The Fundamental Principles of Starting an Online Shop

Opening an online store for your business can save a lot of time for both you and your customers. More and more people are beginning to prefer online shopping these days. Customers’ decision-making process has shifted dramatically over the past few years. They now conduct extensive research on the internet before actually speaking to salespeople. They are more into making direct online purchases through their smartphone instead of stepping into the retail outlets within their locality.

The increasing trend of online shopping has made operations easier for businesses as well. The way people do business has changed these days. Many companies running brick-and-mortar outlets are now starting their online shops.

It is not so difficult for any business to learn how to start an online store. All you need to do is have some basic knowledge about ecommerce. You can now get a complete website up and running for your business without doing any coding or hiring a web developer to do the same. Website builders allow you to drag and drop elements to your site. They make it easy to publish web content and launch your site faster.

Picking the Right Platform for Starting an Online Shop

The first step you need to take to start an online store is to choose the platform or website builder most suited to your needs. There are many options available in the market these days, each offering a different pricing structure and features.

It is better to go with a website builder that offers the maximum number of features you need for starting an online shop at minimum costs. One such platform is called Strikingly.

Strikingly is a platform where millions of users have created a website for their business.

Screenshot of Strikingly landing page showing customer testimonials

Image taken from Strikingly

When you build a website in Strikingly, you’ll be provided with the feature to add a store to it. This is where you can add products to your site. The process is quite simple.

  1. From your Strikingly dashboard, click on ‘Store’.
  2. Then start adding your products by uploading your product photos and writing a brief product description for each.
  3. You’ll also have the option to showcase your products on your site’s landing page.
  4. Click on ‘Add New Section’ from the left column of your site editor, and click on ‘Product Showcase’. This feature is used for displaying some of your best products on your site’s home page to attract customers and make your landing page look more appealing.

Screenshot of Strikingly product showcase feature

Image taken from Strikingly

  1. Set up the price for each product. Make sure you keep a sustainable profit margin for each product. You might want to do some research first and learn how to set the sale price on your online store.

Choosing the Right Product to Sell at Your Online Store

There are multiple factors that determine what you want to sell when you start an online store.

1. Trending Products

Before starting an online shop, you must find out which ones are the latest trending products. Trending products are those that are most in-demand and can thus give you the highest profit margins. If you want your online store to prosper, there is no point in selling products that are not in demand. The image below shows a website selling Keto diet pills that are in high demand these days.

Screenshot of Strikingly user's website selling keto diet pills

Image from Strikingly user’s website

Through research, you will also discover your competitors and the prices they offer for each trending product. This information is crucial for you to make effective marketing decisions. If you are able to make a profit by offering a price that’s low enough to penetrate the market, go ahead.

2. Your Expertise

When you are starting an online shop, you must always go for the field or industry that you are passionate about. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your field of expertise?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Which industry do you have the most exposure in?

It is good to start with the kind of product that you either know a lot about or have a lot of passion for. This will make the marketing process smooth for you. You will be able to put yourself into the shoes of your customers and come up with an effective marketing funnel.

3. Available Resources

When you are starting an online shop and choosing which products to sell, you need to consider the resources that you have at hand. In particular, you need to have access to a supplier to get the products from. This is a must-have if you are offering dropshipping service. If you have your very own manufacturing unit, however, then you won’t be needing a supplier for your final products.

The supplier that you negotiate with needs to be reliable and provide you with good quality products in a timely manner. Working with an unreliable supplier can cause major hiccups in your business and payments.

4. Networking

If you are starting an online store, don’t forget to consider what kind of networking you have. Look around and check up on your professional and personal network. Your close friends, work colleagues, and even family members can sometimes offer great help in starting an online store. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll help you with the financing, but they at least sit down with you and brainstorm different product ideas to sell.

If you can join hands with a group of friends for opening an online store, you can even distribute the tasks among each other to make the process faster. One person can prepare the web content while the other can come up with effective website advertising tips. Someone can also take charge of finding the most suitable supplier. In this way, each one of you would have less burden to deal with.

5. Website Builder

At the end of the day, the quality of your store would depend on the website builder you use. That’s why choosing the right website builder is super important for starting an online shop.

If you choose Strikingly, you will get numerous features in our Free Plan. This plan allows you to set up a simple store, and test the features of adding a product and choose the payment gateways for your site.

If you upgrade to our Pro Plan, you can sell up to 300 products from your online store, and enable your customers to publish product reviews on the site.

Screenshot of Strikingly price packages

Image taken from Strikingly

More Tips for Opening an Online Store

Here are a few more tips that you need to keep in mind before starting an online shop.

1. Learn About SEO

In the presence of so much competition all over the internet, it is absolutely crucial that you at least have some basic know-how of search engine optimization before starting an online shop. There is no point starting an online store when people cannot discover it in the search engines. You need to be wary of your store’s search rankings so that the search engines bump your site to the top of search results.

If you start an online store in Strikingly, you will have access to our built-in analytics from your dashboard. You can also add your Strikingly website to Google Analytics to get a more comprehensive analytics report on your site on a daily basis.

A website that isn't optimized for search engines is like an untitled book on a bookshelf with no one bothering to even look at it. In other words, opening an online store that doesn’t get any visitors is purely a waste of your time and resources.

2. Offer Awesome Customer Service

Good quality customer service will build a good repo of your online store and an overall good image of your brand. If your customers are happy with your service, they will buy from your store again and again, and even refer it to their friends. Starting an online shop is only worth it if you are able to provide good customer service.

If you start an online store in Strikingly, you can create built-in live chat support on your site for your visitors. Live chat support is a very convenient way for your visitors to get in touch with you, whether it’s before, during, or after their purchase. This feature lets you chat your way to more customers.

Screenshot of Strikingly live chat support window

Image taken from Strikingly

3. Upload Quality Product Photos

The quality of your product photography has a great impact on the impression of your online store. Good product photos will attract more customers to your site and potentially cause an increase in your sales. So make sure you upload photo shots with different product angles and put them into suitable categories.

When you start an online store in Strikingly, you can create different product categories to display different kinds of products. This not only makes your store look appealing and neat, but also makes it easier for your customers to search for the specific products that they are looking for on your site.

If you follow all the tips mentioned above, starting an online shop will not only be easy but also a lot of fun. We at Strikingly wish for our users to have fun in building their websites and growing their businesses. With the easy-to-use Strikingly editor, you can literally add any elements to your web pages that you like.

  • You can embed videos and audio to promote your brand.
  • You can upload good-quality product photos and divide them into different product categories.
  • You can check the number of visitors to your online shop by viewing our built-in statistics.
  • You can change the color theme of your website at any time.

It is indeed a great experience to run and manage your website all by yourself. Don’t be left behind in establishing an impressive online presence for your brand. Sign up today!