In a market that exceeds 6.2 billion euros and is growing every day, you certainly have more opportunities than if you open something on the corner.
Ecommerce is becoming more and more attractive for Romanians, both on the buying side, as customers, and on the selling side, as entrepreneurs with online shops.
Which can only make us happy and reconfirm that we have chosen the right industry to support to grow.
One of the things that concerns you at the start is the real side behind an online business. What is actually involved in opening an online store, beyond the pretty promises and dates.
This is what we’re talking about in detail today.
Whether you are now starting from scratch or maybe you are already selling online on a marketplace, this article will definitely help you to better understand the field and make the right decisions.
Contents What is involved in opening an online shop
- Why open an online shop?
- Choose your target audience
- Think business structure
- Get ready to go online
- Choose your ecommerce platform
1. Why open an online shop?
Online, you have multiple ways to showcase your products or services. You can sell on Facebook, for example, on a marketplace, a classifieds site or a search engine.
All these channels are, however, controlled by another entity, not you.
That translates into much less control over your channel – you can get locked out or taken out of the channel, right when your world is most dear to you.
We always recommend putting your eggs in a basket that you own. Have your own domain and email address, on which to build your online store from scratch.
The domain, email addresses and site content are yours to use as you wish, when you wish, without having to answer to anyone.
These are the things you want to own.
Besides this main advantage, an online shop offers you other benefits:
- Low start-up costs – Obviously you can’t open an online store for free, if you take into account the technical infrastructure (eCommerce platform, even if you choose something open source you still pay development costs and plugins), product stock, marketing etc. But these costs are initially much lower than what you would have to invest if you opened a physical store.
- Potential for growth – In a store of your own you have more opportunities to scale, even to start delivering internationally, for example. You are available to a much wider range of customers.
- Available 24/7 – People can place orders from your store at any time of the day or night, when it’s convenient for them, and are therefore more open to cross-sell and upsell options.
In other words, your store offers convenience and utility to potential customers without you having to spend all your savings on displaying products.
2. Choose your target audience
Once you’ve decided to set up an online store, we say the first step is to choose your target audience.
You may already know what product or products you want to sell. Or maybe you don’t, and then it’s a good time to think about and choose a few options.
The best way to choose your star products is to look at who they are for and who they offer benefits to.
Keep in mind that you’re now at the start.
You have to start somewhere and it’s better to start with a limited selection of products, especially if you are now taking your first steps in eCommerce and starting to get experience.
Too many products for too many customer categories automatically means you have multiple suppliers, different shipping costs and companies, different delivery times, orders split into multiple parcels… and it’s a sure recipe for failure before you know you’re doing it.
Start slower, so you can focus on promoting your products to a core audience and increase your chances of selling. You will then have enough time to expand your product range.
- What are the characteristics of the customers you want to sell to?
- What are the problems they face?
- What do they like? What don’t they like?
- Where are they from?
- What are their habits?
- Where do they spend their time and what do they do there?
- What makes them make a decision?
All the answers to these questions help you build customer avatars. At the same time, you will know which products sell well to your customers.
It’s infinitely easier to sell and start making a profit when you bring in products for which there is already demand in the market, than completely new products for which you have to set aside time so as to educate the audience and awaken the need.
Read also: How do I find target products that I can be successful with from the start
3. Think business structure
Good. Now that you know who you want to sell to and, therefore, what you will sell, the second step is to think about the business model or structure you want to sell.
You see, there are millions of online stores in Romania, more or less ready to sell. So you will have to find your differentiators from the start, to be able to capture the attention of potential customers and convince them to buy from you.
Your business structure, preferably on paper, will help you build a picture of how you want to do things:
- What do you do unique to the market?
- What extra services do you offer?
- How do you get revenue – cost per product, subscription, etc.?
- How do you present your products – individual product, customizable product, packages, mystery packs etc.?
- What does the sales process look like – with or without cross-sell / upsell?
- How are you going to acquire customers – marketing, retention, referrals etc.?
- What are the milestones of success (KPIs, deadlines, timelines)?
- What does the 3 month plan involve? What about 3 years?
The business structure/model doesn’t have to be set in stone, because you have the freedom to adapt as the market changes. But you need such a list from the start.
It will be easier for you to prioritize and formulate a mission and values that will make your store known in the market.
4. Get ready to go online
- Choose the desired legal form and open a company.
- Open a bank account for your business.
- Choose domain name and get hosting for your domain & your professional email address.
- Find a designer and discuss about creating a professional logo for your future website. It’s a basic asset that you’d better invest a few bucks for up front, because you’ll use it everywhere. With this designer you can also discuss banners for your shop, if you don’t choose a turnkey shop, for example (at unosoft, when you ask us turnkey shop you also get your first set of banners so that the shop can be launched as soon as possible).
- Decide on your shop colours (will be useful for banners, website colour scheme, advertisements, etc.).
- Looking for product suppliers (if you don’t produce them yourself) and discuss contracts, terms and responsibilities.
- Decide which service providers you will work with: carriers, payment processors, invoicing, ERP, efulfillment, emailing, marketing etc.
- Open a Facebook page and an Instagram page for your future business. You can also open on TikTok or YouTube, whatever you think suits your niche. Start growing your accounts to make a fuss and prepare your launch audience.
Also read: How to be convincing enough to collaborate with different suppliers
5. Choose your eCommerce platform
Now that you have content and links, you can start populating your site. And that means it’s time to choose the technical infrastructure on which your store takes shape and can be officially launched in the market.
You need a good eCommerce platform.
The market offers you a lot of different types of platforms, each with their advantages and disadvantages.
It’s irrelevant to tell you about all of them, so we’d rather focus on what the platform should have, so that your shop is attractive, easy to use for customers and easy to manage for you.
What should your eCommerce platform offer you?
- An intuitive admin panel that is so easy to use that even a school child can set up shop. unosoft has already passed this test: we did a demonstration with a few secondary school students who opened online shops in an hour.
- Customisable and modern themes that attract customers’ attention and make them stay on the site. At unosoft we are continuously developing the theme part, and most recently we launched 5 new themes, dedicated to various niches (fully customizable, with free Configurator and CSS Editor).
- Integrations with multiple applications, from dozens of carriers, to email sending systems such as Active Campaign, NewsMan, MailChimp etc. In unosoft you have integrations with over 155 such applications, at no extra cost.
- Possibility to upload products to the platform via import and dedicated feeds for integration with various sales/promotion channels.
- An intuitive, one-page checkout system and where you can intervene to increase CRO (e.g. display testimonials). Again, at unosoft, checkout is like this by default.
- Advanced reporting in the platform on products, customers and salesso you know at any time how your store is performing and what decisions to make next. The unosoft reporting module includes such reports, including wishlist reports, for the performance of sales agents and repeat customers.
- Integrations with various payment processors, for multiple customer payment habits. Recently, at unosoft, we launched GPayments, which gives you access to multiple payment processors (including credit card and installment), even if you’re starting from scratch and perhaps afraid that you won’t be considered by payment processors.
- Support and an open community to give you answers when you get stuck. We can provide you with ticket and email support, and the community eCommerce with unosoft includes over 14,000 members from whom you can get answers to your questions.
- A site ready to sell, both desktop and mobile. All unosoft themes are responsive from the start.
- A free demo period, to see for yourself that the platform is right for you. That’s why, at unosoft, we have a free 15-day trial period and 4 subscription thresholdsdepending on your needs.
Read more here: How to choose the best platform for your online store – 9 questions
Once you’ve chosen your eCommerce platform, you can start populating your site with content – banners, descriptions, videos and images about products / about the shop, contact details and company details, and links – to the Social Media pages we talked about in point 4, plus you can link the InstaApp to your account for posting to the site.
Again, it will be easier if you have the content and links from the start. Once you’ve decided what platform you want, building the store itself doesn’t take more than a few hours.
In the meantime, you can build up your sense of anticipation on Facebook and Instagram, and you can start your pre-launch campaign.
Make a splash with persuasive marketing techniques and secure a ready-to-buy group of people on the first day of your store launch. You keep them loyal, and the cycle continues.
These are some of the things you have to do when you want to open an online store.
Everything else is details and maybe specifics depending on the business models you choose.
For example, if you sell customizable products, you should make sure your platform also has a Product Builder to save you time and help you avoid mistakes. In unosoft, this native application is called Configurable Product 😉 .
The most important thing is to stop procrastinating. If you have an idea or products that you sell on other channels where you are not in control, now is the time to open your online store.
We recommend you to try unosoft for 15 days, during which time you can start activities to collect content, contracts and elections so that you can launch as soon as possible and start getting sales as soon as possible.
Good luck with your conversions!