How To Start An Online Store – 11 Step Guide

11 easy steps to start an online store

The question of how to start an online store is a fashionable one these days. This is due to a couple of factors:

  • First of all, small business owners and entrepreneurs simply want to market on the web because their customers are already here .
  • Second, and perhaps more significantly, the modern tools at our disposal today make the process very affordable and DIY-friendly (if that’s a word).

To put it another way, if you want to learn how to start an online store, you can master all aspects of the process without the need for any expert knowledge or development skills. ???? All you need is a guide, and this is exactly where this guide comes into play!

What you will learn here is how to start an online store, from an absolute blank space to an operational store with your products, ready to receive your first customers.

Here’s what’s particularly helpful about this guide:

  1. We go through the process step by step.
  2. We do not omit any challenging technical details that may be an obstacle for you.
  3. We cover not only the instruments but also the methodologies and decision-making process involved in building an online store.
  4. We opted for a completely DIY approach – read on: You don’t need to hire anyone to help you.

It’s time to learn everything you need to know about starting an online store.

How to start an online store: table of contents

This is what we will happen:

  • Defining the type of your store
  •  Narrowing your niche 
  • Do market research
  •  Choosing an e-commerce platform 
  • Name your store and choose a domain name
  •  Understand web hosting 
  • Launch a blank online store
  •  Choosing a store layout and customizing it 
  • Dialing in your main store settings
  •  Add your first products 
  • Your pre-launch checklist

Before we dive in, let’s answer some of the most common questions on the topic of starting an online store:

Frequently asked questions about starting an online store ???

One of the most common questions we hear from people who want to know how to start an online store is:Can I build an ecommerce store for free?

At the end of the day, no , not exactly.

Okay, to be more specific, you can “technically” build a store for free, but that type of store will not allow you to accept payments. And accepting payments is the whole point of having an online store, so …

How much does it cost to build an ecommerce store?

Those things change naturally, but I’d say the minimum is around $ 60 per year. For that price, you get a domain name ( yourstore.com) and a hosting plan (where your store is saved).

  • In this budget model, your store will run on WordPress and WooCommerce, both free and open source software.
  • For a more managed solution, where you have someone else dealing with the more technical heavy lifting, you’ll need to pay around $ 348 a year, plus $ 15 a year for a domain name. In this model, everything runs on a thing called Shopify.

More on both approaches later in this guide.

Can I learn how to start an online store myself?

Yes , you can really learn how to start an online store yourself. No programming or web design knowledge is required. It really isn’t as complicated as it sounds anymore, thanks to the latest transformations in the digital world. Modern tools let you do everything as long as you are willing to spend a couple of afternoons doing the moves.

Who will be in charge of the design of my store?

When you learn how to start an online store, you are usually going to do most of the design work yourself. In this DIY approach, we will select a ready design from the web and import it into your store.

What can I sell?

Anything:

  • physical products
  • digital products (ebooks, downloads, files, software, images, etc.)
  • services
  • consulting, etc.

How do I handle payments?

There are online payment methods, “gateways”, built into all online store solutions . Your customers will be able to pay for everything from your site.

How to start an online store: step-by-step guide

Step 1: Defining the type of your store

Okay, so the first step to discovering How to start an online store is one of the most basic. You must decide what to sell to your target customers.

What can you offer from your online business that makes your site stand out in the search engine and encourages customers to take out their credit card?

I guess you probably already know what you want to sell, at least roughly.

“Hey, I want to sell custom-sewn sheets.” Or, “Hey, I have this idea for an online boutique .” Or, “I have an idea for a great new app.”

Whatever it is in your case, that core idea will help you define the type of your store.

Remember, today you can build an ecommerce business of virtually any size. You don’t need to start with a large corporation. Tools like Ebay and Etsy , as well as a myriad of shopping cart systems, make launching your business online a breeze.

This step is essential as it has an impact on the tools you will use to build your store, as well as your overall strategy and approach.

These are the questions you should try to answer ???

  • I want to sell the physical books products and have them delivered to the customer?
  • Do I want to sell digital products and let customers download them directly?
  • Do I want to sell services ?
  • Regarding inventory, I want …
    • … handle it myself?
    • … use third parties to handle it for me (such as Amazon FBA )?
    • … Ship the product directly from the supplier to the customer ( drop shipping )?
  • Do I want to show wholesale rates as well?
  • Do I want to sell overseas ?

Every place where you have a “yes” requires that your ecommerce store platform can handle that you want .

When you start developing your strategy for an online business, make sure you know exactly what you will want to do with your e-commerce site .

So, start by creating a simple list to define your absolute basic requirements. Something like this:I will sell digital and physical products, my own inventory, without services.

The more information you have to get started about your business model and sales strategy, the easier it will be to find the right online store builder and shopping cart for you.

Step 2: Narrow your niche

As you learn how to start an online store, you are exposed to a great deal of jargon. Like, something you’ve probably been hearing a lot of, “You need to create your perfect customer personality,” or “You need to define a niche.” Those can sound incredibly vague and are difficult to follow.

“I just want to sell my stuff!” – you say.

We hear that, but here is the problem:

On the web, all stores are one click away.

Here’s what I mean: if you operate locally, it may be the “neighborhood sock store.” There are no other stores like this within a five block radius and people need socks, right?

It doesn’t work like that online. Online, people can go to thousands of other stores instead of yours. They are all one click away. And they will all ship to virtually anywhere. As long as your customer has a credit card or bank account attached to their PayPal service, they can find millions of ecommerce trading options to choose from.

This means that you need to differentiate yourself and focus more on the laser in terms of who you are offering your products to.

While your marketing strategy and search engine optimization campaigns will be helpful for your online store , you will need to start by making sure you are reaching the right customer base.

Error no. 1 when defining your customer base

You shouldn’t just “define” your customer base by pulling them out of nowhere. You need to do some real research here.

Ultimately, your products and services will not appeal to everyone. No matter how hard your high-quality business plan tries to satisfy everyone, some clients will love what you have to offer more than others.

We have another comprehensive guide on how to find your target demographic, so feel free to check it out for some in-depth advice .

In the meantime, start with the following:

Identify the keywords people use when searching for your products online

Google is the likely first stop for many people when looking for something to buy.

Because of this, virtually every e-commerce business begins with some form of search engine optimization. When you build your own online store on eBay, Etsy, Shopify , BigCommerce , or pretty much any other website builder , you will need to consider search engine performance.

Keywords are an essential component of search engine optimization, Google AdWords (PPC) advertising, and pretty much any other marketing strategy you can think of.

While many people will simply put “socks” on Google, those customers are probably interested in any type of socks and will buy whatever is cheapest: Amazon. You can’t compete with that, so let’s dig a little deeper.

Many people get really specific about the type of socks they want to buy:

  • “Warm socks”
  • “Trekking socks”
  • “Motorcycle socks”
  • “Cheap motorcycle socks”

You can take any of those keywords and put them through a tool called Google Keyword Planner (GKP). It will let you know how many people search for a certain phrase each month. GKP will also suggest other keywords for you to research.

So your first order of business here is to replace “socks” with your product names and try digging deeper to find some phrases that are in tune with what you want to sell and are also popular online (1000 searches per month or plus).

After you have a handful of those phrases lined up, you can define your niche in more precise terms. Maybe you want to target your handmade bags at mothers of young children? Or your clothes for parents in a hurry? Whatever it is, it’s officially a niche!

Knowing the niche for your ecommerce business will help you speak the language of your target audience when developing your marketing strategy. The more you understand your audience and what they want from your online marketplace and product descriptions, the more you can convince them to use your credit card in your online store.

Step 3: do market research

Basically, there is only one market research goal when you are learning how to start an online store. And that’s to make sure there are people in your niche who are eager to buy .

After all, you don’t want to wake up to a shiny new store, only to find that no one is willing to check out the merchandise.

Research is something you will have to get used to when building a successful online store. We live in a world where customers expect websites to be created specifically to their preferences. If you want your online store to thrive and your ecommerce sales to grow, you will need to understand the online marketplace.

There are a few ways to do market research:

  • (a) Research what your competition is doing and emulate them to some extent.
  • (b) Examine where your potential customers are online, how they decide what to buy, how they compare products.
  • (c) See what are the most common questions or challenges in your niche.

From the top:

(a) spy on your competition

First order of business, if there is no apparent competition in the niche, then there is no niche. Being first in the field only works in movies.

The best way to start is to go to Google. Do a couple of searches using some of the keywords you found during the previous stages described above. You should find a handful of competitors that way, or at least people who sell similar products. On top of that, you may already be able to name a couple of competitors right at the top of your head.

Now is the time to spy on what they are doing online.

I have two favorite tools for that purpose. You can do basic research with any of them for free, but if you want to dig deeper, you’ll have to buy a subscription … which you can still cancel after a month when you’re done with your research, of course.

The first one is SEMRush . They are advertised as a competitor research service, which sounds perfect.

When you enter a domain name of your competitor, you will see all kinds of information about their website:

  • your main keywords
  • your best backlinks
  • your texts / anchors from the top link
  • general statistics on projected traffic, number of backlinks and more

Example screen:

The goal here is to try to find out what the competitor is doing to promote their store. What kind of links do they get? Can you get some of the same companies to link with you, too? What keywords are they after? Should you go after them too? And so on.

The right thing to do is to spend some time looking at all the information SEMRush has about its competitors and getting as much information as you can.

The other tool is Buzzsumo . This is great for revealing which are the most popular pages on your competitor’s website, and possibly their most popular products as well.

Just type in a domain name and see what comes up.

Example:

The questions to ask would be: What makes them the most popular? Can I offer something similar?

Then go to your competitors’ social profiles and see what you can learn there:

  • What kind of updates do they publish? Just product promotions or custom content too?
  • How often?
  • Do they relate to their followers?
  • Do they just cover what’s going on in the niche or do they comment on the news as well?

This kind of research can point out what kinds of things you will have to do as well if you want to be relevant.

For example, it takes more than just listing products for your online e-commerce business and implementing a trusted shopping cart to be successful online today. You will also need a marketing strategy that includes things like search engine optimization, google adwords and PPC, and even content marketing.

Analyzing your competitors carefully will show you how to write product pages, blogs, and other pieces of content that attract people to your online store. You don’t even need to be an expert blogger to get started.

(b) Find out how your customers decide to buy online

This varies from niche to niche quite massively. There are a few ways to find out how people decide to buy:

  • If you are a member of the niche, look at your own buying behavior,
  • Find out where your potential customers hang out online and how they compare products.

The main places you should go for this type of research are online communities in the niche, forums, and Facebook groups.

We have an excellent guide on how to find relevant forums and Facebook groups in your niche here . Check it out for a tour.

The goal is to get into the brains of your potential customers and see what they are talking about in relation to products, how they compare different products before buying, and what they really value in specific products. This is the knowledge that you can use later when building your online store.

When you know what your customers are looking for from an ecommerce business in the search engine, you can develop your marketing strategy based on their needs. Remember, a good business plan will include a variety of ways to connect with your target audience, including everything from search engine optimization to PPC.

(c) Know some of the frequently asked questions in the niche

The last place you can visit to meet your prospects is Quora .

Quora is a question and answer type of website. Anyone can go there, ask any question imaginable, and get multiple answers from the community. There are thousands of topics covered on Quora, so there is likely a section for your niche as well.

Go to Quora and use the search field to find relevant topics. Pay attention to:

  • the most common questions in your niche
  • the challenges people seem to be struggling with the most
  • product alternatives people ask for
  • questions about how to use a particular product

This type of information can be a gold mine when deciding how to position your new store.

In summary, what should come out of the market research phase:

  • a good idea that there is a group of people possibly interested in your products,
  • information about where those people hang out online,
  • knowledge about how they decide what to buy,
  • the websites they go to for information and the reviews they read,
  • the daily struggles and challenges

All of this valuable information will help you design your online business based on what you know about your customer journey. By knowing the process your customer goes through to get from the point of knowing your business to using their credit cards, you can start driving conversions.

For example, you may find that your ecommerce site needs a strong PPC marketing plan to grab customers’ attention on a search engine. Once you have attracted your customers to your product pages or online store, you need an SSL certificate to prove to them that you are a high-quality and trustworthy company. You may even need to nurture your customers over time using a long-term email marketing strategy. Some online store builders like BigCommerce it even comes with built-in email marketing tool integrations.

Once you finally convince your customers to go to your shopping cart plugin, you will need to make sure you have the correct payment gateways, and that you are not scaring customers with high shipping costs. All of these steps come together to form a strong customer journey.

Step 4: choose an e-commerce platform

Now that you have a basic idea of ​​the customer journey you need to serve, you can start looking for an online store builder and e-commerce platform. The first thing to remember here is that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for your ecommerce business.

Nevertheless!

This abundance is not always a good thing.

After all … what if you choose the wrong one?

So this is what we are going to do:

I’m going to show you a pretty important comparison chart of the major online store platforms. You will find all the details you need here. Then below, I’ll give you my list of the top two picks: the recommended one and the budget solution.

These are the main e-commerce platforms compared:

“What platform to use?” is the most common question we get here at ecommerce-platforms.com. In 90% of cases, the answer is Shopify . Shopify is the leader in the ecommerce space and offers you all the functionality that an online store could need. It can handle physical and digital products, drop shipping, and even services.

That is, no matter what you want to sell, you can do it with Shopify. Add to that, launching your store with Shopify can be done in minutes (tested) and you don’t need to go anywhere else to get any of the other pieces of the puzzle (like the domain name). Shopify is affordable too, starting at $ 29 per month.

  • Check out our Shopify review to learn more about the platform.

 Now what about the other 10%? Well, this is generally where the budget choice comes in. That setup is WordPress along with WooCommerce :

  • WordPress is an open source website engine.
  • WooCommerce is an open source online store platform that runs on WordPress.

What’s great about this setup is that it’s incredibly customizable while being affordable. To put it simply, both platforms are free. So the only thing you have to pay for is the domain name and hosting (this could be $ 60- $ 80 per year).

  • Check out our WooCommerce review for more information.

(Have you had trouble deciding between the two? Here’s our head-to-head comparison: Shopify vs WooCommerce )

Remember, there is more than just WooCommerce and Shopify to choose from for your eCommerce sales too. You can also create an online store using website builders like BigCommerce. There are also several tools that naturally integrate with online marketplace services like eBay and Etsy. Choosing a website builder with lots of plugins and integrations can help you increase your ecommerce sales.

Step 5: Name your store and choose a domain name

Finding a name for your store is probably the most fun part of the entire process when building an online store.

Still, it is a critical step, and should not be taken lightly.

After all, a successful online store needs a great name. Pick the wrong title for your ecommerce site, and even the biggest marketing strategy or email marketing campaign won’t be able to convince people to buy from you.

First, consider having your main niche keyword in the store name. This can have some SEO benefits.

For example, if you want to sell designer socks, including “Designer Socks” as part of the name will send a signal to Google that maybe they should rank you for the phrase.

However, at the same time, a name like “Designer Socks Today” can sound a bit boring, despite being highly optimized for keywords.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have brandable names. They usually consist of words with no prior meaning that are combined into a sweet and memorable name. Think “Google” or “Amazon”.

The downside is that those brand names don’t bring any SEO benefits.

More or less, this plays something like this:

The perfect scenario would probably be to meet somewhere in between – get some SEO benefits from the name while still keeping a lot of your brand.

I like to use two tools when names are mentioned:

(a) The business name generator by Shopify . It is a free tool.

All you do is provide a seed term, and then Shopify will suggest some great names based on that. It also checks available  .comdomains that you can use with that name.

(B) LeanDomainSearch . This is similar to Shopifyes a tool, but it shows everything on a single screen, which could be easier to scan.

The use is the same. Just enter your seed keyword, and the tool will do the rest. Check if there are .comdomains available  too.

If you see something you like, write it down for later.

Step 6: Understand web hosting

Important! If you’ve decided to go with Shopify or any other all-in-one ecommerce store solution, then feel free to skip this step entirely. If you are going to use WordPress + WooCommerce, this step is for you.

Web hosting (or web server) is where your online store is stored and from where your customers can access it.

Like choosing a shopping cart or website builder, finding the right hosting is an important part of your business model.

The good news is that there are companies that offer optimized hosting platforms without you needing to understand what’s going on under the hood.

However, there are things to pay attention to when choosing your hosting platform (and don’t worry, I’ll give you some recommendations below):

  • Dedicated IP addresses .
  • SSL Certificates – to make the shopping experience safe for your customers.
  • PCI Compliance – The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council is a body responsible for bypassing the e-commerce space. You want a host that meets your compliance requirements.
  • Good performance: if your site takes a long time to load = less sales.
  • Perfect Uptime – With your site down, no one can buy anything from you. The 99.99% uptime is reasonable.
  • Quick Action Support – If you have a problem, you want to be able to reach out to someone for help.
  • Automated backups: you always want to have recent backups of your store data (orders, products, etc.).

Here’s our recommendation – a host that gives you all of the above:

  • SiteGround WooCommerce hosting . Easy to get started and really affordable. When you’re launching a new online store, it’s only $ 3.95 a month + $ 15 annually for a domain name (a total of $ 62.40 / year).

SiteGround has perfect support, offers excellent performance, free SSL integration, and any other benefits a new online store owner might need.

Other options

  • WPengine Hosting – from $ 23.33 / month.
  • WooCommerce hosting by Dreamhost – from $ 3.92 / mo.
  • Liquid WooCommerce web hosting – from $ 19 / mo
  • Bluehost WooCommerce Hosting  – from $ 6.95 / month.

Check out our Ecommerce Hosting reviews to learn more about them.

We’ll show you what to do with your preferred hosting platform in the next step.

Step 7: Launch a blank online store

With your store engine selected, it’s time to get it going. Here’s how to start an online store:

For starters, you will only be working with the basics. You need to have the right fundamentals if you want people to use your credit card in your online business.

There are two alternative routes that we will present here, based on your preferred ecommerce platform:

  • Path (a) that goes with Shopify
  • Path (b) going with WordPress and WooCommerce

Those are the two most popular paths people take when building a new ecommerce store, and also our recommended approaches.

Path (a): How to start an online store in Shopify

This is going to be quick! Shopify is determined to make it as easy as possible to get started with the platform and go from nothing to a working store in just a few minutes.

All you do is go to Shopify.com  and click on the main one. Get Started button that is in the top menu.

After that, it’s Shopify that takes the lead and walks you through the setup process.

Going to:

  • allows you to set a name for your store,
  • ask about what you are selling so you can optimize the look of the store,
  • allow you to choose a domain name,
  • install everything for you,
  • show you through the main Shopify interface after installation.

When you’re done, your admin panel for the store will look like this:

Path (b): how to start an online store in WordPress and WooCommerce

First, go to your preferred hosting platform. If you’ve listened to our recommendation, chances are SiteGround WooCommerce hosting .

Get started by clicking Get Started! next to the plan of your choice.

In the next steps Iart will ask you all the usual things like your name, email, country, payment information and will also confirm the plan you are selecting. Let’s stop at the last:

The thing to pay attention to here is the location of the server. Choose the one that is closest to your actual target audience. It will make everything work faster for them.

Next, Iart will allow you to register a domain for your new store. The cost for this is $ 16 a year. Enter the domain name you have chosen in the previous steps of this guide.

Lastly, SiteGround will propose to have both WordPress and WooCommerce pre-installed.

So after a couple of minutes of basically clicking and filling out the form fields, you end up with a working online store.

When you’re done, here’s what your site admin panel will look like:

Step 8: Choose a store layout and customize it

At this stage, you have a blank store – there is nothing in it, just the software, all set up and ready to go.

The first thing we can do here is customize the design.

The right layout for your online store will help keep customers interested in your product pages. When someone clicks on your store from search engines, they immediately notice a number of things. First, they will see your SSL certificate and if your site is secure. Next, they will notice how your store looks and how professional it looks.

Here’s how to choose the right layout:

Again, spy on your competition

This is, once again, a great time to spy on your competition. Go back to the same competitors you investigated during the market research phase, and look at their store designs:
Do they use a large header section with stylized product images?

Do they use a classic content sidebar layout?

Do you drive a lot of special offers?

Do they focus on one key product or do they promote everything equally?

These are just some of the questions worth asking. Write down your findings, especially if you find the same things with more than one competitor.

The reasoning here is that if something is standard practice in the niche, it’s probably because it works.

With all that knowledge, go back to the design selection module of your ecommerce platform and look for themes / templates that seem to be more in tune with your needs.

But!

Whatever you do, don’t choose a design based solely on the fact that you like it visually. Trust your research and your niche. If you can see something in use over and over in your niche by multiple competitors, then it might be a good idea to use it as well, even if you don’t find it particularly visually appealing.

Remember that you are trying to convince your target audience to trust you enough to use their bank account or credit cards with you. You can only do this if you take your preferences into account.

Path (a): how to choose a design in Shopify

 When you sign up, Shopify will assign a theme to your store on its own. To change it, from the main panel, go to Online Store → Themes .

There, you can explore free and paid themes to bring your store to life.

 To switch to a new theme, first click Add THEME_NAME . This will add the theme to your site, but will not activate it yet. At this stage, you can preview the theme and see if you like it.

If you do, you can click Publish .

Now is the time to customize the theme, add your own graphics, logo, colors, etc. We do all this so that the store adapts to the identity of your business.

First, click on Customize it next to your topic.

To speed up the process, Shopify will suggest that you start with a set of temporary images from a couple of categories, such as food, women’s fashion, home, jewelry, men’s fashion, and so on. This is a friendly help to speed things up.

Shopify’s design customization interface is really cool and offers a lot of options. This is what happens:

  • (1) It is where you can adjust the sections on the home page, as well as general theme settings such as colors, typography, social media, etc.
  • (2) Settings for the store header: upload your logo, adjust the alignment and more.
  • (3) This is where you can configure, add / remove and edit the current sections of the page. By clicking on any of the sections, you can adjust its details and fine tune.
  • (4) This is where you can set the footer of the store.
  • (5) The main preview window of your current design.
  • (6) Switch from desktop to mobile to full width view.

Spend some time here and tweak every little detail until you like the result. This interface is impressively easy to use, so you must have a good time with it.

When you’re done, just click on the main Save

Path (b): how to choose a layout in WooCommerce

There are two directions you can take: either choose a free theme or a paid one. Payments tend to be more unique and original.

For free themes, click here . This is the official repository for filtered free WordPress themes for eCommerce. Alternatively, you can go with the default WooCommerce theme, Showcase .

For paid themes, see any here or here . The former is the largest WordPress theme marketplace online, filtered for its eCommerce category. The latter is the official directory of WooCommerce themes.

When you get your theme, you will normally download a ZIP file containing it.

Grab that file, and go to your WordPress dashboard, to Themes → Add New , click the Upload button, and upload that full ZIP.

Once done, click another button to activate the theme. At this stage, you have your new design live on the site.

The next step is to customize it slightly to include your logo, colors, and other visual identities.

The exact way you can do that depends on the theme you have chosen.

In general, most quality WordPress themes allow customizations if you go to Appearance → Customize .

The panel you will see contains many tabs that handle different sections of your store layout.

Browse each one to change your logo, typography, backgrounds, headers, and more.

The goal here is to use colors that are in tune with your company identity, logo, and overall brand.

Step 9: Checking the main settings of your store

With design out of the way, we still have some basic setups to take care of that your store can’t run without.

While there are many plugins and other tools that you can add to your online store, you will need to start by making sure you understand the correct basics.

This involves things like currencies, units of measure, tax settings, addresses, and everything else in that tune.

Store settings in Shopify

Click the main Settings icon in the lower left corner. You will see a menu of all the settings that you can adjust for your store. Some of the key tabs:

  • General information – store name and address, standards and formats (unit system, time zone, etc.), currency of the main store.
  • Payment providers – how you want to collect payments from customers. By default, you get PayPal, but you may want to enable other payment methods to get lower fees on withdrawing money. Here are some sounds PayPal Alternatives . Make sure you offer all the payment gateways that your customers prefer to use with their credit card and bank account purchases.
  • BUY – whether or not customers need to register to buy, plus what other information is required from customers, etc. Make sure the payment you choose comes with simple, easy-to-understand navigation and many security features.
  • international – shipping rates, saved package sizes, ability to integrate your store with FedEx, UPS and more. Try to keep shipping costs low or help your audience understand why they are paying.
  • Taxes – aka the really fun stuff … no. Jokes aside, this is a key panel to set up properly. Check with your local laws and requirements to put the correct rates here.
  • Notifications – receive a notification when an order arrives, etc.

With all of these resolved, you can proceed to adding your first few products.

Store setup in WooCommerce

To enter the main settings, go to WooCommerce → Settings . You will see a handful of tabs there. Main:

  • General information – your store address, the locations you sell and ship to, if you want to enable tax calculations, the main currency settings.
  • Products – weight units, dimension units, if you want to enable product reviews, inventory settings, settings for downloadable products.
  • Taxes – be sure to check with your local authorities before setting taxes on this panel.
  • international – set shipping zones for delivery to different regions of the country or the world.
  • online – set how you want to collect money from your customers. The default option is cash on delivery, but you can easily enable PayPal. You can also get more WooCommerce payment gateways as add-ons . Actually, it is recommended to look at some PayPal Alternatives , which may be cheaper in the long run.
  • Account Privacy – Do you require your customers to create user accounts before they can buy (?), Etc.
  • Emails – receive notifications when new orders arrive, etc.

Once you’re done with all of that, it’s time to start adding your first few products!

Step 10: Adding your first products

Add products in Shopify

This couldn’t be easier, just go to Products and click Add Product .

For each product, you can specify its name, description, images, price, inventory, weight (and other shipping details), product type, collection (use it to group matching products), labels, and a couple of other parameters.

Click Save once you are satisfied with your new product. You will see it immediately in your All Products list. Repeat for all your other products.

Add products in WooCommerce

To add your first product, go to Products → Add New .

For each new product, you can set a name, main description, images, product type (simple product, bundled, affiliate, virtual, downloadable), price, tax status, inventory, shipping details, linked products (that fit), product category, tags.

When you’re done, you can click Publish . The product will appear in the main list in the All Products section of the dashboard.

Step 11: your checklist before launch

You are almost ready to bring your online business to life.

By following the steps above, you have designed a high-quality online store that goes far beyond the capabilities of online marketplaces such as eBay or Etsy. You now have your own online store that you can trust to attract customers and turn them into long-term valued customers.

At this stage, you have everything set up and ready to go, and you have officially learned how to start an online store. But wait your horses! It’s a great time to do some final checks and make sure everything is working as it should.Here’s your final “before launch” checklist:

  1. ✅ Is the main website navigation working as it should? Can you access all the pages, categories and products without fail?
  2. ✅ Is your logo at the top (or top left)? Does it look right (not stretched or anything)?
  3. ✅ Is the cart icon in the upper right?
  4. ✅ Does the cart work when you add new products / remove them?
  5. ✅ Is the payment process working correctly? Can you buy a product from start to finish?
  6. ✅ Have you disabled trial payments? Test payments are something that most ecommerce solutions will give you so you can test your checkout. When you’re ready to launch, disable them so people can’t get your products for free.
  7. ✅ Do you have pages that detail all the legalities of your store, such as privacy policy, terms and conditions, returns, etc.?
  8. ✅ Is registration optional when buying from you? Should be.
  9. ✅ Do you have an “About” page? Explain what your store is and how it came to be.
  10. ✅ Do you have a working “Contact” page? A page with a contact form through which people can contact you directly. Test the contact form by sending a message to yourself.
  11. ✅ Are all shipping and tax calculations correct? Are your shipping costs reasonable compared to your competition?
  12. ✅ Does your store look good on mobile? Make sure your customers on the go get a pleasant shopping experience too.
  13. ✅ Are you sure all your product pages and descriptions look professional? These are the pages that will convince your audience to make a purchase.
  14. ✅ Does your store integrate with the necessary online marketplaces that you can already use, such as etsy and eBay?
  15. ✅ Do you know how you are going to promote your store using Google AdWords, blogger techniques and other strategies?
  16. ✅ Are you sure your site plugins are working properly and are not affecting your page performance?

Once you’ve checked all of the above, you can launch your store to the public and start promoting …

Content marketing, SEO, advertising , social media marketing , are just some of the promotional methods that you can use to spread the word and attract some customers.

Make sure you know the basics of blogger and PPC promotion before you start. Building an amazing online store is just the first step in your strategy to improve sales. You will also need to make sure that people in your community are aware of what you have to sell. That’s where promotion comes in.

Also, it’s a good idea to go back to all the places you did research (forums, groups, etc.) and see if you can promote your store in some way there as well.

You may find that there are many clients you can use to instantly test your online store design and make sure it drives conversions.

Either way, you’ve made progress in this guide on how to start an online store. For you! ????????

Now it’s over for you. Go and set up your offline store. Remember, as you continue to sell products and services online, it is always a good idea to keep track of your store’s performance. Measuring your achievements over time will ensure that you can continue to optimize your store based on what you learn about your audience and the changing market.

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