Online sales are booming, making it a great time to launch an online shop of your own. If you have a great idea for a new product or clothing line, you may be tempted to start up a new business using ecommerce tools. Yet before you take the plunge, it’s a good idea to first research your market thoroughly and take a few other preliminary steps. Here are five important steps to take before you officially launch your new website, which will help improve your chances of success.
- Set up shop as a legal business
If you’re selling products or services, you’re setting up a company and you need to think about registering your new business for tax and legal purposes. Doing this right from the start, before you even make your first sale, will help ensure that there’s a clear paper trail for future reference. One of the first decisions to make is whether to register as a corporation, limited company, or sole trader. Look into your options, which may vary depending on the scale of operation and your future sales goals.
- Check out the competition
Another important preliminary step is conducting some market research. Are there already online companies out there that sell the same products or provide similar services? Assess the competition with a simple Google search. Find out whether these competitors have a strong following on social media, if they have a lot of existing reviews, and how long they’ve been in business. Don’t be put off by similar businesses that already have a strong social media following – this is a good sign that there’s a strong market for your product!
- Upgrade your business skills
While there are a number of ecommerce platforms that make it really easy to set up a new website and sell products, it also doesn’t hurt to brush up on your IT skills with courses from training.com.au or online seminars. This puts you in charge of the final product. Accounting, business, and marketing courses may also come in handy, particularly if you have little experience in these areas.
- Research your product viability
If you’re selling a new product, you need to find out if it’s really something your target audience is looking for. Use tools like Google AdWords and Google Trends using keywords pertaining to your product. You can see the history of a search term over time, which can cue you in on the viability and demand. If searches have dropped off recently, you may want to turn your focus elsewhere. Find out more about your target audience, frequenting the same blogs and learning more about your niche to fine-tune your new shop.
- Secure funding and set a budget
With the skills and research needed to get started, the final step before launching your new site is to secure funding. You could always opt for tools like Kickstarter to take advantage of crowd funding, or you could try to secure a loan. No matter how you obtain your start-up funds, be sure to put a budget in place to cover at least the first few months of operation. This will put you in a great position for your launch.