7 Steps to Starting an Online Store from Scratch

Starting a business requires more than brainstorming and generating tons of ideas. What matters is the execution steps, because when you merely have ideas and no real action, things can’t be realized.

In other words, great ideas need a step-by-step execution to make things happen.

Thus, if you have a dream to start an online store from scratch, congratulate yourself, because there is no better time than now. First things first, however, you’d need to turn a “dream” into goals.

What’s a “goal,” actually? It’s a dream with a due date and measurable elements. It means that when you want to start an online store, you’d need to give yourself deadlines on generating startup capital, finding the platform, designing the site, deciding on a business model, sourcing products, promoting the store, and closing a lot of sales.

In this article, we’ll discuss the 7 essential steps to starting an online store from scratch to launching and to making the first few sales.

Step 1: Decide on the startup capital you want to spend.

Most startup founders prefer to spend as little as possible and only raise capital as needed in the future. Most conventional business models, such as traditional retail stores, require you to spend a significant amount of funds for the initial inventory and warehouse rental, in addition to other startup requirements. This, of course, comes with a risk that the merchandise might not be sold entirely.

Step 2: Decide on the business model.

However, if you prefer an almost zero startup capital, the dropshipping business model allows for complete flexibility, as you will only pay for the products with wholesale prices after customers have ordered them. With this model, you can start selling online as soon as possible.

Watch a video on “what’s dropshipping?” here.

Step 3: Decide on the business name, purchase a domain name, and create a logo for branding.

Find a strong and catchy business name, which can be easily remembered and pronounced. There are many ways to generate a business name, including by using an online business name generator. Once you’ve found the name, purchase a domain name, and create an eye-catching logo for branding.

Step 4: Get a WordPress site or sign up for a turnkey e-commerce platform.

You have the choice to use WordPress and an e-commerce plugin like Woocommerce or sign up for a turnkey e-commerce platform that’s dropshipping ready like Shopify and its official automated dropshipping management app Oberlo.

Step 5: Design the e-commerce store.

Both WordPress and Shopify come with many free and paid e-commerce templates to choose from. Awwwards has many examples of e-commerce best designs from around the world for inspiration. The rules of thumb are: less is more and simplicity rocks.

Step 6: Source products.

Sourcing products can take a lot of time as locating reputable suppliers require more than browsing around; it needs reference checks and ordering samples before purchasing the first few batches. However, if you choose to sign up with Shopify, you can install a dropshipping management app, which comes with pre-vetted sourcing capability. It allows you to immediately select dropshipping suppliers‘ products and publish them to the store for quick launching.

Step 7: Promote and start selling.

This is the fun part. Be creative in promoting your drosphipping store. Integrate several online marketing tactics, such as inbound and SEO blogging, Facebook ads, retargeting, cross-selling and upselling, social media marketing, and influencer marketing. Once you’ve mastered this part, you can start seeing an influx of sales.

At last, starting an online store from scratch without spending a fortune is definitely doable. And the whole process might only take a few hours to a few days from inception to execution.

About the Author

Jennifer Xue is an award-winning author, columnist, and serial entrepreneur based in Northern California. She is also a digital strategist for Oberlo. Her byline has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Business.com, Business2Community, Addicted2Success, Good Men Project, Positively Positive, and others. Her blog is JenniferXue.com.


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