Table of contents
What is an online store?
An online store is a website, app or platform that helps businesses sell their products or services digitally. Online stores offer convenience, accessibility, and often a wider range of products than bricks-and-mortar stores, allowing customers to browse, place orders, and make payments virtually.
What are the different types of online stores?
The types of online stores are endless, but many fall into the following categories:
- General merchandise - The likes of Amazon and eBay sell a wide range of goods from household goods to electronics
- Niche market - ASOS sells clothes and accessories, Chewy sells pet supplies and Ocado sells groceries
- Subscription - Birchbox and Dollar Shave Club provide beauty and men’s grooming products respectively when customers sign up for regular deliveries
- Digital products - Mobile app stores like Google Play Store allow users to download applications, while the Amazon Kindle Store performs a similar role for books
- Services - Upwork, Coursera, and Booking.com offer freelance marketplaces, online courses and travel bookings respectively
- Marketplaces - Platforms like Etsy and Alibaba list thousands of different online stores, connecting them instantly with consumers
- B2B - SwagUp, Acme and General Electric all sell directly to business
- Local - DoorDash, Instacart, and Postmates prioritise local and regional markets
How do you build an online store?
Building an online store requires several steps. Here's a brief overview:
- Pick an online selling platform that suits your needs, such as Builder.ai, Shopify or WooCommerce
- Buy a domain name and set up hosting
- Add your branding to your store and make customisations
- Upload your products to your catalogue, including descriptions, images and prices
- Set up shipping options and create payment gateways
- Test the functionality of your online store before going live
- Launch your store and create marketing strategies that drive traffic to it