Small Business Brief


Be Your Own Boss: How to Start an Online Retail Business in 7 Simple Steps

By 2021, it is projected that people will spend $4.88 trillion on retail e-commerce. The online space is growing rapidly and there is still time to plant your flag. 

Learning how to start an online retail business is one of the most lucrative opportunities available. The startup costs are low and the potential return on investment is high. Continue reading this article to learn how to be your own boss online.

Simple Steps to Learn How to Start an Online Retail Business

Learning how to become a successful online business like SmashBrand and other similar businesses doesn’t have to be difficult. These seven steps will help you as you are on the road to building your brand.

1. Draw Up a Detailed Business Plan

Before starting your online business, you need to draw up a detailed business plan. Whether you are starting your business with little capital or if you have a lot of funding, you still need a solid plan. A business without a plan is just a wish and hope is not a strategy.

Whether you put together a traditional business plan that can be used to acquire outside funding or if you’re creating a plan for yourself, you need to put one or the other together. You don’t have to get too fancy and delay your start date, but without a plan, you’re not likely to get very far.

2. Determine Website Structure

More in the way of planning is determining your website structure. You need to know how you will serve your content and what type of content you’ll offer. You should know where your website navigation is going to go to make it easy for your visitors to go through your website.

Your website should be structured in a way that will walk your potential clients through the steps they need to take to convert. When you think about your website conversion from the beginning, you will get the best results for your e-commerce site.

3. Pick a Niche

While you can expand your brand and sales strategies after getting established, it is best to niche down. Pick a niche for your website and make it your goal to be the best in that niche. 

While there may be a lot of people that sell items similar to yours, if you find a small market you can serve, you can kick start your business. Your business will be able to gain momentum and you’ll learn about other niches you can serve through client analysis. 

4. Choose Products You Want to Sell

Your business plan should have listed generalities about products you plan on selling, but now it is time to get specific. List the size, color and any other variations of the products. 

You also need to make a plan of how they are manufactured. You need to contact companies that can help you with these processes and see how low you can negotiate the price.

5. Get Product Bar Codes

To sell products, they have to have barcodes. Even if products are only slightly different, they all need to have different barcodes. Purchasing barcodes is usually pretty simple.

If you need a large number of barcodes, you are usually able to get a discount on them.

6. Build Your Inventory

Failing to have enough inventory is the kiss of death for your business. There are plenty of other places people can purchase similar products from. Shipping speed is one of the most important points when people are purchasing online.

Even if you have fast shipping, your service will be slow if you don’t have the inventory you need. Online stores and stores that have a storefront both need to have inventory.

You may be worried about getting stuck with too much inventory or the cost of storing your inventory. Your business plan should include the cost of inventory so you don’t have to worry about those costs at this stage in the process.

7. Get Your Domain & Hosting

Just like people expect fast shipping, they also expect your website to be fast. If your website lags and people aren’t able to navigate easily from one product to the next, they are likely to leave and never come back.

When you choose your domain name, don’t make it too long or complicated. If there is any way to shorten your domain without confusing people about your brand, you should do it. People are more likely to remember short and catchy domains.

Your hosting needs to have plenty of resources to serve your website visitors. Look at the various options available that will give you fast enough hosting. Most people find that shared hosting is too slow for their e-commerce stores.

You may even look into special hosting for your website that is specially created for e-commerce stores online. Look at the options that you have but ask specifically whether your server is a dedicated server, virtual private server or if it is shared hosting.

Building Your Online Business

Now that you know how to build your online business, it is time to learn how to promote your business. A business without customers isn’t much of a business.

Whether you learn how to promote your business through content marketing, pay per click advertising or other methods, you should focus on one method to get started.

Learning how to market is a key part of your business’ success. You need to decide whether you will take care of your own marketing or if you want to hire a professional to take care of your needs.

Learn How to Be a Successful Business Owner

Even if you’re in business for yourself after learning how to start an online retail business, you don’t have to feel like you’re in business by yourself. There are plenty of business resources available for you. If you aren’t sure how to grow your business further or how to get attention to in a crowded market, read our blog post to learn more.