#WEDO: A Quick Guide To Opening Your Online Shop

I am so excited today because its my turn in Amy and Annie's #WEDO Business + Branding blog tour! I have been an online shop owner for over two years now, so for my day I will be showing you exactly how to start your own online e-commerce business!

  • NAME IT! You can't start anything before giving your product or service a name. Think of something that is meaningful and something that you feel will be able to grow with you over the years. Also check to make sure that there already isn't a business established under that name and that the domain name is available (or something close to it).
  • Online presence. Decide on what social networks work best for what you will be selling. Contrary to popular belief you don't have to be present on every single site. Since my business is very visual, Pinterest and Instagram work best for me.
  • Purchase your domain + Choose Your E-Commerce Platform. If you didn't already purchase your domain in step one then you should go run and do it now! I use GoDaddy for all of my domains but there are a ton of different places out there where they can be bought. Now is also the time to research a little about which e-commerce platform you wan't to sell on. There are literally a ton out there that have both pros and cons but the most popular are Etsy, BigCartel, Shopify and SquareSpace. Each have different pricing options and offer different features. Think about your budget and what features you will need for your specific products. 
  • Know your dream customer. You may have an amazing product to offer but if you have no clue who you are selling to it won't get very far. You must know your target customer inside and out. Where she shops, whats her personality, what does she do in her free time and most importantly...why does she need what you have to offer?
  • Branding. Your brand is EVERYTHING! It goes above an beyond your logo and website. Its who you are, what your business stands for and how you communicate with your clients.  It is very important to also stay consistent with your brand. That means using the same voice, colors and fonts everywhere that your brand can be found (Ex: social media) If you need a little help putting your brand together, check out my DIY resources page!
  • Create a Marketing plan. Marketing your new business should begin well before your launch date! Start off by making clear and specific goals. What do you really wan't? New clients? New email subscribers? Think about who your target audience is and go find them! Let them know that your business exists and that you have a product or service that fits their needs. All marketing really is is finding different ways to tell people what you do over and over again. 
  • Take amazing photos and write desirable descriptions. If you are a product based business the only thing potential customers have to go off of is pictures and words, so make sure they grab their attention. I personally love taking product photos on a clean white background so that nothing is distracting the customers from what's for sale. Also try to take a few shots of your products on an actual model so that your customers can get an idea of how it would look when worn. For your descriptions, describe the product but word it in a way that MAKE people wan't to buy.
  • Reveal it to the world! You have been busting your butt promoting your new product or service, building your shop and forming your brand, now its time to let the world see the finished product! On launch day think of different ways you can promote your new business without coming across as spammy! You can also create tweets to give to family and friends so that they can help spread the word!

One other thing I would like to add is that although this list may seem short, you should really take your time working through it to ensure that what you are building is exactly what you wan't. Don't rush it! Trust me rushing the building process can be disastrous for your brand!  

Make sure you check out Amanda's blog tomorrow! She'll be talking about how to maximize Pinterest!