How to Start a Business Online Store Checklist: Thanks to the rise of dropshipping and eCommerce it’s never been easier to run your own side business online. Yet it can still be a daunting process, and oftentimes knowing exactly how to start an eCommerce business – one that actually makes money – can be remarkably difficult. If you’re thinking of starting an e-commerce store, maybe you know the feeling too. But don’t worry, because in my hands is a clipboard that changes everything.
Hi everybody, it’s Jessica from Oberlo, and today I am going to share our How to Start an Ecommerce Store Checklist. We’ll go over everything you need to know to set up your online business. We’ll cover e-commerce marketing, we’ll talk about where to source products, and we’ll share a few other tips and tricks. you’ll see that creating an eCommerce business is much more doable than you might have thought. Ready? Let’s get started. Our nine-point eCommerce checklist begins with finding the right platform.
By platform, we mean a virtual space for your e-commerce business. Just like a brick and mortar store, you’re going to need a virtual location to showcase your products. We use a basic eCommerce store template made by Shopify. Their software is intuitive and used by millions of e-commerce entrepreneurs all around the world. If you want an in-depth tutorial guiding you through each and every step of building an online store with Shopify, just click the link in the description below.
The next item on our checklist: finding products If you’re a complete newbie to the world of eCommerce, you might be wondering what exactly you should sell. There are literally millions of products to choose from, so finding the right product for you may seem a little daunting. In fact, not knowing what to sell is one of the most common reasons why people don’t follow through with their eCommerce ambitions. Here are two things to think about when it comes to picking a product to sell: First, is the product trending? And second, is the product easy to find elsewhere or available on popular eCommerce sites like Amazon? You can check if a product is trending or forecasted to the trend by using Google trends.
Google Trends tracks how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages. This gives you a sense of how often people are looking for a particular product. If more and more people are searching for fora product every month, we can safely say that product is trending. At Oberlo we have lots of resources to help you find great products to sell online, from Oberlo search tools to our product recommendation.
If a product is easy to find elsewhere, it might be a generic product. Generic products like jewelry or books are already widely available. New drop shippers trying to sell products like these will struggle to compete against bigger eCommerce stores. The better strategy is to find a niche product or set of products that appeal to a particular audience. How do you do that? Start by making a list of product ideas you want to sell in your eCommerce store. Ask yourself what your friends, family, and other like-minded people might be interested in buying. Then go online and see how easy it is to find the products on your list.
What can you find on sites like Instagram, Pinterest, or Etsy? If there are limited options on those sites, you might be on to a great product idea. Moving on now with our checklist to product sourcing Now that you’ve picked your product, it’time for you to find a supplier. This is where the dropshipping business model is worth mentioning. Among entrepreneurs, dropshipping is growing more popular every year. Why? It requires less investment upfront because there’s no requirement that merchants stock their own inventory. Here’s how dropshipping works: You find products on an eCommerce marketplace like Oberlo.
Then you import those products into your store. When a customer purchases one of those items, you then place the order with a third party supplier, and they ship the item directly to the customer. With dropshipping, you never have to handle the merchandise. You can also swap out products in your store in minutes, giving you the flexibility to stay on top of current trends. In addition, apps like Oberlo automate a lot of this process for you. This gives you more time to focus on things that will help you to scale your business – like coming up with a great e-commerce marketing strategy. We’ll get to that later.
If you’re looking for products to sell on Oberto, make sure you also look for the blue Oberlo Verified badge. These are top dropshipping suppliers. Suppliers with the Verified badge have successfully completed a minimum of 1,000 orders with Oberlo. They deliver on time, meet expectations, and they provide fast support Oberlo vets all of these suppliers to ensure they have their paperwork in order, maintain excellent warehouse conditions, and consistently get positive merchant feedback. Then and only then do they become Verifiedsuppliers with Oberlo. Next on our checklist: Ecommerce marketing Alright, you’ve set up your store and are ready to take orders. You have a great product and you’re working with a great supplier.
Now what? It’s time to find some customers for your store with a sensible eCommerce marketing strategy. We can’t emphasize enough how vital it is to focus your energy and time on marketing. Before you do anything else with your store, ensure that you can generate traffic and reach potential customers. The key to eCommerce marketing is to find the right channel for your products. After that, fine-tune your strategy so that the cost of finding a customer is less than what you earn from the sale. This is quite a meaty subject, with lots to get your teeth into. In fact, we’ve written an eight-chapter book with all you need to know about marketing channels – click the link in the description to download your copy for free. The marketing to-dos on our eCommerce store checklist don’t stop there. The next point on our checklist is CustomerService.
Research suggests that 45% of US customers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly. Having customer service is critical to your online store’s long term success. Luckily, there are several ways to offer great customer service: First, you can create self-service content and a detailed FAQ page. This helps your customers answer their own questions without emailing you, which saves time and energy for both of you. Second, you can offer live chat support if you have enough time. This might be a good thing to do in the beginning, when traffic isn’t quite flooding in. And you’ll learn a lot about your market by addressing customer questions directly. Finally, you can ask your first customers to give product reviews. These reviews go along way towards answering other customers’ questions about how a product fits or functions.
Plus, reviews give your store valuable social proof and create repeat customers, which are five times cheaper to acquire than new ones. Yep, five times! Our checklist continues with: Conversion Optimization On average, 69% of your website visitors will leave your site without completing a purchase. How much more profit would you make if that69% completed a purchase? It’s certainly worth investing some time to find a way of capturing your abandoned carts at the checkout. We’ve seen several tactics work well for drop shippers. For example, you can create limited-time offers. Or you can launch a cart abandonment email campaign.
You can even set up a retargeting ads campaign. Get creative. This is an aspect of entrepreneurship that requires constant experimentation. If something comes to mind that you think will make customers more likely to buy your products, try it out. Measure the results. And try again. We’re almost at the end of our checklist with: Store Optimization Here’s something worth remembering: 44%of online shoppers will tell their friends about a bad experience online. This is why you should always keep the performance of your website in mind, and seek to optimize it wherever possible. Improve your website speed. Create an intuitive navigation bar.
Focus on creating a great product page. Display related items. Optimize your store search. Lastly, check how your store looks on mobile and tablet devices. This is when those little store tweaks can add up to a big impact on your bottom line. Let’s tick off the final two items on the checklist. Starting with: Inventory Best selling products come and go. After all, remember the fidget spinner? That’s why your inventory is vital. As an entrepreneur, you should always be curious about new product ideas that could entice visitors to your store.
At the same time, you should always be revisiting your stock of steady-selling products. If something isn’t selling, replace it with an item that’s flying off the virtual shelf. Get into the habit of testing products every day. Research new products using Google trends, and add promising new products to your existing ones to help drive sales. And the last point on our eCommerce checklist: Learn by doing It’s all part of the fun of being an entrepreneur. It’s fine to make mistakes. In fact, that’s often how we learn best.
And anyway, what are you going to do if you mess up? Fire yourself? Probably not. Be curious, be bold, and build your store sooner rather than later. You can see how the creme de la creme of Shopify store owners set up their stores in our Best Shopify stores. and get inspired by the most successful stores on the Shopify platform.
What do you think of our eCommerce store checklist– did we miss anything? Do you agree with how much emphasis we put on marketing? Are there any apps that you would recommend to first-time store owners? Tell us in the comments! I personally read the comments and will get back to you.