How To Start An Online Store Just From Home

drop shipping business - be your own boss selling products online. E-Commerce online shop owner.

Working from home and being your own boss away from the stressful office and the grumpy boss!

That’s probably something that many of you have ever wished at least once in life! I hear you! Because it was my own story and a trigger to start working from home with my online based business.

Whether you want to be your own boss or just look to earn extra on the side while your day job is still upheld, there’re plenty of ways to start your own home based business – Among many online business types that you might consider, e-commerce business can be one most profitable online business model that you can do from home.

It’s especially made easier than ever before as to launch your own online store and run it from the comfort of home, thanks to lots of easy online store building platforms in market that helps anyone create their online shop with a few clicks away. in the recent few years, there’re quite many that have been developed and they are giving a great aid to people like you who’re seeking to start out a home based e-commerce business.

Being your own boss and starting working from the comfort of your home can be set in a matter of minutes with those e-commerce platforms. Literally anyone without experience can try it out and roll in after a while although there may be some learning curves at the beginning.

So I’m here today to back you for your exciting kick start. We’re going to learn about how to start an online store from home, plus on a budget!

Stay tuned and hold tight! We’re taking it away right below!

How To Start An Online Store Just From Home

online shop business worked from home, how dropshipping business benefits you

The following guide will walk you through the must-do process before the grand open of your online shop. Make sure for reading up all the steps so that you will get ready and everything will be in place for your smooth start!

1. Find a Niche (Or shortlist into few candidates first)

How To Start An Online Store Just From Home

To start an online store, finding a niche is the very first step you should start from.

I assume most of you would easily get overwhelmed at this part. I hear you! Because I was exactly the one of the crowd getting lost in finding a good niche at my beginning!

It’s actually a tough part though, you can actually make it a little easier at this step if you keep in mind these ultimate rules.

Your decision to the niche should contain either one of these, or excellently all the conditions matched.

  • Something you’re passionate about or know the best of – Think of it. Expertise is the one that makes you stand out among the mediocre! Not sell products only, sell your expertise as well! Your customers will highly value it!
  • Profitable or high market-demanded products that sell great – It can be either trendy products or ever-green ones that always sell good. Think wisely and choose what leads you for a long run!
  • Competition at a moderate level; Too low in competition means the market demand might be too low just equally so you’d hardly sell. Too highly competitive market(products) means your shop would easily get buried into millions of the alike on the other hand.

Actually which are the best niches in e-commerce business is really widely talked over the internet. Carry out some careful researches, you will find one before too long, that you love to deal with!

2. Market Research

How To Start An Online Store Just From Home

Not optional, but an essential process you have to walk through. This stage may contain a lot of similar or overlapped parts to the process of “the #1 Find a Niche” and it’s able to be combined or re-arranged accordingly.

As many know, the basic purpose of market research is to figure out what products are sold, demanded, popular, trendy or who buy your products. It’s a process in which you’re previewing the overall market potential of your specified niche items before the launch so that you can reduce the risk of a failure and pinpoint the best item you’re going to roll in with.

Wait, it may sound just too broad to come into play. No worries, I know you will be surprised when you see it’s actually very easy like just few clicks away! You will comprehensively figure out what items are selling good, what keywords are most searched for online shopping, regional demands/popularity and the entire data about consumer needs and market demands,

By those following free tools: 

  • Google Keyword Planner – Great indication for the consumer needs by analyzing the search volumes of all the keywords related to your niche and products.
  • Google Trends – Insight for ongoing trends regionally, internationally analyzed by search terms used by users on Google.
  • Think With Google – One stop platform for marketing insights, consumer trends and industry researches.
  • Facebook Advertising – World biggest advertising platform along with Google Adwords and Adsense. It has the richest consumer data categorized by demography, geography, interests, education, shopping behavior and more. It has highly detailed and dominant market data.
  • Facebook Groups – Browsing through Facebook groups on targeted products can be a great reference. The more audience in a particular niche means the more popular the niche may be.
  • Statista – Statistical database provided by market research, opinion study institutions. The platform consists over 1.5 million statistics on over 80,000 different topics.
  • Link Research Tools – Handy keyword research chrome browser extension that informs the volume of searched keywords on various search engines and its competition rates.

The above tools are such easy-to-use tools. Once you get familiar with them, you would find it simple to use, but fairly powerful.

The key points you should know when it comes to E-commerce market research, the market demand and competitions are the two things that may determine either hard or smooth your business would be driven.

3. Product Sourcing

How To Start An Online Store Just From Home

You’ve already reached the half way! Keep it up it’s almost there!

Well, if you’re done deciding on your niche you’re dedicated to, and the initial market research on your products, then the next step you should proceed is setting up your product sourcing strategies.

I bet this part is kind of overwhelming to every new beginner with no prior experience. I was the same like probably the most of newcomers suffer at this stage. However one thing I’d like to clarify is technically, the procedure of sourcing itself isn’t so tough. It would even become much easier once you get the hang of it. That said, the toughest part even for the professionals is  “how to source QUALITY products with ECONOMY prices”. It is the real matter indeed.

There’re several ways of product sourcing methods that you should make up your mind on before starting your online store:

Such As:

  • Online wholesale marketplaces like Alibaba or GlobalSources.com
  • Online wholesale directories
  • Social media wholesale marketplaces, communities or online forums
  • Warehouses, factory outlets, clearance sale sites in your local area
  • Flea markets, dent stores and anywhere you can get cheap stuffs with potentially high value (to leave margins)
  • Drop Shipping (Beginner friendly)

The most general and traditional method to source products is dealing with wholesalers, usually purchasing large quantities for the benefit of wholesale prices and transactions at a grand scale which necessarily requires a huge inventory or storage as a result.

If it sells good, indeed, it’s a promising way to make an awesome profit. But otherwise it’s risky when it doesn’t sell stably. Very likely to find the inventory getting dusty and just letting them take up the space for nothing.

Reselling always contains some risks. That’s a fact that everyone involved in the business has to admit. But over the recent years, there’s been a new type of product sourcing method, generally known as “Drop Shipping“, recently gaining lots of popularity among e-commerce sellers,

Drop Shipping method came out and being widely loved in the online merchandise world for the recent few years while people’s attempts to figure out a way to minimize the risks of unsold products. In Drop Shipping product sourcing model, it dramatically reduces the burden of inventory, almost the minimal to none of stocks needed in place and on your hand. Instead it’s more like you as a re-seller pay and buy goods only when it’s ordered by your customers. The drop shippers ship out the ordered products directly from their location to the end customers of yours without transferring through you.

Although it has its own pros and cons, it’s probably the most beginner friendly product sourcing model that doesn’t require a high capital for preparing an inventory in the first place. Plus a convenient and risk-free way for re-sellers since product packaging and shipping are just done by their drop shippers. (Drop Shippers: suppliers who support for drop shipping.)

As other popular types of product sourcing, flea markets and clearance sale are also loved ways by lots of re-sellers who enjoy their treasure hunting  since there’re lots of undiscovered hidden gems with amazingly higher values than what’re in the price tags for the time.

4. Create your domain

How To Start An Online Store Just From Home

As the next step, it’s the time to prepare for launching your online store a little more technically. What would be the first thing you should do as to open a website? Yes right, it’s to create a domain.

Don’t take this process lightly! Making a domain as for launching your online business is crucially important. It’s because domain name is the name of your business and the business sign that represents what you do to your future customers. Thus naming it should take some time carefully.

The below are what you have to consider when creating your domain.

  • Easy to remember – Most of successful businesses have a very simple and catchy domain/brand name like Facebook.com or Apple.com.
  • Business Indication – It’s good to indicate what you do/what you sell/ what you specialize in.
  • SEO Benefit – If your domain name contains the keywords you’re dealing with in your business, then your site would rank higher for the specific keyword.
  • Domain Extension – Just in my personal view, “.com” is the safest to go with while hundreds of different domain extensions are available in service. It turned out that domain extension does not affect SEO & search ranking results or other technical parts though, “.com” is the most general extension type that people are familiar with.
    If using a way too unique or quirky extension, like “.it” , “.nebi” or “.xyz” then it could be really hard for your site visitors to remember. Then? Losing your potential buyers!

5. Set up a store

How To Start An Online Store Just From Home

Being prepared with all the prior process, one significant step left is choosing what e-commerce platform you will build your online store in.

Obviously, it hasn’t been any easier than now to build your own online store with some several great beginner friendly e-commerce store builders that came out not too long ago. The best examples are “Shopify”, “Big Commerce” and “Woo Commerce”(Word Press based).

Such easy drag and drop style e-commerce site builders are platforms, entirely dedicated to supporting e-commerce stores by providing re-seller web hosting, site building tools without needing coding or headache programming jobs, shopping cart function, credit card & electronic payment processing system integration and other all necessary features required to build to run an online shop in your business, which is most recommendable way to go for beginners and non tech-savvy people.

Especially, Shopify has strong support for drop shipping businesses. It enables that drop shipping business owners import a limitless number of products from Aliexpress into their shop and start selling without holding an inventory with the help of their astonishing app called “Oberlo”.

6. Store settings

How To Start An Online Store Just From Home

Almost done, it’s just around the corner to kick start your online store! Now, just one single step left is setting the store.

  • Website Design – To customize the look of the site. If using an e-commerce store platform like Shopify, it can be easily done with the drag & drop site builder with free templates and all necessary resources for a professional looking online store.
  • About Page & Contact Info –  Company or shop owner/site information is CRUCIALLY important. It’s about gaining credibility from shoppers. Nobody wants to buy anything from the unknown or suspect. Try as clear, honest, transparent as the best on it.
  • Terms of Service & Privacy/Shipping Policy – Terms of Service, especially Shipping and Return Policy are to have to be clearly set in order to avoid future conflict with customers.
  • Credit Card & Paypal (or/and other online payment solutions) Integration – To get ready to be paid! The wider payment options it accepts, the higher conversion will be made. It’s anyway no harm at all in availing as many payment options in use as it can.
  • Uploading Products to Showcase – To boast your awesome products to shoppers and start off your online sales! It’s an exciting process for every newbie shop owner! But keep a little bit cool and take special care on uploading your items. Write catchy BUT clear descriptions, use attractive BUT clear and detailed product images! So you won’t dissatisfy customers with misleading information.

The below are the basic things you have to prepare before starting an online store. For the rest, you can keep it on constant improvement over time.

So it’s done finally and you can give it a go with your online store now! Starting out!

7. Branding, Marketing, Advertising

How To Start An Online Store Just From Home

Everything is set now. And what next? Yeah finally! It’s to start out selling! Oh wait… Look! Would you think, once you open your shop, shoppers just find your store and come pick up your stuff while you’re just sitting there?

I’m sorry, sadly it’s not so likely.. Especially when it comes to starting a NEW shop. It needs time and your hard work in the beginning. You have to get up and put yourself out there letting people know of the presence of your new online store and what you sell!

To make the first sale, it would be tough. Patience needed and it could be long to wait to see your stuff gets sold for the first time. It’s just how it goes for the most of newbie sellers. Indeed, the beginning is always hard for everyone. YET, once you get your first sale, it’d become easier for the next sell. And then even more easier to make  following sales on and on.

Just remember, no many customers promptly make a purchase decision just at their first visit. They also need time to get used to and familiar with your brand. Trust grows while they constantly learn about your shop and visit again and again. Then once they buy one from you finally and they feel good with your products, chances grow that the one re-visit your shop and make a following purchase on your things.

Indeed, that’s about how it works to make a first-visit customer a repeat customer. Not to mention, such regular customers you achieve is a priceless value when you consider their CLV. It’s the key of success in e-commerce business.

Then How do you promote (advertise) your online store?

how to promote an online store, how to market your products through social media

It should go branding rather than just wanting to get sales right from the beginning. Just focus on spreading awareness of your brand and store. Don’t rush, just take time and go slowly, but surely.

It’s really lots of ways to promote your online store and your products, such as:

  • Social Media

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest are great social platforms where you can brand, promote, and advertise your products. Social media channels are insanely great for building your niche-focused fan base that is loyal for your brand. Plus it will get you constant traffic to your shop.

If your products are women friendly or visually appealing, then trying Pinterest might give you a stunning result too since Pinterest has highest conversion rates (into purchases) as well as numerous volume of traffic you might be able to attract out of the millions of users worldwide that use Pinterest.

All the social sites have their sponsored paid advertising. You can capitalize on it for a quick pull of instant traffic if you don’t mind a little more aggressive marketing and your budget meets it.

  • Youtube Video Marketing

Youtube is the second biggest search engine in the world just after Google. So it’s just natural that you can expect a lot of traffic from Youtube and impressive impact for your brand growth as well!

Lots of online shop owners love Youtube marketing. They create their channel and produce review videos of their products. As a matter of fact, video product reviews have long been a proven way for sales and video marketing has the highest conversion rate among all other marketing channels.

  • E-Bay, Amazon, Google Shopping Integration

It’s a very smart way to leverage your business in multiple sales funnels. The more sales channels means the more sales you will possibly win!

Not being satisfied with selling only from your online store, but consistently grind out to expand beyond it! Like listing your products on online marketplaces like E-bay, Amazon or Wish.com. E-bay and Amazon are actually no need to explain further about. They are already globally giant retailers where millions of active shoppers are shopping every month. It’s hugely recommended that you implement to sell on Ebay/Amazon along with your online shop.

If you use Shopify, you will get so much helped by the platform for integrating major retail marketplaces including E-Bay and Amazon, by using an online marketplaces integration app from Shopify App store.

  • Keywords Ads

Google Adwords and Bing Ads are the best examples of this. These keyword advertising platforms help rank on the first pages on Google or Yahoo & Bing, such major search engines and they follow on a Pay Per Click basis. That means whenever a visitor visit your site through the keyword ads on the search engines, you as an advertiser are supposed to pay. The prices per click is flexible and changeable due to its bidding based charge system on its ads, meaning more competition on certain keywords, the prices of them are to increase. So it needs to always check out its competition rates and prices on the keyword you want to be advertised.

  • Online Forums

Using online forums is a way, well-known for how to get traffic to a website. And this plays an important role in any e-commerce businesses as well.

Find your niche-related forums where there’re a number of potential buyers hanging. Engage and interact yourself with related forum members, sometimes help them for what they are searching, they are stuck in, they are in need of. They will recognize the value of you and want to touch with you closer. Not only try advertising your products to them, but rather, try to help them so they will appreciate you and need you more on what they are passionate about. (within or relating to your niche area)

When you meet their satisfaction, appreciation, excitement, affection on you, they will no hesitate visiting your site or online store through the hyperlinks you put on your forum signature.

This is for sure one of most loved way by many site owners for getting a lot of traffic online.

  • Local Classified Ad Sites

Everyone knows “Craigslist” or “Gumtree” and more, such major local classified advertisements are a great way to sell stuff.

Like mentioned previously on E-bay, Amazon integration section, there’s no harm at all in trying to expand your sales funnels. Just get as many channels to sell as manageable!

If you haven’t used Craigslist or Gumtree earlier, I know you’d be really surprised when you find out how easy you can sell stuff from those major classified ad places with millions of monthly traffic and high conversion!!

  • Blogging

You know what? Google loves web blogs more than anything else. You know why? It’s because blogs are websites that more tend to update keyword-rich and fresh contents regularly. Google loves to rank them higher than other types of websites and this is why famous websites and companies and brands have a blog section on their websites in order to strengthen their online presence and get more traffic!

It goes the same when you have your own blog linking to or integrated with your e-commerce store. You will really see a dramatic improvement on your online traffic, also the excellent enhancement of the overall conversion and business revenue since traffic coming through blogs has really crazily high conversion rates!!

If I were you, I, just right away, go make my own blog and promote my featured products there in more animatedly lively and vivid tone of product presentation! As a result, I would be able to double or triple the online traffic and sales.

  • Guest Blogging

Already have got a blog, working hard promoting the products on your online store but are suffering low traffic to your blog site because your blog is just a brand new with a weak following? Then no worries, it doesn’t mean the end of your life and the business, but there’s still a room for improving the situation, favorably.

What’s that? “Guest Blogging”.

Guest blogging is a popular method for getting little extra traffic to breathtakingly giant volume of traffic to your blog or online store, try to publish your great contents on others’ blogs that are already established and have a large following.

In this way, it’s like you borrow their traffic and large audience through your published contents on their blogs and some of them are redirected to your destination pages (your blog or shop) by clicking on hyperlinks put on in the contents you write.

It can be really an excellent way to getting a lot of traffic to your online store by writing articles, guides, reviews, tutorials related to what you sell and publishing them on established blogs with large level of an audience.

To distinguish if a site is worth guest-blogging, you can use “Alexa Traffic Rank” that ranks all the websites in the globe based on daily traffic. So find high-ranking blogs that accept guest blogging. But take this into account: the blogs and their audiences you write for must be somewhere highly related to what you sell! (niche)

  • Influencer Marketing

It’s no doubt that online influencers have unbelievable viral power in digital marketing and their capabilities to driving your brand awareness to the public is priceless for the long term view of your e-commerce business success.

Then what defines “Online Influencers”, for beginners? What the heck is that?

Generally, online influencers are considered to be ones with a large volume of a following and an audience group based on social media or blogs or any types of web based communities, they have an incredible ability to spreading words to a numerous number of people quickly.

Celebrities, for instance, there’re many TV or Movie stars who are actively promoting themselves through social media these days. And just imagine how powerful every single word they speak on their social channels and how many followers and fans react to it, engage in it.

Online influencers and digital marketers have the same role to this. When they mention about your brand or products you sell, how many sales could potentially be made?

It’s one of the hottest marketing methods recently that many advertisers focus on in their online advertising and promoting.

Here is 15 free influencer marketing tools that help you find influeencers working for your business. Look it up!

  • E-mail Marketing

Nobody underestimates the power of e-mail marketing. It’s powerful too when it comes about running an online store and an e-commerce business.

Not to be just a word, e-mail marketing is said that it helps you get 25% more sales on average, according to researches. Even back in 2014, e-mail marketing did really a great job, responsible for a quarter of all online Black Friday sales across all industries in the U.S.

What’s more, one more reason why this marketing method is so loved by e-commerce store owners is perhaps, it significantly decreases “Cart Abandonment” by following shoppers up with cart abandonment notifications if any does.

While pretty many of decent e-mail marketing tools are around, I assume “Mailchimp” is the most loved one, especially for beginner shop owners for its excellent features, plus getting the most out of its freemium pricing model!

Note: Do not make your emails look like spams or junkies. So I mean don’t spam way too much unless you want to see your subscribers mark you as spam and stay off of you!

It might depend, but I personally guess e-mailing once or twice biweekly would be the moderate rates in terms of marketing efficiency. Find your best interval!

  • Q&A Sites

The best example is “Quora” that everyone might know very well of.

Quora is a good traffic source to your site as well as being a resourceful Q & A community. Q&A… Yes right, look over here! Let’s try to focus on its main nature: “Question And Answer”.

You know what determines whether it’s spam or thankful help(useful info) for people when you’re doing advertising?

It’s simple, people perceive it as spam when they find it non relevant, unsolicited, out of the blue and more like any “unwanted”, “unpleasant” ads or promotions.

Then what about the opposite case? If it’s highly relevant, or demanded information that some people are longing to know about, if it’s a good trouble shooter that saves someone out of trouble? Then what would you guess happens? Hell ya, the people who get help from you, would be feeling so grateful for you letting them know it and more likely to want to engage themselves into your content/info/advertisement in a form of Quora Answer that contains hyperlinks to your homepage or specific product pages!

That way, you will see it gets consistent traffic to your online store and well converting. (from a shopper to a purchaser) Quora has got really huge traffic like millions and millions of people in the world, visiting, I know it will be one good source of traffic to your website when everything done correctly.

Just one thing to keep in mind: Do not make it look like ads or promotions for your products. Rather, just focus on to see what the questioners would like to know about. Carefully think and sense what they are in trouble about. Then you will know what you have to answer.

Approach them in humanity way rather than as being an advertiser. Try to help for their problems in the way as if you treated your loved ones

That way, the conversations will get way more natural, genuine and meaningful which usually leads for A WHOLE LOT MORE engagements than when it just looks like ads or spam that people hate to see.

Of course don’t forget inserting your links, just subtly. You know what I mean? 🙂

  • Affiliate/Referral Marketing

I’m pretty sure this method is one of the most powerful weapon to boost your sales and brand awareness. Because having affiliates that work hard to let more people know about your store has the same effect as you’ve got a bunch of sales men just working for you.

They simply work hard because they earn commission out of affiliate sales. On the other hand, it’s even great for shop owners who run their affiliate program that they earn sales thanks to the hard work of their affiliates. No harm in paying commission to them because it occurs only when they make a sale for you. So it’s kind of “Performance Based Compensation” for which you as a shop owner don’t lose anything.
(In e-commerce industry, shop owners usually pay their affiliates commission around 10% – 20% of the sale prices.)

What’s more, running an affiliate program helps your site gain lots of backlinks from your affiliates while they publish promotional materials online with hyperlinks to your shop, so it can also significantly help your website positioned high on Google or Yahoo or any major search engines in the world!

Above all, this marketing method is a must to implement if you haven’t started yet! Highly recommended!

Conclusion

How To Start An Online Store Just From Home

I still remember how people reacted when I told them I started out my e-commerce business. They were kind of like “Wow! you must’ve spent lots of money! Your website looks awesome and you already got tons of products in your store! Did you purchase all that inventory?! How did you make it all that excellent?!”

Haha I laughed on the inside and said ” No all I spent to set all up ready for the store is $5 domain, $30 monthly subscription for e-commerce store management platform including re-seller hosting server and nothing more! All the inventory showcased is not actually what I own now! I don’t prepurchase them. I just keep my storage empty and order items from my suppliers only when it’s purchased by my customers so I can be risk-free without spending money for stock upfront! Plus it’s no much initial capital needed!”

Yeah that’s it. That’s what I always stress to people who ask me, to start an online store these days is never as challenging or costly as people simply guess in general. It’s rather, something that anyone can do try out without a significant amount of investment, flexibly work from home and make profit on their side, or even as a full time dedicated business that makes a living for them.

About geniusminds 52 Articles
Fanatic with home based works and my own researcher discovering work-from-home job opportunities. Freelance Jobs, Online Businesses, Cash Rewards Sites and Other Income Streams in Home Business are my main sectors I cover about.

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