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How to launch an awesome online store with Shopify

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Ditch the Rat Race

Earlier this month we covered Quitting your job with Shopify. This article will cover more details on how to do this.

Ditching the rat race

At Kamari Labs we have helped hundreds of online merchants and e-tailors go live with their Shopify shops. Often friends and family members will ask me how they too can start selling online. My response is often “sign up for Shopify and start there”.

Last month Shopify announced it would be teaming up with Amazon to help merchants sell online according to the Wall Street Journal. There has never been a better time to get into the business. Everything is in place today. Years ago this was not the case.

Shopify makes it easier than ever to sell goods and or services online. For roughly $30 USD you to can become a member of the league of online merchants.

The only problem is from there they are stuck. Most people do not know how to establish a partnership with a vendor and begin sourcing product, setting up marketing strategies, and developing an eco-system around a product or website. This is where a Shopify Expert comes in but we will get into that later. For now I am going to focus on the fundamentals of selling online. This post will be around Shopify. However you can apply this to any shopping cart platform you like. The formula does not vary much from cart to cart.

I am going to try an cover what you will need to do to start from the ground up.

If you already have a store somewhere else this may be elementary for you so bear with me.

Defining your business

You will need to define your business, business plan, and roadmap. I won’t get into this here, there are plenty of other great articles out there on this topic. The important part is you have a clear path defined for what you are setting out to do as a business. With that in mind you can proceed to the next step.

Checkout this article from FastCompany on knowing what your business model really is.

Identifying your market

Figure out what market category you will fall into. Do some research on the market. Check forums, competitors, and leaders in the space. Record their pros and cons and learn from them. Don’t skimp in this area. Market analysis is critical to understanding and dominating a niche or space online. Consider buying some books or even taking some online courses in online marketing and sales strategies as this will give you more insight to how to enter a new space.

Sourcing products

Once you have defined what you are setting out to do it’s time to source some product to sell. This can be done in a many ways depending on the market you have chosen to enter. There are many wholesale distributers out there and plenty of ways to find them today. – One rule of thumb is don’t buy more than you can sale. Instead buy small and scale up. Below are some sites where you can contact wholesale distributers (mostly in China) to purchase wholesale merchandise.

Alibaba

One of the more well known hubs for wholesale goods from China is Alibaba. They have a vast network of goods and vendors. You can easily find someone to sell you a few items at a decent price to try a new product in your shop.

Alibaba Wholesale Goods

Bulq

We have heard great things about Bulq.com. You can buy pallets of goods at a flat rate. While this is a bit more eBay style in terms of product sourcing. Depending on your chosen market this may be a great way to prime your shop with some product.

Bulq Wholesale Goods

Dolba

Dolba is another great place to get products to sell. Dolba is a lot like Alibaba. They have lot’s of products and vendors. The site is easily searchable and it should not take long to find what you are looking to sell.

Dolba

Tiger Direct

Tiger Direct has been around for decades. Specializing in electronics, they have an extended selection to choose from.

Setting up your Shopify store

Now that you have a business plan and some products to sell. You will want to sign up for Shopify

Shopify has some simple pricing (shown below). At the time of writing this article the lowest plan is $29/mo. Not too bad considering what your getting for that.



Choosing a domain name

You will also need a domain name to point to your store unless you want to use the your-store.myshopify.com domain you get with your account (don’t do that). Hop on over to somewhere like Namecheap or Godaddy and snap one up for a few bucks a year.

You can then just follow this easy guide (setting up a Shopify custom domain) from Shopify to setup the domain.

Godaddy.com

Namecheap.com

Final thoughts

If you have completed all the steps above congratulations. You are now an online merchant. However it does not end here. You will still want to measure, improve, and refine your shop throughout the course of a year or two. This includes metrics of traffic and sales funnels, and learning use behavior through analysis. We will cover that in another post.

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Kamari Labs Staff

Kamari Labs is an Orange County, California web design and development agency. We specialize in digital marketing, and engaging user experience design for ecommerce. For the past 5 years Kamari Labs has helped Southern California's Shopify merchants launch hundreds of stores. Contact us today to learn how we can help you today!

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