So, you’ve decided you would like to start an online business on Shopify. Now you need to ask yourself, how to begin? Where does one start on the road to building an ecommerce business?
The best way is to take on the journey one step at a time, following one logical decision after another. In this article by Ecommerce Pro, we are going to go over the critical decisions and choices you need to make in the initial phases of starting an ecommerce business. This guide is for beginners but is also a great refresher for those who want to start another venture.
With some guidance and a clear plan as you forge ahead, you can transform your business idea into a reality. Before building your online store, read about some of the essential steps and pivotal decisions you need to make to establish a well-thought-out ecommerce business on Shopify 2024.
1. Pick a Product Niche
In theory, you could go off and sell whatever you want under the sun—especially when it comes to ecommerce and dropshipping. But this is an untargeted approach and lacks strategy. Instead, we encourage you to pick a niche for your brand.
A niche is a specialty or a focus. Your niche falls into a narrow category of products you’ll be selling to target the specific needs of a defined group of people. Niches need to be narrowed down quite a bit, and this, in turn, helps you narrow down the competition.
For example, women’s clothing is a huge category. But if you narrow it down to women’s beachwear then you’ll have a product niche that targets the specific clothing needs of women.
In selecting a product niche it's also important to look into the things that you are passionate about. Many individuals dream of finding ways to monetize the things that they are passionate about, and working with your passion can provide you with long-term advantages through the ups and downs of online business. If you are a creative person, your niche can revolve around your craft and passion.
It can be a little bit daunting to choose a product niche from such a large pool of options, but it is a necessary first step to building an online business on Shopify.
At this stage, if you are not set on 1 singular niche, it is best to select and list down a few that can undergo an elimination process after step 2.
2. Research Your Niche & The Competition
Now that you have a list of product niches that you would like to build a brand and ecommerce business around, it's time to do some research. You can go on Google Trends to see how popular your products are based on Google user search queries. Online tools, like Google Trends, provide insights into the popularity and longevity of various niches based on keyword searches.
It can be a bit of a misconception that the most popular products and niches are going to be the best choice, and that's because of the fierce competition these popular niches usually come with, and that's why it's wise to delve into smaller subsets.
At this point, you should consider conducting a competitive analysis for other brands on a similar venture. A competitive analysis will help you identify opportunities to outperform the competition and can help you decide on how to move forward with your business strategy. Shopify has a great Competitive Analysis Template that you can base your research on.
In your research, you must also consider the long-term viability of your product niche. Ask yourself whether your products will remain popular in the next three years down the line. Trying to predict the future won’t give you any guaranties, but it's essential for your business's longevity.
At this stage, you should be able to eliminate some of your choices and settle for a viable product niche.
3. Write a Business Plan
Think of writing a business plan as an outline or roadmap to success. Now that you’ve selected a product niche, done your competitive analysis research, and ascertained the viability of your business idea and its products, it's time to bring your business ideas and thoughts together into one single document that lays it all out.
Don't skip this step, because your business plan will be the cornerstone of your Shopify online business. Think of your business plan as a strategic foundation for your business so that you never lose sight of your business objectives. This section includes all the crucial elements that paint a clear image of your business, its objectives, and how you plan to achieve them.
Your business plan should include an Executive Summary, which includes your business name, founder, and establishment date. As well as a brief mission statement summarizing your business's purpose and goals.
There should also be a business description, as well as details of your products, and a clearly defined target audience. See Shopify’s Business Plan Template for a complete and effective plan.
4. Design a Logo & Other Branding Elements
Don’t underestimate the power of logos and other branding elements. Logos and branding elements are symbols and colors that represent your business. A simple logo can communicate many things; it’s a symbol that imbues the very identity of a brand and can be quite a powerful asset.
Think Apple, Netflix, and Coca-Cola. The mere mention of these brand names can call to mind their respective logos and their associated color pallets, making them strategic business tools when it comes to brand recognition.
Having a business without a logo for people to identify will hamper your potential customer’s ability to recognize your business and build any type of association with it.
When it comes to creating a logo and other design elements like brand colors, you should keep things simple. You don’t want to have a logo that is too complicated in its design and detail. It should be a design that can be easily converted from large to smaller sizes without important details getting lost and compromising people’s ability to distinguish that it is your brand.
Another tip is not to go overboard in choosing colors. Most brands don’t use more than two colors on their logo. Lastly, don't forget to be original. You can learn a lot from the logos of highly successful brands but try not to copy any design elements of other brands’ logos.
There are many free logo makers out there on the internet, with Shopify’s Hatchful being a popular choice for logo makers.
5. Build Your Store on Shopify
One of the fun parts is getting to the step where you actually build and design your online store on Shopify.
Even if you lack extensive technical knowledge, starting an online store on Shopify is simple and accessible. No matter the scale of your operations, Shopify gives brands and entrepreneurs access to all the necessities needed for online business, making it one of the best ecommerce platforms for your online venture.
Here is a quick list of pros for choosing Shopify to power your website or online store:
- Experience with web design and development is not required.
- Many of the specifics, including hosting, site security, and upgrades, will be handled for you.
- You'll get consistent, customer support for your store around the clock.
- It's simple to build a sophisticated, fully customisable store that matches the brand concept you have in mind.
The first step you’ll have to make in building a store on Shopify is to Create a Shopify Account. Right now Shopify is offering a 3-day free trial to help business owners get started. After which you get to enjoy Shopify at only $1 per month for 3 months.
Once you’ve created a Shopify Account, Shopify will guide you through the next steps through their well-outlined and easy-to-follow set-up guide. After which you will be able to add your first products, select a Shopify Theme, and start customizing your site.
We go into extensive detail on how to build your store on Shopify in our article How to Start an Online Store on Shopify: A Step-by-Step Guide.
Check our Shopify App Comparison tool, Its built to help you find and compare side by side the best Shopify Apps.
6. Test & Launch Your Store
Now that everything is set, you’ve got your products, branding elements, and an online store, it’s time to test your store before launch. Once you are done with the basic setup and feel like you’re ready for a once-over before launching, we suggest making a thorough test of important processes including the purchasing process, from adding products to the cart to completing the checkout.
Additionally, make sure that all shipping and payment options are operating properly. From here, you can make all the required modifications to offer future clients a frictionless buying experience.
You can also go over Shopify’s General Checklist for Starting a New Shopify Store before launching a new online business in 2024.
Starting and launching an ecommerce business is relatively simple and can be done with ease, especially if you have a game plan on hand to help you go through every major step, like choosing a product niche, researching the competition, laying down a business plan, branding, building your store, and finally, business launch.
With ecommerce platforms like Shopify, the process becomes more intuitive and simplified, making it one of the top choices in ecommerce platforms for many businesses in 2024 looking to create their online businesses or websites. We suggest this platform, because Shopify lays out the store-building process for you, making sure you never miss a step. The platform provides you with user-friendly tools and features that all come together to provide a powerhouse for ecommerce businesses.
While creating an online business with Shopify can be simple, there are also several reasons why you may want to work with a Shopify Expert like Ecommerce Pro.
Hire A Shopify Expert
Recognized and vetted by Shopify as experts on the platform, Shopify Experts assist brands and online business owners get the polished results they want for their online stores.
The Ecommerce Pro team is a top-rated Shopify agency consisting of knowledgeable website designers, developers, and content writers who will help you build and launch the online store you imagined for your brand.
Ecommerce Pro can also help your website get an upgrade or a complete redesign, helping you keep up with the latest ecommerce trends and best practices, ensuring that your website remains competitive and highly effective in the realm of ecommerce.
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At Ecommerce Pro, we help entrepreneurs and business owners build better and more successful ecommerce businesses on Shopify. Have a question or a project in mind? Get in touch with us today!