Do you nurture the idea of starting an online store?
Ever wanted to have your own online business but you do know how to start?
I am putting up these tips to help you with what you should know about Online Store and the benefits.
Starting a great thing mostly come with being anchored with the right knowledge and the other emblems of success. For most people, they do point out DECISION MAKING as the first hallmark of success.
I am not here to dispute that, as that is one the first things that set you unto the path of starting your own project. Viable or not, it always starts with nurturing an IDEA.
An idea could come in wanting to become your own boss. The 8 am to 5 pm job is no longer fun as it used to be plus that enigma, called boss who can be so difficult.
Your family needs you but your job is taking so much from you or just want to create another channel for a possible source of income.
Your reasons for opting for an online business are probably different from what I pointed out but what you can not deny is that making money has always the main motive behind starting a business.
Let us be honest to ourselves, no one finds fulfillment while working for someone. It is like you are being paid to nurture and make another person’s dream come true.
Working like a clock under a private establishment looks fancy. Being a government worker could mean Job’s security. Most importantly, adding a secondary source of income is not bad as it provides you flexible working time.
Remarkably, people are now beginning to join the train of online businesses. In Nigeria, over third of the population understand that starting a business is what is needed to break the shackles of poverty.
It is one thing to understand what the problems are. It is another to know exactly what are to be done.
This article is set to put light on the many questions about online businesses and how to start a successful online store.
This is just a guide to set you on the track. If you can adhere to some of the shared tips and steps in this article. You might find yourself running a successful online store.
What is Online Store?
Let us look it at this way, you have a shop where buyers come to purchase goods or services. On goods or services they purchase, you earn some profits but this time is done online and you send goods to their address after payment.
Online store is an application or website where sellers use to display goods or services. This platform creates a great experience for buyers and with a secured payment gateway.
For most of the time, people do mean online store to mean the same with e-commerce. They are right anyway.
With e-commerce, everything is done online. To start an online store, you will need to build an e-commerce platform where you can retail your goods or offer your services to clients.
It is an activity which involves buying and selling of goods and service over the internet. It is invariably referred to as Electronic Commerce or Internet Commerce.
Drop Shopping Or Your Own Goods?
If you are still reading this, you probably have given it much thought. The time is now to start that online business you have always wanted to do.
Selling online sets up another stream of income for you. You do not even need to own the goods or a warehouse.
If you own your own product, fine but drop shipping works well in any part of the country you are. You just need to find time to do proper findings of what might work for you.
What then is dropshipping? If you look up on google for what is drop shipping, you will come across several meanings. No matter how much the author tries to construct his or her own version of meaning, they all mean the same.
My own version of drop shipping is when a customer visits your site, browses through the different categories or featured products, adds the product to his cart, places order upon using your payment gateway. It is now on you to contact the seller to order the product and then send to the customers’ addresses.
You are the intermediary between the wholesaler and the buyer, so you deserve to make profits. If the wholesale sells at $4, you can put it up at $8 but I will advise you state a reasonable price to avoid losing customers on the long run or met with low demands.
It is less stressful to ship directly to the customers but it exposes you. If you want to build a brand, you need to repack the goods and send to the customers.
No one should see you purchase the goods off jumia or Amazon. Not my choice though, if you are looking to get some items at a cheaper price. Aliexpress remains the biggest place where you can get quality stuff at a very cheap price.
Most products on aliexpress come from China, the Chinese have been knowing for their cheap products. It is unfair to say the Chinese sell inferior goods.
Moreover, over 68% of electronics are made or configured in China. The acclaimed quality iPhone mostly put together in China and so are our other gadgets. If you can use your electronics for years with no problem, then you can trust them with other products.
If you are a producer, you can combine selling your own products and drop shipping. Although there are good numbers of people who sell just one product on their e-commerce website but adding other products open up additional income to you.
Why You Should Start Your Own Online Store
Choosing to start your own online store means you get to save a lot of money.
If you go for drop shipping, you are only a channel by which buyers procure goods. You don’t spend your own money to get the goods to the buyers except if you run it on PAY ON DELIVERY.
Even if it is Pay On Delivery, your expenses will still be covered, just that payment has to be on hold until you make good your promises.
Selling your own products? Either way, it is a win-win for you. No need to be committed to finding a physical store except you want to expand.
If you are not running on large scale production, you can have them kept at one corner of your room or anywhere safe until there is an order for them.
No need to have it displayed in the local market or in the shop. The online store takes care of that. All you just need is a beautiful image of your products and good write up to seduce the customers.
Images are great but what can be greater than the description? Play with words in a beautiful, make your content captivating yet precise.
A good salesman must know how to employ some of the tactics needed to be successful. Meanwhile, always make sure it is quality goods or services you are offering.
One bad apple is all it takes to spoil the bunch, you don’t want your reputation to be stained before you get a chance to build your own brand.
No Need For Warehousing
Why stocking goods that you may not sell or that can get damaged in the warehouse?
Do you know how much producers lose when they are low demand for perishable goods? With drop shipping, you can avoid most of the associated risks.
Easy to set up
Setting up a blog is easy but there are more you can do to make your site come even as good as Jumia.
Looking for inspiration on how to set up your own online store? Check out the best online stores in Nigeria
You can make use of woocommerce to build a quality e-commerce store where buyers and retailers come to purchase goods. We have Shopify as well but not free.
If you are looking to start up your online store with minimal capital, using woocommerce should set you up with no fee aside from the cost of a domain name, hosting and some other security tools for your site.
Access To a Bigger Audience
Every year, the number of people that use the internet continues to grow and we can expect that to continue.
Everyone wants to be connected online, it has impacted on business and makes the deal less stressful. There are now dedicated payment systems to help your business. It is automatic and secured.
People from all over the world can visit your site, search for items that may interest them, order goods, and make payment.
You don’t even need to run a physical store before your products are out of stock.
I have seen people with shops and still run online store. Why? It is because the internet goes where one can not be.
I can be in the USA while a client from South Africa will need my expertise or goods. The world is changing, so don’t be left out.
If you are running your business in your environment or local stores, you are going to have needs for invoice, documentation and other things.
Having online store rules that out, the invoice is sent as PDF to emails and sometimes can be reprinted on the e-commerce store. This helps to keep things simple and organized.
Better for the buyers as well if he intends to keep the invoice for future references.
Flexibility And Accessibility
Having your business online gives you access to manage your store anytime and any day. More freedom and better control of your online presence.
Customers or clients can contact you when they need to since the internet and your e-commerce platform is all that is needed.
Reduced Marketing Cost
No need to print bills or make banners for your products. There are lots of email marketing tools you can use to boost your sales.
MailChimp allows you to have not more than 2000 subscribers for free. This can go a long way in improving your sales and as well get you in touch with prospective customers. To get more subscribers when you MailChimp, you might need to upgrade your account.
Complete Guide On How To Build An Online Store Platform
Your job is halfway done if you are already into blogging. For those, with no formal experience, I will still try to do justice to that.
You can create a blog in less than 20 minutes. It could be more if this is not your first time but a complete guide on how to create a blog will go a long way in putting you through.
There is no way we will talk about creating an online store without making mention of blog creation.
Follow this guide and you are halfway in learning how to create a blog.
Decide on the niche & Domain name
The first step is to create an identity. Hey, before you do that. Make sure you have put so much thought.
Once you have your domain name up & running, there is no going back unless you want to start all over again.
Define your niche. Do you want to be a jack of all trades or concentrate on one single item? If you are selling a single product, says hair products then you do not need an identity that talks about other products aside hair’s.
Your domain name could be tomhaircare.com, sounds cool? Of course, it is. Short and very descriptive. Anyone coming to your site will already be informed of what they are getting.
You are not in for a single product, you want to go more than just selling hair improvement products, adds clothing and other products. Then you might need to think of a name that suits all. You could even tweak your own name.
You are creating a brand, you want a domain name that will easily be immersed.
No need to rush this, give it a thought before going to the next phase. Once a domain name is registered, there is no going back. It remains yours until your subscription expires.
Woocommerce or Shopify?
This is not the easiest decision to make especially if you are running on a low budget.
Shopify it is for me if you can handle their fee. With Shopify, you can pay as low as $29 monthly fee which gives you access to lots of tools to make your online store a success.
Access to clean and beautiful themes that make your store endearing to people. By paying the fee, you have a free pass to a wide range of support including software & hardware.
If you are in doubt, you can take advantage of the 14 days free trial. No need to enter your credit card before enjoying this. It is just a way to introduce you to what you might be missing out if you choose not to go with them.
Then, we have woocommerce which is the most used tool for creating an online store. A plugin which allows other plugins to work on its platform, which boosts the quality of the online store site.
With woocommerce, you have build up restricted pages for your staffs only, memberships and embed several payment gateways like Shopify.
Woocommerce is a perfect software if you don’t have enough fund but it will be on you to manage all your security needs as well as the speed, unlike Shopify.
Such should not be a problem though. Even if you do not have experience with that, you can employ an expert to help you with that.
Purchase A Domain Name
Do you know what a domain name is?
A domain name is your identity and address that users use you to connect to your pages.
If you are familiar with internet then explaining it should not be a problem. Over 60% of the world population use Facebook. When you type facebook.com in your browser.
You are connecting to the pages using the address, which is facebook.com and we have .edu for tertiary institutions.
You will need to buy a domain from reputable domain dealers on their sites and you need their address. We have www.namecheap.com which has always been my favourite then www.domainking.ng another domain registrar for Nigerians.
Before I forget, let me introduce you to different domain level in the domain naming system.
We have TLD, TLD means Top Level Domain. You must have come across several extensions. We have .com after facebook, an example of a TLD
ccTLD, is the two letters reserved for each country in the world. .us, .ng, .uk, .za, .in are examples of Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD).
We also have Second Level Domain (SLD), which is the name before the dot(.). For example, this blog name is www.gistfocus.com, gistfocus is SLD while .com is TLD.
Lastly, there is a Generic Top Level Domain (gTLD), a domain name extension which has no stance with any country in the world.
It has suffixes that can easily point out the idea behind a site or blog. For example, anyone going for .com means it is is for commercial purpose.
.net is ordinarily used for networking but people no longer take such into consideration, it now serves many.
.org is coined out from organization and is mostly used by organization and charity.
.net, .com, .net no longer follows patterns, it now serves any niches. We now have people using .net for tech sites. It now depends on choice since there is no statutory law guiding against which level domains one must buy and for what purposes.
Having explained a bit about assigned domain levels, you can now proceed to buy your domain.
There are lots of domain name registrars but I will suggest Namecheap and Bluehost. Their services and uptime are almost 100%.
For those in Nigeria, NameCheap works well for me and with about 98% uptime. Sounds good? I know and it is very cheap. Good for a blogger who is starting.
Customer care not 24/7 like Namecheap and Bluehost but you expect them to get back to you as soon as possible. You will always get them from 6 am till 6 pm each day.
Get a Hosting Plan
Namecheap has lots of juicy plan, go to the site to purchase your plan. On Bluehost, you get a free domain when you purchase a hosting plan.
Most time, having a domain always come first but there is nothing wrong in purchasing a hosting plan first.
There are some companies that offer a free domain for hosting plans bought from them.
If this is your first time and you are having a problem with setting it up. Contact customer care for guide, they will guide you through the WordPress installation.
Nevertheless, installing WordPress is very easy. You will be given username and a password (can be changed when you are ready) by the hosting company.
Slot in the username and password on the host user panel. When the page appears, look around for “Install WordPress” and click on it.
The “install WordPress” should be under softaculous apps installer”.
Woocommerce is an open source for online stores. It runs on WordPress.
Since this is the most used for online store, I will suggest we stick with the popular e-commerce plugin, “woocommerce” plus it is free, unlike Shopify.
Installing woocommerce is same as installing any of the plugins you have now.
Go to your Add plugins > search for “Woocommerce” > Install Plugin > Activate.
After activating woo-commerce, a wizard will pop up to help you take care of things with no need to assign it to professionals.
You can always create as many pages you want. Setting up online store with e-commerce is easy if you had formal experiences with blog creation.
If not, follow up this article https://www.shivarweb.com/wordpress-ecommerce-setup/ for step to step on how to create online stores using e-commerce