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Start an Online Store: A Quick-Step Guide

As more and more people flock online by the minute, small business entrepreneurs are turning to eCommerce as a way to boost their sales. Having an online store may look like an easy ticket to online riches, but many business owners realize that setting up your own online store is vastly different to what others expect. Getting an online shopping cart, relying on your neophyte digital skills, and the costs of designing, marketing and running your online store are just a few of the factors you need to consider.

Before scouring the Web for an eCommerce solution for your business, take a look at this simple guide to help you in planning your much-anticipated online venture.

Finding an Online Store Builder

Building an online store from scratch can be a daunting task, and if not carefully and strategically planned, can become a minefield of unwanted expenses and additional work hours for a small business owner.

It’s easy to get excited about the idea of starting an online store. But many small business owners fail to realize that building an online store may entail additional costs and labor on their part. Billions of people surf the net every day, but it still doesn’t guarantee that your store will be the first thing they see when they shop online.

The best solution for an online store

A common hurdle business owners face is deciding whether to outsource their stores to eCommerce solution vendors or to build their own bespoke online store. While each option has their own advantages and disadvantages, small business owners who have grown to become leaders in this area are firm with their choice—and first-timers should follow suit.

Most online store owners recommend neophytes to first look at the many existing shopping cart solutions in the Web before considering reinventing the wheel and building their own pricey, custom-made online store. Start an online store, which comes with the basic functionalities. Free services often come with online store templates to choose from, product listing, social media integration, blog, a shopping cart, and more. Online store owners can simply start with a free service and upgrade to paid and premium features once you have established your online store.

In finding out the right shopping cart solution, visit five online stores of your choice and compare the features of each. Narrow down your search to two or three vendors that offer the services that will best fit your store requirements. Take note of how these vendors present their benefits, how they talk to you and how they respond to your queries, as well as how they address your concerns and apprehensions.

Five takeaways for starting your online store

Many startup entrepreneurs are banking on the idea that they can launch their online stores at no cost. While there are indeed eCommerce solutions in the market that can initially set-up your store free of charge, your online business will eventually accumulate charges as it grows. As customers flock to your store, you will need to expand your product catalog for a minimum fee. You will eventually get tired of looking at your standard storefront and purchase a customizable template. You will introduce a better and more secure payment gateway for your growing online transactions.

But while you are still planning to start your online store, here are some tips you may want to consider:

  1. Do your research well. Make sure that you will always get what you need.
  2. Shop in your favorite online store. Take note of their pros and cons and make this your benchmark.
  3. Start a marketing plan for your online store. Think about how you can get customers to visit your site.
  4. The “free shipping” promotion often works for most online business owners. You may want to consider applying this on your store as well.
  5. Your website design speaks for your business as a whole. Make sure your online store looks smart and appropriate.