There’s never been a better time to start an eCommerce business. Although the online retail world is bustling, there’s always room for new stores. The pandemic drove more people online than ever before, and that isn’t a trend that looks likely to suddenly reverse. Launching your first store can be daunting, though, so here are a few tips to help.

1. Choose a niche

The most successful online stores operate firmly within a specific niche with a laser sharp focus. Niches help both you and your customers. They make it easier for you to build a brand (for example, you might design your store around outdoor clothing) and be coherent across other mediums including social media. Niches also mean that customers always know what to expect when they visit your store, which builds loyalty. Better still, operating within a niche makes your store feel that bit more professional. You’ll seem like an expert if you only operate in one area rather than spreading yourself too thinly. Customers are much more likely to trust a specialist store than a “Jack-of-all-trades” model.

2. Choose the business model

ECommerce takes many forms. Traditional eCommerce means holding your own stock and taking care of everything from delivery to customer support and returns. This can be done on a large- or small scale. You might sell individual, handcrafted items or go much larger with wholesale goods. Dropshipping is an increasingly popular option, too. The attraction is clear. You act more as an intermediary and don’t hold stock or handle shipping. Your products are held in a warehouse and orders are shipped when placed, so this is a somewhat “safer” alternative to the traditional model that requires minimal initial outlay.

3. Find the best platform

Few eCommerce professionals design their infrastructure from the ground up. Nowadays, there are lots of eCommerce platforms that allow you to design a storefront, upload product images and descriptions, and then start selling in a matter of clicks. Shopify is one of the most popular options and it’s used around the world. Of course, choosing Shopify developers is a complex process and you should take into account everything from portal management, website design, SEO implication, and even email marketing when you make your choice. Finding the right developer makes all the difference and can determine whether your business is a success or a failure.

4. Get your marketing right

Simply opening an online store and expecting customers to find it by themselves is a method that’s doomed to fail. You need to market not just aggressively, but astutely. A large part of that marketing will take place on social media. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have built-in eCommerce capabilities, whereas others such as Twitter and YouTube are excellent for drumming up support and encouraging traffic to your store. Rather than marketing individual products, use social media as a way to construct a brand. Encourage customer loyalty and sign-ups with offers, and don’t neglect other forms of advertising like email, either.