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How to Set Up an Online Store for Your Creative Business

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With the eCommerce market thriving, there's no better time to launch an online store for your creative business.

By Irene Luong  |  Updated November 17, 2023


In 2023, eCommerce is booming. Opportunities for digital retail are continually growing and diversifying as more consumers opt to shop online. With the eCommerce market thriving, there’s no better time to launch an online store for your creative business.

Whether you’re a graphic designerillustrator or 3D artist, or a small retail business, it’s easier than ever to sell creative goods online, from designs and illustrations to books and prints, to fashion, home goods, and all kinds of other products

While many dedicated online design marketplaces can enable you to sell your work, why not build your own eCommerce website? Using social media, strategic SEO, hashtags, and comprehensive eCommerce platforms like Shopify, you can set up a dedicated online store to stand out from other creatives in an increasingly crowded market. 

Ready to convert your audience into paying customers? Here’s how to open an online store for your creative business.

1. Choose Your Niche

First off, you’ll need to find your niche and decide what you’re going to sell. Conduct some competitor research, ask yourself some crucial questions, and consider the preferences of your target audience. What are similar brands doing online? What problems can you solve that they can’t? How do you intend to source and promote your products?

If you want to create a niche online store, it can pay to limit your product offerings to one category of products at first. You’ll be able to reduce your marketing and advertising costs, which has several benefits – such as limiting your competition and building brand loyalty.

The best eCommerce businesses cater to a niche customer base and represent an untapped market, meaning that no existing items or brands can satisfy their demand. 

Some of the more lucrative eCommerce areas in recent years include technology, home office supplies, entertainment, and equipment for home gyms and fitness centers. Using internet tools like Google Shopping Insights, you can find eCommerce categories that are expanding quickly. 


Vogue - Plant Store Prestashop Theme

2. Define Your Target Audience

Who you’ll be selling to is one of the first things to consider when starting an online store. Your chances of developing a successful creative business increase the more you connect with your audience.

Use your existing product concept, if you have one, to identify your target client. If you need help, think about the identifiers you’re comfortable with. What are your purpose and mission? What is your brand identity? What features of other brands do you want to replicate or do differently? 


UX Workflow - Empathy Map

3. Select a Reliable Platform

There are a number of tried-and-true eCommerce platforms to help you build your online store – the main difficulty lies in deciding which one to choose. Ensure your selected platform is well-liked, provides excellent service, and prioritizes professionalism. Shopify is a good option that offers an easy setup without much customization. However, if you have the skills, you can modify the HTML and CSS to fit your website and your creative business better. You can sign up with a Shopify free trial to start selling for as low as $1 per month.

Also, you may want to consider incorporating dropshipping into your eCommerce strategy, as you can diversify your product catalog and stand out in an increasingly competitive market.


LUSH Shopify - Multipurpose Shopify Theme

4. Consider Search Engine Optimization

SEO is crucial for ensuring your online store reaches potential customers. Ranking on Google for product keywords your customers search for can increase sales and conversions. Look up keywords that relate to your business or that you want to rank for, then insert these keywords throughout your site.

You can also enhance SEO by writing informative blog posts that link to your products or items and position your brand as an authority on your chosen subject. Doing this will improve your search engine ranking and the trust of your customers. Also, ensure you enable social media sharing for your customers to promote your products. 


smart SEO - Wordpress Plugin

5. Name Your Store and Register a Domain

It’s now time to begin building your brand. If you haven’t already, start by thinking of a name for your business. List the terms that best characterize your company, industry, guiding principles, or selling point. You can also use a business name generator to get some ideas.

Think about SEO when choosing your name. Determine the search phrases consumers use to find goods similar to yours, and use keyword research tools or Google Trends (you can use a Google Trends API if you need vast volumes of data for the latter).


Helas - Minimal Shopify Theme

6. Pick a Theme and Customize

Choose a theme that fits your online store’s requirements, objectives, and brand identity. In addition to selling your products, you need a theme that:

  • Is mobile responsive

  • Provides professional eCommerce-specific templates

  • Offers customization

  • Allows buyers to find things easily

  • Provides a search bar and categories to make searching more efficient.

Once you’ve installed your theme, you can start customizing it to match your brand’s distinctive look and feel. This could mean altering the navigation menu, header, footer, photos, color scheme, logo, and other elements as you see fit.


Gramic - Ceramics & Pottery Decor Shopify Theme

7. Add Products

The time has come to add products to your website. Each item needs to be added independently, with a title, a description, a picture, and a category. Your clients will find it easier to filter and browse your products if you categorize them.

You must also include additional information for each product, such as price, availability, and shipping. CTA buttons such as “Purchase” or “Add to Cart” are features you can use on product pages to encourage your customers to purchase or to upsell them other products.


Online Store - Landing Page

8. Establish a Checkout Process

The next step is establishing a method for customers to purchase items from your online shop. A shopping cart, checkout process, and confirmation page are the three main steps of this “checkout funnel.”

This process should allow customers to add goods to their shopping cart, view the total cost of their selections, and complete their purchases.

Customers will typically place their order on the checkout page, where they can also find out about shipping, delivery options, and payment alternatives. Customers will then receive confirmation of their order’s placement and processing status on the confirmation page.

Ensure you enable discounts, taxes, shipping destinations, currency options, and other general settings in your dashboard before you can set up this funnel. 

Don’t forget to be aware of eCommerce fraud and take steps to prevent it during the checkout process. This will protect you from common complications that can hurt companies when selling online.


Becker | Furniture & Lights Shopify Theme

9. Install Add-Ons

You now have the choice to either publish your website or enhance it with add-ons. One of the advantages of using adaptable platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce is the ability to implement extensions immediately. 

Perhaps your inventory has grown, and you want to display your new products on your site by adding a picture or video gallery. You can also enlist a CRM(Customer relationship management) platform to manage clients and orders.

To further streamline your e-commerce operations, exploring the top WooCommerce integrations can provide you with tools to automate processes, from inventory management to customer service.


Online Store Promo

10. Assess, Test, and Scale

It’s time to test your products and reap the benefits of your eCommerce website. To find out where your consumers are coming from and how they find your website, use an omnichannel POS or the inbuilt analytics or metrics on your eCommerce platform.

Now is the time to evaluate your marketing initiatives. Establishing a social media presence across popular social media platforms such as Instagram or TikTok is essential for building your brand and making it easier for consumers to find you. However, keep your target audience in mind when choosing which social platform to promote your products – for instance, your customers might be more engaged on LinkedIn or Facebook. 


Furni - Furniture, Bathroom Fittings Shopify Theme

11. Utilize DIY Resources

If your company is brand-new, you’ll likely be searching for a low-cost option with minimal eCommerce capability to start, with the flexibility to use more sophisticated eCommerce features later. When setting up your website, you’ll need to choose between doing it yourself and hiring a pro.

Several factors will influence your choice, including time constraints, technical expertise, budget, and customization needs. With the help of an eCommerce platform, you can launch a fully functional website quickly and affordably. However, a web designer will give your website that polished appearance that will reassure customers and, ideally, boost sales.


Eliana - Girls Fashion, Accessories Store Shopify

Start Your Online Store Today

eCommerce is expanding quickly and accounting for an increasing share of global retail sales because it gives customers and sellers more power and convenience. Thanks to systems like WordPress and WordPress alternatives like Shopify, starting an online store has never been more straightforward.

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