A Complete Guide on How to Set Up an Online Store

Discover the steps to set up a thriving online store. Plan your eCommerce strategy, build an audience, select a platform, and set up payments. Execute your strategy with a clear blueprint and increase your chances of success.

 Ecommerce   April 28, 2023  By Brandon Ribak

A Complete Guide on How to Set Up an Online Store

Do you want to learn how to set up an online store, but you're not sure where to start?

Let's take a tour of a complete guide on how to set this all up.

Planning your eCommerce Strategy

First, choose an eCommerce strategy.

  • Identify winning products
  • Build an audience
  • And learn about pre-selling techniques

Let's dive into these three things.

1. Identify Products

Finding hot products or upcoming trending products is not that difficult.

Considering you are not planning to sell digital products, you can identify products by doing a bit of research.

Take a look at eBay, Amazon, and other eCommerce giants to see what products are doing very well.

Don't forget about using Google trends, as this can be an excellent tool to find products that are trending, have a tendency to trend from time to time and products that are likely going to be trending. 

Another way to identify products is to check out sites of suppliers, such as Alibaba, ThomasNet, and Global Sources.

The beauty of those sites is when you find a potential winning product, you can order them in bulk.

If you're not comfortable ordering in bulk, then order a small quantity of the product and see how well it sells. 

Besides the previously mentioned suppliers, do take the time to research other suppliers who might have the same product in stock.

The goal is to find both the cheapest and most reliable supplier.

However, when it comes down to it, the most important thing of all to look for is reliability.

A reputable supplier will always get your products out to you or your customers if you decide to run an online drop-shipping store.

2. Build An Audience

Next, you need to build an audience.

There are several ways to go about it, with one being you can speak to your existing customers or past customers.

While this can seem to produce a minor impact, inform them that you'll be launching an online store soon.

Remember to use social media to build an audience. Create social media accounts to the name of your future online store.

Write down what sites you'll be using (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) and then write out a blueprint on how often you'll create relevant content for those accounts.

You will communicate in your own unique way, that will take into account the audience you are aiming.

Besides, ask for referrals from new customers or existing customers.

Getting referrals is one of the best ways to generate free traffic to an online store, once the store is set up. 

3. Learn Pre-Selling Techniques

Pre-selling techniques include hyping up your store via:

  • Social media
  • Newsletter distributing
  • And catalog mailings

To name a few.

You should spread the word about your online store before it's even launched.

Start marketing your store at least a month in advance of its opening. 

You want to get people interested and make them intrigued.

Post to social media regularly about your soon-to-be online store.

Find any way to make people want to know more.

Don't try to copy anyone, be ingenious. Trust your intuition. Be subtle. Be authentic to yourself. Make people dream.

People love such brands.

Try try try.

And stick to what works best for you!

By doing this, you'll generate a ton of interest in your store, even before it's officially launched.

Before you set up an online store, you want to gain the confidence required to have a successful launch.

By learning pre-selling techniques, building an audience, and research winning products, you'll increase your chances of setting up a successful store.

It is imperative that you don't rush the strategy-planning process.

Take your time and then execute your strategy when you have a clear blueprint.

Setting Up Your Online Store

When you set up an online store, you'll need to choose a domain name. You also need an eCommerce platform. Let's not forget about choosing a website builder and setting up payments. That said, here's how to go about all of that stuff: 

1. Choosing a Domain Name

Do you already have a brand? How about a name for your current brick-and-mortar store?

If so, then select that name for your website.

Otherwise, you want to take the time to choose the right domain name. 

Think about what products and offerings you're going to be doing. Try to choose a domain name that lets people know what you're selling.

For example, you could choose something like:

fitnessclothesforshortguys.com

if your target market is short guys who are after workout clothes.

But try to choose a domain name that is shorter, and more catchy and memorable.

Play with words:

  1. Try synonyms
  2. Have fun with the sound of words like syllable repetition
  3. Tinker with spelling

Start with an idea like:

I want an online store that sells socks that don't match.

From that idea, try to find a domain name by applying the precepts listed above to the main words:

  • socks
  • don't match

Here is a list of synonyms and words of the same lexical field as "socks":

  • foot
  • feet
  • fishnet
  • gaiter
  • hose
  • nylons
  • pantihose
  • pantyhose
  • stocking
  • tights

And here are synonyms for "don't match":

  • unmatched
  • imbalanced
  • disproportionate
  • dissimilar
  • divergent
  • unequal
  • different
  • impaired
  • imperfect

From there, by playing with sound of words, and spelling, you can think of name ideas such as:

DiverGaiter

Pantimperfect

JustFeets

MatchNotSocks

You get the idea :)

When you have a list of possible domain names, it's time to check the availability with companies such as GoDaddy, Moniker or HostGator.

You can use their search features to find out if specific domain names are available.

If the one you want is, leave one or two nights to be sure the name is the right one. Then reserve it!

2. Choosing an eCommerce Platform

There are many eCommerce platforms out there, but you should stick with the most popular and established ones, as they get updated more often, have an active support team and present the most in-depth features.

It includes platforms such as:

Before settling on an eCommerce platform, you want to compare a few.

Take a look at their features and packages available, as well as how much those packages cost.

Choose a platform that offers a smooth navigation experience and one that allows you to expand as your online store grows. 

Also, choose a platform that offers any additional features you might use. This includes being able to incorporate third-party apps, and SEO friendly features.

Let's not forget to mention they should take care of hosting and make it easy for you to accept payments from customers. 

3. Setting Up Payments

When setting up your online store, think about what payment gateway you will use.

The top payment gateways include:

  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • Payline
  • 2Checkout
  • WorldPay
  • Authorize.net

You want to choose a payment gateway that is compatible with the eCommerce platform you choose. They usually are integrated into the eCommerce platforms.

Furthermore, they should allow you to accept payments of all types, including credit cards, electronic checks, debit cards, and so forth.

Besides that, check the fees that the payment gateways charge because you want to choose one that has low costs. 

Choose a payment processor that allows you to accept Bitcoin as a payment.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general are increasingly becoming a popular form of payment. By taking this as a form of payment, you'll be gaining an edge on your competitors

Launching Your Online Store 

Now is the time to start your online store. When you have everything all set up, it's time to begin.

With that said, you want to do the following: 

1. Pre-Launch Activities

There are several pre-launch activities you should do, with one of them being SEO.

Implement SEO for your site, but also create a separate blog as an extension of your website.

Publish SEO-enriched articles on your blog posts and link back to your leading site regularly. Eventually, your blog posts could rank in the search results for related search terms for your store. 

Create a waiting list.

Mention to anyone you know or speak to that you're about to launch an online store. Put them on a waiting list and then notify them on the day your store goes live.

Another thing you need to do is content marketing.

Create content that is relevant to your online site and then market that content via different avenues, which includes social media, blogs, and so forth.

Social media marketing is another pre-launch activity you want to do.

Choose 3-4 social media sites and start trying to build an audience on them. Consider paying to advertise on them. Running ads is one of the easiest and fastest ways to generate traffic to an online store. 

Video marketing should be part of your pre-launch strategy. Create several videos about your soon-to-be store and its products to generate buzz for your store.

2. Things You Should Get Ready For

If your launch is wildly successful, then be prepared to receive many questions about your store, products, and so forth.

One thing you can do is create a FAQ page, as this should reduce the number of inquiries you get on launch day.

Nonetheless, it's still a good idea to be prepared to answer questions. 

Email sequencing is another thing to be ready for.

Figure out who you will email and when you email, and how frequently you will email. Email sequencing, when done correctly, can be a potent tool.

3. What To Do On Launch Day

Finally, on launch day, you should keep an eye on things.

Try to be around for the majority of the day because anything can happen or something can go wrong. If you're keeping an eye on things, then you can fix issues quickly.

Also, on launch day, you want to measure results.

You want to confirm how many people visit your site and the number conversions. Knowing such things can be of great help in the future because you can use data to tweak your strategy. 

After you have launched, you need to sit back and wait for the sales to come in. It might not take place instantly, but eventually, it will.

Just make sure you continue to market your online store to ensure it is a success. 

Your Online Store Check List

We know that the above is a lot to take in, but it is necessary.

Plus, all of those things will improve your chances of success.

With that said, to summarize the above, you want to:

  1. Create your strategy
  2. Find products
  3. Choose a domain name
  4. Select an eCommerce platform
  5. Determine what payment processor to use
  6. Implement various pre-launch strategies such as SEO and content marketing
  7. Launch your store

That is all there is to it.

Launching an online store may not be as hard as you think it is.

Just keep the above in mind, and you'll be fine. 

It is the time to take action regardless of whether you already have a physical store or you want to open an online store.

The best time to do it is always now.

If you don't launch your online store anytime soon, then you are truly missing out.

mdo
Article by
Brandon Ribak
Brandon is VP of Marketing at Kontactr. He is a serial web entrepreneur. A very family-oriented person, both in private and with his brothers and sisters at our headquarters. He is proof that one can succeed while remaining relaxed.
Share this article
Copyright © 2007-2024 Kontactr Blog. All Right Reserved.