March 17, 2020, 0 Comments
Ecommerce Business Blueprint: How to Build, Launch, and Grow a Profitable Online Store
The future of ecommerce is bright. But starting an online business is hard work and demands many steps and decisions that need to come together at the right time.
To help, we’ve put together a comprehensive blueprint for starting a business, compiled from Shopify’s most popular content. These blog posts, guides, and videos have been organized based on the most important tasks you’ll face when researching, launching, and growing a profitable ecommerce business.
I. Choosing a product
Finding a product to sell
The first step to building an ecommerce business is knowing what products you want to sell direct-to-consumer. This often is the most challenging part of starting a new online business. In this section, we’ll highlight strategies you can use to find product opportunities, explore the best places to look for product ideas, and finally, look at trending products to consider.
- Find Products to Sell on Shopify with Oberlo
- Strategies for Finding Your First Profitable Product Opportunity
- Places to Look for Profitable Product Ideas
- Trending Products to Sell in 2020
- Online Business Ideas You Can Start from Home
Evaluating your idea
Once you have a product idea in mind, how do you know if it will sell? In this section, we’ll cover a few approaches that active entrepreneurs have used to validate their product ideas and potential market.
Free Guide: How to Find a Profitable Product to Sell Online
Excited about starting a business, but not sure where to start? This free, comprehensive guide will teach you how to find great, newly trending products with high sales potential.Get the free guide
Obtaining your product
After landing on a strong product idea, your next step is figuring out where and how you’re going to obtain your products. The next four posts cover the various methods for acquiring your products, along with the pros and cons of each model.
- Should You Make, Manufacture, Wholesale, or Dropship?
- How to Find a Manufacturer or Supplier for Your Product Idea
- 12 Shopify Apps for Finding Products to Sell (Without Shipping Them Yourself)
- Print on Demand: A Low-Risk Way to Sell Custom T-Shirts, Books, and More
Sell your retail products online
Many independent retailers face a challenging road ahead. Shifting your brick-and-mortar business online can help you weather this storm, generate cash flow, and build a more resilient business.
- How to Move Your Brick-and-Mortar Business Online
- Sell Gift Cards for Your Retail Business with a Simple Online Store
- Quickstart Guide: How to Start Selling Online With Local Delivery
- How to Quickly Set Up a “Buy Online, Pickup Curbside” Experience
II. Research and prepare
Research your competition
You’ve found your product, evaluated its potential, and sourced a supplier. But before you get into that, you’ll need to thoroughly research your competition so you know what you’re up against and how you can differentiate your business from theirs.
Writing a business plan
With your competitive research complete, it’s time to write your business plan. A business plan is a roadmap that helps bring your ideas and thoughts together. A business plan is vital in determining what to prioritize and how to effectively reach new customers.
- A Detailed Guide to Writing a Useful Business Plan
- Business Plan Template: A Framework to Streamline Your Next Business Plan
III. Setting up your business
Naming your business
Aside from finding an actual product to sell online, another challenging decision is determining your business or brand name and choosing an appropriate and available domain name. These blog posts will help you tackle these important tasks.
Creating a logo
Once you’ve selected a memorable name and registered a corresponding domain, it’s time to craft a simple logo. In these resources, we’ll show you several options for creating a great logo for your new business.
- Hatchful: A simple logo maker by Shopify
- 5 Easy to Use Online Logo Makers to Design Your Brand
- How to Design a Memorable Logo in 7 Steps (We Make One From Scratch)
Understanding search engine optimization (SEO)
You’re almost ready to begin building your online store. However, before you jump into it, you should understand the basics of search engine optimization so you can properly structure your site and pages for Google and other search engines.
- The Beginner’s Guide to Ecommerce SEO
- What Can I Do to Help My Store Rank in Search Engines?
- Keyword Research for Ecommerce from the Ground Up
- Business SEO Checklist: How to Rank a New Site
Free Download: SEO Checklist
Want to rank higher in search results? Get access to our free, checklist on search engine optimization.Get the free checklist
Building your store
With a better understanding of search engines, it’s time to build out your store. There are many crucial elements to consider. Below, we’ve listed our essential reads to help you build high-converting product pages, write captivating product descriptions, shoot beautiful product photography, choose your ecommerce color palette, and much more.
- 50 Exceptional Shopify Stores to Inspire New Entrepreneurs
- 11 Experts Share How to Optimize Your Product Pages
- How to Write Product Descriptions that Sell
- The Ultimate DIY Guide to Product Photography
- Customizing Your Shopify Theme: How To Use Images, Colors, and Fonts
- Must-Know Tips for Optimizing Your Images
- How to Create a Coming Soon Page and Start Marketing Before You Launch
Don’t forget, if you run into any problems getting your store set up, you can always hire help from Shopify Experts.
Choosing your sales channels
One of the best ways to reach new customers is to choose sales channels where they already shop. The right mix of sales channels will depend on your products and your target customers, but there are a number of great options that can complement and support your self-hosted store.
- Etsy and Shopify: How Three Makers Used Both to Grow Their Businesses
- Selling on eBay: How One Business Finds New Customers
- This Business Generates 76.8% of Orders Selling on Amazon with Shopify
Ready to create your first business? Start your free 90-day trial of Shopify—no credit card required.
EmailStart free trial
IV. Preparing to launch
As you prepare for the launch of your new business, there are several shipping and fulfillment elements you need to prepare for. In this section, we’ve curated a few comprehensive guides on how to determine your shipping strategy.
- The Beginner’s Guide to Shipping and Fulfillment
- International Shipping: Everything You Need to Know
- How Do I Price and Implement a Strategy to Handle Returns?
- How to Reduce Shipping Costs as a Small Ecommerce Store
It’s also a good idea to define your key performance indicators up front so, once you launch, you know what measures of success to track.
- 67 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Ecommerce
- What Are the Basic Ecommerce Metrics I Need To Focus On First?
As a final checklist, this post covers the 10 essential things you need to do before launch.
V. Post launch
Acquiring your first customer
Now that you’ve launched, the hard work of marketing your products begins. While many new store owners should consider selling their physical products in person, the rest of digital marketing rests on doing one thing well: driving targeted traffic. Next, we’ll share a variety of marketing tactics that will help you in your first months.
Marketing your store
You’re well on your way and now likely have a few sales under your belt. It’s time to get serious and focused. The following posts will help you zero in on your top-performing marketing tactics or expand into new ones for driving traffic and converting that traffic to sales.
Whether you’re just getting started or dreaming up your next big campaign, this email marketing guide will provide you with insights and ideas to help your business grow.Get the free ebook now
A blueprint is just the beginning
Building your own ecommerce business is as exciting as it is challenging. At a rapid pace you’ll learn a ton about choosing a product, evaluating its viability, figuring out how to get it produced, building an online store, and marketing and selling to new customers. The process can feel like you’re solving a head scratcher of a puzzle, but it’s rewarding all the same.
We hope following this resource roundup helps provide you with a clearer roadmap. As always, the best advice anyone can give is to just get started and to enjoy yourself along the way.