Want to Open an Online Store? Here are 5 Things to Consider.
The internet has made it easier than ever to open an online store. In fact, it may be the best time to begin an online business.
Ecommerce is booming, with global ecommerce sales hitting $4.2 trillion in the second quarter of this year alone. It’s no wonder why many people are feeling inspired to start the online business that they’ve been dreaming of.
But just like any other business, opening an online store comes with its own unique challenges. There are several things that you need to consider before you go live.
Here are 5 essential factors that you need to take into account before you open your online business.
5 Things to Consider Before Opening an Online Store
01. Shipping Methods
Before you even start thinking about your website, you need to think about how you will get your products to your customers.
Shipping is a major consideration when it comes to opening an online store. You need to think of the cost of shipping, whether you will ship internationally, the shipping carrier, and more.
The most obvious issue when it comes to shipping is which carrier you will use and what you will pay them. The cost of shipping will vary slightly from the carrier, so you need to consider which one you will work with ahead of time.
You will also need to decide how much your customers will contribute to shipping fees. You need to decide if you will offer free shipping, charge a flat fee, or charge a calculated shipping fee. If you decide to charge your customers for shipping, it’s best practice to offer free shipping at a certain threshold.
The cost of shipping goes beyond simply what you pay the carrier (whether you charge a flat fee, a calculated free, free shipping, etc.) You also need to take into account the shipping materials that you need to purchase, such as boxes, bubble mailers, and any other materials you want to include.
You should also decide whether you plan to ship domestically or internationally. If you plan to ship your goods internationally, make sure you do your research. There is often customs paperwork and tariffs to consider before you commit to shipping abroad.
02. Brand Cohesiveness
Branding matters, especially for online businesses! As you move forward with building your online business, you need to make sure that your branding is cohesive throughout all your platforms.
An online business doesn’t end with your website. It also includes your logo, social media, packaging, email marketing, thank you notes and any other touchpoints that you have with your customers.
You need to make sure that your branding remains consistent throughout all your customer touchpoints. This will help your brand become more recognizable as your business grows!
Another element to consider is your product photography. Because you don’t have a storefront where customers can touch and feel your products, product images are everything to online businesses. You need to make sure that your images not only reflect the quality of your product but your overall brand as well.
The way that your product images are sized, color corrected, or facing is an important factor in brand presence. Make sure that your product photography is consistent across your merchandise to maintain a cohesive brand image.
03. Where to Store Your Inventory
Where to store your inventory is a nitty-gritty detail that is enormously important to online businesses.
If you have a small product, such as candles or earrings, you may be able to get away with storing them in a closet or extra room. But if you have a larger item, like pieces of art or clothing, you may need to invest in warehouse space.
Many leading eCommerce platforms like Shopify offer inventory management services that you can integrate into your portal. At Ouu I Love, we are Shopify partners. This means that if you choose to open your store through Shopify, we can help you create and manage your online brand!
Even if you use an online ecommerce platform, you will need to do some inventory tracking on your own as well. Review your options ahead of time and consider how much room you will need to store and track inventory in advance!
04. Keeping Track of Your Profits
You’ve made your first sale! Now, it’s time to get to the business of keeping track of your profits.
Tracking your profits sounds boring, but it’s actually a great way to understand what strategies are working for your business.
One of the things that tracking your sales will tell you is where your sales are coming from. Are your customers finding your business through Instagram? Are they coming from your email marketing list? These are insights that you can learn from tracking sales and profits.
Sales tracking will also tell you which of your products is most popular. This will help you stock the items your customers love most and develop more products like it.
You can pull sales reports from platforms such as Shopify or Squarespace. You can also install Google analytics to track your store’s performance or hire a digital marketer to track and report back to you.
05. Creating Your Policies
In today’s day in age, it’s important to layout in no uncertain terms how you’re using customers’ information, what your return policy is, and any other important information about how you do business.
Opening an online store has a lot of moving parts, but it’s all worth it to see your work come to life.
If you have any questions about starting an online business, reach out to your favorite creative studio – including us! Send us a DM at @ouuilove for all your online biz questions.