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How to Start an Online Store

There’s no turning back now that customers have accepted online ordering and purchasing. According to research from Square Future of Commerce, internet sales significantly contribute to income generation in a variety of industries: Retailers stated that online sales account for 43% of their income on average, while restaurants offering online ordering claimed that online or app-based channels account for 40% of their revenue on average.

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It’s critical now more than ever to engage with customers where they explore and make purchases—online. You can launch an online business with these ten steps and boost sales, fulfill orders, and take online payments.

1. Establish your eCommerce strategy.

It’s crucial to choose what you want to offer online and to have a business strategy in place before starting any kind of business, whether you want to open an online store or have a physical presence.

Analyze your target market, decide which clients you want to reach through an online platform, study your competitors, and ascertain any potential startup expenses in order to fine-tune your plans for an online shop.

2. Select a platform for online stores.

You don’t have to be an IT geek to run an internet shop. No coding, technical, or design knowledge is needed to create, configure, and operate your business using a variety of user-friendly eCommerce systems.

You should select an online shop platform that assists you in running and managing every part of your business, from marketing and business growth to inventory management and payment processing, in addition to the website builder component. When selecting a platform for your online business, take into account the following tools:

Inventory tracking, synchronization, and management: Does the eCommerce platform provide these features? This is especially useful if you have both an online business and a physical store.

Shipping, pickup, and delivery: Selecting an eCommerce platform that facilitates shipping, pickup, and delivery is crucial if you sell tangible goods or commodities that must be delivered to clients on time.

Tools for marketing and SEO: E-commerce platforms that provide these services can assist you in boosting the exposure, audience, and revenue of your online business.

choices for checkout: It’s critical to guarantee that consumers have a smooth checkout process, so pick an eCommerce platform that provides a straightforward checkout procedure and gives customers a variety of payment choices, including digital wallets and credit cards.

Scalability: Regardless of where you sell, the most crucial thing to look for in an eCommerce platform is one that provides omnichannel solutions and capabilities to help you develop your business.

3. Tailor the design of your internet business.

It is important to develop a website that accurately represents your brand and is appropriate for your type of business, be it professional services, retail, or restaurant. Customizations may draw attention to featured items, tell your brand’s narrative, and pique the interest of potential buyers.

Website templates that can be customized offer adaptable designs to help you develop the perfect layout for your company. Given that the majority of online purchases are made by customers using their phones, you may select colors, fonts, and other design elements that are best appropriate for your business and your target audience.

4. Take product photos and create product listings.

High-quality photographs are crucial for your website since they are among the first things people see when they visit your online business. Using photography apps like Square Photo Studio App, you can easily take studio-caliber pictures with your phone.

After that, upload your pictures to your web shop. This step should be simple if you are using a website builder. Square Online makes it simple for users to set up item kinds, create, amend, and manage item listings as well as inventories. To simplify the purchasing process, you may also include buy buttons, pricing details, and customer review choices.

Don’t forget to write product descriptions once you’ve uploaded item listings and product photographs. The keywords you select to describe your items may help with your site’s SEO and make it simpler for consumers to locate you online. They also help buyers get a better picture of what you sell.

5. Integrate social media networks with your online store.

Integrate your online store with social networking sites to increase its visibility. Having your items on social media sites may boost visibility, brand awareness, and sales because customers shop and make purchases through these channels.

Selling may be made easier by directly integrating social commerce technologies with your online business. Give clients a simple method to make purchases by including buy buttons and payment links in your social media postings. These links will drive them to your online store. Create shopping tabs on your social media profiles so that fans can peruse all you have to offer at once, and use your web store to handle all social media platform transactions.

6. Improve the SEO of your web store.

In addition to social media, you should ensure that your online business is search engine optimized (SEO) to increase the number of clients that find you there. Customers may find your store and its items in Google Search, Shopping, or Images by syncing it with services like Google Product Listings.

You may amend, update, and optimize SEO data for your whole shop as well as its individual pages if Square is hosting your online store. This will help them rank higher and attract the attention of more prospective consumers.

7. Configure checkout and set up safe payments.

Accepting online payments is a must for every online shop, and the majority of eCommerce platforms support online payments with integrated, PCI-compliant payment processing. Offering digital payment choices can increase your chances of closing an online deal, since many clients prefer to make their payments online. You may offer your clients the ability to pay with Apple Pay, Google Pay, Cash App, and Afterpay payment plans when you use Square Online.

Additionally, it’s critical to streamline and personalize the checkout process. Personalizing and streamlining your online checkout page may assist improve sales. Abandoned basket items might be the consequence of a difficult-to-navigate checkout page or one that requests too much personal information from the user.

8. Take control of your virtual stock.

To avoid unintentionally selling out-of-stock products, once your online store is up and running, you need ensure that your inventory management is synchronized across all platforms.

Square Online seamlessly syncs orders, goods, and inventory between online and in-person venues via integration with Square Point of Sale and Square Dashboard. This helps you quickly track fulfillment and shipment and prevents you from overselling goods between several locations.

9. Arrange for delivery, pickup, and shipment.

Customers will require a method of receiving the tangible goods they buy from your online business, whether it be delivery, pickup, or shipping.

It’s best to set up shipping areas and prices on your online store to display which locations you ship to, to select how much you charge, and to decide how you send the things if you sell items to clients, especially if you ship outside of your local area.

If you sell locally, you may offer curbside pickup and in-store checkout as ways to cut down on shipping costs and provide customers expedited access to their purchases. As an alternative, you may arrange for delivery services, which are typical for eateries and merchants of food and drink.

10. Draft a plan for marketing.

With a marketing strategy in place, the work you put into your online business will be greatly increased. Engage and communicate with consumers with tools like email and text message marketing. Remind them when they’ve forgotten something in their basket or when a product they’ve been looking for is back in stock.

You may create payment links, gift cards, and promotional coupons that sync with your online business to entice consumers to return. Even a customer loyalty program might be established to promote online shopping.

Finally, to get a general idea of how your company is doing, keep an eye on the statistics for your online store. A comprehensive perspective of site visitors, site activity, online sales, top-selling products, and the effectiveness of automated marketing emails and coupon coupons is provided by the Square Online Reporting feature.