Building an online store A Simple guide to building your first online store

Choose a Product/s

The idea of an online shop sounds brilliant, and backed by a surge in ecommerce and online shopping it might just be brilliant.

But the first and biggest question is; What do you want to sell?

If you have a physical store and are intending to go online simply to extend reach or to establish online presence of your already existing store, then this question is often simple.

However, if an online store is your starting point then this question might as be a determining factor on the survival of your online store.

Understand that there are hundreds of thousands, or maybe even more, online shops/stores, majority of which no one is buying from. This must tell you that the idea to build an online store is neither new nor obvious.

What do you want to sell? are you going to be selling physical or digital products, or a combination of both? Will these be your own products (Manufacturer) or you acquire and resell them? Will you sell emergency products (Consider shipping time frame)? Are the products time sensitive (Do they expire), e.g. most agricultural products are time and temperature sensitive?, Will the store be selling apparels?

Domain name registration

Build your Online Store

Once your have decided what you will sell, it becomes easier to build your online store. What shopping cart is suitable for your store? Which one perform better in terms of SEO?

Two main things that goes into building your online store is, 1. choosing a shopping cart/platform upon which your online store will be build, and 2. Hosting your online store.

Depending on how much control you want to have over your store, you need to decide which platform will be suitable based on what each offers; which shopping cart is more suitable based on what you consider vital. Bear in mind that at the end of the day your store needs visitors in order to for you to make sales.

More on hosting an ecommerce site below:

Starting at just R189/month

Marketing strategies

How will you market your online store?
Unless you are selling a very rare product, then if you search on Google you will see 1000s of results, all competing for a spot on the first page.

Promoting your online shop is very important, because people will not just stumble upon it, and social media might just be your best friend.
To most companies, a website is one of the many marketing avenues; but to online stores the website is the actual business. It represents the office or building where a physical store or company would operate from.

How will you promote your online store? How will you prevent it from lying dormant on the internet? 100s of millions of people surf the internet on a daily basis, but you need to get them to turn their attention to your store.

Keep your social media pages fresh; update your posts, run promotions, whatever happens have activities on your pages.

Then there’s Search Engine Optimisation, which might just be a lifeline for your online store. This will be covered on the next update.

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