With this guide, we show you how to create your own small to medium-sized online shop. We want to make you fit in the subject of e-commerce so that you understand all the basics and know what is important. In particular, we deal with the requirements of a suitable shop system in this guide.
Create A Successful Online Shop In 5 Steps:
- Define online shop requirements
- Find the right online shop provider
- Build an online shop
- Implement marketing campaigns
- Evaluate results and take action
Year after year, the online retail sales figures known only one direction: upwards. This is logical so far after all every future generation grows up with the Internet and finds it completely normal to shop online.
It doesn’t matter whether you are already running a shop yourself or starting from scratch. In this e-commerce guide, we would like to show you how to plan, implement and make your online shop successful.
Why You Should Build Your Own Online Shop?
With the numerous marketplaces on the net, this is a legitimate question: For example, Amazon Marketplace , eBay or Etsy offer platforms for selling on the Internet. It can also make sense to get started: this way you can first use the flow of visitors that the platforms have without having to put a lot of money into advertising yourself.
But there is a problem: the commissions are usually between 5-20%, depending on the product. That adds up very quickly. Besides, you normally do not have access to customer data and can therefore not send them advertising (such as a newsletter).
A separate online shop frees you from these high fees: instead, only hosting costs and fees for the payment provider (e.g. credit card or PayPal) apply. In the long run, it is cheaper to drive than with the marketplaces. Of course, you can also run both approaches in parallel and gradually try to pull the customers from the platform into your shop.
In the long term, having your website and online shop is by far the best way to build your brand and win regular customers.
How Do You Find Good Niche Products To Sell?
If you don’t yet know what to sell, there are various ways to find interesting niche markets.
It is easiest to always start with a topic that you already know very well. Are you a hobby drone pilot? Your passion is good coffee? Or maybe you are a fan of retro headphones?
In each of these cases, in addition to the large markets, there are also small and very special niches that you could cover. In the case of coffee, for example, it could be portable espresso machines. There must be enough people who are interested in it, but at the same time relatively few providers.
Start With Identifying Product Demand
You can find such niche markets using Google Keyword Planner, KWFinder or even better Ahrefs. You can use this to determine how often Google searches for a specific search term or product each month. Besides, Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs generate related search terms that you may not have thought of.
Think About Dropshipping
Dropshipping is a simple idea, you sell products through your online shop and a third-party provider takes care of shipping and possible returns.
AliExpress and FBA (Fullfillment by Amazon) are typical platforms that play a role in dropshipping. Shopify is particularly suitable as a shop system, since there is the Oberlo app that can be used to sell thousands of products. You can also click them into AliExpress. Another good solution for WooCommerce is the AliDropship plugin.
Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition(USP)
As soon as you have found a potential product idea, you should think about one thing: the USP (Unique Selling Proposition). Why should customers buy from you exactly? Here some examples:
- You are the only one who offers the product (a t-shirt with a very special design).
- You are always at the forefront in Google and get a lot of visitors (keyword SEO).
- You are a master in paid advertising (e.g. Google Adwords, Facebook advertising etc.) and thus reach your audience in a targeted manner.
- The sales channel: only you offer the product outside of the USA.
- Your positioning is better: you understand the “pain point” of your customers better and can describe the product in such a way that customers prefer to buy from you.
Let us now look at various shop systems with which you can create your online shop.
Checklist For The Requirements Of Your Shop System
Complexity And Budget:
This is a fundamental decision. How much time and resources are you willing to put into the project? We divide the providers into three categories:
|Time frame until completion||3-7 days||1-3 weeks||several weeks or months|
|10-25 EUR per month||approx. 20-190 EUR per month||Creation (one-off): EUR 2,000-20,000, EUR 20-350 a month|
|hosting||Inclusive (cloud)||Inclusive (cloud)||Installation on your own web space|
|Examples||Jimdo , Wix , Weebly||1 & 1 e-shops , Shopify , Lightspeed||PrestaShop , Magento , WooCommerce|
There are big differences here, a simple shop like Jimdo’s can be learned within a very short time. Every experienced internet user should be able to find their way around the surface within a few hours. One weekend is often enough to put a functioning online shop online. A Jimdo Pro package for $ 10 a month is enough for up to five products. For shops with more than five products, Jimdo and Wix charge around € 20 per month.
The medium-sized shop systems offer significantly more functions, integrations, and payment options, but require more familiarization time and a slightly higher budget. In contrast to the simple systems, much larger shops can be managed here and there are also better marketing options (cross-selling, price search engines, etc.). Examples are the 1 & 1 IONOS e-shops and Shopify. These systems are ideal if you already know that you want to grow, but at the same time want to use a system that is not too technical a challenge.
Implementing a complex online shop with WooCommerce, Prestashop or Magento, in particular, is a completely different dimension of a project. It is hardly feasible for a beginner without technical knowledge, since you have to install and configure these open source systems yourself. You also need your own webspace. This is not necessary for simple and medium-weight systems since they run in the provider’s cloud. The project duration can vary greatly, depending on which service provider you hire and how individual the design and programming must be.
Some of the best online shop creators
Jimdo currently offers the most recommendable online shop in the home builder segment. Even beginners can easily create an online shop. The shop is continuously developed by Jimdo. Since Jimdo is a German company, all-important legal requirements are taken into account (e.g. terms and conditions, right of withdrawal, imprint, etc.). All Jimdo tariffs also provide end-to-end SSL encryption.
Order data can be easily exported. You can easily create invoices with a tool such as Fastbill.
Starting at $10 a month, you can already create a reasonable online shop in the pro tariff, which is, however, limited to 15 products. The business tariff for $20 does not know this limitation and also allows the use of coupon codes and strike prices (e.g. for promotions).
Since there is no automatic import of product data (yet), we would recommend Jimdo for shops with a maximum of 100 products. Here you can find out detailed Jimdo Shop test report.
Similar to Jimdo, Wix is an inexpensive online shop provider. Starting at $ 23 / month. There are no product limits or additional transaction fees (other than those charged by payment providers).
In addition to the good price/performance ratio, the user-friendliness and the following professional functions stand out: the ability to sell digital products (e.g. videos or music) and the operation of member sites with payment functions.
Of course, you have to say that Wix is not necessarily the right product for every size of an e-commerce business. We would recommend not to manage more than 200-300 products with it, as otherwise, the administration can be a bit cumbersome.
For larger projects, you should look at providers such as 1 & 1 e-shops, Shopify or WooCommerce.
I hope this guide has brought you closer to the basics of creating an online shop! If you have any questions, please leave me a comment. I am happy to hear from you!