WooCommerce is a platform that makes it affordable and much easier to sell services and products on your website. It is an open-source eCommerce plugin built by Automatic, the same company behind WordPress.
It enables you to sell both physical and digital products and on other hand make secure payments, manage your inventory, and sort all the taxes automatically.
Here is a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to create an online store using WooCommerce.
Step 1: Define the targeted audience/customers that you want to reach out to
Taking time to evaluate the needs of your prospective target audience helps you plan what you need to do to get to them and satisfy their demands.
If you don’t have a specific target audience you can start with things you love and care about. For instance, do you love working with people from the same age group or working with kids or something of the sort? You could also do some research to find out what sells most online and then work backwards to find out who buys it the most.
After identifying an audience, take time to learn their needs or the challenges they may be facing so that you can identify a market gap that you can capitalize on.
One of the best ways of knowing what your audience requires is by using social media platforms to find the trending topics on various items, doing market surveys, and also conducting questionnaires.
Step 2: Identify the specific products you wish to sell
The next step in starting an online WooCommerce store is deciding on what you shall be selling in your store. Below are various groups of products that you could consider:
- Manufactured products – products created in-house and by a third party which may include, shoes, makeup, auto parts, and electronics. This is a good option but it may need high startup capital.
- Handcrafted products – Products that you make. Examples are clothes, jewellery, food, and paper goods. You have to bear in mind that it can be difficult to scale when you make the products.
- Digital products – products that are delivered online like music, platforms for membership, videos for workouts, and online courses which don’t need physical format. They have low startup capital and are very well scalable.
- Services – tasks like consultation, coaching, planning of events, and hotel bookings that don’t need a physical component.
- Dropshipping products – items manufactured, stored, and also shipped by a third party. They can include things like electronics e.g. phones, computers, tablets, etc.
The product that you choose should meet the customer demands of the target audience that you identified in the first step above. It should also seek to close any market gap that you may have identified.
Step 3: Register your business
After deciding on the product, you have to take the necessary legal steps concerning your business. Register the business name with the relevant authorities in your area, get a tax ID, and open relevant bank accounts for your financial transactions.
It is always important to differentiate business bank accounts from your personal accounts so that you could be able to track the progress of your business and also avoid getting mixed up when it comes to paying taxes.
If possible apply for a license to operate in the different countries or regions where you may want your business to operate. However, if you do not have the resources to do this when starting, you can shelve it for some other time when you have enough resources to do so.
Also, make sure you learn simple business accounts and if need be hire an accountant to handle the finances as the company grows.
Step 4: Decide how you want to operate your online store and how you want to store the products you will be selling
First, you have to decide on how you shall be managing your inventory. You have to decide how you will store your products. Do you want to do self-storage, dropshipping, or warehousing? In this, you have to consider the vulnerability of the products and make sure they are safe.
The next important thing is deciding on whether to be doing the shipping for the products you sell to your customers or not. If your products require to be shipped to your customers, you have to ensure that the products get to the customers safely, affordably, and as quickly as possible. Therefore you have to make the necessary arrangements with the necessary shipping companies to ship the products for you.
Step 5: Register a domain name and look for a Webhosting platform for your online store
Remember WooCommerce is just an eCommerce plugin platform. Therefore, you shall be required to register a website domain for your online store.
To do so, you should look for a reputable web hosting company that supports WooCommerce plugins. Below are a few of the most commonly Webhosting platforms that support the WooCommerce plugin:
- Liquid Web
These hosting companies have different web hosting plans and you should choose the plan that allows you to create an eCommerce website. On WordPress for example, you should go for a business plan since the lesser plans will not allow you to operate an eCommerce store.
Step 6: Install the WooCommerce plugin
Once you have the domain name ready and paid for the plan that allows you to create an eCommerce website, you should go ahead and install the WooCommerce plug into your web hosting account. This plugin will enable you to use all the functionalities of the WooCommerce platform like payment gateways.
Step 7: Customize your WooCommerce online store and add products
List the products you will be selling and customize the online store website to make it easy for visiting customers to find whatever it is they are looking for.
You should ensure to give as much information as possible about the products you are selling so that your visitors (potential customers) can easily know about them.
Step 8: Start marketing your store to attract customers
There are so many ways of marketing your products. Examples include content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid search results.
Finding the right method of marketing can be hectic and it may take time for you to be sure it is the right method. Therefore, you should not be frustrated when you don’t get the expected results right away.
As an online store owner, do what makes your customers happy, get to solve problems for customers, and make a step of connecting with people who love the same things as you.