How to Create an Online Store in 10 Steps

Today, digitalization is not just a necessity but an obligation. Technology has revolutionized the way businesses operate and engage with their customers, and the 2020 pandemic has further accelerated this process. Despite this, many companies have yet to embrace digital technologies in their daily operations.

An online store provides you with the opportunity to reach a global audience, save costs, have more flexibility in your work, analyze customer data, and compete with big companies. However, to achieve all this, you need a solid eCommerce strategy.

The good news is that it is never too late to start. In this article, we will guide you through 10 essential steps to create your own online store.

1- Define your business objectives and strategies

The first step to success in your eCommerce venture is to clearly define your business objectives and strategies. This will allow you to establish a clear vision of what you want to achieve and how you will do it.

  1. Define your objectives in a specific and clear manner, ensuring they are consistent with your company's mission and value proposition. Ask yourself, "What do you want to achieve in the long term? How do your objectives align with your company's vision? How will your online store help you achieve your goals?"
  2. Conduct research to identify your target audience and competitors. This will help you understand the existing opportunities and how you can leverage them to stand out from the competition. This way, you can determine what products and services to sell, what language your website should be in, what currencies to operate with, and which payment and shipping methods are optimal for reaching your audience.
  3. Establish SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) to maintain a clear and measurable direction for your business. For example, "increase online sales by 20% in the next 5 months."
  4. Develop a marketing strategy that aligns with your target audience and business objectives. Identify the most effective marketing channels and establish clear metrics to measure the success of your strategy.
  5. Carefully evaluate the resources and budget you have available to implement your strategy. Adjust your strategy or seek creative solutions if necessary.
  6. Keep your business strategy up to date and relevant by regularly reviewing and adjusting it based on changes in your business and the market.

The success of an online store requires careful planning and a solid strategy, so it is important to dedicate time and resources to develop and continually improve your business approach.

2- Do you already have a business name? Purchase your domain

When selecting a domain name for your online store, it's important to consider the following tips:

  • Choose a name that reflects your business idea.
  • Keep the name short and easy to read.
  • Check that the chosen name doesn't belong to another company to avoid legal issues with another business.
  • If you're having trouble coming up with ideas, you can hire a specialist to help you decide on a business name.
  • Make sure to choose a reliable hosting provider that offers appropriate technical support and online security for your online store.

Great! Now all that's left is to register your business and start operating right away.

3- Define the languages and currencies you will offer

When deciding which languages and currencies to offer in your online store, it's important to consider your target audience and the markets in which you want to operate. If your goal is to reach a global audience, it is recommended to offer multiple languages and currencies to facilitate purchases for customers from different parts of the world.

To determine which languages to offer, you can consider the predominant languages in the countries you want to reach or the languages in which your current customers communicate with you. You can also use market analysis tools and data from your website to determine the languages spoken in the geographic areas where you have the highest number of visitors.

As for currencies, it is advisable to offer the main currencies used in the countries where you have a presence or want to expand your business. It is also important to consider the exchange rate and currency conversion costs to ensure that your prices are fair and competitive in each market.

It is important to note that offering multiple languages and currencies may require additional investment in resources and technology to ensure a satisfactory user experience and proper management of payments and shipping. Therefore, it's important to carefully evaluate the needs and resources of your business before making a decision on the languages and currencies you will offer in your online store.

4- Define Payment Methods and Shipping Methods

Another key aspect when creating an online store is to consider the necessary payment and shipping methods to operate in the countries where you want to sell.

It is important to research the most popular payment methods in each country and offer accessible options for your potential customers. You should also consider the costs and fees associated with the payment methods to ensure they are reasonable and do not discourage customers.

Regarding order fulfillment, you need to consider the entire process of storage, packaging, and shipping of products to customers. Some businesses handle this process themselves, but if you want to outsource it, there are specialized order fulfillment companies that can assist you.

It is essential to research the most popular shipping methods in each country and offer attractive options for your customers. You can consider eco-friendly shipping options such as bicycles or pickup from nearby lockers close to the buyer's address, which not only reduces costs but is also beneficial for the environment. Additionally, it is important to research shipping costs and compare them with those of other online stores.

Lastly, it is necessary to consider the import and export restrictions and regulations of each country where you want to sell. Make sure to comply with all legal norms and requirements to avoid customs issues and ensure a satisfactory shopping experience for your customers.

5- Define the products and services to offer

The selection of products and services to offer in your online store is a crucial step for the success of your business. Offering quality products not only improves the customer experience but also builds trust in your brand.

There are different categories of products you can offer in your online store. Some of them include:

Physical Products

Physical products are tangible items that are delivered to the buyer and can be physically handled. These products require manufacturing and logistics processes to reach the buyer. Additionally, their storage and distribution require physical space, which can generate additional costs for the companies that produce and sell them. Examples of physical products include clothing, everyday consumer goods, furniture, toys, books, tools, among others.

Virtual Products

These are intangible or multimedia elements that can be sold and distributed online repeatedly without the need to replenish inventory. These products are not physically delivered to the buyer but are accessed online or through an online platform. Examples can include online courses, website memberships, among others. Usually, these products are hosted in the cloud and can be accessed from any device with an internet connection without the need for downloading.

Downloadable Products

These are products that can be directly downloaded to the buyer's device and can be used offline. Some common examples of this type of products are software programs, e-books, movies or videos, and video games, among others.

Combos

Combos are packages of products (physical, virtual, or downloadable) that are sold together at a reduced price compared to purchasing them separately.

Taking into account these different categories, you can define a product offering that fits the needs of your target audience and is profitable for your business.

6- Define the website content

The content of your online store can make a significant difference in the customer experience and the success of your business. To create an effective strategy, it is recommended to consider the following tips:

  • Plan the website structure in a clear and coherent manner so that users can navigate easily and find the products they are looking for.
  • Include high-quality product photos from different angles to showcase all the product details.
  • Use clear, persuasive, and compelling copy to engage customers. It's important to highlight the benefits of the product, address any questions customers may have, and create a sense of urgency to motivate purchases.
  • Maintain an appropriate number of pages to prevent customers from feeling overwhelmed or lost.

Here are some essential pages that should be included in your online store:

  1. Homepage: This is the visible face of your online store, so it's crucial to make it attractive and easy to navigate. Ensure that general information about your business is clear and easily visible, and use this page to highlight products, special promotions, and any other relevant information.
  2. Category Pages: The category page helps organize your products in a clear and structured manner. It's important to have precise and well-defined categories so that users can easily find what they are looking for.
  3. Product Pages: Make sure each product page includes a clear and detailed description of the product, including important features, sizes, colors, prices, and multiple high-quality images. It's also helpful to include reviews and feedback from other customers who have purchased the product to assist customers in making informed purchase decisions.
  4. About Us Page: The "About Us" page is an excellent opportunity for customers to learn about the story behind your company and connect with your brand. The information on this page should be clear, concise, and compelling to visitors. Additionally, including photos or videos of the team behind the company or the physical location can add personality to the brand.
  5. Shopping Cart Page: The shopping cart page is essential in an online store as it allows customers to review and edit the products they have added before completing the purchase. Additionally, this page typically displays the total purchase amount, shipping costs, and any additional charges.
  6. Checkout Page: The checkout page should be secure and trustworthy so that customers feel comfortable and safe entering their personal information. Ensure that you use a secure and reliable payment system and include popular payment options such as credit cards, PayPal, etc.
  7. Order Confirmation Page: The order confirmation page is displayed after the user has completed the purchase process and is informed that their order has been registered. This page can provide additional information about the order, such as the order number, total amount, estimated delivery date, among others.
  8. Order Tracking Page: On this page, customers can enter their order tracking number to check its status and location. You can also include details about the estimated delivery time, shipping and delivery information, and any other relevant information for order tracking.
  9. Contact Page: The contact page is essential for customers to be able to reach the online store in case they have any questions or issues with their orders, and it serves as a way to provide better customer service. This page can include information such as the physical address of the store, a contact form, a telephone number, business hours, and social media links where the business can be contacted.
  10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Page: The FAQ page is a useful tool for providing detailed information and clarifying common doubts that users may have. Additionally, it helps reduce the number of inquiries that may reach the customer support team.
  11. Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions Page: These pages are crucial for an online store as they establish the rules and responsibilities for both the business and the users. It's important for the information displayed to be clear and concise, and these pages should be regularly updated to reflect any changes in the store's policies or terms.
  12. Return Policy: The return policy provides information to customers about their rights in case they are not satisfied with their purchase and how they can go about returning a product. A good return policy should be clear and easy for customers to understand, and it should include information about return deadlines, the conditions under which products will be accepted, if there are any return fees or refunds, among other important details.

7- Create a Blog to Accompany Your Store

Creating a blog can be a valuable tool for promoting your products, improving your search engine rankings, and attracting quality traffic to your website.

Build a closer connection with your customers and increase their trust in your brand by following these tips:

  • Ensure that your blog is closely related to your market niche and product line.
  • Use SEO techniques when creating content, such as including keywords, appropriate titles, meta descriptions, and tags.
  • Suggest relevant topics that may interest your customers, such as product-related tips and tricks, brand stories, industry news, and more.
  • Publish articles frequently to keep your customers engaged and committed to the brand.
  • Promote the blog to let customers know it's available.
  • Publish relevant, engaging, and well-written content.
  • Ensure that your blog reflects the image and values of your brand.
  • Encourage interaction with readers regarding your posts.

8- Research eCommerce Platforms

Selling online has become an essential need for many businesses due to the growing consumer interest in online shopping. This has led to an increasing demand for efficient and user-friendly e-commerce platforms.

Currently, there are various options available in the market, each with its own features and functionalities. When choosing your e-commerce platform, it's important to consider the following factors:

  • Evaluate the customization capabilities of the platform so that you can easily tailor it to your needs.
  • Ensure that your platform is easy to set up, manage, and update without requiring advanced technical skills.
  • Analyze whether the platform allows integration with the applications and tools you need.
  • Choose a platform that offers a balance between price and functionality.
  • Research if the platform provides good technical support.

If you want to learn more about the topic, we have written an in-depth article that addresses various aspects to help you choose the right e-commerce platform for your business.

9- Evaluate if You Need an Agency or Can Do It Yourself

A crucial aspect when creating an online store is deciding whether to hire an eCommerce agency. Before making this decision, you should assess your technical knowledge, as well as the time and resources available to you.

If you feel comfortable handling technical aspects, there are many e-commerce platforms that offer user-friendly tools to create and manage your store. If you lack experience or sufficient time, it is advisable to consider hiring a specialized eCommerce agency to design and develop your online store.

  • If you are considering hiring an eCommerce agency, here are some tips to keep in mind before making a decision:
  • Research the agency and ensure that their services align with your business goals and specific needs.
  • Verify the agency's proven experience in developing online stores and any certifications they have obtained.
  • Ensure they have a clear and structured plan for the development, launch, and maintenance of your website.
  • Request a customized quote to understand all the costs involved in the development and maintenance of your website.
  • Make sure the agency provides quality technical support.
  • Discuss your business goals with the agency to ensure that both parties are aligned with your expectations.
  • Choosing the right agency can make a difference between the success and failure of your online store. Therefore, it is essential to take the necessary time to research.

If you still have doubts, we are here to help. Our eCommerce agency will carefully evaluate your needs and business objectives to provide you with the best advice and support regarding the development and maintenance of your website. We take care of all technical aspects so that you can focus on what truly matters: the growth of your business.

10- Launch and Promote Your Online Store

Once you have created your online store, it is important to promote it to reach your target audience and increase sales. Here are some marketing strategies you can use:

  • Email marketing: It is one of the most effective ways to reach your current and potential customers. You can use email marketing automation tools to send personalized emails based on each customer's behavior.
  • Online advertising: Online advertising can help you reach a wider audience and drive traffic to your store. Some well-known tools include Google Ads and Facebook Ads, which allow you to create targeted ads for your specific audience. Before starting online advertising, it is important to have a set budget and a clear action plan.
  • Content marketing: Content marketing involves creating useful and relevant content for your target audience. For example, creating a blog with articles focused on the needs and desires of your customers.
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Use keywords in your product descriptions and create relevant content to improve your search engine rankings.

These are just some of the many marketing strategies you can use to promote your online store. When choosing which tools to work with, it is crucial to understand your target audience to determine which marketing tools and strategies will best suit your needs and business objectives.

Bonus: Ensure Excellent Customer Service

Customer service is key to the success of any business, especially in the online realm where communication with customers is more limited.

Make sure your online store offers excellent customer service to help buyers resolve any issues they may encounter during the purchasing process. Here are some suggestions:

  • Provide multiple communication channels so that customers can easily contact your company. For example, include a live chat feature, a phone number, and/or an email address.
  • Respond promptly and effectively to customer inquiries and issues. This will increase their satisfaction and make them feel valued.
  • Utilizing chatbots to enhance the customer experience is also an effective strategy. Chatbots can provide quick and accurate responses to common queries, offering immediate assistance 24/7. Integrate a chatbot into your platform to streamline communication and deliver exceptional customer service.
  • Personalize the customer experience by understanding their needs and preferences.

By implementing these tips, you can greatly enhance the customer experience and increase satisfaction and loyalty towards your brand.

Conclusion

In this article, we have covered the essential steps to create your own online store. The process of building an online store may seem daunting at first, but it is actually an exciting journey that allows you to bring your products and services to the world.

The eCommerce industry will continue to grow, so it's important for you to be prepared to digitalize your business. Whether you're an entrepreneur or a company without an online presence, we are here to assist you.

At OH, we are your ally in establishing a successful online store. We ensure that your online store meets the needs of your customers and enables you to grow and thrive in the world of eCommerce.

Want to learn more? Don't hesitate to reach out to our team of experts. We offer a FREE consultation where you can speak with our team and find the solution that best suits your online business goals. Contact us today and start your journey in eCommerce!