Setting up Shop as an Online Retailer

These days, when you want to go into business for yourself, you really do have a whole host of options available to you. That’s the beauty of the modern world; so much more is accessible to you right now than it ever has been before. So you’re really not closed off from any kind of opportunity. However, with a smorgasbord of options, you may find that you have a lot to choose from – too much in fact. And that can leave you feeling overwhelmed. So, if you are going to set up shop, you might want to start with something broad, like online retail.

The online retail market might seem saturated to you, but there’s always room for more. Especially if you have a specific niche that you can go into. The thing with retail is, that people are often looking for the best product, things they need, things they want, and at the right price — not matter how low or high-priced that may be.

So as long as you can pull together a business plan for a good store with the right products aimed at a market that will be interested, you’ll be on the right track. So let’s take a look at what you might need to consider to make this happen.

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Your Products

So, before you do just about anything else or get ahead of yourself, you’re going to want to decide what products you’re going to sell and in what kind of niche or industry.

What You’re Going To Sell

This is probably going to be the most important part of this entire process, because without deciding on the products you’re going to sell, you can’t do much else! So you need to get thinking about what you should stock. Sometimes, this will be easy. You may already have something in mind, which sparked your idea to start an online store in the first instance. But if you haven’t and you’re open to suggestions, you should think about the profitable products that could work for you.

Who You’re Going To Sell It To

But that’s not all you need to do. Because choosing what you’re going to sell is just half of the battle. You then have to actually make sure that there is a market for the product. And the answer to this section shouldn’t just be yes, you actually have to define your target market and know exactly who you’re going to be selling to.

How You’re Going To Source Them

So now that you’re getting there, you’re going to want to get some of your plans a little more firmed up. Because knowing what you’re going to sell is great in theory, but you have to know that you can make it happen. You should find a supplier that either can be your wholesaler for the products, or supply you the parts that you need to create your products from scratch.

Your Website

Then, you’re going to need to work on the actual store aspect of the business, which in this case will be your website.

The Design

As you start to set up your site, it’s essential that you think about creating the right look. This should ideally fit in with the brand vision you have for your business. That means that your color scheme should be the same as your brand across the board. But you also need to ensure that the design you come up with is easy for your customers to navigate. For this reason, it can be useful to work with a development company.

The Ecommerce Provider

But you also need to make sure that you choose the right ecommerce platform. This is another reason why it can be useful to work with an ecommerce provider, as they can talk you through your options and which may be best for your needs. They’re likely to have worked with many before, so should have some good insights. But you do have to make sure that you pick a provider that you’re going to find easy to use and work with.

A Blog

At this point, you may also want to build a blog on your site. This can be great for your business for SEO reasons. This is something that can fall under your marketing, but as you’ll be pulling together your website design, it can be covered off here too. You need to build a section on your site that will let you to publish blog posts.

Your Marketing

Closely related to setting up your website is working on your marketing. In fact, the last point about your blog, is very interlinked with how you’re going to market your store. So let’s look at what you can do.

The Strategy

Firstly, before you begin to market your business in any way at all, you’re going to want to come up with a suitable strategy. Because every effective kind of promotion will have a purpose. You need to come up with promotional goals and ensure that all of the activity you execute stays in line with achieving those goals.

The Platforms

As part of that strategy, you need to be thinking about the right platforms to work on. Because you will want to have a good social media presence. And to do that, you have to know which platforms will work best for you. To choose, you should be thinking about your audience and where they tend to interact, and you should discover where you need to be.

The Promotions

Then, you need to know exactly what you’re going to do with your marketing. Are you going to advertise or do any PR? What message will you use? How long will each campaign be? What results are you looking to get? It’s essential that you can plan out full promotional campaigns from conception to results.

Your Distribution

You also need to know how you’re going to supply your products. This should factor not only into your business operations as a whole, but into your pricing too.

Where You’ll Store Stock

Okay, so let’s think about something much more practical. So you have the products that you want to sell — or you will do soon. But where are you going to store them? Whether you choose to use a warehousing company or you buy your own building, this is something that needs to be factored into your plan. The outcome of this can often determine your pricing strategy too, based on the overall cost.

How You’ll Get It To The Customer

And how are you planning on getting your products to your customer? You’re an online store, so you know that they can’t just come on in and buy from you then take the products away. Therefore, you have to arrange a delivery option for them. This is going to require you to negotiate a contract with the right deliver company. This too will affect your pricing and what you charge for delivery — as your rates need to be similar to your competitors and others in the industry to be competitive.

Will You Wholesale?

This leads us nicely on to our last distribution-based question, which is about wholesale. Because you’re going to want to consider the option of wholesaling your product. For clothing, places like ASOS or Nordstrom would be a great example of where you could sell. Or, do you just want your items to be available exclusively from you?

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Your Growth

But you shouldn’t just be thinking about the things you need for right now, for getting set up. You also need to be thinking ahead. It’s essential that you can plan in your growth if you want to succeed.

Business Planning

So you’re pulling together this business plan now to get everything off the ground. But it’s not just something you should do once and forget about. Business planning can be the sole thing that pushes your growth forwards. Because when you’re trying to keep things on track, and you’re setting goals to chase, you have a way of holding yourself accountable for accomplishing things. And this can often help you to make sure you do continue to grow.

Growth Strategy

With that last point in mind, it’s going to help you to have a growth strategy. This is something that you could set in place now, so that you know what work you have to do, or once you’ve gotten everything else off of the ground. Either way, it can be the essential ingredient that will make sure the growth actually takes place.

Financial Forecasting

The third and final kind of planning you should consider is financial forecasting. This is something that you will need to do now as part of your business plan, but it will help you to stay motivated to keep thing going too. Numbers aren’t easy to chase unless you have them in mind. You then need to formulate the figures backwards to find out what you need to sell in order to make that happen. Even if you’re not great with numbers, this can be incredibly motivating to help your store grow.