Starting an online business can be both exciting and nerve-wrecking. You want to avoid making mistakes and fully prepare yourself when your store launches. That is why we put together this ultimate guide to walk you through the entire process of how to set up your ecommerce store, from beginning to end. This guide will be divided into 3 parts.
In this first part of the guide, you will learn how to choose a niche, finding golden products, getting a domain and logo, as well as setting up your Shopify store. Let’s get started.
Choosing A Niche
The very first step you need to do for ecommerce is pick a niche. We always recommend everyone to choose a business that is niche-focused, like PetSmart, rather than a general store like Walmart. Niche stores provides a strong list of competitive advantages like:
- The ability to create relationship with your customers
- The ability to increase your average order value and lifetime customer value
- The ability to diversify to other revenue streams
A lot of people get stuck on deciding which niche to choose from. You may already have a lot of ideas in your head but just can’t settle on one. But here we have the top 6 hottest niche ideas for you to get started right away.
- Animal-related: This store can be a pet store, jewelry, accessories, or basically anything that is related to animals. We already know for a fact that many of us are willing to spend a fortune on animals. Just take dog lovers for example. These pet owners spend everything they can to keep their fluffy companions happy.
- Men or women fashion & accessories: The fashion market is one of the hottest markets. Consumers love to shop online because they are impulsive buyers most of the time. They think that they won’t see the same style anywhere else, so it prompts them to buy now rather than later.
- Consumer electronics & gadgets: There are new gadgets on the rise each month. If you remember the fidget spinner, that little gadget generated hundreds and millions of dollars online. These items can be anything from novelty corkscrew, portable electronics, to smart rings.
- Household goods: People love to spend money for their home. You can sell home décor, kitchen tools, gardening tools, or basically anything that is related to home. If you’re in this niche, a good majority of your customers would be the baby boomers.
- Sports & outdoors: Regardless if it is golfing, fishing, or hiking, sports lovers spend a lot of money on gears and sporting goods. The key here is to be in a niche within a niche. This means don’t just sell general sports product, but be the expert in a particular sport like fishing.
- Phone accessories: A new iPhone or Android device comes out every year. This always drives the demand for phone accessories like screen protectors, phone cases, and wireless chargers.
Finding A Golden Product
The next thing you need to do is find a golden product. It all drills down to one product or a handful of them that gives you most of the sales. These are called winning products or golden products. They have the potential to help you scale up your online store to the millions, and one golden product is all it takes. Here are some questions to keep in mind when you are searching for that product:
- Is your product too generic? – A heart necklace is pretty generic, but a rose necklace is more unique because you can target those who are very into necklaces and roses at the same time.
- Does your product have a “wow” factor? – Try to find a product that gets that kind of reaction out of someone, like “wow, I really want this!”
- Is it available at a local store? – If you can already find the item at a local store, the online market for it is pretty much dead. Not to mention, it’s harder for you to justify people paying shipping for it.
- Can you demonstrate product usage? – If you can demonstrate the product in a video format and target audience with it, you are more likely to have a higher chance of selling this product.
- Does your product solve a common problem? – If your product can solve a problem, it’s a great selling point for your target audience because your product adds value into their life.
Getting A Domain
Getting a domain may sound very techy to some of you, but it really isn’t. A domain is basically the web address or URL of your online store where customers shop. Your domain name should also be your brand name to keep it consistent and easy to remember. Here are 4 quick tips in securing a domain:
- Always buy “.com”, “.net”, or “.co”: These three URL extensions work best for ecommerce and they make you look like a legitimate business, instead of other ones like “.store” or “.biz”.
- Do not use hyphens (-): An example of this would be cats-shop.com. It’s easy for people to forget the hyphen in between so avoid using it.
- Only have 2 to 3 words in your domain: Keep it short and simple for your customers to easily remember your domain name. Buying a domain with two to three words is also a lot cheaper than buying just one word.
- Never buy premium domains: Premium domains can sell for an outrageous price. We don’t recommend buying those domains unless you know your store will take off and have a strong branding. We suggest the best place to purchase an affordable domain is GoDaddy.
After you’ve figured out your domain name, and essentially your brand name, it’s time to create a logo. Your logo matters because it adds instant credibility to your store and makes your business stand out. When you’re creating a logo, we recommend following these 3 guidelines:
- Have an emblem that represents your brand: Just using words for your logo is not enough. If you look at any major brands, they all have an emblem that represents their brand. Apple has an apple emblem, McDonald’s has the golden M, etc.
- Use a font that is easy to read: The store’s name is usually below or next to the emblem. Make sure the font is easy to read and represent your brand well.
- Plan your color choices: Your choice of color for branding has a huge impact on how your store is perceived. For example, the colors of McDonald’s are red and yellow which stimulates energy.
Even if you’re not a graphic designer, you don’t have to fret about creating a logo yourself. You can simply go to Fiverr, a freelance marketplace where you can hire talents to create logos for you for cheap. Just tell the designer what you want and the details of your store, and they will get it done.
Shopify is the number one ecommerce platform out there. Once you’ve opened account with them, you should choose a theme for your store. Themes are important because they make your website look polished and professional. Shopify offers both free and paid themes, but we recommend that you can just start with the free ones first. When choosing a theme, keep in mind of the following:
- It must be mobile responsive
- It must have a big “add to cart” button
- It should have an easy way to let customers choose the quantity of products
- It should have the option to choose “add to cart” or “checkout” right away
- It should fit the overall feel of your niche
Next, you need to set up the payment options of your store. One of the reasons why Shopify is the most popular ecommerce platform is because of their seamless payment gateway. Shopify Payments is available to a few other countries aside from United States and Canada. You can also start processing credit card orders right away with Stripe if the orders are from other countries that Shopify Payments doesn’t accept.
We also suggest to get a PayPal business account. PayPal is a great way to increase your conversion at checkout because a lot of customers actually prefer to use this payment method instead.
There are essentially four pages you must have for your online store. These pages make your business look trustworthy and reliable.
- About Us: This is where you give context and background about your store. You want customers to know why they should purchase from you and that you’re a real business. You also want to take some time to share your story on why you created the store and build a rapport with your customers.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): When it comes to selling physical products, your customers will always ask the same questions. If customers are able to find the answer directly on your website, they won’t even bother to call you or send you an email. These questions are primarily about the status of their order, how long does shipping takes, do you ship internationally or anything to do with ordering.
- Contact: If you want to collect money from your customers, you need to at least let them know that you are reachable. You don’t have to share all your contact information such as your location or where you live. Simply put up a form for people to fill out and provide your business email address.
- Refund & exchange policy: This is where you’ll outline your refund and exchange policy, like how long customers have until they can return a product, what kind of products can be returned or exchanged, how to return, etc.
In this first part of how to set up your ecommerce store, we went over all the logistics and administrative tasks that you need to do to get started. Tasks like securing a domain, setting up Shopify payment options, and important pages. We hope that the tips we shared in this article will help you prepare the next few steps that you need to launch your store. It is crucial that you have part 1 completed before you begin part 2.
Part 2 of 3
The focus on the second part in setting up your ecommerce store will be the in’s and out’s of AliExpress. You’ll also learn about product descriptions, pricing, and apps that can turbocharge your store.