So you want to open up your own online store? If you haven’t taken the leap of faith because you’re not quite sure where or how to start, then let this quick seven day guide give you the direction you need so you can launch with confidence and ease. Of course before you begin, you should have a good idea of what you want to sell. Research if others are selling your product and scope out what the competition is doing. And if you can’t figure out what to sell remember this important tip.
Rule #1: Go niche.
If you’re an illustrator then you can sell merchandise with your artwork. If you are a great cook then you can sell cookbooks. Identify where your passion and skill can come together and lead with that.
Day 1: Select a business model.
The best way to ensure your new online shop is not a dud is to launch with a business model that’s flexible and sustainable. You can sell virtual products, tangible goods, one-of-a-kind creations, products created by someone else, a subscription service, among others. Get clear about what kind of business model works best with what you’re selling.
As with any new business, you’ll want to consult with a lawyer before getting too invested in your idea, so that you can make sure you’re able to move forward without any legal issues.
Day 2: Determine your market.
Outline your ideal customer profile. Who are they, what do they like to buy, and what are their behavior patterns? How you market what you’re selling depends on who is buying them. You will need to have a strong grasp on who your customers are so that you can determine the right brand positioning which will also include how you set pricing.
Day 3: Come up with a catchy name.
Once you know what you’re selling, how you want to sell it, and who will buy it, you’ll want to come up with a name that will grab your ideal customer’s attention. You can go the easy route and select your personal name or you can try to be clever and ideate on a name that has personality. Catchy names include “Modcloth,” “Free People,” “Forever 21,” and “Anthropologie.”
If you want to go the catchy name route, spend 60 seconds writing down the top 10 store names that come your mind. Don’t overthink it. When you have your list of store names, circle the ones that you often shop from. Take the top 3 stores that you circled and write down why you shop there. This exercise will kickstart your namesake brainstorming process.
Day 4: Setup the store with your first batch of products.
There are a ton of platforms out there where you can set up shop with a turnkey solution. You won’t have to worry about design or tech logistics. When it’s your first e-commerce store, the last thing you want to do is spend a ton of time, energy, and money on a custom website will a ton of bells and whistles that you don’t really need when you’re starting off.
Day 5: Organize your social media profiles.
We now live in the era of “If it looks good on Instagram then it’s worth a look.” I know I am not the only one who browses Instagram at 2 a.m. looking for cute things to buy. I have a vast collection of oracle cards and earrings from many bored nights browsing various hashtags.
You don’t need to be on every platform when you start out but you do need to laser focus on at least two, Instagram and whatever other platform you currently spend most of your energy on. This could be Facebook or Twitter.
Day 6: Spread the word and make a sale.
By this point you have everything you need to launch your e-commerce store. This is now the moment of truth. You’ll want to try doing a few Facebook & Instagram ads, special giveaways and promos, attend in-person events, blogging, email marketing, and word of mouth referrals.
Give yourself at least 30-60 days of CONSISTENTLY marketing and promoting your store before you decide to add new products. You’ll want to use this time as a beta trial period so that you can learn your lessons quickly. If after two months, you’re not selling then it’s a good time to pivot or make adjustments.