How To Start a Profitable Online Retail Business in 7 Steps
Start A Profitable Online Store At Home
Starting an online retail business has never been easier before in the history of the internet than it is now.
Over a decade ago online retailers have to spend thousands of dollars to hire web developers to build and maintain online retail stores. Small businesses could not afford to have an online store and not too many customers had easy access to the internet then.
But now, businesses and individuals have access to already built online stores with easy editing features, thanks to CMS: Content Management Systems like Shopify, WordPress, Bigcommerce, Joomla, and others where you can kickstart your online retail business with a few dollars.
I’ve been in the online retail business for over 3 years and also mastered web design about the same time, so I’ve acquired some good knowledge about this.
Let’s take a look at the 7 steps anyone can use to Start a profitable online retail business:
Step 1: Finding a Product to Sell
Getting a good product to sell isn’t hard as people think it is. Since there are thousands of good products out there, you might want to avoid spending days looking for an ideal one and just make a choice.
The question here for most people would be, “How will I know a product that will sell?”
When I first started selling products online, I spent days searching for a few good products, after a while I decided to try out 3 different products and I discovered that all of them sold well depending on the time of the year. So I was able to know which one to promote better at a certain period.
To save you the time and energy, here are a few ways to find a good product to sell:
a. Pick products from other stores
View their Top sellers, Top reviews, and products that are out of stock easily. Some e-commerce sites show how many units of a product that have been sold, like “4524 sold”, note products with large unit sales.
b. Choose a unique product niche
Look for a good product people want that the big retailers aren’t selling, some products that are not so easy to find but have a high demand. Like selling shirts is a general niche, when narrowed further: short sleeved shirts, long sleeved shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, turtle neck shirts and more.
Since there are big e-commerce stores that already sells different products (eBay, amazon, Aliexpress, Jumia) that you might not want to compete with, you can choose a particular product and become known for just that product.
c. Affordable and quality products
Choose products people can pay for with less worry. For a start, good quality products that are affordable is a good way to go. People will spend more money on online stores they trust.
So, start with affordable products to get more sales and build people’s trust, then with time you can add other products that cost more.
Step 2: Create a Logo and Business name
Every online store needs a logo and business name. Choosing a business name with an available domain could take you days if you don’t set out an hour or two for it, trying to find a perfect name isn’t the plan here but to start a business.
Just choose something simple and attractive. You can use Shopify free business name generator to come up with hundreds of business name ideas to pick from.
To design a logo for your store, you can use the Shopify free logo maker to create different logo designs till you get one you are satisfied with.
If you have one in mind or maybe want something different, try out fiverr to get an expert design one for you for as low as $5 or $10.
Step 3: Create a Store
You might be thinking;
“How do I go about building an online store?”
Do I need to hire a Web developer to design one?”
How will I upload different products and manage sales on my site?.
The plan here is to build a profitable online store, get it running and make sales in 14 days for next to $0. To achieve that, we need an application which anyone can operate easily that can help achieve this plan fast.
You might want to get your logo, business name, and products ideas ready before activating your 14 days trial period.
Here are the steps to take to create a store:
- Register your Shopify store – Enter your email, password, your store name, and a few other details afterward.
- Choose a theme for your store – Click on customize a theme, where you can try out a few free themes just to get started. Try not to spend more than an hour choosing a theme, just choose one, you can come back later.
- Add your logo & business name. Easily upload your logo and type in your business name.
Step 4: Set up the main pages
Online stores have important pages that help communicate certain information between the seller and the buyer about the product.
Before customers buy a product online, they like to know about the site (if it’s their first time), product details, return policy, shipping and delivery time range and more.
These pages take care of that:
- About us page- For now just make it simple. Write about your audience – inspire trust, a bit about you & your store values, include stores social media accounts or share button, store address and contact details, a few good quality photos. Then after getting sales in a month or two, you’ll have more to say and then make a better about us page.
- Terms of Service – A sample editable TOS will be generated for you by clicking settings – check out – scroll to the end, click generate a sample of Terms of service and edit.
- Privacy & Return Policy – click the generate sample button for Privacy and Return Policy to generate, edit and save.
- Contact us – A page with a form which consumers use to communicate to the seller. To create one, click “pages” – “add a page” – click the “Template suffix” drop down by right and select “page.contact”, then save.
- FAQ – frequently asked questions page is created to answer questions customers would likely want to ask. So try to list a few questions and provide an answer for each. It helps customers to make a decision faster on purchasing any product.
- Shipping & Delivery – You can work out an affordable delivery plan with any local courier service but if you want to use drop shipping to sell Aliexpress products, you can offer free international shipping, a lot of Aliexpress sellers offer free shipping.
To create a page, click “online store” located on the left sidebar, click “Pages”, then click “Add a Page” after it loads.
Step 5: Set payment info and your billing
You’ll need to choose payment gateways through which customers pay for their orders, like PayPal, credit card, bitcoin, cash on delivery, bank payment and more. Go to settings – payments – accept payments and edit them.
Add your billing info by clicking on settings → account → billing information.
Step 6: Add Products
If you are a manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer, fine, you probably already have products to sell. All you have to do is take quality photos of your products and upload them to your online store.
But if this is your first time and you’re with no product yet, that’s okay, you probably have an idea of the product you want to sell from step 1. All you need now are suppliers of the product and there are a few ways go about that:
- Drop shipping is a good way to go, all you need is to get a reliable supplier on big e-commerce companies like Aliexpress, upload their products on your site, whenever you get an order, email the supplier, who will send the product to the customer on your behalf.
- Visit your local market where you can find wholesalers or retailers and negotiate a good price.[/su_list]After finding suppliers, take and upload great photos (3 to 5 at least) of the each product. And START SELLING!
Step 7: Promote your store
I’ll call this the most important step of all, why?
Just creating an online store doesn’t mean people will automatically start visiting your store, there are millions of websites out there and over a thousand of them have a similar product to what you’ll be selling.
All you’ll need to do after launching your online store is to promote, promote and promote. Top product companies spend millions of dollars on promotion – adverts, and sponsorship because it is the source of huge sales.
But you won’t have to spend a dime using for now.
Then Use these 5 platforms to get sales
- Facebook groups
- Pinterest pins
- Reddit Marketing
- OLX – Craigslist and much more
A few tips!
- Don’t waste much time designing your online shop or trying to make it perfect, just set it up, upload products and get it running in 2 to 3 days max. Then later on, after you open your store and start getting sales, you can start making more fine adjustments.
- Free Trust Seals App – Most times people don’t buy from an online store they don’t trust, so you can download Trust Seals App that will display a few security logo at the bottom of your online store to remove customer’s doubt of your authenticity.
- If you intend to use drop shipping with Aliexpress, the suppliers there will ship worldwide, so you might need a currency conversion tool – “Current Localizer app” because visitors will come from every part of the world.