Have you recently been up late at night trying to find a guide that will light your path in launching your online store? Or you don’t want to blow hundreds or thousands of dollars without getting a basis on how to build an online store from scratch? 

Then, you have to sink yourself into this article or watch the video. Because it presents a simple and general guide to launching an online store. 

So read on…

Step 1: Identify Your Niche And Target Audience

What niche does your online store propose to cover, and what is your target audience? 

That is a question many startup owners don’t apply patience to practically answer. But as one who wants to launch a solid online store, you must provide solutions to those questions. 

Only then can you gain a deeper insight into your specialized area and the group of people you aim to reach. Not only that, it enables you to customize your offering, be it a product, service, or content, to satisfy their requirements and preferences.

With that said, identifying your niche and target involves the following: 

Conduct market research

Yes, you must ensure you know what your customers want and how different you are from companies like you. Because doing that is crucial to learning who your competitors are, who you’re trying to sell to, and what’s happening in your business area.

For example, say you want to launch an online store as an online fashion retailer. You’ll observe this niche produces special clothes for eco-conscious young people that are environmentally friendly and ethically made. So you should know your target audience is young people who think about the earth and want to do good things with their fashion choices.

But identifying your target audience, demographic consideration, and information is paramount. In other words, you must pay attention to factors such as age, gender, location, interests, and behaviors to get a clear picture of your ideal customer(s).

Define your unique value proposition

At this point, you want to discover what makes your product or service unique and why people should choose you over others. And to assess this, you’ll need research and a survey of your competition and what your ideal customers are saying. 

Step 2: Source Products Or Create Your Own To Sell

To sell cool things, you can get them from somewhere else or make them yourself. That way, you can sell stuff that is special and wanted by people. It’s important to choose things your customers will like and ensure they are good quality so people will be happy with what they buy.

Simply put, sourcing products or creating your own to sell is a crucial step in starting an e-commerce business. But do that; you must have identified your niche and the products you want to sell to your targeted market. 

If you want to sell things, you can get them from places that make or sell a lot of them. You may decide to obtain items from foreign countries but this may require additional effort. 

Meanwhile, don’t forget to Evaluate suppliers and manufacturers. Ensure they have a good reputation, offer quality products, and have a track record of delivering on time.

However, you can create your own products. You can make your special things to sell that nobody else has! You can make them from scratch or make some changes to things existing already to make them special and one-of-a-kind.

Step 3: Register Your Business And Obtain Any Necessary Licenses And Permits

You’ll not want to get into legal problems because your business (online) isn’t compliant with the rules inherent in your state or region of operation. That’s why it is pertinent that you get your business legally registered, licensed, and compliant with all relevant regulations. That way, you keep your ass and that of your business out of legal and financial problems in the future.

While registering your business and obtaining the necessary licenses and permits is a crucial step in starting a successful business, you must cross the “T” and dot the “I”. You most likely will need the service of a legal practitioner with solid in the laws about business practices and the environment in your region or state. 

However, below are some of the steps you should follow:
  1. Choose a business structure: Decide on the type of business structure that best fits your needs, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation.
  2. Register your business: Complete the necessary registration processes with relevant government entities, including the Secretary of State and the IRS, by selecting a business name and submitting the required documentation. (This may vary from country to country, state to state, region to region, or otherwise)
  3. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN): If you have employees, you’ll need to obtain an EIN from the IRS or FIRS to use as a tax identification number for your business.
  4. Obtain necessary business licenses and permits: Depending on your industry and location, you may need to obtain specific licenses and permits to operate your business legally.
  5. Register for taxes: Register for any necessary state and local taxes, such as sales tax, and obtain any necessary tax permits.
  6. Comply with environmental regulations: If your business is subject to environmental regulations, ensure you comply with all relevant laws and regulations.
  7. Protect your intellectual property: If your business has valuable intellectual property, such as trademarks, patents, or copyrights, consider securing it through appropriate legal means.

Again, don’t forget it’s advisable to get an experienced legal practitioner involved in doing all of those outlined above. It may appear somewhat expensive, but in the long run, you realize it’s worth it. 

Step 4: Choose A Suitable E-Commerce Platform

Undoubtedly, there are several places where you can sell things online. But choosing the right one for you will depend on your budget, what you need right now, and what you like. 

In other words, when you’re picking a place to sell things online, you should think about what you want your business to be like in the future. Because that will allow you to pick a place that can help you become big and successful.

That said, below are several factors to consider when selecting an e-commerce platform suitable for your business: 


Whether you’re choosing Shopify, Magneto, WordPress, or otherwise, the platform should be able to grow and evolve with your business, whether you’re starting small or already have a large customer base. That’s what scalability as a factor is all about. 


Also, the platform should allow you to make many changes, so your store can look how you want and give your customers the best shopping experience possible.

Payment processing: 

Another factor to consider when selecting a platform to set up your online store is its payment processing. So you’d have to ask yourself if the platform integrates with your preferred payment gateway and supports your preferred payment methods, such as credit cards, PayPal, Paystack, Flutterwave, and Apple Pay.

Shipping and order management: 

As you already know, every online store, such as Amazon, eBay, etc., has a solid shipping and order system since there will always be orders. That’s why you find out if the platform provides efficient and reliable shipping and order management tools. Because if they do, it makes things easy for you and your business, as that gives you the ability to keep track of orders, shipping, and inventory.


Aside from the platform integrating your preferred payment systems and gateway, another thing to consider is other possible facilities whose integrations it supports. In other words, you may want to be sure that it integrates with any tools or services you need for maximum efficiencies, such as email marketing platforms, shipping carriers, and accounting software.

Some of the most popular e-commerce platforms include:

  • Shopify: A special kind of platform that you can use online to sell things. And it’s easy to use, allowing you to change it to look the way you want. Not only that, Shopify is good for small to medium-sized businesses.
  • WooCommerce: A free and open-source e-commerce plugin for the WordPress platform suitable for small to medium-sized businesses.
  • Magento (Adobe commerce): An open-source e-commerce platform that provides a high degree of customization and is suitable for larger businesses.

Step 5: Set Up Payment Options

By setting up ways for customers to pay, you can take their money, finish the sale, and move the funds to your bank. As you already know, some payment options you can offer your customers include credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, Paystack, and more.

However, it’s vital for you to pick a payment helper that is safe, dependable, and easy to use. And you need to make sure it works smoothly with your online store, allowing your customers to have a smooth shopping experience.

Thus, establishing payment options is crucial in launching an e-commerce business. Here are the steps you can take to implement them:

  1. Choose a payment processor: To do this, research and compare different payment processors to determine the one that best fits your needs. Some of the popular options include PayPal, Stripe, Paystack, and Flutterwave.
  2. Apply for a merchant account: If you’re accepting credit card payments, you’ll need to apply for a merchant account. A merchant account allows you to process credit card payments and transfer the funds to your bank account.
  3. Integrate the payment processor with your e-commerce platform: Once you’ve chosen a payment processor, you’ll need to integrate it with your e-commerce platform so that customers can make payments easily and securely.

Step 6: Design And Develop Your Store Website

Making a website for your store is like making a big picture of all your cool stuff for everyone to see! People can learn about your business, buy your products, and have a good time doing it. Therefore, having a nice-looking website will make your customers happy and help you sell more stuff.

That tells you that designing and developing your store website is a crucial step in starting an e-commerce business. Meanwhile, below are some tips you can adopt to design and develop your store website:

  1. Plan the website structure: Determine the overall structure of your website, including the product categories, pages, and navigation.
  2. Choose a website design: Choose a design that fits your brand and appeals to your target audience. You can use a premade template or hire a web designer to create a custom design.
  3. Add product categories: Create product categories and subcategories to organize your products and make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for.
  4. Add product descriptions: Write detailed and informative product descriptions, including features, benefits, and specifications, to help customers make informed purchasing decisions.
  5. Add pricing information: Add the price of each product and any relevant sales tax and shipping charges to provide a clear and complete picture of the total cost of each product.
  6. Add product images: Add high-quality images of your products to help customers visualize what they’re buying. These images will help you to showcase the quality of your products.
  7. Test the website: Thoroughly test the website, including the payment system, to guarantee that it operates correctly and enables customers to effortlessly navigate and complete purchases.

However, note that you often may need the service of professionals like web developers, and Brand designers, which we can help you by booking a call.

Need a Web or Mobile App Design? Let’s get it done for you.

Step 7: Implement Shipping And Tax Options

When you add options for shipping and paying taxes, your customers will know exactly how much they have to pay for their order, including shipping and taxes. And that will make your customers happy and trust you more.

In other words, implementing shipping and tax options is a crucial step in starting an e-commerce business. To do that, here are some of the steps you can follow: 

  1. Determine shipping options: Determine your preferred shipping method, such as standard shipping, expedited shipping, or international shipping, considering factors such as cost, delivery time, and customer convenience.
  1. Set shipping rates: Figure out how much it will cost to send things using each shipping option. It depends on how heavy, big, and where the order is going. You should take into perspective the cost of sending the order and all the extra charges, like taxes and fees for sending things to other countries.
  1. Integrate shipping with your website: Connect the way you’re going to send orders with your website so that customers can pick the best option. Show the cost of each option clearly so that customers know how much they have to pay before they buy anything.
  1. Determine tax options: Decide on the tax options you want to offer, based on your location and the location of your customers. Consider factors such as sales tax, value-added tax (VAT), and excise tax when making your decision.
  1. Set up tax rates: Decide how much tax you will charge for each option based on where your customer lives and the item purchased. Follow all the rules for taxes that you have to.
  1. Integrate tax with your website: Integrate tax calculations into your website to allow customers to view the total cost, including taxes, before making a purchase.

Step 8: Set Up Customer Service And Support Channels

By having ways for your customers to get help, you can make sure they have what they need when they need it. This will make your customers trust you and be happy with your store, so they will return and tell their friends about it.

Accordingly, setting up customer service and support channels is a vital step in starting an ecommerce business. Here are some of the steps you can follow to set up customer service and support channels:

  1. Determine your customer service and support needs: Think about what kind of help you want to give your customers and what they need. Think about how fast you can help them if it’s easy for them to get help, and how much it will cost. Use this to decide what kind of help you will give.
  1. Choose a customer service and support platform: Pick a way for your customers to get the help that works well for you and them. Some good ways are sending an email, talking to someone right away, calling, or talking on social media.
  1. Set up a customer service and support team: Make a team to help customers when they have questions, problems, or need help. You can have people who work for you or hire someone to help. Teach your team all about your products, what you offer, and your rules so they can help your customers in the best way
  1. Create a customer service and support policy: Establish a clear customer service and support plan that defines the level of support, target response times, and communication channels. Ensure that your customers and employees are aware of this policy.
  1. Monitor and improve customer service and support: Regularly monitor and improve your customer support channels based on customer feedback. Evaluate customer satisfaction with your support to ensure that you are effectively assisting them.

Step 9: Develop A Marketing Strategy To Drive Traffic To Your Store

Making a plan to get people to come to your store is a good way to make people know about your store and make more sales. With a good plan, you can get lots of nice customers to come to your store all the time and make your store grow big. 

In other words, developing a marketing strategy to drive traffic to your store is an essential step in starting an ecommerce business. But to develop a marketing strategy, you must define your target audience, as said earlier. When you have the vital demographic and relevant data about your target audience, develop a marketing strategy and choose your marketing channels that speak directly to them based on your budget, resources, and goals. 

Popular marketing channels for e-commerce businesses include search engine optimization (SEO), social media, email marketing, influencer marketing, and content marketing.

In addition, you would develop a content strategy that aligns with your marketing goals and targets your audience. You may consider using blog posts, videos, images, and other types of content to engage with your audience and build brand awareness.

With that said, note that setting marketing goals and metrics will help you guide your marketing strategy and efforts, even as you make data-driven decisions.

Step 10: Test And Refine Your Store Before Launching It To The Public

Before you open your store to everyone, it’s critical to try it out and make it even better. That way, you can fix any problems before they happen and have a smooth opening. By optimizing both your store and your marketing efforts, you increase your chances of success.

Thus, testing and refining your store before launching it to the public is a critical step in starting an ecommerce business. Here are some of the steps you can follow to test and refine your store:

  1. Test the functionality of your store: Test the various elements of your store, including the product categories, descriptions, pricing, payment options, shipping and tax options, and customer service and support channels, to ensure everything is working correctly.
  2. Conduct a user experience (UX) test: Conduct a usability test to evaluate the user-friendliness of your store and make improvements. Seek feedback from potential customers to improve your store’s overall appeal and functionality.
  3. Test your marketing and advertising efforts: Test your marketing and advertising efforts, including SEO, social media, email marketing, and other channels, to ensure you’re reaching your target audience and generating leads and sales.
  4. Review your analytics data: Review your analytics data, including web analytics, customer feedback, and customer satisfaction metrics, to identify any areas for improvement. Use this data to refine your marketing strategy and make data-driven decisions.
  5. Make necessary updates and improvements: Based on the results of your testing and analysis, make any necessary updates and improvements to your store, including fixing any bugs, making design changes, and adjusting your marketing and advertising efforts.

Bonus Tip: Continuously Monitor And Improve Your Store To Ensure Its Success.

After you have launched your store, the question of “What next?” becomes evident. That’s because launching your store online is just the starting point of building a profitable business for yourself. 

So continuously monitoring and improving your store is key to ensuring its success over the long term. Doing this will include regular monitoring and reviewing your sales and revenue to help you track the success of your store and identify any areas for improvement.

Also, such efforts include regularly reviewing customer feedback. And that includes feedback from customers who have made a purchase or submitted a customer service request. To understand their needs, wants, and preferences.

Other relevant things to keep tabs on are your marketing and advertising efforts, such as SEO, social media, email marketing, and other channels. Coupled with your competition, even as you continuously test and experiment with new features, designs, and marketing strategies to see what works best for your store. 

Final Thought

Now that you learned the 10 practical steps to launching your online store. You may want to ask this question, “How to build an online store from scratch for free?”

That’s one of the questions many ecommerce specialists and agencies like Kool Kat Cr8 get countless times from their audience. 

But the truth is that starting an online store can cost different amounts of money based on what you want to sell, how you want your store to look, how you want people to pay for things, and how you want to tell people about your store. 

Some of the things you might have to pay for are: making your website, paying for people to take the money, buying the things you want to sell, sending stuff to your customers, and promoting your store. It can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars, depending on what you want.

Do you want to own a website that boosts sales, and is loved by your target audience? Or an app that makes your users happy?

Need a Web or Mobile App Design? Let’s get it done for you.

The post was written by
Degreat Michael

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