How to open a virtual store

Top & How to open a virtual store Review 2021 – How to Select Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

How to open a virtual store in 2021

In recent years, the desire to undertake has become a reality for many people thanks to e-commerce. However, opening a virtual store is not a simple task.

There are numerous issues related to planning an e-commerce, such as organization of the virtual environment, business management, logistics, finance, marketing etc. With that in mind, we have prepared a comprehensive guide on how to open your online store.

First, the most important

  • There are several platforms specialized in hosting and managing virtual stores that allow a person without technical knowledge to be able to structure an e-commerce.
  • These platforms allow you to manage customer orders, control inventory, measure sales and integrate the necessary applications for the proper functioning of e-commerce.
  • To create a virtual store, you must hire professionals specialized in various areas of expertise such as management, customer service, sales, finance, logistics, data analysis, design, marketing and information technology.

Walkthrough: How to open a virtual store

When you type “How to open a virtual store” on Google, you will find a lot of information, which can generate more questions than answers. Thinking about it, we prepared a step by step on how to open a virtual store.

Is this the best time to open an online store?

Whoever wants to open a virtual store finds a very promising scenario. According to the 41st edition of the Webshoppers survey ( 1 ) , conducted by Ebit, 61.8 million purchases over the internet in 2019.

Also according to the study, 148 million purchases were made, with an average ticket of R $ 417, generating a total profit of R $ 61.9 billion.

What are the advantages of opening a virtual store?

Despite the financial crisis that the country is facing, there is no lack of positive estimates for electronic commerce, which is experiencing progressive growth. Discover the main advantages of opening a virtual store below:

    • Service 24 hours a day, seven days a week : In e-commerce, products and services are available at any time for those who wish to buy.
    •  With a virtual store you can sell your products to people from any city and state, just send the goods through the Post Office or carrier.
    • Great competitiveness : Currently, people are using the internet to do just about everything. Therefore, by opening a virtual store, you will increase the competitiveness of your business.

 

Learn more about some advantages of opening a virtual store in the table below:

What should I do before opening an online store?

Before creating an online store, define what products or services will be offered and to whom they will be sold. Segmenting the target audience is important because it will influence the service model and marketing strategies.

It is also important to choose suppliers with a good reputation and offering quality materials, production conditions compatible with demand, flexible delivery times and viable payment terms.

For those just starting out, we recommend selling products in only one category. For example, those in the fashion segment must choose whether to sell children’s, women’s or men’s clothing.

Ah, competition on the internet is literally a click away, so it is essential to analyze your direct competitors, that is, companies in the same segment and with the same target audience.

What can I sell in an online store?

You can sell any product or service in an online store. To choose the ideal product, reflect on issues such as:

    • “What problems do people face on a daily basis and how to solve them?”
    • “What products do I like the most?”
    • “Which companies do I admire?”
    • “Which group do I relate to easily?”

 

When answering these questions, it will be very easy to find a relevant target audience, business model and product or service. If you still have doubts, use tools that reveal market trends, such as Google Trends

What should I do before opening an online store?

Before creating an online store, define what products or services will be offered and to whom they will be sold. Segmenting the target audience is important because it will influence the service model and marketing strategies.

It is also important to choose suppliers with a good reputation and offering quality materials, production conditions compatible with demand, flexible delivery times and viable payment terms.

For those just starting out, we recommend selling products in only one category. For example, those in the fashion segment must choose whether to sell children’s, women’s or men’s clothing.

Ah, competition on the internet is literally a click away, so it is essential to analyze your direct competitors, that is, companies in the same segment and with the same target audience.

What can I sell in an online store?

You can sell any product or service in an online store. To choose the ideal product, reflect on issues such as:

    • “What problems do people face on a daily basis and how to solve them?”
    • “What products do I like the most?”
    • “Which companies do I admire?”
    • “Which group do I relate to easily?”

 

When answering these questions, it will be very easy to find a relevant target audience, business model and product or service. If you still have doubts, use tools that reveal market trends, such as Google Trends

When opening a virtual store do I need a CNPJ?

When opening a virtual store, you can perform the National Register of Legal Entities (CNPJ) through the Federal Revenue website, but registration is not mandatory.

Another possibility to obtain the CNPJ is to register as an Individual Micro Entrepreneur (MEI). This registration is only valid for those who have a maximum revenue of R $ 60 thousand per year and do not have a partner (s).

 

If you have questions, look for an accountant.

If your online store has annual sales of more than R $ 60 thousand and less than R $ 3.6 million, you must opt ​​for the Simple National tax regime. If you
have questions about the matter, look for an accountant.

By registering a CNPJ, you are able to offer legal reliability and ensure legal support from Organs competent bodies. Find out how much it costs to register your company’s CNPJ in the table below:

What taxes will be charged for sales of the online store?

It is essential to register the company in the correct taxation regime, as different taxes will be collected and the amount changes according to the size of the company, sales style – direct or resale – and what is marketed.

If you choose to sell goods, the Goods Circulation Tax (ICMS) will apply. If you intend to offer services, the main tax you will have to pay is the Service Tax (ISS).

In any virtual commercial transaction, the shopkeeper is obliged to issue the electronic invoice. Initially, invoices can be issued through the IRS website. When sales volume increases, you must adhere to an invoice issuing system.

What better platform to open a virtual store?

You can create your online store on an Open Source platform, rented or exclusive. We compare the three options below:

    • Open Source platforms use a free code system. This data can be downloaded, installed and configured by a programmer or specialized company.
    • Online store hosting platforms  are a good option for those on a budget, as the initial investment and maintenance costs are relatively low.
    • Exclusive store development  requires high investment, as it requires professional assistance for the creation and management of the platform.

 

Another option is to sell your products through a Marketplace, a platform mediated by a company, in which several retailers sign up and sell their products. When selling products on a Marketplace, you only pay a fee per product sold and this percentage varies according to the chosen virtual store.

The best options are Amazon, Mercado Livre, Ponto Frio, Magazine Luiza, Casas Bahia, Polishop, among others. These retailers have great credibility in the market, so it will be easier to make sales.

How to open a virtual store on a hosting platform?

After choosing a hosting platform for e-commerce, you must take a few steps to open your online store. No technical knowledge is necessary, just follow the following tips:

    • Personalize your online store : Just choose the best layout, color palette and fonts, insert your logo and fill in some important information.
    • Add your products : Use attractive images and videos of the products together with detailed descriptions about material, dimensions / measures and other relevant information about the merchandise.
    • Start promoting your online store : You can create ads and campaigns on Google and on social networks like Facebook and Instagram.

 

How to register the domain of the virtual store?

The domain or URL is the virtual address of the e-commerce. This record is unique and serves to identify and differentiate a virtual store from the others, whether or worldwide. To choose the best domain, follow these tips:

    • Use your company name next to a keyword that indicates the industry . The use of the keyword will help to position the online store in search engines.
    • Prefer short, easy-to-remember names – avoid using foreign language terms or symbols. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for consumers to search.
    • Prefer domains ending with “.com.br” or “.com” , as search engines identify the location of websites and give preference to regional and national results.

 

What information should appear in an online store?

When opening a virtual store, you must offer quality products, perform a good service and provide clear and well positioned information. In this way, you are able to retain customers and encourage new purchases.

Among the most important information are the physical address (if any), company name and CNPJ of the company. Other important information is telephone, e-mail and contact form. This data must be placed at the bottom of all e-commerce pages.

The purchase process needs to be as simple and quick as possible. That is, request only the essential data and avoid asking for a password. Enable the cart recovery if the customer leaves the page before completing the purchase.

Regarding products, we recommend that you prepare a very detailed description with information related to measurements, materials, handling, cleaning and maintenance guidelines, among others.

Inform the accepted payment methods in the simplest way possible.
Additional expenses of the purchase must also be evidenced, such as freight cost, need for protected shipping, expenses and additional fees.

Insert a shopping cart icon with a summary of what the customer is buying – with the possibility of adding or deleting selected items – total and parceled value, freight cost and delivery forecast.

We also suggest that you allow order tracking. This function eliminates the need for the virtual store administrator to track the order and increases customer satisfaction and security.

For the policy of exchanging and returning goods, we suggest that you prepare a simple text based on the Consumer Protection Code.

In case of cancellation of the order or return of merchandise, the storekeeper is responsible for notifying the financial institution responsible for the transaction to cancel the sale and make available the refund of the amount charged.

These are the main points of the new e-commerce law (Decree 7,962 of March 15, 2013), check out the details of this law here. ( 3 )

How to serve the customers of your virtual store?

When we talk about virtual stores, we must emphasize that customer service is one of the great differentials, especially for small and medium-sized brands. Treat your customers like individuals, call them by name and introduce yourself.

Customer support must take place before, during and after the sale. In the beginning, you can perform the service by phone or chat. As your online store grows, you must hire an employee or use an automated system.

How to promote the virtual store?

To promote your online store, you can perform two types of marketing actions. The quick payback actions include the use of tools like Google Adwords, Facebook Ads and price comparators.

Price comparators are valid for electronic products such as smartphones, notebooks and TV sets. The best known are Buscapé, Zoom, Bondfaro and Google Shopping.

Did you know that Google Adwords is the most used tool to make e-commerce ads? The purpose of this tool is to show ads to people who are doing searches that include keywords related to your products. This type of ad is charged per click, so use very specific keywords.

 

The slower return actions involve SEO, social media and e-mail marketing techniques. They are called like that, because it is necessary to win some audience to receive the desired return.

How to deliver the products sold in the virtual store?

Another factor related to the success of a virtual store is the logistics of your e-commerce. It is essential to dedicate time to plan and choose the best alternative to deliver your goods:

Shipping via the Post Office is the simplest alternative, however, there are some limitations such as dimensions and weight of the product packaging.

The package must measure a minimum of 16cm and a maximum of 105cm in length, with 11cm to 105cm in width and 2cm to 105cm in height, and the sum of the dimensions must be up to 200cm.

For delivery in PAC and SEDEX, the package must weigh at least 300g and at most 30Kg. The weight of the registered letter must be limited to 500g.

An alternative is to deliver your products through carriers. The risk of facing strikes and stoppages is much less. In addition, there is no limit on the dimensions and weight of the packages.

How do I guarantee the security of my online store?

Like a physical store, e-commerce is also exposed to some risks such as breach of consumer data and financial fraud involving data from debit or credit cards.

To ensure a safe environment for you and your customers, it is necessary to invest in security protocols, certificates and firewalls against malware . Look for a platform that offers full support to retailers and customers.

Another important feature is the security of the payment system. The consumer must make the purchase with peace of mind and confidence, therefore, opt for a secure receipt system, which offers support to the consumer and the shopkeeper.

What to consider when opening a virtual store?

Now that you know all the information needed to open a virtual store, know what to take into consideration when choosing a digital platform to develop or host your virtual store:

  • Online store platform
  • Storage capacity and traffic limit
  • Support
  • Concern about data security
  • Process automation
  • Inventory and goods control

We will detail each of the topics throughout this section. For questions or suggestions, leave a comment below:

Online store platform

As mentioned earlier, we recommend that you open your virtual store on a website hosting platform, as this is the most cost-effective alternative. But choosing the best e-commerce platform depends on a few details.

First, the platform must offer customizable virtual store templates that automatically adapt to the screens of mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and notebooks (responsive design).

Another important feature is the navigability of your online store. Make sure the pages load quickly, the menus are well-distributed and easy to find, and you can categorize products and services.

Design is the visual part of your online store. Defines the brand identity, so it must be developed with great care. If you choose ready-made models without customization, your store will look like many others, losing its identity and, in some cases, hindering the conversion of sales.

The ideal, therefore, is to choose a platform with customizable and customizable options. Choose clean, sans serif and untrained fonts. The color set must be harmonious – avoid using intense, phosphorescent or bright colors.

The platform must accept payments with bank slip, debit and credit cards, as well as major card brands such as Visa, Mastercard, Elo, American Express, among others.

The hosting platform should also offer integration such as Mercado Pago (Mercado Livre), Pagseguro (UOL) and PayPal for the convenience of its customers – the more forms of payment, the more sales.

Another important feature is to offer integrated services. For example, when integrating your online store with the Post Office, the consumer is able to calculate the freight cost and delivery time automatically.

Storage capacity and traffic limit

Every e-commerce platform consists of two environments. In the Front End,   the virtual store is built as it is viewed by the public, that is, the store window, with its respective departments and products.

The platform’s Back End is the system’s administrative environment, where you organize inventory, process orders, verify payments, track deliveries and much more.

As you enter information about the online store in these environments, more server space is used. Therefore, check the expansion capacity of your e-commerce and analyze the costs associated with the upgrade.

Assess whether the hosting server has a traffic limit, which limit is available and whether there is the possibility of expansion. Keep in mind that when the traffic limit is reached, the online store will go offline. This can be very damaging on dates of great trade movement, such as Black Friday , for example.

Support

The hosting server of your virtual store must guarantee technological support in case there is any problem in your virtual store. Look for a server that offers 24-hour service and several forms of contact.

Concern about data security

It is very important to find an online store hosting platform as an SSL security certificate that serves to protect your customer’s personal data throughout the process of accessing the website and purchasing.

A valid security certificate demonstrates to your customers that you care about the security of consumer data. Remember, in case of fraud, the responsibility falls on the owner of the virtual store.

Process automation

When your online store reaches a volume of ten or more orders per day, you need to adopt ERP, a process automation system integrated into the platform.

ERP aims to streamline processes, reduce errors and save time when conducting order receipt, payment confirmation, product separation, electronic invoice issuance, order submission and delivery tracking.

Inventory and goods control

The management of the stock of a virtual store is fundamental for the functioning of an e-commerce, because nobody wants to suffer losses because of damaged or missing products. Perform inventory control as follows:

  • Record the quantity, unit cost and total cost of goods on the stock sheet . The stock sheet can be filled out manually or virtually.
  • Periodically, check if the information provided in the inventory sheet is compatible with the company’s inventory. All goods inflows and outflows must be added to the form, as well as the identification of the employee responsible for the movement.

Inventory information helps to maintain strict and organized control of available goods. This information can be useful in future purchases of merchandise and to ensure that products are being sold and not diverted.

Some platforms offer automatic inventory control.

Some platforms offer automatic inventory control, that is, as a part is sold, the item is deducted from stock. But before taking advantage of the wonders of technology, you must perform the inventory count manually.

An alternative is to outsource inventory control. This option reduces storage space costs, but your company will depend on this supplier to make shipments.

 

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