Want To Start An Online Store? Here’s 6 Steps To Get Started
How to launch your business in the $18 billion ecommerce market
The growing ecommerce market in Australia produced a revenue of more than $18 billion in 2018 alone, so there is no better time to start an online store than right now!
The only problem is that it can be hard to know where to begin, and it may all seem a bit puzzling. In this guide, we will breakdown the process of starting an online store by following 6 simple steps.
1. Decide what you want to sell and your target market
Before starting an online store, decide what your store will be providing to the market. It’s very important to analyse the competitors in the industry and provide the customers with a product or service that is distinct and will stand out from the crowd.
A lot of entrepreneurs mistakenly focus solely on what they should sell on their online store without considering whom they will be selling to. Due to this, they fail to mould their products and service offerings around their target market and do not reach their desired sales.
Simply put, when deciding what you want to sell, do not ignore your target market and their characteristics (including income, location, age) and stand out from your competitors by either having different products or similar products at lower prices.
2. Find a name and register
After you have decided on what to sell and whom to sell to, you need to register your business name and domain online. Your domain name should ideally match the product or service you will be offering to your customers. Before registering your domain name, you need to ensure the name you will be using is available.
There are multiple web hosting services through which you can register your domain name.
Having your own ‘.com.au’ or ‘.net.au’ web address requires needs your store to be a commercial entity which requires an ABN (Australian Business Number). An ABN can be obtained from here
If you do not apply for an ABN, you may not be able to:
- Purchase a domain name
- Register for GST
3. Build your website
Your website will be the first point of contact your customers will have with you so first impressions are very important. Make sure the website looks professional, organised and simple to use. The times where business owners had to pay thousands of dollars to website development companies are history. Nowadays, you can use platforms to run a professional online store within a few hours for a low cost. These platforms are not only very simple to use, but also provide various in-built services such as PayPal transactions. Also, your website will require a Terms and Conditions of Use to:
- Explain how your site works and its prohibited use;
- Set out the terms and conditions you operate by;
- Protect the intellectual property on your site;
- Limit liability for your information, outages and third party links; and
- Comply with Australian law and regulations (this can be done by running everything by an ecommerce lawyer).
Advertising is how your targeted customers will hear about your product or service offerings and it’s a vital part of establishing a successful online store. There are multiple ways to build a passionate clientele and community around your store and these include:
Search Engine Optimisation
This changes the order of your online store to rank higher on search engines using relevant keywords, descriptions and meta titles.
Social Media Marketing
Having a presence in major social media applications such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can increase your store’s reach.
Emailing customers to inform them about new products, specials and updates around your store.
5. Track performance
When a store is online rather than a physical entity, it’s more difficult to obtain feedback from customers. Tracking the performance of your online store is vital since it indicates to you the things that work and do not work, which products are selling the most, where your traffic is coming from, who is buying and much more. With these resources, you can retrieve information as to what is happening in your online store and use the information obtained to further develop your offerings.
6. Set up your delivery service
Planning your logistics is the final step to establishing an online store. Without successfully integrating this step into your business model, you will not make a single sale. For most companies, it’s too difficult to opt for in-house distribution, so it’s better to outsource it to third-party delivery companies to deliver goods to customers. Furthermore, the Australian market only consists of 25 million people so it is advantageous to go international and choose a delivery service that can accept orders from all around the world. Some key facts to consider when deciding which third party logistic service to use are pricing, speed of delivery and packaging quality.
Starting an online store can seem like a maze of regulations and logistics, but once you get started, the hardest part is already out of the way.
Unsure where to start? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest Legal Marketplace.
Kemal is a legal intern at Lawpath as part of the content team. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Business at UTS.