Ecommerce Business Blueprint: How to Build, Launch, and Grow a Profitable Online Store

Shopify gives advice on how to start your online business using their platform – Why not!
– This is a HUGE resource for any of you interested in getting started in an online store. I’ve never seen anything this complete…
It may be a 10 minute read but once you “decide to become” … and follow the amazing leads on this page you will spend your entire weekend getting SMART!
Do it NOW! – J Epperson

This may be you at the end of your research. Read this post!


by Mark Macdonald

May 2, 2020

10 minute read

A complete blueprint for starting an ecommerce business.

The future of ecommerce is incredibly bright. But, starting an ecommerce business is hard work and demands many steps and decisions that need to come together at the right time.

To help, we’ve put together a comprehensive blueprint for starting a business, compiled from Shopify’s most popular content. These blog posts, guides, and videos have been organized based on the most important tasks you’ll face when researching, launching, and growing a profitable ecommerce business.

I. Choosing a product

(Check out my previous blog post on selling T-Shirts… It’s an idea 🙂

Finding a product to sell

The first step to building an ecommerce business is knowing what products you want to sell online, wholesale, or direct-to-consumer. This often is the most challenging part of starting a new online business. In this section, we’ll highlight strategies you can use to find product opportunities, explore the best places to look for product ideas, and finally, look at trending products to consider.

Find Products to Sell on Shopify with Oberlo

Strategies for Finding Your First Profitable Product Opportunity

Places to Look for Profitable Product Ideas

Trending Products to Sell in 2020 and beyond…

Online Business Ideas You Can Start from Home

Evaluating your idea

Once you have a product idea in mind, how do you know if it will sell? In this section, we’ll cover a few approaches that active entrepreneurs have used to validate their product ideas and potential market.

How to Validate Your Product Ideas

The 16-Step Checklist to Evaluating Your Product Idea

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In less than 40-minutes, let us walk you through how to find product ideas, how to validate them, and how to sell the product once you have an idea you want to pursue.Register now

Obtaining your product

After landing on a strong product idea, your next step is figuring out where and how you’re going to obtain your products. The next four posts cover the various methods for acquiring your products, along with the pros and cons of each model.

Should You Make, Manufacture, Wholesale, or Dropship?

How to Find a Manufacturer or Supplier for Your Product Idea

12 Shopify Apps for Finding Products to Sell (Without Shipping Them Yourself)

Print on Demand: A Low-Risk Way to Sell Custom T-Shirts, Books, and More

Sell your retail products online

Many independent retailers face a challenging road ahead. Shifting your brick-and-mortar business online can help you weather this storm, generate cash flow, and build a more resilient business.

How to Move Your Brick-and-Mortar Business Online

Sell Gift Cards for Your Retail Business with a Simple Online Store

Quickstart Guide: How to Start Selling Online With Local Delivery

How to Quickly Set Up a “Buy Online, Pickup Curbside” Experience

II. Research and prepare

Research your competition

You’ve found your product, evaluated its potential, and sourced a supplier. But before you get into that, you’ll need to thoroughly research your competition so you know what you’re up against and how you can differentiate your business from theirs.

How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis

How to Conduct a SWOT Analysis

Writing a business plan

With your competitive research complete, it’s time to write your business plan. A business plan is a roadmap that helps bring your ideas and thoughts together. A business plan is vital in determining what to prioritize and how to effectively reach new customers.

A Detailed Guide to Writing a Useful Business Plan

Business Plan Template: A Framework to Streamline Your Next Business Plan

III. Setting up your business

Start your ecommerce business by setting up an online store.

Naming your business

Aside from figuring out what to sell, another challenging decision is determining your business or brand name and choosing an appropriate and available domain name. These blog posts will help you tackle these important tasks.

What Should I Name My Online Store?

Choosing a Brand Name: 10 Tools & 5 Brainstorming Strategies

Creating a logo

Once you’ve selected a memorable name and registered a corresponding domain, it’s time to craft a simple logo. In these resources, we’ll show you several options for creating a great logo for your new business.

Hatchful: A simple logo maker by Shopify

5 Easy to Use Online Logo Makers to Design Your Brand

How to Design a Memorable Logo in 7 Steps (We Make One From Scratch)

Learn more: From a logo maker and business name generator to gift certificate templates and a discount calculator, Shopify offers free marketing tools to help run your business.

Understanding search engine optimization (SEO)

You’re almost ready to begin building your online store. However, before you jump into it, you should understand the basics of search engine optimization so you can properly structure your site and pages for Google and other search engines.

The Beginner’s Guide to Ecommerce SEO

What Can I Do to Help My Store Rank in Search Engines?

Keyword Research for Ecommerce from the Ground Up

Business SEO Checklist: How to Rank a New Site

Building your store

With a better understanding of search engines, it’s time to build out your store. There are many crucial elements to consider. Below, we’ve listed our essential reads to help you build high-converting product pages, write captivating product descriptions, shoot beautiful product photography, choose your ecommerce color palette, and much more.

50 Exceptional Shopify Stores to Inspire New Entrepreneurs

11 Experts Share How to Optimize Your Product Pages

How to Write Product Descriptions that Sell

The Ultimate DIY Guide to Product Photography

Customizing Your Shopify Theme: How To Use Images, Colors, and Fonts

Must-Know Tips for Optimizing Your Images

How to Create a Coming Soon Page and Start Marketing Before You Launch

Don’t forget, if you run into any problems getting your store set up, you can always hire help from Shopify Experts.

Choosing your sales channels

One of the best ways to reach new customers is to choose sales channels where they already shop. The right mix of sales channels will depend on your products and your target customers, but there are a number of great options that can complement and support your self-hosted store.

Etsy and Shopify: How Three Makers Used Both to Grow Their Businesses

Selling on eBay: How One Business Finds New Customers

This Business Generates 76.8% of Orders Selling on Amazon with Shopify

As you prepare for the launch of your new business, there are several shipping and fulfillment elements you need to prepare for. In this section, we’ve curated a few comprehensive guides on how to determine your shipping strategy.

The Beginner’s Guide to Shipping and Fulfillment

International Shipping: Everything You Need to Know

How Do I Price and Implement a Strategy to Handle Returns?

How to Reduce Shipping Costs as a Small Ecommerce Store

It’s also a good idea to define your key performance indicators up front so, once you launch, you know what measures of success to track.

67 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Ecommerce

What Are the Basic Ecommerce Metrics I Need To Focus On First?

As a final checklist, this post covers the 10 essential things you need to do before launch.

The Essential Shopify Store Launch Checklist

V. Post launch

Successfully launching your ecommerce business.

Acquiring your first customer

Now that you’ve launched, the hard work of marketing your products begins. While many new store owners should consider selling their physical products in person, the rest of digital marketing rests on doing one thing well: driving targeted traffic. Next, we’ll share a variety of marketing tactics that will help you in your first months.

Marketing Checklist: How to Get Your First Sale in 30 Days

Need Traffic? Here’s How to Get Visitors to a New Website (Even If You Don’t Know Where to Begin)

Customer Acquisition: How to (Profitably) Gain New Customers

Marketing your store

You’re well on your way and now likely have a few sales under your belt. It’s time to get serious and focused. The following posts will help you zero in on your top-performing marketing tactics or expand into new ones for driving traffic and converting that traffic to sales.

Email marketing essentials

Driving traffic from social

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy

How to Get More Followers on Instagram: A Guide for Businesses

Pinterest Marketing 101: Why You’ll Need a New Playbook to Win

How to Start a YouTube Channel for Your Business

Driving traffic and conversions from paid ads

Facebook Ads for Beginners: A Step-By-Step Guide to Running Your First Campaign

The Google Ads Playbook: 13 Campaign Types And What to Expect From Them

The Best Price Comparison Engines to Increase Ecommerce Sales

Optimizing for higher conversions

The Complete Guide to A/B Testing (Tips from Google, HubSpot, and Shopify)

How to Find and Plug the Leaks in Your Conversion Funnels

Drive More Sales and Revenue with Targeted Live Chat

19 Experts Share How to Increase Revenue Without Increasing Traffic

9 Ways to Earn Customer Trust When You Have Zero Sales

How Trustworthy Is Your Online Store? 39 Ways to Build Customer Trust

Driving Traffic but No Sales? Here’s How to Diagnose and Improve Your Store

Using analytics to uncover insights

The Beginner’s Guide to Analyzing Shopify Reports and Analytics

What Basic Ecommerce Metrics Should I Focus On First?

5 Google Analytics Segments You Can Use to Increase Revenue

9 Google Analytics Custom Reports by the Experts

Facebook Custom Audiences 101: A Starter Guide for Ecommerce Businesses

A blueprint is just the beginning

Building your own ecommerce business is as exciting as it is challenging. At a rapid pace you’ll learn a ton about choosing a product, evaluating its viability, figuring out how to get it produced, building an online store, and marketing and selling to new customers. The process can feel like you’re solving a head scratcher of a puzzle, but it’s rewarding all the same.

We hope following this resource roundup helps provide you with a clearer roadmap. As always, the best advice anyone can give is to just get started and to enjoy yourself along the way.

I told you it was an amazing compilation of just about everything you would need to start and sell from a Shopify site. Let’s “Get Going”… That would be Day 12 of My XYZ’s of Excellence – One Day at a Time – Online Course Check it out.

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