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How to create your first online store

Created on:  08.09.2020

How to create an online store? More than one person asks this question. They are not necessarily people who have their own businesses. They can be people who just decide to open it, or what's more, they do not have such plans at all and want to treat the online store as an additional opportunity to earn a few pennies.

In the article below, I will try to introduce you to the entire process of setting up an online store, so that the answer to the question of how to set up an online store is clear and transparent for you. It is worth remembering that the process of setting up an online store is not only about launching a selling platform. 

1. Choose products and find your audience

This is one of the underrated steps when building online stores, especially if you have a profitable brick-and-mortar store. It is important to realize that not all steps we take in the current business will work on the Internet. If you sell cars or machines like forklifts, it would be hard to sell them and send them in an online store. However, it is much better to move all spare parts for this type of equipment online.

First of all, you need to think about the logistic. Think about shipping costs - especially about weight, perishability, fragility, safety Think about weight, perishability, fragility, safety, etc. If you choose forklift to send, it will be almost impossible to send cheap and easy. 

The popularity of your product is also very important. Use tools like Google Ads or Google Trends to check how many competitors you will find on the market. It is important to know the competition before starting a business. Open the best online stores from your industry, check how they work, how they pack their products, check what kind of after-sales service they have. After that, you will be able to find their weaknesses and make use of them. 

2. Think about in-store processes

Before starting the sale, it is extremely important to think through all the processes that you will carry out in your store. If you have a brick-and-mortar online store, you know this is important. The way you will arrange the products, the way you will pack them, how you will serve your customers. You have to think about what discount policy to pursue. All of this has to be transferred, analyzed, and implemented in the online store. No exceptions. I have distinguished some of the most important groups of processes to facilitate your analysis.

Order flow - Think about what the entire purchasing process should look like. From the moment the product is added to the cart. through checkout, ending with order confirmation, be sure to communicate clearly. While in a stationary store someone simply asks, in the case of an online store, they will abandon the shopping cart, or send a message, which will probably discourage further purchases before it is served.

Customer service - The online store is created by customers, just like any business. Customer service is not only about answers to questions. This is one of the many, and sometimes more important, things related to customer relationships. 

Return policy - Provide a clear return policy. It is important to ensure that nothing is forced, you must make the customer aware that there is nothing to be afraid of when placing the order. Tell customers by when they can make the return, how, at whose cost the return is made. The more information you provide, the more trust you will gain from your customers.

Marketing - This is one of the most underrated pieces of the puzzle called the online store. This is often related to the fact that one person is responsible for the online store, who often does not have time for marketing. In the case of marketing, it is about running social media channels, managing the discount policy, preparing seasonal sales, etc.

Integrations - each store has to be integrated with 3rd party software, without exceptions. Even if you don't have an ERP system, you will have marketplaces like Amazon or eBay. if you won't have Amazon or eBay, you will have tools for analyzing the traffic in the store.

3. Choose the best platform

If you already know what you want to sell, you are sailing towards an ocean of software. Just like online stores themselves, there are many tools that you can use to open an online store. So I'm not surprised that a person who wonders how to start an online store is lost.

To ease up this process, let's go through the start pack offer coming from GrandNode Team. To speed up the process of creating an online store, we have prepared a starter pack for novice sellers with all the important services, features that you need to have in your store.

Starter pack for new online stores:
- The latest GrandNode installation made by GrandNode Team
- 3 months of free support via e-mail
- Bundle pack of the most important plugins

Check our offer and reach our sales team to start the creation of your online store.

4. Promote your store

Think about marketing communication. Think where your customers are located, in which channels you should communicate that you have opened an online store. If you sell clothes, go ahead and use Instagram, any fashion blogs. The most important thing is to choose well because if you sell car parts, no one who reads a fashion blog will be interested in them and you will waste your budget.

The best way to increase the popularity of your store:

- engage influencers
- provide branded, high-quality pictures
- provide well-designed, branded transactional e-mails
- be clear and trustworthy
- provide own product descriptions

5. Test, test, and test! Then launch it!

Even if our themes and plugins are tested by the internal team each environment is different, certain scenarios may only be available in your store, you should conduct detailed testing before the final launch of your store.

Create sample orders, return requests, reviews. Add products to the shopping cart, try to log in, log out, change the password. Check the abandoned cart reminders, popups. You should also think about the GDPR. Check data export, account deletion. Check each page that you've created for missing text and spelling errors. The more things you check, the less chance you have to slip up after launching a real store.

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