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Starting an online store is not as daunting as it seems. Some may think that there are many steps involved in starting an online store but the truth is all you need is a proper business strategy. Here are 5 simple steps to help you start your first online business:

Conduct market research

Most people often make the mistake of finding a product to sell when they first get started. Instead of asking “what should I sell”, you should ask yourself “what are people looking out for recently?” These are opportunities for you to find a product to address their demands. The best place to get information is to visit online forums such as SgForums, Hardwarezone and many more.

Besides that, you can make use of Google Trends to know what people are searching for recently. This will give you a better understanding of their topic of interest so that you can find or develop a product based on that.

Create your unique selling proposition

After you have decided on your product, the next step is to create a unique selling proposition. Here are some questions to guide you along:

  1. What is the story behind your product?
  2. What are the benefits of your product?
  3. What makes your product different from others?
  4. Why should people buy your product?

Once you come up with your unique selling proposition, you need to ensure that the message is consistent in all your marketing strategies. Keep in mind that you need to put yourself in the shoes of the customers and address their concern “what’s in it for me?”

Find an ecommerce platform

This is the most crucial step as people who land on your website will have 5 seconds to decide if they want to continue exploring your online store. Hence, it is important to have a simple and professional-looking website. It is not recommended to hire a web designer if you are just starting out, as the cost will eat up a huge part of your budget.

Most online business owners prefer to sell on hosted ecommerce platform as it allows you to create a professional storefront at a low cost. Some of the big ecommerce solution providers include Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento and etc.

Shipping and Payment

Besides having a professional storefront, it is important to have a clean checkout page. Cart abandonment results when consumers find out that there’s unexpected shipping cost and long delivery times. Hence, it is important for online business owners to be transparent about the shipping cost during the checkout process.

Providing alternative payment options help to increase sales conversion as customers can choose from the one that they prefer. Online business owners should include a range of secure payment gateways, such as PayPal, Payment Express and WorldPay.

Market your product

There are many ways to increase brand awareness and the cheapest method is to promote on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You need to constantly update news of your product and organize occasional contests or giveaways to attract followers. Posting on social media platforms not only allow you to interact with your customers but you can also get their feedback on your product.

Starting an online store requires gathering initial market research as well as coming up with a business strategy. Once you have done the above 5 steps, you are ready to make your first sale.