What Is An Online Store ? How To Start Online Store & Benefits
What is an Online Store?
An online store is a website where customers may visit and purchase the goods and services offered on that website as per their preference. Customers can search for the products they want and place orders by making payments for the same.
Whether you are a small retailer, a service provider, a major retailer, or an individual, you can start your online store with a bit of investment. An online store may operate under different business models like B2C, B2B, or C2C.
Benefits of an Online Store
You might be asking yourself, "Why should I shift to online business? Or What are the benefits involved?"
Here's an answer to all your doubts!
1. Worldwide Presence: If your business is online, your customers can shop from your ecommerce store from anywhere they are. In other words, your store will be accessible via the internet from anywhere in the world.
2. 24/7 Availability: Being able to shop their favorite products at any time they please is the most incredible luxury for customers. They may visit your online store, leave some items in the cart and leave, and then revisit the store to make their final purchase. So, no more closing and opening time!
3. Low Operating Cost: Selling from an online store cuts down many costs included in operating an offline retail store. Moreover, opening an online store or signing up on an ecommerce marketplace is possible at very affordable prices and does not require any substantial initial investment. One can use drop shipping to procure inventory without any significant upfront costs.
4. Better Customer Support: When customers come first, customers last. An online business enables you to respond to your customer's queries and resolve them in no time. You can also upload tutorial videos for your products and inform the customers about their proper use and precautions. This level of customer support will enhance customer's loyalty to your business and attract new potential customers.
5. Operational Flexibility: If you have an online business, you may not require any warehouse, vehicle, or additional staff. You can get the products delivered directly from the supplier to your customers. Moreover, you do not have to pay any monthly rental charges for the place you sell. Thus, online business increases your operational flexibility, thereby increasing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of your business.
6. Customer Data Insights: With the help of an online business, you can collect your customer's data, use some analytical tools and gather relevant insights. This data will help you maintain your customer's record and guide you in decision-making.
How to start an online store?
Starting an e-commerce store might seem to be a complex and challenging thing to do. However, if you follow these simple steps, it will be an easy game-like activity for you.
1. Choose your Business Idea: The first step towards building an e-commerce business is to know what products or services you will offer to your customers.
2. Market Research and Competition Analysis: Research and identify your target segment to whom you'll sell the product. Conduct a thorough competition analysis to know who your competitors are and how you can differentiate your business from theirs.
3. Establish your brand and business: Once you have identified your target market and competitors, it's time to choose an appropriate and available brand name along with a logo.
4. Choose the right e-commerce platform to create your website: When it comes to e-commerce platforms, there are many options available in the market. Some of them may be available at a low price, or some may offer different features.
Fynd Platform provides an optimum combination of these: the ultimate solution for omnichannel retail business. It allows you to create your ecommerce website at an affordable rate and with several features like delivery assistance, payment gateway integration, user and API documentation, marketplace catalog generation, data insights with tracking and analytics, etc.
5. Omnichannel Customer Experience: After creating your online store, it's time to think about the different channels to find your target audience. Build an omnichannel customer experience strategy to establish better brand visibility and a better shopping experience.
6. Marketing your brand: Build a go-to marketing strategy for your brand and implement it. Learn about SEO and SEM to invite traffic to your website. If you have chosen Fynd Platform to build your website, you'll be able to launch email and SMS marketing campaigns, leverage SEO, gather customer feedback, etc.
Now you are all set to expand and grow your business online. Offer your customers the luxury to shop at their comfort from anywhere at any time.
What is an online store?
A website or a platform that enables businesses to offer goods or services directly to their customers online is called an online store, often known as an e-commerce website or store. To make transactions easier, brands selling online also include a product catalogue, a shopping cart, and a checkout page to ease the user buying experience. Amazon, Flipkart, Meesho, etc, are a few well-known examples of online stores.
This doesn’t necessarily be a huge marketplace model to sell products online; you can create your own online store on e-commerce website builders like Fynd Platform and start selling your products online.
Online stores can be the best method for startups, offline brands and well established businesses to increase their customer outreach and sell their products to millions of customers across the globe.
How do I start an online store?
Starting an online store involves these 10 steps:
1. Define your target market: Identify the products or services you want to sell based on your prior experience or choice, and then figure out the customers you want to sell your products to.
2. Choose a business model: Decide whether you want to sell your own products by sourcing it from a manufacturer or manufacturing it yourself. You can also opt to become an affiliate marketer or start with a dropshipping model without manufacturing or owing the product.
3. Choose a platform to sell: Choose a platform to build your online store, such as Fynd Platform, Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, etc. You can make this decision based on the free trial period, payment and logistics support provided, and ease of use.
4. Register your business online: Business registration is an important step, and it can be done online. Depending on the type of product you’re selling, obtain any necessary licences or permits that are necessary to sell your products online.
5. Design and develop your online store: Use the tools provided by your chosen platform to design and customise the look and feel of your online store based on your brand colours.
6. Upload products and write content: Upload products and their variations, such as colours and sizes available based on your inventory. Add descriptions of your store and SEO-optimised product descriptions, and write content to attract customers using blog posts or videos.
7. Set up payment and logistics: Set up a payment gateway to allow customers smooth online checkouts using multiple payment modes, link credit/debit cards, UPI, BNPL, etc. Configure shipping options for your store. You can use pre-integrated logistics or arrange one yourself based on the pricing differences.
8. Test before launch: Test your store and check for any bugs before launching to the public.
9. Promote your online store: Use marketing techniques such as SEO, social media advertising, email marketing, content marketing, etc, to drive traffic to your online store.
10. Monitor, analyse, and optimise: Monitor your store's performance using an analytics tool, track your sales, and optimise your store based on the analytics and insights for better conversion rate and revenue enhancements.
What are the benefits of having an online store?
There are several benefits to having an online store, which include:
1. Increased customer outreach: An online store allows you to reach a larger audience beyond the reach of your physical store, which is limited to a certain geographical area.
2. Lower administrative and operational costs: An online store typically has lower overhead costs than a physical store. It reduces the costs incurred in renting the shop, paying its utilities, hiring multiple staff to manage it, etc.
3. 24/7 availability for your customers' urgent buying needs: An online store is open 24/7, allowing customers to shop at any time, anywhere. This increases the chances of product sales when compared to an offline store operating in a certain time frame.
4. Easy to scale based on growth: An online store can easily scale up or down depending on the demand, making it easier to manage inventory.
5. Cost-effective marketing: Online store owners can reach their audience through digital marketing channels, which are typically more cost effective than traditional marketing channels.
6. Better customer service: With an online store, customers can easily access product information, track their orders, and contact customer service with any questions or concerns.
7. Increased sales: With an online store, businesses can expand their reach and increase their chances of making sales.
How much does it cost to start an online store?
The cost to launch an online store can change depending on the type of store you want to start, the platform you pick, and any extra features you want to incorporate. When opening an online store, these are the following expenses you need to pay for.
1. E-commerce platform fees: Many e-commerce platforms charge a monthly or annual fee, such as Fynd Platform, Shopify, Magento, etc. These fees can range from $8 on Fynd Platform, $29 on Shopify to $299 per month on multiple e-commerce platforms.
2. Domain and hosting charges: You'll need to purchase a domain name the same as the name of your business and avail of hosting service for your online store. A domain name typically costs around $10-$20 per year, and hosting can cost around $10 per month.
3. Payment gateway charges: You'll need to set up a payment gateway to process transactions on your online store. These fees can range from 1% to 3.5% per transaction.
4. Design and development of a website: If you don’t want to design and develop your online store yourself, you can hire a designer or developer who can develop and design an e-commerce website based on your requirements. This can cost you a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the complexity of your store and its functionality.
5. Marketing: Once your store is up and running, you'll need to market it to drive traffic and sales. This can include paid advertising, social media marketing, and content marketing. These costs can vary widely and depend on your budget and the type of marketing you choose to do.
6. Inventory: If you are going to sell products, you will need to purchase the inventory upfront. It's important to consider this cost when setting up an online store.
What are the best platforms for creating an online store?
There are several popular platforms for creating an online store, including
1. Fynd Platform: India’s #1 e-commerce website builder, Fynd Platform, offers a 30-day free trial. You can easily create an online store in minutes with a pre-integrated payment gateway solution and in-house logistics support. It offers a feature-rich platform where you can easily manage orders, upload unlimited products, and easily promote your online store.
2. Shopify - a popular e-commerce platform that allows you to create an online store quickly and easily. It offers a wide range of features, including payment processing, inventory management, and shipping integrations.
3. WooCommerce - It is an open-source plugin for WordPress that turns your website into an online store. It is free to use, but it does require hosting and a domain name.
4. Magento - It’s an open-source e-commerce platform that offers a high degree of customisation. It is free to use, but it does require hosting and a domain name.
5. Squarespace - a website builder that offers an e-commerce plan that allows you to create an online store. It is easy to use and offers a variety of design templates to choose from.
How do I create an online store for my business?
Creating an online store for your business involves several steps, including
1. Choose an e-commerce platform: Select the platform on which you want to use to create your online store. Some popular options include Fynd Platform, Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, and Squarespace.
2. Set up your store: Once you've chosen a platform, create an account and set up your store. This typically involves choosing a design template, adding your products, and setting up payment and shipping options.
3. Add your products: Add your products to your store by creating product listings and adding product images, descriptions, and pricing information.
4. Customize your store: Customize the design and layout of your store to match your brand and make it easy for customers to navigate.
5. Promote your store: Once your store is set up and ready to go, start promoting it to your target audience. This could include creating a social media marketing strategy, running online ads, or reaching out to influencers.