Are you thinking about how to start a shop online? Maybe you have a great business idea but you don’t have the time to run a brick and mortar store? It could be that you already have a store but want to expand your market.

In 2018, an estimated 1.8 billion people worldwide purchase goods online. During the same year, global e-retail sales amounted to 2.8 trillion U.S. dollars. Projections show that the amount of digital buyers in the United States is expected to surpass 230 million in 2021.

The key to a successful online store is great products and a great website. In this article, I will give you tips on how to start a shop online, including insights on integrating the best Shopify affiliate plugins to boost your store’s performance and revenue potential.

1. Start with a solid business plan

Just like any business, you need a business plan to help guide you through the process of starting an online store.

Your business plan should include:

  • An executive summary
  • A company description
  • A market analysis
  • An organization and management section
  • A products and services section
  • A marketing and sales plan
  • A funding request if you plan to seek funding
  • Financial projections

2. Choose the right ecommerce platform for your online shop

There are a lot of ecommerce platforms available for starting an online shop. Some of the most popular options include:

  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
  • BigCommerce
  • Wix
  • Squarespace

The right ecommerce platform for your online shop will depend on a lot of factors, such as your level of experience, the size of your online shop, your budget, ecommerce business model and more.

Shopify is a great option for beginners. It’s user-friendly, quick to set up, and offers a lot of tools and resources for new business owners. WooCommerce is a good choice if you already have a WordPress website and you want to add an online shop to it. This is a particularly good option due to the array of plugins you can incorporate for additional functionality, whether you want to enable customers to configure products to their liking for a more personalized experience, or want to expand your market with the help of a multicurrency plugin. 

3. Create an ecommerce website with a memorable user experience

Your ecommerce website is the face of your online business. It’s where you’ll showcase your products, build your brand, and sell to customers. The look and feel of your website are crucial to the success of your online business.

When creating an ecommerce website, you’ll need to think about the design, layout, and user experience. Your website should be easy to navigate, and your products should be well organized and easy to find. You’ll also want to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly and loads quickly.

You can use an ecommerce platform or an AI website builder to create your website, else you can hire a web developer to create a custom one for you. If you’re building your own website, most ecommerce platforms offer a variety of templates and tools to help you create a professional-looking website.

After your website has been created, it’s important to continuously check it’s performance in terms of both availability (i.e., uptime) and functionality of the user experience (e.g., transaction processing ability). This can be carried out using synthetic monitoring tools if the ecommerce platform (where applicable) is not already doing so for you.

4. Set up a simple checkout process

The checkout process is where a lot of online stores lose customers. Make sure your checkout process is as simple and easy as possible.

Customers should be able to add items to their cart, enter their payment and shipping information, and place their order with just a few clicks. Parcel tracking is also a very good additional option. 

Don’t make customers create an account before they can check out. Instead, give them the option to check out as a guest and create an account later.

You should also offer multiple payment options, like credit card, PayPal, and Apple Pay, and allow customers to enter promo codes or gift certificates.

Finally, make sure your checkout process is secure. Display security badges and use SSL encryption to protect your customers’ information.

5. Make your online shop search engine friendly

The next step is to add your products to your online shop. Make sure to include a detailed product description, high-quality images, and the price.

You can also add product categories and tags to help organize your products and make them easier to find.

Once your products are added, you can create a sitemap and submit it to search engines like Google. This will help your online shop get indexed and start showing up in search results.

You can also use other SEO tactics, like adding keywords to your product descriptions and meta tags, to help improve your online shop’s search engine ranking. If you don’t know where to start with this, considering outsourcing the process to an SEO agency like Spacebar Collective.

6. Use high-quality images for your products

When you’re shopping online, you can’t physically touch or see the products you’re buying. That’s why it’s important to use high-quality images that show your products from multiple angles.

The main product image should be a professional, high-quality photo that shows the product against a white background. You can also include lifestyle images that show the product in use, as well as close-up shots that highlight important details.

If you’re on a tight budget, you can take your own product photos using a smartphone and a few basic photography tools. But if you have the budget, it’s worth hiring a professional photographer to take your product photos. Professional product photography can significantly enhance the visual appeal and quality of your product images

You can also use free or low-cost stock photos to fill in any gaps in your product photography. Just be sure to choose images that are high-quality and relevant to your products.

In addition, to enhance the visual appeal of your product showcase, consider integrating innovative ways to display photos on your website, such as tiled galleries and photo carousels. These dynamic features not only provide a visually engaging experience for your visitors but also allow you to showcase a larger variety of product images in a space-efficient manner, further enticing potential customers with the versatility and quality of your offerings.

7. Create a content marketing strategy for your online shop

Content marketing is a great way to drive traffic to your online shop. You can create a blog, a YouTube channel or a podcast to share content with your target audience.

Your content should be informative and provide value to your audience. You can create content that is related to your products, but you should also create content that is not. This will help you to attract a larger audience and build trust with your potential customers.

For example, if you sell management consulting services, you could create a blog on team-building and how to improve company culture. You could also create a YouTube channel where you share videos on how to encourage your own business transformations.


8. Optimize your online shop for mobile

It’s no secret that mobile shopping is on the rise. In fact, more people now shop on mobile devices than on desktop computers. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your online shop is optimized for mobile.

If your shop isn’t mobile-friendly, you could be missing out on a huge number of potential customers. Mobile optimization is also important for SEO, as Google now uses mobile-first indexing to rank websites.

When designing your online shop, be sure to choose a responsive theme that looks great on all devices. You should also test your shop on different devices to make sure it loads quickly and is easy to navigate.

9. Use social media to promote your online shop

Social media is a great way to promote your online shop. You can use social media to share your products, run promotions and connect with your customers.

The key to using social media to promote your online shop is to be consistent. You should post to your social media profiles regularly and engage with your followers.

You can also use paid social media advertising to reach new customers. Social media advertising is a cost-effective way to promote your online shop and drive sales.

There are a number of different social media platforms you can use to promote your online shop, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and more.

10. Have a customer service strategy in place

Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Without them, you wouldn’t have a business. So, it’s important to make sure you have a solid customer service strategy in place.

This means making sure you have a way for customers to get in touch with you if they have any questions or concerns. A good idea is to have an omnichannel customer strategy, including email support, a live chat, and AI chatbots that would automate a good portion of customer requests. You should also have a plan for how you will handle any customer complaints that come up. You can hire a customer service virtual assistant for better and effortless customer service.

In addition, you should have a plan for how you will handle customer returns and refunds. This is an important part of any e-commerce business, and it’s something you should think about before you launch your online shop.


This is the most important part of your online store. If you’re not a techie, no worries, you can still build a great online store. There are many website builders out there that are easy to use and will help you create a professional looking site.

If you’re not comfortable with website builders, you can always hire a web developer to create your site. There are many platforms that developers use to create online stores, such as WordPress, WooCommerce, Magento, and more.

No matter which route you choose for your online store, you’ll want to make sure it’s user-friendly, easy to navigate, and has a secure checkout process.

We hope these tips help you get started with your online business.