How to run an online store step by step instructions

Jul 09, 2012, by admin

online-store-logoIf you want to remain things simple, you can just list items on your blog or website with prices and shipping costs, and have people pay you through PayPal (or by sending you a check or money order). You can also sell items through eBay, Craigslist, Amazon, and other venues. But if you have a lot of products, this can get cumbersome, and costly. An online store can help “streamline” the process in a variety of ways (saving you time and money). This article will address how you can set up an e-store.


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Easy steps to run an online store

1.Choose what you’re going to sell. This may extremely affect how you go about setting up your store. Here are the main points to think:

Is it a physical product that needs to be shipped, or is it a digital product that can be sent through the Internet?

online-store-iconAre you going to have an record (more than one) of each product, or will they be one-of-a-kind (e.g. artwork, vintage items)?

Are you going to want to sell a wide variety of products, or do you plan to concentrate, like selling just t-shirts or books?

Are you fervent about the product? Your passion for and genuine interest in a particular niche market or product will give you a competitive edge over other sellers – your focus will distinguish your store from others that are more general in their product coverage. By choosing a category that you are fervent about, you will have a greater chance of enjoying the journey of creating and managing an online store, which will need patience and the aptitude to overcome difficulty. In a way, opening an online store around one of your hobbies or interests allows you to move time productively that you would have spent on your hobby anyways.

online-store-icon-12.Test the waters by selling your items on a small scale. In the real world, it’d be astute to try selling your products through other, low-commitment avenues (consignment, flea markets, craft shows, etc.) before taking the force and starting an complete store. The same is true for selling online. Try selling your items independently on eBay, Craigslist, and the like. Here’s what you’ll want to look for:

online-store-templateWho is buying your product? Offer a discount coupon or free gift if they answer a brief survey. Find out where else they shop online.

  How much are they willing to pay? Experiment with different prices.

  How is customer approval? This is a good time to test how well you can get your product to the customer. Are you using good packaging? Is the shipping method consistent? Are they happy with their product? Did you describe it well?

online-store-design3.Consider your options. If you’ve got a big budget, you can hire someone to set up a store for you from scrape. But for the rest of us, there are plenty of services that you can choose from. If your store isn’t specialized, compare any general e-commerce service. There are also services geared towards certain kinds of products:

online-store-bannerGeneral e-commerce services will allow you to setup professional looking online storefronts when you ship your own inventory. Some general eCommerce sites include Flying Cart and Yahoo! Stores.

 Hosted e-commerce solutions. Such services take care about different problems like storefront design, secure payment, hosting, mailing lists, selling statistics, cutomers support. It is the best choice (unlike CMS  for those who don’t like programming stuff. Some examples: Miscake Stores , Volusion , Shopify .

 Affiliate store services such as Amazon eStores or Zilo. Zilo stores allow you to resell products carried by and other merchants by writing reviews of products and focusing on a theme that makes consumers lives easier. Amazon eStores and Zilo stores allow you to get in the game fast, but do not allow you to carry your own physical inventory.

ebayeBay – If you’ve already sold some stuff on eBay, and you’re confident that most of your customer base will find you there, then you can “graduate” to an eBay store to save money on listing fees. Your customers will need to be web-savvy enough to feel at ease using eBay. Note that eBay tends to attract people searching for haggles and one-of-a-kind items (and bargains on one-of-a-kind items).

Notemote – This is an online marketplace where you can post one item or create an complete catalog for free. Just upload some photos, describe the item(s) and price it to sell. It’s free to post goods for months without having to update the listing. When the item sells and is $35 or less, it’s a 5% fee. If the item is $35 or more, the fee is 3%. On top of putting goods up for sale you can embed videos, blog about your products and services and connect to your twitter account directly from the site for free.

    Cafepress – This is a service worth considering if you’re selling mostly t-shirts, and other stuff you can “stamp” with your unique designs (mugs, stickers, buttons). Customers browse your store, order their stuff, and Cafepress processes the order and the items for you. You can start a basic shop for free, and pay a monthly subscription for more features.

   Etsy – This is a popular choice for people who make what they sell. There’s a 20 cent charge for every item listed, and Etsy keeps 3.5% of your sale price if the item is sold. You get paid directly and are in charge for shipping the item. You’re charged fees (depending on what sold) on a monthly basis.

 4.Promote your store. No matter how good your store is, it won’t matter if no one knows it’s there. It’s not a “build it and they will come” kind of thing. Having an easy-to-use store is important, but not as important as marketing, having good products, and providing quality customer service.