Hello! In this article, we will talk about opening an online store.
Today you will learn:
- How to open an online store;
- Its main differences from a real store;
- How to solve all legal issues.
Pros and cons of opening an online store
Let's start with the pros:
- Reduced cost of goods. It is achieved through reduced costs for renting premises, utilities, employees, etc.;
- Formation of the client base and analytics on them occur automatically;
- The store is always open, regardless of the time of day, weather, and holidays;
- Requires minimal initial financial investment.
Now for the cons:
- Lack of customer confidence. Most Russians still prefer real stores. It is understandable, having come to some boutique there is an opportunity to feel the product, look at what it is made of, pre-evaluate its quality, etc. There is no such function in the online store, and due to some dishonest sellers, there is the opinion that at first it is necessary to order in online stores with caution;
- You still need to hire a programmer and an advertising specialist who will be responsible for the functionality, security and promotion of the online store;
- There are no external advertising channels. There is still a trend that most customers recognize the store by seeing its sign. With online stores, this is not possible, so you have to spend a lot of money on advertising;
- Now let's talk a little about how to calculate the cost of one sale. Many people think this way: income from the sale of a product - expenses from its purchase = store profit . But no matter how. All financial costs of attracting one client must be taken into account and taken into account.
In general, an online store is a great way to trade with minimal investment. It is enough to have a minimum capital for creating a website, advertising and purchasing goods, and you will already get an excellent opportunity to earn money. The main thing is to carefully draw up a plan according to which you will work.
Types of online stores
Now let's move on to the types of online stores.
Depending on the number of goods, we can distinguish:
- Shops for one item.
Their main difference is that catalog online stores are full-fledged sites with a large number of products and categories. On them, a person can find various options for one product, or even products from several related niches (sneakers, backpacks, caps, etc.).
They are good because they provide customers with a large selection of products, each specific product of which may be of interest to an individual buyer.
Shops for one product are performed as one-pagers (landing pages). Such sites sell only one product, but they do it masterfully. This is a real sales funnel , which leads the visitor through it, forcing them to agree, nod and push to buy.
No other fields, no way to get confused. There is a product, there is a description, and there is a big order button. A good one-pager can outperform the average online store simply because it sells so much better.
There are also wholesalers and retailers. The former directly cooperate with manufacturers and sell goods with a minimum margin, but in large quantities. The latter are already cooperating with wholesalers, selling with their own, rather large margin to ordinary people.
The advantage of wholesalers is a large turnover, the advantage of retailers is lower purchase costs.
For beginners, working with retail one-pagers is ideal. A good landing page sells itself, without outside help. In order to create and launch your first landing page , it will take no more than 4-5 thousand rubles, and if done in a studio, then from 15,000 rubles.
Over time, it will be possible to gain experience in sales from a one-pager and think about creating a full-fledged catalog online store.
It should be understood that online business is scalable. Expanding the assortment of the store, attracting additional customers, entering new sales markets - and these are not all the ways that allow you to increase sales and profits for the owner.
Online stores allow you to start with minimal investment and grow your business to the maximum scale.
Step-by-step instructions for opening an online store
Here are 7 steps to open an online store:
Step 1. Market analysis and niche selection for an online store
Choosing a niche is one of the most important steps. At this stage, we analyze the demand of buyers, the supply from stores.
There are several ways to choose a niche:
- Selection of a new product;
- Selling proven products.
In the first case, there is a chance to choose the product for which demand will exceed supply several times . In terms of profitability over a period of time, online stores with new products have simply enormous profitability.
True, it should be borne in mind that out of 10 such projects, at best, and with a competent approach, only one will be profitable. For those who are willing to take risks, promoting a new product is an ideal option.
The second case is more stable. You can look at popular online stores in the niches that you understand and determine for yourself what kind of product you would like to sell.
This method is good because quality products have their customers who are interested in them, and they will not need to explain why they should buy it.
In profitable niches , the competition is quite high, but if you wish, by choosing the right strategy and the "chip" of the store, you can take your place and find your customers. Even in such a competitive niche as an online clothing store, you can confidently find your customers.
At this stage, you still have to find suppliers . It's difficult enough. It is important that the goods were of high quality, went quickly and smoothly. It is recommended that you first order a trial batch, evaluate the quality, and only after that start cooperation.
You can search for suppliers for a small online store on wholesale websites, on social networks (wholesale sales groups, for example - Tovarochka) or directly in large cities. Remember that the quality of your products is the key to the successful operation of an online store, and hence profits.
Next, we move on to the niche test .
Step 2. Creating an online store website
At this stage, we must do the main thing - the very selling site, which users will visit, view goods, make payments and contact the administration. We will dwell on the creation of the site in a separate paragraph.
Step 3. Registering an online store
Now it is the turn to officially register your activities.
There are two ways to trade:
- By registering as an individual entrepreneur ;
- By forming a legal entity ( LLC ).
The advantages of IP are obvious - a small amount of reporting, minimum requirements for opening and, in general, simplicity for a businessman.
At the same time, there is one big minus: the individual entrepreneur is 100% responsible for the obligations of his store, up to his property. This means that in case of bankruptcy, you will have to answer to creditors with personal finances.
By forming a legal entity, a person relieves himself of the obligation to pay 100% of the debt with his own property. At the same time, a large amount of reporting appears, a rather complicated taxation system and the need for constant accounting.
What to choose - everyone decides for himself. We are for IP.
Step 4. Recruitment for IM
Now comes the stage to hire employees to keep the store running.
For a small online store, 3-4 employees would be ideal. One advertising specialist who will be responsible for advertising and promotion. One courier who will deliver goods to customers. And the administrator (the businessman himself or a hired employee) who will answer calls, process orders and monitor everything that happens.
Step 5. Selecting and setting up payment methods
One of the most interesting steps is to make the payment on your website legal . At first, the most effective method of payment will be cash. Payment upon delivery of goods to the courier is the method that enjoys the maximum confidence of most citizens.
When working with mail, it is also possible to send a parcel by cash on delivery . It is also possible to add payments via electronic money Webmoney, Yandex.Money, PayPal, etc. But do not forget about payments by bank cards .
Most online stores add all of the above payment methods so that the client himself chooses the appropriate method of transferring money .
Step 6. Fully optimize trading
From a technical point of view, the online store is ready, the first sales have begun, and now we need to establish uninterrupted supply. The most suitable way is to analyze the average monthly demand for each type of product and every month (more often / less often) order a suitable batch.
If the supplier refuses to continue cooperation for one reason or another, it is necessary to find a new one as quickly as possible so that the goods are always in stock. An order from a supplier only after a pre-order in your store (dropshipping) is possible only at the initial stage of the development of an online store, in the absence of sufficient funds for a full-fledged purchase.
Step 7. We solve all issues with taxes
The most disliked part of most entrepreneurs is tax deductions. Since most businessmen choose IP as a way of doing business, we will talk about taxation for IP .
For them, a Simplified Taxation System (STS) is provided .
According to this system of state authorities require a minimum amount of reporting, and taxes will be as follows:
- 6% - if income is the basis for taxation;
- 15% - if the profit is the basis for taxation.
For all matters relating to taxes and reporting, it is recommended to consult with a professional.
Ways to create a website for an online store
Now about how to create a website for an online store . For most users, this is a very difficult task. But in fact, creating your own online store is quite simple.
You can do this in two ways:
- On one's own;
- Order from a specialist.
The first option will help save a round sum of money, while the second will help you avoid mistakes, make a high-quality design in a short time and, in general, spend less effort and time.
Obviously, if you have money, it is easier, better and faster to order an online store from a specialist. This can be done on any freelance site or by sending a request to a search engine about website development in your city and finding a suitable studio.
But if it is not possible to order a website from a professional studio or freelancers, you need to create a website yourself.
This can be done in two ways:
- With the help of the constructor;
- With the help of CMS.
Creating websites with the help of designers is notable for its simplicity. It is enough to drag templates, add the necessary widgets, register a domain (website address) and pay for services. And after that, you get one of the template online stores, no better and no worse than the competition.
CMS, on the other hand, gives much more scope for creating an online store from scratch. True, this will require great knowledge and skills both in the field of design and in the field of programming.
At the same time, it should be understood that you will have to spend a lot of time on the selection, layout, design for an online store. But the result is worth it. Thus, you will have a unique, unlike anything online store, equipped with all your selling chips.
Top 3 CMS for creating and managing an online store
Consider the 3 best CMS for creating and managing an online store.
OpenCart is the most popular CMS for creating and managing an online store in Russia and the CIS. This system is free, has a large number of templates and is easily adapted to the needs of the user.
The CMS is constantly updated, which makes it really reliable. A large number of paid and free templates will allow even a person with minimal ideas about design to create a quality store.
The main advantage of this CMS is that it works with a large number of modules and payment systems at an affordable price.
WooCommerce is a CMS platform based on WordPress. Acts as one of the plug-ins, with the installation of which you can create a full-fledged online trading platform. Just like WordPress itself, this CMS is extremely easy to learn and requires minimal knowledge in all areas.
Affordable templates, cheap plugins and an unlimited number of products in the online store make this system ideal for beginners.
VirtueMart is also an additional plugin, but for CMS Joomla. Despite the fact that Joomla is not a specialized system for opening online stores, using this plugin you can make a full-fledged trading platform. It presents many opportunities for creating a full-fledged and large-scale online store.
Suitable only for professionals due to its complexity in mastering.
Where and how to register an online store
We have already discussed the choice of legal form. Whether to register an individual entrepreneur or LLC, everyone must decide on their own.
The only thing that can be additionally advised: in retail trade with a minimum of employees, an Individual Entrepreneurship will suffice, but if you plan to enter a large wholesale sale of goods, then the obligation should be registered as an LLC.
The registration process for a sole proprietorship is simple. After that, it's time to open a checking account .
The last thing to do is to buy and purchase a cash register. Absolutely any model will do, so choose according to your taste. After that, the cash register must be registered with the Federal Tax Service at the place of work of the store.
It is necessary to take documents with you: a certificate of registration, TIN , a completed register of the cashier-operator and a lease agreement or a document confirming the ownership of the premises in which the store operates.
How much does it cost to open an online store
The cost of opening an online store depends on the chosen niche, the type of store and the expected sales volume.
But for beginners, it is not recommended to immediately make big expenses, it is enough to limit yourself to the minimum volume of products. This will allow you to test the market for the first time, as well as avoid large losses in case of failure.
Let's deal with the minimum investment to create a functioning online store:
- The cost of registering an individual entrepreneur or LLC
- Website development (by yourself, freelancer or studio)
- Initial advertisement
- Purchase of goods
- 800 - 3,000 rubles
- 5,000 - 100,000 rubles
- 5,000 - 20,000 rubles
- On average 50,000 rubles
- On average, from 50,000 rubles. to infinity.
It should be understood that these are the minimum costs that a businessman must incur when opening an online store, regardless of niche, region and other factors. But over the course of time, the costs change markedly. Still, the leading costs in the online store remain the cost of purchasing goods, but the advertising of the online store and its products comes to the background.
How to open an online store without investments - dropshipping
The idea of dropshipping has been actively developing in the west for a long time . It is based on the same familiar idea - to open an online store. Only its implementation is somewhat different - instead of the usual purchase of goods from the supplier, you, on the contrary, conduct business relations with him, transferring to him all the costs of selling and sending to the buyer.
Example: You are interested in retailing watches. We found a supplier who does not mind working on a dropshipping system. Then your task is to create an online store and start advertising it. The better you promote it, the more customers you will get. When the first buyers appear, you send their requests to the watch supplier, and he himself sends them to the client. As a result, the supplier receives his price, and you cheat in excess. Plus, you get the opportunity to sell goods without spending money on their purchase.
The advantages of such cooperation are obvious: everyone does their own thing. The supplier handles the shipment and dispatch of the goods, while you advertise and sell. This allows everyone to make maximum efforts to achieve goals. Divide and Conquer in action.
At the same time, if you develop the store yourself and look for free advertising channels, you can significantly reduce the initial costs.
But dropshipping in Russia has its own pitfalls. Most suppliers prefer to supply low-quality goods through their partners, because, in fact, they are not responsible for it. In the lion's share of cases, low-quality Chinese products come to customers, after receiving which claims arise against your online store, because it was with you that they left the order.
Most entrepreneurs who are engaged in the retail sale of goods via the Internet openly declare that it is almost impossible to engage in dropshipping in Russia now. Good suppliers do not want to take on obligations under the contract, and no one wants to work with scammers.
Also, do not forget that no one canceled the cost of advertising either. And they are often higher than those of ordinary online stores due to the fact that there is no way to make a high-quality showcase (photos have to be taken from the supplier's website).
Among other things, the owner of the online store simply cannot influence the speed of sending the goods. Some suppliers like to delay shipping, which also negatively affects the reputation of the store.
Dropshipping in Russia, of course, has a place to be, but this is an extremely risky way to sell goods. It is much safer to sell the product yourself.
Choosing a niche for an online store
Now let's talk in more detail about choosing a niche for an online store using specific examples. As we said earlier, one of the most competitive niches right now is the online clothing store.
Of course, it is always possible to find some unique product and run an amazing advertising campaign that will attract the target audience, but this will be extremely difficult. For beginners, it's easiest to start by retailing jewelry or accessories on one-page sites, gradually moving to more complex products and larger scales.
If we talk about a full-fledged online store, now the following are in great demand:
- Sporting goods;
- Jewelry and accessories.
A few words about the scale of the business. Any online business can be expanded, and this is a well-known fact. But it should be understood that some niches can be implemented only within one city / region, others can be launched throughout the country and they will pay off.
Example: software, jewelry, booking services and sites for paid music listening do not depend on the region. While electronics, home appliances will only sell well in one region. It will simply be unprofitable for people to pay more money for shipping and forwarding than for the product itself.
And in order to pre-test the demand for a niche, a simple Yandex.Wordstat service will help. It allows you to track the number of users who enter a particular query into a search engine per month. You can also select by region there. Choose the product for which there is a demand in your or neighboring regions.
How to name an online store
Another important detail is the choice of the name of the online store. This needs to be taken care of even before registering a domain name. The name should be catchy, unique and at the same time simple.
The main rule for creating a good domain for a site is that the name should be unique, memorable, but at the same time easy to type. These conditions can be transferred to the name of the online store, because one way or another, it will be reflected in the header of the site.
There are several options for choosing a name:
- Various variations associated with the product . One of the advantages of this method is memorability. Buyers will immediately pop up an associative array with products and the name of the store, and they are more likely to drive your name into the search. Minus - you can easily get lost among the same "original" ideas;
- Region play . Just like the previous method, it does not differ in originality, but it clings and remains well-known;
- Unique name . Such an online store name will be harder to remember, but your store will be unmistakable. Example: youth clothing store - CODERED. The name CodeRed can be easily remembered, it is catchy, and may interest the inexperienced.
If imagination is not enough, you can turn to friends or professional namers. The former can suggest some funny ideas and variations, while the latter will do it more professionally. But the price tag for naming services - and that's what they call coming up with a name - is very high. From 5 and more thousand rubles with 3-4 different options. Large companies organize competitions to find the name, the main prize in which ranges from 50 to 200 thousand rubles.
What to do after creation
The name was chosen, the site was created, everything was registered, and even the goods were purchased. Employees work hard and, it would seem, you can rest on your laurels, but no.
After creating a website, the real business is just beginning. It is from this moment that there will be constant promotions, monitoring of search engines, brainstorming together with the IT department on how to increase conversion, and many other procedures aimed at attracting customers.
But before the start of PR, one thing should be done - describe all the pages. It is necessary to provide all relevant information about the product, from its description to tips for use (if required). The description kills two birds with one stone: it provides buyers with up-to-date information and increases trust, as well as increases the ranking for a key query. That is, if a potential client enters the name of a product model into a search engine, he will most likely see your product in the search results.
How to promote an online store
Let's decide why we will promote the store? Naturally, to attract customers. From this point of view, it is necessary to consider the feasibility and benefits of advertising. Number of purchases = advertising effectiveness. Now more about the promotion methods.
One of the most popular ways to promote an online store . SEO - optimization - website promotion in search networks. This applies not only to conventional information portals, but also to online stores. The higher the site in the search bar, the more visitors come to it, and the more profit it generates.
SEO for an online store, on the one hand, is profitable: it allows you to attract hundreds of customers without additional advertising costs, but on the other hand, it can be extremely inefficient - it will take a decent amount of time (3-6 months), while there are no guarantees of a long stay in top.
Suitable as an additional tool for promoting and attracting relatively cheap customers.
Contextual advertising and banners
Let's start with one of the most effective ads - contextual . This is the advertisement that the user sees in the search results of Google or Yandex above the main issue.
It is the most noticeable, attracts the most customers and allows you to make a selection by:
- Key words in the search query;
- Query relevance (how relevant the search is to the ad).
This allows you to cut off non-targeted requests, leaving only targeted requests. This ad has one of the highest conversion rates. But the price is also quite high.
Banners are also an effective advertising tool to attract customers to the store. A competent and colorful banner and a well-chosen text can attract a potential buyer to an online store much cheaper and faster.
But it should be remembered that banners are good for spontaneous purchases, and less likely to help if the client wants to think about his decision.
Search and product selection systems
These are services such as Yandex.Market. These sites are good because they charge a fee for going to the advertiser's site. That is, they work according to the same scheme as contextual advertising, but they “raise the temperature” of customers - they choose a more targeted audience.
The effectiveness of this method of promotion lies in the fact that people have sufficient confidence in services of this kind, and therefore calmly order goods through them.
Another tool to attract the target audience to your online store. The influence of social networks is difficult to overestimate - now with their help you can even order and pay for goods without going to any other, additional sites.
Advertising in social networks is divided into:
- Targeted ;
- In communities.
The first advertisement allows you to attract a truly target audience - you can choose gender, age, interests, groups in which you are a member, blacklist groups that do not characterize the target client, and many other parameters. This is a real gold mine for targeted advertising.
Community advertising is not as effective in terms of attracting customers, but it can be cheaper and have the same effect. It is enough to find a thematic community and agree with the administrator.
Target audience of communities: 14-30 on VKontakte. 30+ in Odnoklassniki.
Thematic regional portals
Sites, groups and forums of cities and regions are an excellent platform for advertising your business. Advertising on such resources is inexpensive, sometimes it can even be done for free, and there will be many benefits - you can get the first customers simply by posting a post on the city's bulletin board.
Working with coupon sites
One of the most popular ways to promote products and online stores a few years ago. Now the popularity of coupon sites has subsided somewhat, but nevertheless, as a means of promoting a product or group of products, as well as additional advertising for a store, they are quite suitable.
Affiliate programs are gaining popularity on the network , which offer webmasters and online stores to cooperate for% of online sales. Quite an interesting way that shifts all the costs of attracting customers to the shoulders of the webmaster. But this method requires a careful calculation of the amount of remuneration, and is also rather unstable.
Other non-standard advertising methods
Do not think that these are all ways in which you can attract customers. You can come up with and launch a creative advertising campaign that will attract customers. The only thing that should not be forgotten is that competent advertising should attract customers, and not scare them away.
At the end of the article, I would like to remind you that, among other things, a good businessman is constantly engaged in optimizing his company.
Optimization includes: analysis of income and expenses, growth and development prospects, cost control, supply and demand forecasting, and so on. That is why you always need to look for where you can develop. In an online store, the main area of development is customer acquisition.
In order to understand how to work to attract a client, you can use a simple but effective method - a sales funnel. It allows you to see how many customers are being weeded out and at what stage. This will allow you to see what needs to be optimized.
A banal example: 500 people visited the site. Of these, 100 people went to the section with product A, 200 people went to the section with product B, and 50 people went to the section with product C. On the start page, such a business lost about 150 people. With a conversion of 5-6%, about 10 potential customers are lost. As an option - improve the start page.
In addition, an important indicator that should be taken into account is the average lifetime of one client. This indicator reflects the time between the first visit to the site and the last purchase. That is, thanks to this indicator, you can calculate the following: the average income per client over a period of time.
If you make a statistical sample - find the average life of a client, then you can predict the profitability per attracted client. This indicator is very important for advertisers.
The average revenue per client allows you to predict the cost and profitability of promotions. A similar calculation would be correct: on average, a year passes between the first visit to the site and the last purchase. On average, customers bring about 10 thousand profits per year.
And then, planning an advertising campaign for 70-100 thousand rubles, we must attract 10-15 customers to our online store, and somehow interest them. What needs to be done to get them interested? The sales funnel comes into play.
As in any other area, but especially in trading, it is very important to keep a balance of income and expenses. All the costs that we incurred as part of advertising campaigns go as the cost of one attracted client.
It is impossible for the income from one client to be about 4-5 thousand rubles, and the cost of attracting 5-6 thousand. But at the same time, it is not necessary to assume that the cost of one client will be beaten off immediately after the first purchase. Almost always, regardless of whether it is a landing page or an online store, a businessman receives the main profit after upselling.
Summarizing all of the above, we can say that creating an online store is a great way to start a small business with minimal investment.
The advantages over a conventional store are obvious - you spend less money on premises, employees, utilities and other related costs. Minimal costs make you more competitive, because there is always an opportunity to reduce the price and win the fight for the client.
For beginners, the best option for starting a trading business is to create a one-page landing page and sell various accessories or other retail products through it. This will allow you to gain experience, get a taste of money and then scale your business, moving on to the next stage - opening a full-fledged catalog store.
You should not assume that after creating an online store, you can rest on your laurels and wait for the first customers. The real work is just beginning. For the store to work effectively, it needs to be promoted, advertised and attracted customers by all available means.
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