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How to open an online store from scratch

 How to open an online store from scratch: how to create a successful online store in 9 steps, instructions from experts
If you are thinking about opening your own online store from scratch, then you will need a clear algorithm of actions. This article will help you figure out how to open an online store and make it efficient and profitable.
How to open an online store - step by step guide
Such a task as creating an online store from scratch, of course, will require a lot of effort and time. By following the steps step by step , you will be able to achieve your goal by avoiding common mistakes. We offer you detailed instructions on how to open an online store.
Step 1 : Choosing a Niche
How to start opening an online store ? First of all, you need to choose a niche. In search of a suitable idea, an entrepreneur often faces a number of questions. To figure out how to choose the right product for sale in an online store, we will answer the most common of them:
What to sell in an online store? There are several types of goods that have a stable high demand in the market, regardless of the region of sale. It is, as a rule, not a perishable and non-fragile product that lends itself well to transportation and packaging. Which online store to open for a novice entrepreneur? This is a clothing store, cosmetics, auto parts, children's clothing, underwear, bags, jewelry, food, pharmacies, household appliances;
How to choose the right niche for an online store? There are such types of goods, the sale of which in one region will be successful, and in another will only bring losses to the entrepreneur. For example, selling roses in the southern cities of Russia will be difficult, since roses grow there in flower beds right on the streets;
What do you need to open an online store? You will need to choose a niche, write a business plan, create an online store, find suppliers, organize delivery, staff and good advertising.
Step 2 : Drawing up a business plan
To understand how to organize an online store from scratch, you will need a detailed business plan . This stage is needed not only for investors or the bank - it is needed for you.
A business plan should clearly answer the question of what is needed to create an online store and its effective operation.
The business plan should include the following items
  • Presentation of ideas;
  • Description of goods or services, their advantages;
  • Overview and analysis of the sales market;
  • Competition analysis;
  • Financial part;
  • Assessment of possible risks;
  • Summarizing.
Collecting and processing all the necessary information regarding your project will give the most complete picture of the work ahead and how to create your online store. A business plan will help to systematize and streamline further actions and bring you closer to your goal.
Step 3 : Finding a supplier
Before you start developing and opening an online store website, you need to find a suitable supplier.
When choosing, pay attention to the quality of the goods, the price, which should allow your extra charge, as well as the possibility of uninterrupted supply.
Often, the owners of online stores do not "freeze" money in the form of stocks of goods in the warehouse, but buy and ship the right products immediately after the customer has placed his order. This system is called dropshipping.
To work according to this scheme, the buyer must be aware of the delivery time, and you must be confident in your supplier.
Another possible option is the independent production of goods. In the event that you are both a seller and a manufacturer of the products offered, you will need to take into account the production time of a unit of goods and, also, a possible unplanned increase in demand.
Step 4 : Building the site
How to make an online store website ? To do this, you will need to select and register a domain and hosting. The domain name of the site should be as short and memorable as possible, as well as related to the name of the store or product.
This task will require creativity, as each site on the Internet has its own unique domain. It is likely that the name you would like to give your store will be taken.
There are many different domain zones, they differ depending on the purpose of the site and the country of origin. This is necessary for the convenience of the search, so that a person who wants to find information of interest to him receives exactly those links that can satisfy the purpose of his search.
The most common domain zones for creating an online store in Russia are .com and .ru. A domain cannot be owned - in fact, the owner leases it. Domain lease term starts from one year and costs 3-4 dollars per year .
The domain is hosted. Each site contains information that must be stored somewhere and be available to users around the clock.
Hosting owners provide space for the site and support its continuous operation. You can choose any hosting you like in Russia and abroad. The cost of hosting is 2.5 - 4.2 dollars per month .
To create an online store, you can make a website yourself, using special tools. You can also contact a freelance programmer, or a company that provides services for the development and creation of sites.
To do this, you need to state the goal, idea and your idea of ​​\u200b\u200bthe final product. Each of the listed ways to create a website for an online store, we will consider in detail in the next chapter of this article.
Do not forget about the design of your e-commerce site, because according to research, 40% of visitors leave the site if it has an inharmonious design.
Step 5 : Recruitment
Selling goods through an online store, you can manage on your own, but with an increase in the number of orders, you will need assistants.
To keep the site running, you will need to regularly update information, improve your store, add new products, process orders, communicate with customers, organize packaging and delivery, notify customers about order status, and resolve possible problems and confusion with customers.
At the very beginning of work, you can get by with a small staff of an administrator and an employee of the order processing and delivery service. Later, as needed, you can hire couriers, account managers, warehouse workers and other employees.
Step 6 : Delivery Arrangement
How to organize delivery in an online store , at the beginning of activity, with a small number of orders? A small store does not yet need its own courier, but needs a delivery that meets its requirements.
When working around the city, for example, in the case of food delivery, you can arrange delivery with several employees of the taxi service.
Working for an audience of buyers who live in different cities, entrepreneurs often use the services of the usa post or turn to non-state postal organizations.
When the number of orders becomes stable and generates income, there will be a need for one or more couriers with their own vehicle. Also, for the organization of delivery, it will be possible to conclude an agreement with a specialized transport company.
It is good if the client will have the opportunity to choose the method of delivery, in accordance with his needs and budget. Some companies, in addition to delivering goods directly to the house, carry out the transportation of goods to the point of issue, which is located in the city of the buyer. This method is much cheaper and customers are happy to use it.
A service such as free home delivery, in the case of an order for a certain amount, will allow you to increase your profits, and the buyer to enjoy the benefits received. If the order arrives on time and is safe and sound, there is a high probability that the client will buy from you again and recommend your store to their friends and acquaintances.
Step 7 : Promotion and promotion of an online store
Is it worth opening an online store if the buyer cannot find it? In order for the search engine to offer your site as one of the first with the appropriate request, you need to start promoting your online store. There are several reliable ways to do this:
1. Contextual advertising . You can order such advertising from representatives of the search engine. Examples are Yandex and Google. Contextual advertising of search engines works as follows: for example, you sell educational toys for children. In terms of contextual advertising, people who searched for information about children's toys or child development using a search engine will receive a link to your site.
In addition, interested users will meet information about your online store on other sites that have entered into an advertising contract with this search engine.
When buying advertising, you can choose the most convenient payment method for you. This may be payment for showing your link or payment for transitions to the site of your online store;
2. An excellent way of free and effective advertising is the publication of information useful for a potential buyer on your site. Let's give an example with the same educational toys: the owner of an online store creates a special section for publishing information that can be useful for parents.
Interesting articles about the upbringing and development of the child will bring people to your site, and links to the product located in the text of these articles will provide you with an increase in customers. Here it is important to remember that the information offered should be really useful, interesting and relevant to reality;
3. Advertising in social networks . Social networks also offer the possibility of publishing contextual advertising.
The difference from similar advertising using a search engine is that you can specify the age, gender and city of residence of the audience that will see your ad on social network pages. Here you can also choose the option of paying by the number of clicks on your link or by the number of views of this link by the selected target audience.
It must be remembered that advertising will be a constant expense item, the cost of which will be from $ 170 per month.
Step 8 : Taking orders and working with clients
To successfully open a store on the Internet, it is recommended to pay special attention to working with customers. Communication with each of them, assistance in choosing the right product and providing the information they are interested in is what the buyer can give preference to your online store for.
As a rule, one employee is responsible for processing orders and working with customers in a start-up online store. He should have a pleasant voice, attentiveness, the ability to listen, understand and clearly explain his thoughts.
Also, for sales growth, such an employee needs to know the assortment well, the features of each unit of goods and the concept of your store. Often, at first, this work is performed by the owner of the online store himself.
Step 9 : Analysis of the results for the period and optimization of the project
After the first month or quarter of work, you can sum up the intermediate results : check with the business plan, highlight and eliminate the mistakes made.
The debugging of the store will also take place in the process of work, because with experience you will understand what is more convenient and profitable for you.
A generalized view of your project from the outside can even reveal such shortcomings in the operation of an online store that you did not suspect before.
Ways to create a website for an online store
In addition to self-programming a site for an online store, there are three common ways to create it:
  • Website development with the help of a freelancer;
  • Creation of a website with the help of an organization providing such services;
  • Independent creation of a site on a special platform.
In the following chapters, we will explore in detail and consider the features, advantages, and disadvantages of each of these options.
Website development with the help of a freelancer
The main difficulty of this method is finding a good specialist who can create an online store from scratch and on a turnkey basis.
Chances are, before making a final choice, you will have to study a lot of portfolios, testimonials, and websites created by candidates. Chat with dozens of people offering their services.
When the choice is made and you decide to work with a web developer, spend a little more time and contact several owners of sites completed by the previously selected candidate.
These people will be able to provide you with hidden information. Perhaps this person has the peculiarity of not submitting work on time, or does not follow the terms of reference (TOR) in the way the customer wanted.
Where to look for freelancers
  • fl.ru ;
  • freelance.com ;
  • Weblancer.net
  • WorkZilla.com.
Pros and cons of this method of creating an online store
Pros : cheaper - the freelancer does not pay wages and rent; individual approach - a hired web developer has the opportunity to work only on your project and not be distracted by other tasks.
Cons : Search - it will take a certain amount of time and effort to search for a specialist; speed - since one person is working on the project, the speed of creating a site can be significantly reduced; the human factor - family or any other circumstances, can knock the programmer out of the working mode, which will lead to a delay in the delivery of the project.
Creating an online store using a web studio
There are many agencies that professionally develop websites. The creation of online stores is also included in the range of their services. In the staff of such organizations there are several web programmers, web designers and other narrowly focused specialists who will not only speed up the work, but also do it efficiently.
Companies value their reputation, so most likely you will get your site made according to the tasks and on time.
On the Internet, you can easily find the TOP of the best web studios at the moment. These lists represent a wide selection of organizations with different customer ratings, profiles and price segments.
Pros and cons of choosing this method of creating an online store:
How to open an online store for free
You can open an online store without investment , even if you are not a professional designer and web developer.
If you wish, you can find many platforms that allow you to create an online store with your own hands.
The most common of them:
  • wordpress ;
  • Modx ;
  • Oscommerce;
  • Magento
  • opencart ;
  • prestashop .
Creating an online store on WordPress
Online store on Modx
How to open an online store without purchasing goods
  • Receipt of an order;
  • Processing and acceptance of the order;
  • Formation and sending of the order to the supplier;
  • payment to the supplier;
  • Processing and collection of the order by the supplier;
  • Shipment of goods to your warehouse;
  • Delivery of the order to the buyer;
  • Receiving payment from the buyer.
2 types of simplified taxation system
How much does it cost to open an online store
Why an online store is profitable
How to attract customers to an online store
What goods from China are profitable to sell
  • Clothing;
  • Cosmetics and beauty tools;
  • Various types of equipment;
  • Bags;
  • Underwear;
  • Small appliances;
  • Accessories;
  • Bijouterie and jewelry;
  • Household products.
How to choose a supplier for an online store



If you do not know how to make an online store yourself, then this chapter may be useful to you.

WordPress is a robust open source content management system that can help you set up a free online store.

To create an online store website in WordPress, you will need to install the Woocommerce plugin , which was developed specifically for e-commerce.

How to create an online store yourself for free ? To get started, download and install Woocommerce. Activate it. All sections of the plugin are sorted and organized in such a way that you can quickly set up your online store and not miss anything.

Going from tab to tab, you will set up delivery, payment, choose colors and a template for your website design. The plugin allows you to set up mailing addresses, add products and divide them into categories, as well as take into account tax rates when displaying prices. Here you can print out invoices for each of the orders received, there are also corresponding settings for this.

With the help of a subtle system of 28 settings , you can create a beautiful dynamic gallery for the main page of your store.

The plugin provides a wide range of paid and free extensions, for example, an extension to add a quick access menu to all store functions - a very convenient solution for marketplaces with a large number of product items.

Creating an online store on Woocommerce is a way to quickly and efficiently create your own online store for free, while you will have a good understanding of how an online store works. This plugin has been downloaded by more than 5 million users, it is actively used in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and all over the world.

Modx is a content management system that opens up a wide field for technological implementations and experiments. This engine allows you to open an online store for free, execute even the most creative design, and programmers can modify it with their own modules.

Modx provides high speed loading sites. This is very important, given that advanced search engines allow only sites whose download speed does not exceed the limit of 2 seconds to the TOP. The engine allows for internal search engine optimization of the site, is reliable and resistant to virus attacks.

How to open an online store without investments on Modx ? Editing sections and publishing new information on the site, just like in Woocommerce, is simple and understandable for the user. You can independently create and open a profitable online store on Modx without the help of programmers.

Developers are constantly improving Modx, supplementing it with new convenient modules. This system is well suited for beginners who want to open an online store without money.

One of the most favorite schemes for the owners of small online stores to work with suppliers is the implementation of trade without purchasing goods. When working according to this scheme, you will not need to rent a warehouse and invest in the purchase of goods in reserve.

This scheme works as follows:

This scheme may vary, depending on the rules of payment and agreement with the supplier. In the case of prepayment, you receive money, and only after that you send and pay for the order to the supplier.

Also, a drop shipping option is possible , when the supplier sends the goods to the buyer on behalf of your online store. Thus, the circuit will be shorter by one step.

Advantages of working without purchasing goods: lack of a warehouse; lack of investment in the stock; the ability to connect another supplier and quickly expand the range.

Cons of working without purchasing goods: the possibility of lack of goods in the supplier's warehouse; increase in delivery time due to the multi-stage system; supplier errors; the inability to control the quality of the goods sent, in the case of direct delivery.

Online store taxation
As a rule, when opening an online store, entrepreneurs register as an individual entrepreneur . This is due to the fact that in this case it is possible to choose a simplified taxation system ( STS ).

Tax is paid on the amount of income. In this case, the entrepreneur pays 6% of the amount of income for the quarter, regardless of the expenses incurred;
The tax is paid from the difference between income minus expenses. Choosing this type of simplified tax system, the entrepreneur will pay 15% of the amount received as a result of the difference in income for the quarter and expenses for the same period.

None of these types of simplified tax system can be called the most profitable . To decide how to pay taxes to an online store, analyze the profits and losses of your organization.

If significant expenses are planned, then the second option is better for you, but if the expenses are not so high, the first one may be more profitable.

When registering an individual entrepreneur, you will need to indicate OKVED 47.91 - Retail trade by mail or via the Internet information and communication network.

How to make an online store very profitable
To create a profitable business , you need good advertising. Before launching an online store, you need to make sure that it is ready.

Check how the checkout works, the payment system, make sure that there is nothing superfluous on the site.

The name of the store and the information on it should match the concept of your company. Expanding the range, try not to disturb the harmony of the idea of ​​the site. Too diverse products can seriously interfere with the promotion of the site in the search engine. Remember who your target audience is and work for them.

In order to make your online store profitable , use contests and discounts as tools to attract customers. Choose the right gift for the competition.

A good option would be a certificate for the purchase of goods in your store. For the best result, you will need to organize a good advertisement for the competition.

Do not take on too many tasks and functions. It is clear that attracting staff will entail costs in the form of wages to employees, but doing everything yourself, you risk even more losses.

Timely work with the client, fast order processing and delivery, as well as constant work on improving the online store require a lot of time and effort that you may not have. At the same time, the number of orders and your gross profit directly depend on this work.

How to legally accept payments on your website via the Internet
To legally accept payments, you must first be registered with the tax service as an individual entrepreneur or legal entity.

For bookkeeping, each order must be accompanied by an invoice for payment and other primary documentation, which was approved by the tax authority at the time of registration. Without proper documents, the sale will be considered invalid and illegal.

The payment system of your site can work in two ways: receiving payments directly, through an acquiring bank, or through an intermediary to your electronic wallet. Account details must be indicated in payment documents.

The accounting department must receive and enter into the registers all primary documents, submit reports in a timely manner. Also, the timely payment of taxes is an integral part of the implementation of legitimate trading activities on the Internet .

The cost of opening an online store depends on the way you choose to create a website.

If you contact an agency, the cost of creating a site will be from $ 840 and more, it depends on the price segment of the organization and the services you have chosen regarding development.

If you contact a freelancer, then creating a website will cost you about $200-400 and more. It also depends on the tasks and the web developer himself.

There is another, cheaper and faster option for creating a website with the help of a freelancer. A specialist can make a ready-made online store for you with a customized payment system, a shopping cart and other functionality, but filling the site with photos, prices, contact and other information will remain with you.

The cost of such a service is about 50 dollars . For the subsequent filling of your online store with content, you can attract another artist.

Let's not forget about advertising costs. When you launch an online store, they will amount to at least $ 500.

It often happens that the prices of a product in an online store are lower than the prices for the same product in a physical store from the same supplier.

This is due to the fact that the owner of the online store does not pay for the rental of premises for sales, for utilities, and there is also no need to pay for the labor of numerous consultants and administrators.

The online store operates around the clock, and is ready to receive customers at a time and place where it is convenient for them. These factors significantly reduce the cost of goods, and hence its final price.

Today, more and more customers give their preference to shopping through an online store. The convenience of placing an order, the ability to get advice online, low prices and delivery make electronic commercial platforms so attractive to buyers.

Thus, an online store is convenient and profitable , not only for the entrepreneur, but also for the client.

To attract new customers, use all the tools available to you. Hold promotions and contests, make discounts, order contextual advertising. Actively maintaining communities on social networks will help you attract subscribers, and hence new customers.

Work on the reputation of your online store. Resolve conflict situations in favor of customers, unobtrusively motivate customers to leave reviews about your product and online store on the website and in social networks.

The most effective way to attract customers is to promote and promote your site in search engines. If it is easy for potential buyers to find you, then you will definitely notice an increase in orders in your online store.

What products can be sold or how to find your niche in business with China ?

Goods from China are distinguished by a high assortment and low prices. Here you can find any product for subsequent profitable resale in your online store.

Which online store is better to open and what to sell on the Internet? Consider a list of goods from China that are in good demand :

When dealing with China, choose your supplier carefully and place orders with a margin in case of sharp fluctuations in demand and possible supply interruptions.

Where to look for suppliers for an online store ? Look for a supplier in your city and compare prices with large wholesale companies.

Wholesale suppliers, unlike small organizations, will be able to provide you with stable, uninterrupted supplies, as well as timely notification of the absence of goods in stock.

If you cooperate with several organizations supplying a similar product, then you can secure your online store from possible problems with the availability of goods. This solution can help expand your assortment, as well as prevent interruptions in the store in the event of a forced change of one of the suppliers.

Regularly plan the upcoming level of demand, the quantity of goods purchased and the timing of deliveries. This will allow you to quickly establish work with the supplier and put it on stream.

How to open an online clothing store

An online clothing store differs mainly in the specifics of the product. To open a profitable online store from scratch, you need to follow the same steps as when creating any other online store.

Here it is very important to present the goods beautifully . The best way to accomplish this task is to involve two to three models and conduct a photo session with a demonstration of each item from at least two angles.

In the description of clothes on the site, be sure to indicate what material the product is made of, in what colors and sizes it is presented.

Provide customers with the opportunity to try on and reject the product if it does not fit. This is not cost effective, but it will positively affect your reputation, which is an investment in the growth prospects of your online store.

Refuse low-quality goods . Often, entrepreneurs buy lots of cheap clothes that are of low quality material and cut. A low price for a product and a spectacular photo will attract a client, but upon receipt of an order, he will be disappointed and will never buy clothes in your store again.

Moreover, dissatisfied customers can leave negative reviews on the relevant Internet resources. In this case, restoring the reputation will be a difficult, if not impossible, task. At the same time, a client who received a quality product on time and at a nice price will definitely tell his friends and acquaintances about you, and thus attract new customers to your store.

Useful tips for opening an online store
In the course of opening an online store, you will need to make one decision after another. To understand how to open an online store from scratch, check out the following helpful tips:

  1. Don't delay the launch . Careful design, adding a calculator, dialog box, new sections, and other subtleties can take a lot of time and money. Experts do not recommend delaying the launch and suggest starting work with a simple but convenient online store, which will first of all fulfill its function. This is primarily due to the fact that only in the course of work will you be able to understand which additions you need and which do not;
  2. Be sure to include your contact information . The presence of phone numbers, addresses and information about the individual entrepreneur or legal entity will allow customers to have no doubts about the reliability and integrity of your store;
  3. Describe each item in as much detail as possible . The description of the product will not only help the customer understand what exactly he is ordering, but will also add visits to your site. This is due to the search engine offering information on requests for this, or a similar product;
  4. The “reviews” section on your site will play a big role in attracting new customers . Customers who have made a purchase will be able to leave a comment about the site, delivery, service or product quality, and your future customers will be able to read this information and make a purchase decision. Do not forget to respond to negative reviews and eliminate possible shortcomings in the work of the online store;
  5. When breaking down products into categories, do not allow the appearance of overly complex, multi-stage subsections . This only complicates the search and creates unnecessary inconvenience;
  6. Constantly update the information on the site . If a product is out of stock or it is impossible to deliver it, inform site visitors about it using special notes. This is better than calling back and reporting the lack of goods when the order has already been placed;
  7. Allow customers to pay in various ways . The ability to pay online, in cash, by bank transfer upon receipt of an order or cash on delivery, will attract a buyer and significantly increase the number of orders;
  8. Inform customers about shipping costs and other possible costs before the final order is placed. The full total amount payable must be known to the buyer before he decides to make a purchase and submit the order for processing;
  9. The quality of your product photos can play a huge role. Photos should not contain anything superfluous. Only the product itself, presented in high quality and from different angles. To do this, you will need to order professional photography;
  10. Online consultant . As recent studies have shown, the presence of an online consultant on the website of an online store increases sales by 20%. Keep this in mind.

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