This post was originally published on May 23, 2019, and was updated on Sept. 17, 2021.
Why is it important to understand how to start an online store if commerce is your game? Where should we start?
We are living in the midst of a digital age. In today’s world, consumers are no longer bound by one particular geographical location — and this trend has only been accelerated by COVID-19.
Nowadays people have the power to connect with their peers, conduct research, consume content, and most importantly shop wherever they are in the world with a few swipes of a screen. And that means that in the current climate, if you’re an entrepreneur looking to grow your business, building an online store might be the best thing you ever do.
Why consider building an online store?
At present, over 2.14 billion active people shop online — and that’s on a global scale. Even earning a small slice of the ecommerce pie will see you in excellent commercial stead.
On average, men spend $220 per online transaction and women spend $151 per transaction. That’s a high-value average spend per customer.
The main reason people shop online is that they’re able to buy items or products 24/7, literally.
The market size of ecommerce online shopping is expected to reach 4 trillion by the end of 2021.
Globally, 49% of consumers shop for goods or services online more now than they did pre-COVID-19.
If you know how start an online store the right way, you’ll be able to boost your profits significantly and grow your business year after year.
With a little know-how, an excellent idea and a powerful ecommerce solution for building and maintaining your online store, you will reap great rewards.
It’s clear that if you’re a modern business, entering the ecommerce arena is a wise move. To help you start your digital journey, here’s our how-to guide to create an online store, broken down into three simple steps:
Fine-tune your idea.
Start your free trial and create your own online store.
Promote your online store.
Let’s get started.
1. Fine-tune your idea
At this point, it’s likely that you know what you want to sell. Start fine-tuning your idea by deciding on a business name, conducting market research, and finding your audience.
Consider these questions: What makes your brand stand out from others in your niche? What particular pain points do you solve?
Choosing your business name and domain name
When it comes to naming your ecommerce business, choosing a name that is digestible, memorable, relevant, good for digital marketing purposes and will work well as a domain name is a must.
Gathering this level of feedback and data is a brilliant way to refine your product idea before unleashing it on the public.
Another key aspect of market research is looking at your competitors. Signing to email subscriber lists and monitoring brand conversations via social media are effective ways to analyze the way your competitors are talking to your target audience as well as gaining an understanding of what they’re offering.
By gathering this market intelligence, you can find ways to offer more value to your target audience while filling in any product, service or content-based gaps your direct competitors have overlooked.
Find and define your target audience
In digital marketing, there’s a well-known saying: “If you’re talking to everybody, you’re not talking to anybody.”
Basically, if you don’t understand your target audience — or how to connect with them — your broad, generic content or brand messaging is likely to offer little value and as such, become overlooked.
When it comes to knowing how to start an online store the right way, understanding where to aim your efforts is essential.
Yet, despite the vital importance of identifying and focusing on a specific target audience, many ecommerce businesses struggle with this notion. When asked to describe their audience, a host of brands often answer in broad, vague, almost meaningless terms.
When you fail to define your target audience, your promotional efforts will suffer in the following ways:
You won’t be able to craft strong, authentic branding that resonates with potential customers.
Your marketing communications will be flat and uninspired.
You won’t be able to encourage customer loyalty, one of the cornerstones of any successful eCommerce business.
You will fail to stand out from the competition.
You won’t be able to improve your offerings as you won’t have an idea of how your products can address your customers’ specific pain points.
To help you avoid such calamities, defining your target audience is essential. That said, here’s a practical outline of how to classify your target audience in a specific, value-driven way that gets results, based on certain characteristics you should focus on:
Demographics: Statistical data relating to your audience
Professional details: Information concerning jobs, competencies and places of work
Psychographics: Metrics and details based on personality traits and innate qualities
Goals: Descriptions of what your audience is looking to accomplish
Challenges: Pain points and problems your audience faces on a regular basis
Influences: Media and impressions your audience typically encounters
Buying process: How your target audience makes purchasing decisions
Behaviors: An extension of ‘Buying Process’ with a wider scope, looking at how your target consumers interact across all channels and touchpoints including mobile apps and social media.
The more you drill down into these facets of information, the better and more targeted your marketing will be. Plus, if you’d like to know your audience on an even deeper level, here’s a practical guide to defining buyer personas for your reading pleasure.
2. Start your free trial and create your own online store
Once you’ve considered all of the key ingredients of a successful web-based ecommerce business, it’s time to start thinking about making it happen, in a practical sense.
The simplest and fastest way to get your online shop up and running is by using a templated ecommerce store.
With this option, you get it all in one quick install. An ecommerce website package includes an online shop website template (aka website theme), product pages, shopping cart, payment processing feature and hosting for the site.
Instead of building your store piece by piece, you can install the whole store at once.
GoDaddy’s Online Store includes all of these essentials plus award-winning customer support, tools for integrating with online marketplaces, Facebook and Google Analytics, and more. Bonus: You can start for free.
Let’s take a look at a step-by-step blueprint to help you create an online store using GoDaddy’s intuitive ecommerce website builder.
With your framework (the foundations and fundamentals of your online store) firmly in place, the next step is choosing your website’s overall appearance by selecting a template from a range of eye-catching options. Once you’ve selected your theme, you can change the font and color of your page and customize it to your satisfaction.
Build online store pages: product pages and more
Here’s where you start building your site out beyond the home page. You can start with the home page and reorder or remove any of the elements. Then, go through and do the same to the other default pages: About Us, Shop and Contact Us.
With Online Store the Home, Shop and About Us pages are automatically listed with suggested fields, but you can easily customize each page to your liking and add new pages.
Fundamentally, a compelling ecommerce product page offers an intuitive, navigable and satisfying user experience (UX), so be sure to keep it simple and test your pages with people you trust.
You don’t want to launch your site, only to find that no one can figure out how to find your products.
Update ecommerce website settings
Once your easy ecommerce site has materialized — filled with dazzling product pages, images, colors, fonts and user-friendly functionality — you’ll need to update your site settings to make those all-important final touches prior to going live.
Once you’ve entered the settings section of your account, you’ll need to consider the following elements and update them to your particular preferences:
Update all of your business contact information so that it’s present and correct.
Settle on your domain name by using your existing one, buying a domain name or using the free domain name.
Now, before the big launch, there’s one final thing you need to do — and it’s critical — if you want to make any money, that is. Yes, you might have guessed it. You need to add products and set up your payment methods.
To get to these settings, click on the Store icon under the Website settings tab. This will take you to a new screen.
From there, you’ll find a new page that has all your product-related options, like adding a product, adding payment options, shipping and more.
Adding a product is simple. Upload an image, and include the name, description, price, tax category and other basic information. Once you save it, your product will be in the Shop section (under Pages) of the Online Store.
Next, you’ll want to be sure to set up your payment options. With GoDaddy Online Store, you have the option to use GoDaddy Payments, PayPal, Square, Stripe and offline payments.
Once you’ve set up your preferred payment offerings, select your shipping options to fulfill your orders. Click on the payment type you want to add and you’ll be redirected to a form that will take all of the information.
To help you do so, here are a couple of essential resources to reference as you set up your online store:
Clearly post a refunds and terms of service policy on your website and prompt users to agree to it before they make a purchase. This is essential as it will showcase your brand’s transparency while helping you avoid any costly consumer conflicts of interests later down the line.
While there are only a few essential elements that you must have to create an online store, there are many other components that will help you get the most out of your ecommerce shop.
Product details and photos
Don’t just post product pages and hope your items will sell. Instead, create interesting and useful product detail pages with sales copy that lists benefits, features and specifications. And be sure to include photos that show the product in detail.
The best product descriptions inspire, engage, address specific pain points and, most importantly, tell a story.
Calls-to-action (CTAs) are critical elements for ecommerce websites.
There are a variety of CTAs, but the ultimate goal is to move a prospect down the sales funnel. This can be anything from getting a lead (newsletter signup CTAs are great for that) to turning a lead into a customer (buy-one-get-one CTAs can do the trick).
The third and final element of our how to start an online store guide comes in the form of promotion or marketing.
Once you’ve fine-tuned your idea and actually created your online store, it’s time to shout about it to your target audience.
Here we’re going to explain how to promote an online store, expand your reach, and enjoy the profit-boosting success you no doubt deserve.
There are a host of avenues you can take when marketing your online store to prospective buyers, from connecting your website to popular third-party vendors to social media, email marketing and more.
But, before we delve into these all-important areas, it’s important to reiterate the importance of spreading the word about your online store.
Why you need to promote your online store
Many small business owners think that once they have created an online store their job is done.
In fact, that’s where the fun begins. Not everyone who creates an online store is successful in making it their primary source of income. But those who are successful have a few common characteristics:
They love their customers
Ask any successful online seller what they like about their business and they will have a ton of heart-warming customer stories on the tips of their tongues. They live to make their customers’ lives better.
They are scrappy and savvy marketers
The most successful online sellers have figured out a way to spread the word in their customer community. Some do it through social media marketing. Others identify influencers in their community and have them promote their product. Some business owners come up with clever viral marketing campaigns by promoting their products with special discounts.
It’s all about trying various marketing tactics and adapting to what works.
This last step in the journey to becoming a successful online seller is an iterative process — an ongoing effort to keep on improving your product and the lives of your customers. And here we’re going to give you more essential advice on how to promote an online store.
Connect with online marketplaces
As mentioned earlier, connecting your online store to renowned ecommerce marketplaces is an excellent way of enhancing your profit-making potential while expanding your promotional reach.
If you appear in more online shopping spaces, more consumers will be able to interact with your brand messaging, explore your products, and buy stuff from you.
GoDaddy Online Store makes it easy to integrate your website with popular marketplaces including Amazon, Walmart, Google, eBay, Walmart and Etsy.
Contrary to popular belief, email marketing is still one of the most effective promotional methods available to today’s ecommerce brands. If you’re just starting your journey into ecommerce entrepreneurship, you might not have the capital to spend on a host of pricey promotions. But, as you’ll no doubt know by now, promoting your online store is essential if you want to be a success.
To ensure your emails get read and help to boost your store’s bottom line, you will need to build a targeted email list of willing recipients that are open to receiving your communications. While this can prove tricky at first, once you’ve learned the fundamentals and found a little momentum, you will be cooking with gas.
To help you do just that, GoDaddy’s Online Store includes email marketing functionality built-in for free. To get started, take a look at this walkthrough.
As one of the world’s most influential communication-based mediums, social media marketing is key to getting eyes on your online store.
Getting it right is essential if you want to promote your ecommerce business effectively.
Social media has become a staple of our daily lives — a way to connect (or reconnect) with friends and family, share pieces of our lives with our followers, and “spy” on others. Social sites like Twitter and Facebook help us stay abreast of the latest trends. LinkedIn has become a go-to source for job hunters and recruiters alike. And image-based sites such as Pinterest and Instagram feed us with visual inspiration 24/7. But, until fairly recently, social media wasn’t a must-have marketing tool for business.
Social networking can make companies more accessible for customers, give them viral exposure, and revolutionize the way businesses market their products.
For businesses that sell products online, getting social offers additional perks — from a free way to offer incentives to an organic means for building buzz about specific products.
With a little bit of know-how, online sellers can use social media to take ecommerce sales to new heights.
Customers love a good deal, and word-of-mouth (or social sharing) helps promote your products/services more effectively than paid ads. How? Because people trust and want what their friends are talking about.
A simple and affordable way to increase your social following and draw new visitors to your online store is through giveaways and discounts.
By offering new followers a 15% discount for liking your page, for example, or by hosting a giveaway where contestants share a picture/post from your site to get entered to win a prize, you can quickly develop loyal customers and viral success.
People love talking about products and services they’ve used. Whether a customer’s experiences are good or bad, your business’s social profile is a place where they can go to engage and share their feedback about the products they use.
The one-on-one interaction can give incredible insight into what you’re doing right, and what needs improvement.
Remember, it’s important to keep the social in social media! Don’t be THAT business that’s constantly pushing products. Take the opportunity to connect with your customers and find ways to promote through conversation.
A great way to promote your products online is by adding share buttons to your product pages and home page. The buttons allow customers and social visitors to showcase their interest in your products on their own social profiles.
Whether they’re sharing their recent purchases, sending a gift idea to their mom through Facebook messenger, or adding a product to their Pinterest pinboard — they are marketing for you.
Now that you have three easy ways to leverage social media to boost eCommerce sales, it’s time you get socializing! It’s a commonly known fact that social networking sites are where people spend a large chunk of their time — and so should your business.
In today’s world, consumers trust the thoughts, feelings and opinions of their peers over adverts or promotional messaging. That said, customer testimonials and genuine positive reviews are like promotional golddust for your eCommerce business.
Customer testimonials are priceless quotes or snippets that are generally short, snappy and to the point.
As they take up little physical space, it’s easy to add testimonials to your website or use them in print collateral and email outreach.
To unlock the full potential of using positive reviews and testimonials for your business, check out our dedicated guide, complete with case studies.
Explore discounts and coupons
The final recommendation for promoting an online store is offering deals and discounts. We’ve mentioned this a few times already, but it’s especially important when spreading the word about products or services.
By offering coupons, deals and discounts, you’ll be able to boost your levels of engagement and attract prospects to your brand.
You can get incredibly creative with discounts and coupons, using them in your various marketing communications. The sky really is the limit!
Manage online business listings
If your business is locally based, be sure to keep your business listings updated. To get people to your site (and in your store if you have a physical location), you’ll need to ensure people can find you in a local search.
Make sure your contact information is accurate on all platforms, including your website, social media pages, Yelp, Google and wherever else visitors will search for your store.
Tip: It’s never a bad idea to add a map to the Contact page on your ecommerce website. This will make your user experience (UX) offerings all the more seamless while incentivizing your prospects to check you out!
Conclusion and next steps
“eCommerce is not an industry; eCommerce is a tactic.” ~Tobias Lutke
An ecommerce website can open a large, new frontier for your business. You will be able to sell to millions around the world instead of the thousands in your neighborhood. You will be able to tap into a billion-dollar market. And, you will be able to give your business an opportunity to expand and grow with minimal risk and low investment costs. And, now is the time to strike.
Once you’ve fine-tuned your idea with a great name and thorough market testing, an easy ecommerce website is just a few steps away.
Begin with a few products that you showcase on your ecommerce site with stellar photos and product descriptions. Prompt store visitors to take action with compelling CTAs and authentic customer testimonials and reviews. Make it easy for customers to pay via various methods. Offer multiple shipping options — including free shipping.
These are the basics that will get your online store up and running.
Then you can focus on expanding your product line and growing your business through digital marketing techniques such as email marketing, social media and online business listings.
Now that you know how to create an online store, get going and make those dreams a reality.
Doing business is not a cakewalk. You need to understand, learn, and manage several things before you actually do it. It is a task that requires continuous efforts. Therefore, it might take days, months, or even years to become successful.
It does not matter how small or big your business plan is. What is more important is how determined and dedicated you are to make it work. As a businessman or a businesswoman, you need to be spontaneous, informed, smart, analytical, and before that a good leader.
Thereafter, you need to keep an eye on your business infrastructure including the building, factory, machines, control valves, security, etc.
Making a business successful and keep it running is not a one-day affair. That is why you must take every step carefully.
Want to make your business successful? But you don’t know how to do it? Don’t worry and follow these 15 tips and tricks to make your business successful-
1. Time And Effort Is Everything
Your business idea is your brainchild. Just like you take time to understand your child’s needs and make efforts to give them the best upbringing. You need to treat your business in the same manner in order to make it successful.
2. Focus Is Your Key To Success
For anything you want to do and make it reach great heights, you need to be focused. Getting distracted by other things can cost you a lot in your business. You need to focus on your goals and work hard every day to achieve them.
3. Have A Fool-Proof Business Plan
The first step towards a successful business is a business plan. Before anything else, prepare a fool-proof plan. This means that it must have all the pros and cons involved in your business.
Nothing works without a plan. So, for instance, if you are trying to set up a business for valves and plumping supplies, you need to consider the best and the most trusted manufacturers like DomBor for your supply needs.
4. Be Prepared to Take Calculated Risks
A great business owner is one, who is not afraid of taking risks. To make your business successful and to make it sustainable in the longer run, you must be ready to take some calculated risks. You must know how your decision will affect your business and how much loss you will incur. Only after analyzing everything make your final decision.
5. Know The A to Z Of The Industry
If you are an amateur in the business industry, then first you must start with the basics. For that learn about every minute detail about how your industry works. You must be aware of the latest trends in your industry. Also, what works and whatnot, and how to enter the industry initially.
6. Connect And Communicate
Another trick for making your business successful is to connect and communicate with people from the industry. Get to know about the industry leaders and upcoming talent personally or through social media. Exchange your ideas with them and try to expand and publicize your business.
7. Keep A Check On Your Growth
Being a business owner you must keep a sharp eye on the growth of your business. Analyze the data, read it thoroughly, see where you are lacking, and what you can do to improve it.
8. Failures Are A Part Of The Process
If you ever face failures in your business, then don’t get disheartened. Because failures play an important part in the process of your success. Out of all the other things, they tell you about what not to do in a business.
9. Learn From Your Competitors
Your biggest learnings will come from your competitors. No one can teach you business better than them. Learn from them whenever and however you can. Use your creativity and intelligence and do what seems best for the success of your business.
10. Be Flexible In Your Approach
Never become too rigid with your approach to doing business. Be flexible with it and be open to changes. Sometimes what you feel is right may not be the best for your business. In that scenario, changing your approach might help.
11. Ensure Your Best Services
Always ensure the best services to your customers. Whether you are a small-scale business or a large-scale one, never compromise with the quality of your services. This builds your customer’s trust in you and ensures a long-term association.
12. Market Your Business
It is important to prepare a market strategy for your business to make it successful. It helps you to introduce your business to a large number of people at the same time.
13. Take Feedback To Know Your Customers Better
To make a business successful customer satisfaction is of utmost importance. You cannot meet all your customers in person. Thus, taking feedback from them online or offline is helpful to know your areas of improvement.
14. Stick to your Core Values
Early success is a myth. It lasts for a short period of time and there is no guarantee that it will sustain itself. That is why instead of using shortcuts, stick to your core values and take your business to great heights.
15. Research And Repeat
Last and the most important tip is to keep researching about the new prospects in your business area. It is crucial to make your business successful.
Every business owner wants their business to reach great heights. But only a few of them know how to actually do it. Running a business is not an easy task. It requires years of hard work and continuous efforts. Also, you need to learn and unlearn facts.
Therefore, to make your business successful and to make it sustain that success, you need to be well informed. Also, you must be aware of the current business scenario of your respective sector. Just follow these steps and see your business become successful.
Several SaksWorks will also be located outside of the city for suburbanites who need a break from working from home.
All of the images shown below are from the partnership’s Brookfield Place location in New York City, but there will also be three additional New York locations – in Manhasset, Scarsdale, and Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship in the city – and one in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The Brookfield Place location is replacing a former Saks Fifth Avenue Men’s store, while the SaksWorks in Saks Fifth Avenue is taking the place of a 10th floor children’s section.
“With HBC, we take the first step toward expanding our technology platform product offering and providing a differentiated approach to how landlords can incorporate flexible space across their portfolio,” Sandeep Mathrani, WeWork’s CEO, said in the press release.
Texas is poised to outpace California in industrial innovation.
There is a reason venture capitalists are pouring millions of dollars into tech innovation in Texas.
Texas is home to incredible diversity, a spirit of ingenuity, and major industries that need innovation.
Yang Tang is the chief technology officer at Houston-based GoExpedi.
This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
10 Things in Politics: The latest in politics & the economy
Here’s something you already know: California-based businesses – Tesla, Oracle, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and many others – have made Texas the state of choice when it comes to relocating headquarters and opening satellite offices for several years now.
The reasons? It’s cheaper to operate a business; there is no state income tax; there is an abundance of land, pro-business policies, lower cost of living, significant talent pool for hiring; and the list goes on and on.
But let’s discuss something that may boggle some minds — at least for those who are out-of-state looking in. Why are tech executives leaving Silicon Valley? It’s easy to understand why an oil and gas company would relocate to Texas — Houston is the energy capital of the world — or even healthcare startups — the city is home to some of the world’s premier medical centers, but why would technology companies leave the reigning epicenter of the tech universe for the Lone Star state?
The primary reason, in my opinion, is because of the opportunities to apply new technologies in our country’s largest industrial sectors. I am Texas’s latest Silicon Valley transplant and am witnessing this firsthand.
Like many other tech executives, I think Texas is positioned to outpace California due to its proximity to the world’s top companies in energy, healthcare, and aerospace, to name a few, and its willingness to innovate with technology in those industries.
That’s why I’m here, leading the technology operations for an emerging e-commerce company for industrial businesses like oil and gas, manufacturing, and others. Before I dive into the immense opportunities for enterprises driven by the state, I’d like to quickly share my journey so you can better understand why there’s no place like Texas.
My father grew up in communist China in tenement housing. Living with his family of 12 in a single room, he was the only child to attend college. He knew it would be nearly impossible to be successful through hard work alone given various cultural shifts by the country following his graduation. Therefore, he moved to the US a few years later and built a career in astrophysics and data mining. He eventually landed a rewarding financial services career in Boston — where I’m from.
I graduated from universities on the East and West coast — most recently the MIT Executive MBA program — and worked most of my career for companies with footprints in Silicon Valley, from Accenture to eBay to Walmart to ABInBev. During my time in that area, I personally witnessed what works and what can be improved upon in an increasingly digital world.
… And I will go to Texas
Don’t get me wrong. Silicon Valley has and will continue to pave the way for some of the world’s most forward-thinking companies, supported by its specialized tech workforce, concentration of capital, and world-class educational institutions. However, in today’s world, I believe the innovation stemming from this region is incremental compared to what I’ve observed in Houston.
Out of all the major and booming markets of Texas that house various large industries I chose Houston as my new hometown for its diversity of people and thought. The city’s major port, healthcare systems, and energy sector have had a significant effect on the local, state, and national economies and have set Houston apart from the rest of Texas. Additionally, as the most diverse city in the country, Houston presents endless opportunities and is a melting pot for new ideas and the spirit of ingenuity — the same spirit and community that created Viet-Cajun Crawfish.
That’s what makes Houston a prime location for the next wave of innovation. Industrial companies in the region are securing millions of venture capital dollars annually — $2.6 billion in total over the last five years — and are allowing engineers, like myself, to do what they do best: use their tech, resources, skills, and knowledge to solve unique and complex issues out in the field. That’s where the true power of technology takes shape and allows us to grow economies, attract more jobs and talent, improve lifestyle and beyond.
Prime examples are the revitalization of the aerospace industry from Elon Musk’s SpaceX in Boca Chica, Texas, and Houston-based biopharma company Nanospectra, which is spearheading a patient-centric use of nanomedicine for the removal of cancerous tissue.
The same yearning for opportunity and innovation my father experienced can now be found in Houston – not just on the East and West coasts. If folks looking in still don’t see Houston and Texas as the next technology mecca, they soon will.
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