How to open an online store: step by step instructions

Over the past year, consumer behavior has changed: numerous lockdowns and social distancing have forced people to look for new ways to solve familiar problems. The "Click and collect" service, when the buyer selects and pays for goods on the site, and picks up at the point of issue, has gained wide popularity. These trends have already taken root in the lives of consumers, which gives reason to believe that they will stay with us for a long time. That is why now is a great time to use them for the benefit of your business: introduce new methods of delivery, payment and transfer trade to the Internet.

Marketplace or standalone store?

You can organize online sales in several ways: create your own store or simply add products to the marketplace. The main difference between these two methods is that the online store allows you to test different sales channels, and the marketplace is one of these channels. Let"s take a look at the features in more detail.

Marketplace trading

The flow of customers without the need to independently set up advertising campaigns and analyze the results.

  • Most likely will not bring loyal customers and repeat sales. There you promote not your brand, but the marketplace.

  • But as a tool for increasing turnover, marketplaces are perfect. Especially if sales are not the main, but an additional part of the business, or you are just starting your journey in sales. To make selling on marketplaces easier, integrate your account with your accounting system.

Own online store

The ability to advertise products using Yandex.Direct, Google Ads, SEO optimization, develop your own brand and loyal customer base.

  • Requires more time and special knowledge to advance. If everything is more or less clear with the placement of goods on ready-made sites, then opening a store may raise questions. Let"s figure out how to open your own store.

How to open your online store from scratch

1․Niche selection

Before you open an online store, you need to choose what to trade.

The choice of a niche determines many factors: sales performance, customer returns, average check and how much effort you have to put in to grow your store.

2․ Analysis of competitors

When you have decided on the product, see which stores also sell them online. Competitor analysis will help you identify their strengths and weaknesses and use them to create a unique customer experience.

"Success in retail is often achieved through unique value that competitors don"t provide"

A new, personalized customer experience is the best way to stand out, even if similar products can be found elsewhere.

3․ Site selection

Where exactly will you be selling?

The modern reality is such that social media accounts are often called stores. Of course, you can open a store on Instagram and VK, and test whether this will become the main sales channel. In any case, social networks should be used for other purposes: additional sales, content marketing, and increasing audience loyalty.

4․ Drawing up a business plan for the store

Before you open an online store for clothing or other products, you need to draw up a business plan. BP allows:

  • Adequately evaluate the idea and how it is implemented

  • See development prospects

  • Assess the amount of investments and their payback

5․ Premises selection

At this stage, you not only have to think about how the goods will get to the client, but also take care of where he will wait in the wings. Here, too, there are several options:

  • you can rent storage space,

  • store goods at home

  • open an online store without a warehouse using the dropshipping service.

And if writing on your own is difficult, contact special services that compile business plans based on business data.

6. Search for suppliers and purchase of goods

Also, before you open an online store, you need to think about where to carry the goods. Timeliness of deliveries, legal issues, quality of goods depends on the right choice of supplier.

7. Purchase of equipment and automation tools

After legalizing a business, you will most likely need commercial equipment: a printer for printing receipts, a barcode scanner, packaging tools or warehouse equipment. It is also important to take care of the accounting system at the start. Without it, you will spend a huge amount of time accounting for goods, placing orders with suppliers, accepting payments and other routine functions.

This is everything you need to know when opening your own store. Remember that only careful preparation and planning will allow you to do business right from the start.