Have you ever thought to yourself, “It sure would be nice to earn a little extra money on the side”?
You’re not alone. Many people have looked for ways to earn some extra cash. One of the best strategies for doing this is through an eCommerce business.
Online stores have been steadily gaining in popularity. Of all the money making ideas out there, this is one that requires dedication on your part, but it can be very fulfilling once the orders start rolling in.
You don’t have to merely dream about it. You can make it a reality beginning today.
Starting an online store doesn’t have to be some complicated process. In fact, it can be done quite easily. But if you’ve ever wanted to do it, you’ve likely had questions on how to start and where to go from there.
Luckily, we’re here to help answer your questions and set you off on the right foot. Here’s how to make a business idea of yours a reality through an online store.
1. Find Your Angle
This step of the process can either be extremely easy or require a bit of brainstorming on your part.
Your online store can’t be like others. If it’s too similar, you risk getting lost in the shuffle. There’s a lot of competition out there, and you want to stand out from the crowd.
You need to find an angle that will set you apart from the others. In other words, you need to find a niche that some other online store doesn’t already cover.
That angle might come in the form of the products or services you’re selling, but it doesn’t have to be limited to that.
Your niche might come from your own personality, like a personal story you want to share to the world.
Or it might stem from your prices or other perks.
Much of your online store’s success will come from making a name for yourself. That’s why it’s important not to pick an area where only a few brands dominate.
In such cases, brand loyalty tends to win out. That makes it much more difficult for you to stand out. According to one study, customers are five times more likely to only buy from a brand they’re already loyal to.
You can still create loyal customers, but that requires finding a unique hook for your online store.
If you already have a unique product to sell, great! You’re well on your way!
If you want to start an online store but aren’t sure of the niche you want to target, you can do some market research to see what areas are still untapped.
2. Pick a Name
No online business is complete without a name. That’s how customers will identify you, after all.
Choosing a name can be tough since the possibilities are nearly limitless. There are some tips you can follow as you select the name that’s right for you.
Be original. You already know you can’t pick a name of a business that already exists. That’s a given. But if you pick something close to another store name, that could bring legal trouble your way too. Besides, you don’t want to ride someone else’s coattails.
Pick a name that has meaning. If the name is closely tied to your product or angle, it’ll be easier to remember. If the name contains a personal meaning, that’s great too. It can give your online store more of a personal touch.
Keep it short. A lengthy name is harder to remember and harder to sell. Branding for a long name can become a nightmare. Keep your online store’s name short and easy to pronounce.
Think of the domain. You’re creating an online store. That means you’ll be registering a domain name for your online store’s website. For obvious reasons, you want your domain name and business name to be the same. Check to see if the domain name is available first before ultimately deciding on your business name.
3. Pick Your Products
Some people who want to start an online store aren’t sure what specific products they want to sell. This step is where you develop the product.
If you already have a product in mind for your business, this step is easy. Flesh out the product. Determine the best way to sell it. This could be where you start developing your sales funnel to get people to buy it.
If you’re still not sure of what you want to sell, make sure it’s something you feel passionate about. This may only be one of your side business ideas, but it will still take up some of your time.
You want a product that you can confidently sell to others. You want to sell a product you believe in.
By picking something you have a passion for, you’ll have added motivation to see it succeed. Managing your online store will feel less like work and more like a hobby.
4. Manage Your Products
Once you know what you want to sell, you’ll need to figure out how to manage your products.
That includes deciding if you want to store and ship the products yourself or if you want to go with the dropshipping option.
Dropshipping may sound like an intriguing idea. That’s where you don’t actually store and ship the product. Instead, you buy the product from a third party, and that party is responsible for shipping the product to the customer.
There are a number of advantages to dropshipping. One of the most beneficial is the fact that it means almost anyone can run their own online store.
Dropshipping basically lowers the cost of entry into eCommerce. Have a great product you want to sell but not a lot of capital? Use dropshipping.
It also means you don’t have to worry about where to store your product. You don’t need to rent out a giant warehouse, for example
You also don’t have to pack your products yourself. All of that is handled elsewhere.
Be aware, however, that by putting a third party in charge of such a big responsibility, you do lose some control over it.
If customers aren’t getting their orders, they’re going to think you’re the one to blame. Handling return orders can also get complicated.
For those reasons, if you choose to dropshipping, make sure you use a reputable third party. Pick someone who is easy to communicate with. If you go with the right dropshipper, that can make all the difference.
5. Set Up Your Online Store
We’ve now gotten to the part where you actually build your online store.
When many people get to this step, they often think in terms of building a website. That requires hiring developers and designers while waiting for weeks and even months to get things done.
This is where ClickFunnels can make the process much easier.
Don’t think of setting up your online store as building a website. Think of it like setting up a sales funnel.
Through ClickFunnels, you don’t have to spend time, resources, and money on outside developers. Instead, you build the sales funnel yourself.
It’s all possible even if you have no coding or design experience.
Your goal is to get your product or service into the hands of customers. The sales funnel is designed to do just that.
Customize your funnel specifically to the type of product you’re selling and the type of business you want to run. Pick from hundreds of pre-made designs that have been proven to get results.
Have a motivational course you want people to sign up for? There’s a funnel designed specifically for that. Have a new book you want people to buy? Again, a funnel has been crafted to help sell it.
Everything you would associate as part of a website is made part of the sales funnel. From the shopping cart to autoresponder platforms, it’s all incorporated into the funnel.
If you follow through on building the funnel, you’ll be in business in no time.
6. Business Accounts and Tax Info
Before we tackle this topic, keep in mind that we’re not tax or legal pros. This is one area where you should definitely get some advice from the experts.
Having said that, here are a few things you should keep in mind.
Setting up your online store can be exciting, but there are other details you need to work out in the meantime.
You may think about establishing a separate business entity. That basically means that your online store will operate apart from you.
By setting up a business entity, you avoid personal liability with anything that happens to your store. You also receive protection for your personal assets.
This isn’t something you absolutely need to do from the beginning. You may find it better to wait for your online store to get off the ground first. But it’s something worth looking into.
One thing you do need to do is register your company. That’s usually done with the local government.
By registering, you’ll receive tax identification numbers. You also need to think about sales tax permits.
Even though you’re an online store, you’ll have a physical presence set up somewhere. It could be in your living room, your garage, or even a warehouse. Either way, you have to register for a sales tax permit. All it takes to do that is a visit to the website of the Department of Revenue for your state.
Once that’s done, you may want to consider opening a business bank account. This is done when you expect your online business will grow even further.
Business bank accounts can help you in several ways. They’re useful in tracking expenses and revenue. They also help manage capital for new endeavors like new products or marketing.
A business bank account isn’t needed when you’re first starting out, but they may come in handy in the future.
7. Spread the Word
You’ve got your online store up and running. It’s time to tell people about it.
You have a ton of great ways to spread the word and market your product. You can also get a lot of help with the right sales funnel.
All sorts of companies, both big and small, use social media for marketing. That’s where you’ll find plenty of potential customers.
Talk about your product and tell customers how it will benefit them. Then guide them to the right landing page of your sales funnel.
Outside of social media, you’ll want to set up your online store so it has a high ranking on search engines. This can come down to search engine optimization (SEO). With the right content on your funnel, you’ll see better search results.
You can even market through emails. Emails may seem a bit outdated, but they can still be effective. In fact, research shows that for every dollar spent on email marketing, companies make an average of $44.
Marketing your product is all about spreading the word about your eCommerce business ideas. Get people into your sales funnel, and you’ll experience higher sales numbers.
Make Your Online Store a Reality
Don’t feel intimidated at the prospect of starting an online store. With today’s technology it’s easier than ever.
The best business ideas to make money now simply require the motivation and determination to make it all happen.
By following these tips, you’ll be that much closer to running a successful online business.
Have more questions about online stores and sales funnels? What have been some keys to success that you’ve experienced?
Leave a comment below and let us know!