How to Successfully Run an Online Retail Store

Last updated
March 1, 2021
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Read time
9 min

As we have already discussed in our previous articles, the role of your website is critical to your business. This is an incomparable platform that opens up new horizons for your brand, bringing about new marketing and economic opportunities. Thus if you are not romanticizing your brand and becoming a sound competitor is something you are looking for, then having a website is a must.

But let’s be frank, you may have a super attractive website and tattoo your name in people’s memories, but that’s not what keeps you ahead of the competition, allowing your business to survive. What actually does is money, not gold digger things, just simple economics. And remind me please what brings you money? Yes, SALES! Let’s say it again, SALES!

The role that your website can play in your business as a customer magnet is incredible. It actually has a symbiotic relationship with your brand and may become your favorite sales assistant. Yes, there are many reasons why you should use your website to boost your business, and of course, there are also several incredible techniques to accomplish that. But what we haven’t discussed yet is using your website as an immediate transaction zone where your visitors can spend money.

The huge potential that e-commerce holds is incredible, and if you are a smart business owner, you simply can’t take it for granted. However, to start an e-commerce business, you should be ready to work hard and have a well-defined roadmap. But don’t stress out; we are here to help.

In this article, we brought together the most important steps that will eventually lead to setting up a successful online store for your business.

Table of Contents

Choose a Product

First things first, if you are planning to launch an e-commerce business, you should choose what you are going to sell. Your product is your main character in this game, and choosing it should go through 2 simple steps:

1. Finding a Product

As mentioned before, the first step is to identify what products your business wants to sell. Is it going to be a wholesale product or something direct-to-consumer/retail? I am not going to lie; this can be quite challenging. But again, don’t stress out. Fortunately, you are in the place at the right time. Below we have pointed out seven smart strategies on how you can find a product to sell:

Solve a customer pain point

Your customer’s pain point can become the strength of your business. For instance, I am pretty sure that before the existence of Uber, millions of people at least once wondered how awesome it would be if something similar existed that internalized the inconvenience of the traditional way of catching a taxi. And VOILA! It suddenly exists. Thus while choosing a product, you can identify a pain point your customers may have and offer a SOLUTION.

Target hobbyists

When people are passionate about something and have a specific hobby, they are more enthusiastic about spending money to obtain a particular product they want. To evaluate the potential of your product conquering the market, people’s willingness to pay is an extremely important qualifier. So, targeting passionate hobbyists can be a very useful technique.

Follow your passion

Choosing a product based on your personal interests may entail several risks. However, if you are knowledgeable about the ways of positioning and creating a particular product or a product line can lead you to success. Remember that building a business requires a lot of hard work. So, staying motivated is the key to keep going. What else can motivate you more than your own passion?

Below you can find several examples of how people could successfully turn their passions into e-commerce businesses:

2. Evaluating your Idea

The second stage is the evaluation of your product. Once you have used one of the above strategies and have chosen your product, you should now understand whether it will sell. Below you can find a couple of steps that are critical in this evaluation process:

Identify the potential of your demand

There are several tools and platforms that can help you shape some understanding of your potential product’s demand size. For instance, the Google Keyword Planner Tool allows you to determine the number of people who are searching for keywords related to your idea on a monthly basis.

Identify your competitors

It is always better to know your competitors in advance. Being familiar with your competitive landscape before launching your business will save you from potential shocks and surprises.

Identify whether it’s a trend, a fad, or a growing market

It is vital to know your market’s direction. Believe me, spending a lot of time, resources, and effort on a declining market is something you definitely don’t need.

Identify whether your product is locally available

If what you offer is something that people can obtain locally, most probably, they will not buy it online.

Identify your customers

Who are your target customers? Where do they live? Imagine you launch your business and find out that reaching those who are interested in spending money on your product is a geographically challenging task. It will be extremely disappointing, right? Then you should answer these questions beforehand: Who is your target audience, and where does it come from?

Identify your potential markup

Your markup is basically your profit, and having approximate calculations of your markup is crucial. This also entails identifying your selling price. Keep in mind that it should be an amount which can bring you enough profit but also won’t push away your potential customers.

Obtaining your product

After boiling down to a specific product idea, you should figure out where and how you’re going to acquire it. Are you going to manufacture it or buy from other wholesale producers?

It’s Time to Act

Research your competitive landscape

Once you have gone through the above-discussed stages and have finally chosen your product, you need to research your competitive landscape. This will help you understand the market, predict its potential challenges and, of course, find ways to stand out. Remember that conducting a SWOT analysis and identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and potential threats plays a critical role in this process. Just take a look at our competitive analysis guide and go to conquer the market!

Write a business plan

Your business plan is your number one roadmap that brings your thoughts together. Having a business plan will allow you to understand what you should prioritize and how you can obtain new customers.

Name your brand and create a logo

Choosing a name for your business and creating an attractive visual representation is yet another challenge to overcome. But congrats, you found the right people here! Contact us, and we will provide you with our best expertise to make your brand as much appealing as it is possible, but before that, take a look at the articles below:

How to choose the best domain and hosting for your website

Graphic Design Trends for 2021: Our Top 7 Most Inspiring Picks

Build your store

Now, when you went through all these critical steps, it’s time to build your store finally. We have already discussed how important a high-quality and attractive visual representation of your brand is. Your visuals accompanied by a memorable and convenient user experience will help you build high-converting product pages. Check these links out for inspiration, and remember that our experts are here to help.

Shipping

Shipping is one of the main things that every e-commerce business has to deal with. So, if you are planning to launch an online store, you should have a well-defined shipping strategy, and the following 3 points play a crucial role in it:

– Identify your shipping rates and methods: Are you going to charge your customers for shipping the product, or will you absorb some of the cost? What channels are you going to use to ship your products to your customers?

– Weigh your product: Weighing your product will allow you to get a better sense of your total costs.

– Choose your packaging: What kind of packaging better fits your product, and how are you going to source it?

Define your performance indicators

A performance indicator is a quantitative tool for measuring the performance of your business relative to a certain goal. For instance, if you aim to increase your site’s traffic by 40% in the next six months, then, in this case, a relative performance indicator would be the specification of those traffic sources that bring more visitors to your website. Shopping cart abandonment rate and conversion rate are yet other types of performance indicators.

Online Marketing

If you have reached this final phase, then congratulations, you’re ready to launch your online store! But don’t get too excited yet. The challenging stage of marketing your products begins. Here is the last and most satisfying step where you obtain customers.
What else can boost your online store better if not digital marketing with its well-defined strategies? Click on the links below to find out several high-performing online marketing strategies that will help you to drive traffic and convert that traffic into sales:

How to drive more traffic to your site: SEO vs PPC

The importance of your website to your Online Marketing Strategy

Final Thoughts

The future of e-commerce is exceptionally bright, and its potential should never be taken for granted. However, although while building your own e-commerce business is fascinating news, it requires an enormous amount of hard work and dedication. Otherwise, you will get lost among the grid of your competitors.

In this article, we provided you with a quick catchup guide of the main techniques and strategies that will lead your business to success and bring you a fluffy market share. THINK, ACT and MARKET. These are the three main things you should do before starting a business, and building an e-store is not an exception. YES, it’s time-consuming and requires a lot of effort. But you can do it! But wait – before you go – are you having some doubts and still not sure if you want to take the risk and enter the market? Contact us, and our team will come up with the best solutions for your business 😉

General FAQ

How to Successfully Run an Online Retail Store?

  1. Choose a Product
  2. Evaluate your idea
  3. Research your competitive landscape
  4. Write a business plan
  5. Name your brand and create a logo
  6. Build your store
  7. Set up shipping
  8. Define your performance indicators
  9. Create an online marketing strategy

What makes an online store successful?

A combination of finding the right product niche, a website with good visuals and convenient user experience along with a solid marketing strategy and a pinch of luck! Easy, right? While building your own e-commerce business is fascinating news, it requires an enormous amount of hard work and dedication. Otherwise, you will get lost among the grid of your competitors.

How much does an ecommerce website cost?

This is a very vague question – similar to asking how much a car costs. It varies by a significant amount right? It depends on many factors, such as: the scale of the website, the amount of traffic, how quickly you need it, which platform it needs to be on, how much emphasis will be put on the design and the type of marketing strategy to name a few examples. So, to give a super vague answer: somewhere between £2,000 – £200,000, and even more in some cases!

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About Passionate

Passionate is a full service digital agency specializing in providing design, development, marketing and hosting solutions for startups, SMEs and brick & mortar stores.

At Passionate we pride ourselves on our meticulous attention to detail, speed of delivery and the genuine advice we provide throughout the process! Thanks to the broad set of expertise of our senior experts we are able to plan and work on multiple aspects of your project simultaneously optimizing the overall timeline and cost. 

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How much revenue can your website generate?

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