Over the past few months, we have received an immense number of requests to share our insights on how to start an online shop. If you have the slightest experience of setting out to open an online store on your own, then you have an idea of all the things that can (and will!) go wrong.
So, for the next few weeks, keep an eye on this blog entry (or register for our newsletter!) to ensure that you stay on track with the successful launch of your eshop!
Let’s get going!
Before releasing your eshop into the wild, and well before making decisions about its design, take the time to consider your inventory and its potential. Make a forecast regarding what you will be achieving. At this stage, we will quickly go over a few considerations (which you can explore further in your own time), your decisions to which will shape your eshop design and launch.
Your inventory is, arguably, the most important asset of your business. Essentially, it represents a highly-valued category, particularly due to its centrality for the company’s profit/loss status.
What will your eshop look like in 5 months’ time? If you are starting out as a single-brand eshop, are you keeping it that way? Is there any chance of your diversifying your merchandise and turning your eshop into a concept store. you could be launching “lovemytshirts.com”, whereas if you are launching a concept store, we could be looking at “Dukeandduchessconceptstore.com”, full of different brands. The latter type of inventory allows for more flexibility in case you decide to pivot along the way. By pivot, I don’t mean switching to basketball shoes of course. That would be a long distance to cover. Even in basketball shoes. Right. Next one.
At this point you’ve probably made up your mind about your inventory, but I would just like to ask you a couple of questions – it’ll be a load off my chest, to ensure that what I’m doing here is worth your while.
1. What is your primary target market? This doesn’t mean that you are selling to a single country. You should have your mission and vision aligned with the culture of your primary target market. Then, run a SWOT analysis before you decide that this is the right market for you, and implement the STP method to discover whether you are on track to launch your Marketing plan.
Avoid the mistake of determining the size of the entire market as your target market at all costs. For example, if your business sells sugar in various shapes and colors, you can’t possible say that “Everyone likes sugar, so my target market is virtually the population. Minus fitness fans, and people with health problems, obviously.”. Because, obviously, NOT!
You see, even out of a 3.000.000 (potential) market:
a) you can’t reach out to all of them unless your advertising budget is insane,
b) even if you did, how many would go to the trouble of visiting your eshop, browsing the various categories, ordering sugar, and then agree to pay shipping costs and wait to get their items? It would be design-conscious people, interior designers, fashion stylists/home decorators, or photographers, probably – not the entire population. I hope this example helps!
2. If you scale your business, what will that mean in terms of inventory? What needs will you then have to cover for? Do you have an action plan? If your eshop primarily serves customers of a specific country it might be worth considering setting up an inventory over there to reduce shipping fees and make your offering even more attractive.
3. Are you going to package products with your team to save space or are you going to have stuff delivered by your suppliers? Keep in mind that the latter goes hand in hand with longer delivery times and might influence customer experience on your eshop… which reflects all back to you.
Any domain name ideas already?
Before deciding on a domain name, here’s the main things to consider: