Everything You Need to Know about Setting up an Online Retail Business

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Ivan Dimitrijevic
Ivan Dimitrijevic is a seasoned blogger and SEO consultant with years of experience. His skill sets include Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization and blogging on a wide variety of topics. He is a digital marketing & business consultant and has had many articles published on serious blogs over the years on topics ranging from Digital Marketing, Tech and Online Business to Home & Family, Health & Wellness and Architecture, Real Estate & Design.
Ivan Dimitrijevic
Ivan Dimitrijevic
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In a lot of ways, setting up an online retail business is very similar to creating a traditional brick and mortar retail store. The same things are important – planning, organizing the funds, making products and just getting busy. However, at the same time, there are some unique aspects that you must consider, and some good reasons for starting an online business, particularly if you are new to the retail game and have a tight budget.

There are three good ways to go about this, depending on what type of products you plan on aselling, what kind of budget you are working with and the manpower you have at your disposal.  

Ecommerce store


Running your own retail website is definitively the most direct way of getting your products out there. With this business model, you can self-host your ecommerce website through which you will be able to sell services or products directly to your customers. The best aspect of having an online store of your own is the amount of control you will have.

You can customize everything to suit your needs and create a truly unique look and feel. However, due to the high amount of overall flexibility, the process is also more sophisticated. The website needs to be fast to load and logically structured to allow for fast and intuitive navigation. Your product pages should feature high quality images, videos and plenty of detailed information.

A blog section with reviews and how to’s is also a good idea. It’s important to avoid duplicate content and to invest in effective online marketing. All this takes plenty of time and effort, so this may not be the best business model for everyone to start with.  

Etsy store

Setting up an Etsy store is fairly simple. There is the option of doing a bit of customization to make it distinctive. Still, all purchases will be done through Etsy’s interface. The amount of work you have to put in to set up your store is minimal, and this can be either a good or a bad option for you, depending on the level of control you wish to have.

Besides lacking flexibility, you should also bear in mind that Etsy caters to creative people that sell interesting handmade items. If you plan on selling things like vintage items, handcrafted goods or art, Etsy might be the perfect solution for you.

EBay store

Opening a store on eBay can offer certain advantages, like the ones associated with an Etsy store, but these

advantages might also be downsides.

The whole process of setting up a page on eBay is pretty much the same as it is with Etsy. This also means that people will buy through eBay in order to get to you and your products. The visual customization of your site is also very limited. However, eBay doesn’t have any restrictions when it comes to what type of products you want to sell.


Still, there are certain products that are banned, so make sure that you check their user guidelines before making any steps. This can be a great choice for anyone who wants to get started as soon as possible, and perhaps create a website of their own once they’ve had some success on eBay.  

Steps for opening your online retail store

1. Create a plan

For your online business to be successful, you will need a well-thought-out business plan. Creating a business plan means processing your funding, deciding on your goals, performing various market analysis related tasks, etc.

2. Registering your website and domain name

If you have decided to open an ecommerce store of your own, without using platforms such as Etsy or eBay, make sure that you come up with a catchy and original brand name, and find the adequate domain name. Once you’ve branded your site and secured your domain name, it’s time to start setting up your store. You can do this yourself, using WordPress and the it’s many great ecommerce themes and plugins, or you can hire a web designer if you lack experience and want to be sure that everything will look good and run smoothly.

3. Legal issues

Making sure your business is legitimate is essential. It’s important to go through the terms of service and figure out your options and limitations. These laws revolve around customers’ personal information and many other intellectual and privacy regulations. Bear in mind that some states have specific requirements and this is why you should check out the official website of your secretary of state, and go from there.  

These are all the basics that you need to know about opening an online store; the rest is up to you. Take plenty of time to think about what, how and to whom you should sell. I wish you the best of luck in your future business endeavors.