Online Shopping is a multi-billion industry world wide and each year the number of consumers that are shopping via the internet increases dramatically. Working online from home by setting up an online store is actually not that hard. The hardest part initially is to navigate through all the options that are out there on the internet. This article will look at the different steps that you can take to get started working online from home with an online store.
If you don’t already have products and want to get started working online from home with an online store, the most important first step is to do research. Make sure that there is a demand and that the competition is not too hard. Try to find a small niche with enough potential customers and build your online store around that niche.
The next thing you need is an online store front. There are basically three main options:
- Build your own simple website. If you have some knowledge of web design, you can create your own website and integrate an online payment solution such as PayPal. PayPal supports all the major credit cards and they have very simple solutions that you can use on your web site to take payment from your customers.
- E-Commerce Solutions. There are several good eCommerce solutions or online store systems Affordable home accessories
that let you set up your store and fill it up with your own products. One of the most popular ones is osCommerce (oscommerce.com). This is an open source free solution complete with a product catalog system, shopping cart and check out system. Vendio.com is another free e-commerce solution that is worth checking out.
- Ready Made Online Store. A ready made online store or a turnkey store is a complete e-commerce solution pre-stocked with products. All you basically have to do is to promote the store. The drawback with a ready made online store is that you can only pick products to sell that the provider of the service allows you to sell. This means that there are probably a lot of others that are selling the same products. This is a great way to get started working online from home if you want to avoid all the technical web stuff.
If you don’t have your own products to sell, you can make a deal with a drop shipping supplier. This way you don’t have to keep anything in stock, which is great when you first start out working online from home with an online store. You take the orders from your customers and the drop shipping supplier takes care of the packing and shipping. There are several directories online where you can find wholesalers and drop shipping suppliers. Do a Google search and you will find lots of them. Make sure you do your research on any company that you are about to make business with. There are scams out there and spending a little bit of time researching can save you a lot of time and money. Use Google and ask around in forums before you get into business with anybody online.
You can find ready made online store solutions in basically any niche and also companies that offers solutions with a wide variety of products by spending a little bit of time searching in Google.
The next important step is to start promoting your online store. There are several free ways you can do this in addition to the paid ones such as ordinary off line advertising and paid online ads like Google AdWords.
One of the most effective free ways is through article marketing. While it’s hard to get your website on the first page of search engines, it’s a lot easier to get an article ranked high. Write articles about topics within your niche with links to your website and submit them to article directories like EzineArticles, GoArticle and ArticleBase.
Another effective marketing technique is forum marketing. Find forums within your niche and start to write and reply to posts. The idea is get noticed as someone that provides valuable information and help others with their problems. Do not try to sell your store in forums – then you will get banned really fast. Instead make sure you have a link to your store in your signature and once you get noticed, people will click it and visit your site. In addition you can post free classified ads at classified ads sites such as CraigsList, Kijiji and StumbleHere.