Have you been thinking of starting an online business? Do you believe you have a winning product that will sell like hotcakes? If you have and you do, then you are probably contemplating setting up an e-commerce store. If so, this is relatively easy, but there are a number of steps you need to take to make sure you have all the bases covered.
To start with, don’t just assume that your idea is a winner. It may be, but you need to do research to make sure there is sufficient demand. For example, let’s assume you are going to sell coolers. How many people are actually searching for coolers online? One way to check this is to use Google’s Keyword Planner – this will tell you how many people are searching for keywords such as “buy coolers in New York,” and will also tell you how many competitors are trying to target that keyword in their online advertising. To get access to this tool, all you need to do is sign up for a free Google Adwords account.
Once you know there is enough demand, the next thing is to find a supplier. A good approach is to find a reputable drop shipper – a company that will take your orders and ship product directly to your customers, so that you don’t have to find storage. However, if you go down this route, you need to be careful – there are lots of good drop shippers as well as a number of scams. You also need to make sure that you can make a profit given what you pay and what you can sell for – don’t just assume that you can sell at list and therefore a 25% discount means a 25% profit on your sales.
Once you have your supplier lined up, then it’s finally time to set up an e-commerce site and make sure that you can take online payments. One easy way of doing this is by going to a web-hosting company such as GoDaddy. Not only can they set up your domain name and provide hosting services, they can also provide simple tools that will allow you to create a complete online shop very quickly – to find out more about GoDaddy and its founder, take a look at Bob Parsons GoDaddy profile. This sort of service will also offer credit card processing – although another easy option to do this is to open a merchant account on PayPal.
Finally, customers won’t magically arrive unless you promote your site. One way of doing this is running online advertising campaigns using Google AdWords, but you will only be able to do so much of this due to the cost. Another free way of promoting your site is by writing good, useful content for it – for example, camping tips if you are selling coolers. This will get you links from other sites and things such as Facebook likes – which will push you up the search rankings over time.