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Opening an Online Store

Jun 4th 2012 at 11:13 PM

Opening your own store as a Wahm is easy when you take your business online. Online shopping is becoming a mainstay of American commerce and more people are comfortable with making purchases from Internet stores. If you have something that you are passionate about selling, consider opening an online store.

Before you start an online store, do some research online and check out your potential competition. If you have a business idea in mind, it is worth the time and effort to see what else is being sold in your category of products. If you have no idea what you want to sell, you’ll also want to head online to search out what would be most profitable to sell.

When you make the selection of what you are going to sell, remember to think “niche.” A niche is a small category of products that meet the needs of a specific group of people. Your online store shouldn’t have a “Wal-mart” approach where there is a little bit of everything for everyone. Online commerce is all about small categories of interest. There are so many things to choose from, you have more success when you cater to a small and specific group of people.

The best place to start with finding a niche is thinking about your own interests. When you sell to a niche that you know well, you are more likely to know what products will be of interest to those people. You can sell to your clientele based on your own experience.

Many Wahms start an online store because they have homemade products to offer. One example is handmade baby clothes and cloth diapers. Many Wahms have found success with putting their sewing skills to work and selling their wares online. Other popular handmade online stores include bath and body products, candles and gift baskets.

This does not mean that you can’t have online store success if you don’t make your own products. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of Wahms who have success by opening stores stocked with store-bought inventory.

Whatever your choice, whether handmade or store bought, there are many options for hosting your online store. These options depend on how comfortable you are with web design. Many companies, like Yahoo, offer store websites that are very user friendly and simple to set up. They can cost anywhere from $30 to $200 per month for the storefront services. Many Wahms also find success with eBay stores, which allow them to sell in auctions or in a fixed price format.

Look at all of your options before you choose your online store hosting. Remember that the quality of your hosting will reflect the quality of your business. The last thing you need is your entire website going down due to cheap hosting. The best choice is to find a reputable host that will provide you with a storefront and hosting for a reasonable price. Don’t try to pinch pennies on this aspect of your business. You could end up out of business in no time.

Once you’ve found a place to host your store, you’ll need to drive internet traffic to the store. One of the easiest ways is to trade banners with other Wahm online stores. Many Wahms support each other in their online efforts. This form of networking is a great way to introduce your products to customers who already look to support Wahms. You can also advertise using pay per click advertising and work on your website so that it increases in page ranking for certain search terms.

Keep your customers coming back with an easy to navigate website, simple ordering techniques and good customer service. Even though most of your business will be done online, it’s a good idea to get a business phone line and put that number on your website. This way customers can feel confident in purchasing from you because they know they can speak to a real person if there is a problem with their order.

Regardless of what type of online Wahm store you choose to open, following these tips will make your business a success.

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