How to set up a successful online store

Setting up an online cart system is one thing you'll have to figure out when learning How to set up a successful online store ... photo by CC user alphageek on Flickr

There are many ways to set up an ecommerce store and coming up for an idea for success is sometimes easier than you’d think. From handmade goods, to food and second hand stores, thousands of private entrepreneurs have managed to find success online in the last few years.

What’s more, setting up your online shop is a great option if you also have kids, as it will allow you to manage your own schedule and you won’t need to justify your breaks to take care of your little ones!

If you take a look at some of the most inspiring success stories out there, you will soon realise that what you really need is a unique angle: no industry is really saturated, so rather try and reinvent things. The first three questions you will need to find an answer to if you are to learn how to set up a successful online store are the following:

  • What market and industry do you know better and how can you fit within it?
  • What do you think your competitors are lacking?
  • What can you do better than anyone else?

If you have clear answers to all of these questions, then you are starting from a strong position. After that, three strictly economical questions will need to be dealt with:

  • Will you be able to keep good margins on the products you will want to sell?
  • Is productions easily scaleable?
  • Can you delegate easily in case of success?

You will never be 100% sure to succeed before even opening up shop, but if you also have answers to all of the above questions then it will be time to look at the practical side more closely.

So find the platform that works best for your industry: mainstream platforms are not the only option, but sometimes they’ll give you the visibility that you won’t be able to enjoy just through your own website.

Before committing to a platform like Amazon marketplaces, do some maths and bear in mind that you will have to pay a 10-15% commission. Remember that different industries come with different buying habits, so websites like eBay and etsy might suit you depending on the search volume around your product on these platforms.

Following launch, always check all costs involved and try optimise spend where possible: are you choosing the most cost-effective shipping option to for your parcel delivery to the USA? Are you buying your supplies for the best price on the market, or can you find the same quality for less elsewhere? If you are paying for online visibility, do the results justify the budget you’re spending?

As you can see, online businesses are incredibly multifaceted and before launching it is always suggested to have the most comprehensive vision and control over the whole project. If that’s the case, then the sky really is the limit!