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9 Steps to Open an Online Store

Ecommerce has experienced great growth in recent years. Find out how to create an online store that reaches thousands of users.

This article was translated from our Spanish edition.

A virtual store is a website specially designed to sell products or services. Although the Internet presents great opportunities for entrepreneurship, especially due to the low investment cost it requires, it can also be a sea of problems if you do not know how to use it.

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We present you a basic guide to create your own online store :

1. Choose a niche that you are passionate about

Gather information around that special niche and leverage your passion and enthusiasm as a competitive advantage over larger sellers. If you choose the correct category, you will have a better chance of enjoying the process of creating and managing your business, which will require patience and work.

It is important that you do a market study about the products and / or services that are successful on the Internet; not everything is salable through this channel. Another aspect that you must take care of is the price, since Web consumers also use this medium to find promotions and discounts. Set an attractive price for your client and profitable for you.

2. Acquire an online service that provides the infrastructure for your store

Some of the available alternatives are Facebook Store , Conekta , Amazon.com , MercadoLibre and Fliying Cart . Find the one that best suits your business and your products.

Another option is to install your store inside a "gallery" or "shopping center" sharing services with other businesses. Here the equivalent would be a web directory and is used if your store is smaller and the resources too.

Another important point is that you register your domain . It is recommended that, if you are in Mexico, it has the ending .mx.

3. Create inventory and enter your products

Try to be careful with the categories and where you put your products. Studies have shown that consumers are more attracted to products that are at the top of the page, so it's a good idea to place your star products there.

Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and ask yourself why should they buy in my store? Try to make life easier for him, or deliver some other kind of value. Remember that the fewer clicks, the better.

4. Includes shopping cart

It is a software that assists the customer in his "virtual tour" through the store, noting the products he indicates, calculating the final amount and allowing him to return merchandise.

A good "shopping cart" can be decisive when facilitating a sale in a virtual store. The greater the flexibility with which the customer can interact with these modules and the easier it is to use, the greater the satisfaction of buyers.

5. Choose the payment methods

The security and confidentiality policies of customer data and transactions must be clear to everyone (customers and vendors) and of course always be consistent.

It is important that you offer different payment methods, it can be from credit card, debit card or bank deposits. Lean on services such as PayPal , PayU or Mercado Pago .

6. Define your model

There are different ways to manage inventory. Among them is DropShipping, which consists of the supplier making the delivery directly to the buyer, so you would only be a means of purchase. The second is that, once the purchase is made, the supplier supplies you with the merchandise and the Consignment , where you keep the product (either yours or from a supplier) in the warehouse from before making the offer until it is distributed.

7. Promote your store

This is a critical step for success. You must make your site an attractive place, because until now you are the only one who is interested in it. The first step to promote your online store is to add your site address and content to Google, through the search engine's content site .

Then you can consider expanding your content, from reviews of your products, related articles, or any material that serves to attract people to your site and upload your site in the search engine. Although the main thing to promote your online store is a good SEO (search engine optimization) strategy, you can also rely on Google Adwords , advertising banners and social networks.

8. Manage and supervise the store

Now that everything is up and running, don't you want to see the traffic your site attracts and where it comes from? You just have to sign up for Google Analytics .

One aspect that you must take care of is customer service, so it is important that you have telephone lines and emails where they can contact you in case of any questions or delivery.

9. Mode of delivery

In a virtual store it is essential that you deliver the products in a timely manner and that it be delivered at home. You must previously define which areas, regions or countries your delivery covers and how long it takes to reach the final consumer. This point is essential to achieve trust among your buyers.