business!

  3. Great list of tips there Alice. I’d also like to suggest that any one contemplating launching an online store also budget in for an adWords or PPC campaign. SEO usually takes months to come into effect so for the first crucial months you really need to invest in a PPC campaign OR SEM (search engine marketing).

    “PayPal is fine in the beginning. It’s important to remember that you may eventually need to upgrade and process credit cards directly.”
    I think with the way Paypal has really grown over the years that not every business necessarily has to signup for a merchant account. If you dont need to process cards manually I think Paypal is a fine option by itself for alot of online traders. Sometimes its very hard to get ‘online’ only merchant facilities from the banks, especially online only business.

  4. Great succinct step-by-step guide.

    I personally find that the thing that most people struggle with is getting the copy writing of their sales pages correct.

    You may be getting plenty of targeted traffic to your offer (whether free or paid), but if your sales copy isn’t fantastic, you may just loose your target audience.

  5. Cindy Kern says

    online business is the future of making money. the rising number of internet users would mean that there would be more online transactions and online business oppurtunities.