When people say the word “ecommerce” everybody thinks it’s quite complex thing to get started with or involves a lot of hard work. People think online shopping carts and all sorts of things, but today with modern technology it’s completely the opposite.
You could actually create your brand new online shop working in just 10 minutes (Yep Just 10 minutes!) and start selling.
How to start an online shop and start selling
If you know what you want to sell – that’s all right, but if you are undecided then there are two kinds of stores you can make to start your business – A drop shipping store or an Online store where you have your own products being shipped from your warehouse. A drop shipping store is pretty straightforward and can be easily made in 10 minutes and involves the least amount of work.
A store where you have your own products and ship them is a bit more involved and can take a bit longer like half an hour to build your store. First I will explain the difference between a “drop shipping store business” and a let’s call it “general store” shop.
A Drop Shipping Store Business in 2017
This is where you decide you want to open a shop/store online but don’t want to be bothered about inventory, sourcing and storing products and then physically packaging or shipping them to your buyers. What you really want to do with this method is just open an online shop and list & sell products and once a product is sold then- you just buy that product that you sold in your shop from another seller in china (alibaba/aliexpress) and put in your buyer address and it gets shipped directly to them from china. You obviously would have listed that product at a much higher price to make a commission on the sale.
You need three things to get a drop shipping business started:
1. A shopify store account – ( free trial available now)
2. A Aliexpress account – sign up here free
3. Oberlo – App to make listing products from aliexpress to your store easy (free 30 day trial)
If you have used wordpress or (operated a blog/website like me) you know it’s one of the easiest website building software in the world and you can easily make professional looking websites just by pointing and clicking a few buttons ( my tutorial here) . Well Shopify is the wordpress for building online stores. Shopify is one of the easiest and best service provider to build an “online shop” quickly and easily and they are quite affordable too. Make sure of the free 14 day trial link I have given above and you can check prices on their website from there.
Once you register for their free trial, you will get access to your online shop and you can see that structure of the design makes it easy to do everything to get your store online. You will get familiarized with all the sections as you use the store more and more. To just a list a couple of products and get your store online doing drop shipping should not take you more than 10 minutes.
Aliexpress is an online marketplace from china which list products for sale in hundreds of niches from fashion clothing, gadgets, electronics, kid’s toys, stationery and much more. There are thousands of sellers from china selling their products on Ali express and they deliver from china to your doorstep. If you are doing drop shipping- then you will provide your customers name/address while purchasing (once you get a sale on your own shopify shop).
Oberlo is a paid app that makes it easy for you to add products from your aliexpress account to your online shopify shop. This app makes it easy to add products quickly and easily from aliexpress to your store. Once the app is installed in your store , all you need to do is search for a product (clothing or gadget what’ve) in the app in your store and it will show you the product, details and pics of gthe listing. Now just click import product and it will import the whole product title, description and pictures.
You can choose which pics to keep for your post and then just hit publish and the product is ready on your store to sell and it also shows inventory of how many are still left from the ali express seller account.
If you want – You could do all this manually with your Ali express account, browse Ali express for a product you want to sell, copy and paste product title, details, description and pics etc. and then list it on your store – but the oberlo makes this damn easy and quick. When you have to add many products to your store and you want to save time doing that, this app becomes a blessing.
Trust me with drop shipping it is best to add as many products to your store to get sales. 10 to 20 products on your shop is a good number to start with.
Check out the free Oberlo 30 day trial and pricing over here
Both a drop shipping store and a general niche store when made with shopify, will have shopping carts and all features of an online store as they come pre- installed so you don’t have to worry about all that.
A General Store
For explaining purposes here, I will say A general store is where you will buy products or make products and then store it in your house/ garage or warehouse and then when you get a sale from your shopify shop, then you will manually package and ship the product to your customer country based on how many they ordered and where they want it to be shipped. You will need to keep constantly keep track of your inventory and order more as you need it.
What’s different from drop shipping is that you don’t need to do packaging , not storage space needed , take professional pics for products , no spending time figuring out where it needs to be sent and shipping costs etc. with drop shipping. Most aliexpress sellers offer free shipping for their products to many countries.
Design or Look of your Store
Parallax them by shopify
The design or look of your store is very important and they are some amazing free designs for your online store, just browse the free themes/templates from your store and apply it to see how your store looks. Be warned though changing templates sometimes involves a little more readjusting of logos etc. with every change – your content will always remain in store as it is but will change how it displays with every time you decide to change the look/template in your shop. So choose a good one right at the start and stick to it.
Multipurpose theme by themeforest
They are some awesome paid templates that shopify sells and there are many third party providers also that make good designs for shopify stores. Just browse shopify or then the internet and you will find them.
Design sources for your store
3. Wpzoom themes
Payment Gateways for your Store
Collecting money for your sales is important and shopify has made this seamless, you get your shopify payment processing gateway when you sign up with shopify and so you can accept payments from all over the world. You’re automatically set up to accept all major cards as soon as you create your Shopify store. Shopify tells you if the payment method used or credit card is suspicious or dodgy and sometimes block payments.
If you’re not using Shopify Payments and you want to accept credit cards, you can choose from over 70 ecommerce payment gateways for your Shopify store. Check the list here. Businesses in Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia can accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express debit and credit cards.
You also have the option of adding other payment gateways if you have a particular preference. https://www.2checkout.com/ is another option that some shops use as their payment gateway for processing payments.
How to make sales from your online store
This is where you will know if you can make it or break it. You are the measure of your own success. As with any business it takes time and hard work to make a business successful and that is the truth. If anyone tells you otherwise there are full of sh*t.
When you manage to make sales on your store then you can just keep doing the same thing and scaling and make more sales. Test more, try more new things and make more sales, find out what’s working for others doing the same thing, test try and sell more.
Setting up shop is the easiest thing to start your online shop, the rest of the bits are the hard ones. Like getting sales is hard and this I where you need the hard yakka. Saying that, I know some of my mates who have just started a shop, got the right ads and products on their shop and are doing $100k sales a month within 6 months of starting their store.
So how do you make sales with your store – This is something that you will need to test and see what works with your product. Facebook ads promotion is a must for everyone to try, but people are finding success with INSTAGRAM product promotion via shout outs from people with large following, promotion via Google and Bing ppc ads and some have managed to get sales via pinterest as well. So test out everything, but Facebook ads is a good platform to get sales for your shop, as you can find the right audience for your specific products with Facebook audience insights.
Apparently Facebook video ads also work very well and cost less to advertise right now.
Top Advertising platform for your online store:
1. Facebook ads
2. Instagram shootouts and ads
3. Google PPC advertising
4. Bing PPC advertising
5. Pinterest Advertising
6. Reddit advertising
7. Also Twitter, linked in and other social media platforms can be tested
I would recommend that as soon as you shop is published and online, you set up a business page from your Facebook account with your store URL and start publishing relevant content and your products to your Facebook business page.
Do create an Instagram account for your business and start posting relevant pics and content to your instagram account as well. I would suggest you keep your entire business accounts active by regularly posting stuff or get a tool to automate posting stuff by scheduling post s to your Facebook page/ instagram account etc.
As Facebook and shopify work together – With a Facebook page and store you can integrate your store to your Facebook business page, so that when you add products to your store – it automatically publishes in your Facebook business page as well.
Need i say more? Good luck!