1. Choosing the Products You Will Sell
While your business plan (you do have one right?) probably outlines the general types of products you want to sell, this step entails a much more thorough list of your offerings. You should include the different products, as well as their unique colors, sizes, or other features. In addition to deciding on the types of products, you will also need to decide how they will be manufactured. In general, if you’re not producing your offerings yourself, you will need to get a supplier or find a solution that allows you to distribute through reselling or drop shipping.
2. Building Inventory
If you are just establishing yourself online, you will need to have a decent sized inventory of products. This is true regardless of whether your eCommerce store is your only storefront or if you have a physical location as well. Nothing can make an online business lose money quite like having a surplus of backed up orders. In addition to establishing your inventory, you will need to make decisions about storage. The good news is that even if you do not have the money for a warehouse yourself, many companies will store your items and ship them out as orders come in for an affordable rate.
3. Choosing a Domain Name and Site Location
First, you must choose a hosting site. You also have the option of purchasing a domain name and setting up a site yourself. However, this requires an understanding of technical processes that many business owners may not have. One of the most popular options to use for building an online retail store is Weebly eCommerce. The great thing about Weebly is that it allows you to purchase your own domain name, as well as provide you with the basic tools and instruction that you need to build your website from the ground up.
4. Building the Website
Once the technical parts of the site are set up, you will need to choose an overall design for your website. This includes setting up the theme, headers, product categories, and more. You will also need to organize your products into categories, and decide whether you want to include sections such as About Us or a company blog to attract customers to your site.
5. Setting up the Shopping Cart
Using Weebly to help you with your online retail business, setting up the shopping cart should not be difficult. When you do set up a cart, it is often beneficial to use hosted shopping cart software. When you choose self-hosted software, some potential customers may turn away from your business because they are unsure of the security of your site. This is a big factor to consider when establishing your online retail store — read more about features you should consider here.
6. Launching, Advertising, and Marketing
Once your business has been established, your products are ready for sale, and all the bugs have been worked out of the site, you are ready for the official launch. This is an important day for your business, so be sure to advertise it well using tools like social media. After the launch, you will need to work hard on your marketing and advertising to grow your base of loyal customers.
7. Maintaining the Business
Once everything is up and running, the final step is maintaining your business. This includes taking care of technical aspects, such as working out any bugs on the site. It also includes continuing to manage the company inventory, make decisions about new and discontinued products, and providing customer service that will keep customers coming back for more. Finally, this will require you to market using techniques such as promotions, sales, email newsletters, and more so that your business continues in its success. There are few instances where you can “set-and-forget” so make sure you do everything you can to make the best of a good start.