7 step guide for online retailing for beginners

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The online retail market, or ecommerce, is adding up to over 3.6 trillion dollars in 2019, and it’s expected to reach up to 4.2 trillion dollars in 2020 by following the current growth.

Interested to grab a piece of the pie? Good.

Today, we are going to break down the basics of ecommerce into a simple guide for online retailing.

 Besides the constant growth of the market, its entry barrier is fairly low. I mean, if we compare the expenses that you will have with starting up a physical store – getting a web shop seems like peanuts!

This is all available to new technologies and ecommerce platforms like WordPress and Shopify that can get you started with a very low cost ecommerce solution for your retail business. There are all sorts of tools that will automate the process and all you need to focus is on finding the perfect products and marketing activities.


Ready to dive into the details? Here are all sections that we`ll cover in today’s article.

Research and Roadmap for your online retail

We can’t stress out how important is to plan out everything before you start. Product research in a must before you start selling anything on your website, since you should be focusing your market efforts only on products that will bring you profits – obviously.

There are three types of retail shops that will mention in our guide: general retail shops, niche retail shops and 1-product retail shops.

General stores will sell multiple categories of products, niche stores will sell product only from one category and 1-product stores are optimized to sell one product with variations and extras.

Once you decide what kind of shop you are after, it’s time to plan the execution of the process and plan out the details.

Make a Business Structure

Now that you have a business plan and completed a research, you need to start thinking about the type of company you are going to create and choose the form that fits you. It can be eather LLC, a Corp or Non-Profit.

It all depends on your choice, but you should consult a lawyer before bringing a decision.

The next step is to file all the documents requested by the state or county in order to establish your business as a legal entity.

Finding Suppliers

Once you have all the legal issues handled, you are ready to start thinking about business operations and processes. Since we are crafting this guide for retailing online, a core portion of your business will be finding the perfect supplier(s) that you can trust and relay on.

There are a lot of options when looking for suppliers, they can be individual suppliers, wholesale and – popular nowadays – dropshipping suppliers.

If you choose to handle the shipping, you`ll most likely need to handle the storage as well, yet another popular option is to find a fulfilment company that will store and ship your products to your customers. Dropshipping suppliers will ship products directly to your customers (with your name on it) and in this case you have no extra expenses, just add profit margins to the product cost.

Bonus tip: Some of the most popular dropshipping suppliers while writing this guide are Oberlo and AliDropship, where you pay for low cost products with high profit margines.

Find an Ecommerce Platform

Alright. You have the business plan ready, procedures for legal entity creation started and already know where to look for suppliers in order to start your online retailing business.

It’s time to get creative!

If you are looking for something unique and that other platforms can’t offer for your needs yet, then you`ll have to find a web development agency to create one for you – or if you are looking for a ecommerce website that’s ready to get you started with online retailing, you can check one of  the following ecommerce platforms:

  • Shopify
  • WordPress
  • BigCommerce
  • Magento
  • OpenCart
  • Volusion
  • Wix & more.

Shopify is the most popular solution because it offers the most simple and beginner friendly dashboard and operation for online retailers. No need for coding or anything.

Once you need something more custom, you may need to move on a different platform that will require help from developers to craft a whole solution for your problem or smaller widgets.

Brand and Domain Name

It’s important to have a memorable brand name and domain name as well. This will come handy for your marketing actives as people that visit your website will remember the name or url of the ecommerce store or it will be easier to remember when sharing it with their friends.

If you are using Shopify, you can buy the domain name directly from their platform.

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Theme and Design for your Ecommerce Store

Now that your branding is complete, it’s time to move on to the design of your ecommerce website. You can have a designer to create a custom layout and design that will be comprehensive with your branding (and that may be a bit more pricey option) or find a theme reseller that offers a theme and style you might like for a far cheaper price.

Most of the ecommerce platforms have a big library of free themes and layouts ready for use trough the click of a button, so if starting on a budget can be achieved by saving on unique design with a free theme.

Start Listing your Products

Once you have your online retail store and got to this point of the guide, you are ready to start listing the products on the website.

Basically, you will need to attach product images, product title, description and setup the pricing. Additional costs like shipping and taxes can be set up as well once you have everything listed and ready on the website.

If your suppliers or fulfilment company are offering few ways of shipping you can use that by charging for faster shipping or different shipping zones.

Depends on the ecommerce platform you’ve chosen, you should be able to split your product listings into categories in order to be more accessible by your website visitors.

These are all the steps for our basic guide for retailing. By now, you should have the full presentation of how creating and starting an online retail business is done.

Please drop a comment in the comments section below if you have any questions regarding online retailing or our guide.

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