How to Start an Online Dollar Storeby Meg Jernigan
Dollar stores offer a remarkable variety of products at bargain prices. Many consumers don't live or work near a dollar store, so offering an online option with reasonable shipping charges fills an important market niche. Whether you purchase a franchise or start from scratch there's more potential for profit because an online store isn't subject to some of the overhead costs of a bricks and mortar store. Use this basic information to start an online dollar store.
Determine whether or not you'll be carrying actual inventory or drop shipping. Drop shipping means that your orders are filled by either the product's manufacturer or a jobber. If you will be doing the shipping, set up an area for storage.
Negotiate with your suppliers for the best price possible. Ask about volume discounts or discounts for prompt payment of invoices.
Take shipping costs into consideration if you will be warehousing the product. Try to get free shipping from your suppliers, or discounts on shipping for prompt payment.
Purchase a domain name, preferably your company name, and register it. Select a web hosting company and use their tools to create a website. Make sure one of those tools is shopping cart technology.
Create an online catalog of your products. Include product details like size and intended use, pricing and photographs of each item. Put any specially priced items that don't conform to the dollar store pricing on a separate page.
Place your contact information, including customer service telephone numbers and email addresses prominently on each page.
Display a shipping and returns policy on your order page. Explain how frequently orders are shipped and what shipping methods you use. Returns policies should be simple and straightforward.
Use search engine optimization tools to drive customers to your website. There are many free SEO tools available online. Submit your website to search engines.
- Use small graphics to decrease the amount of time it takes your web pages to load. Respond to emails quickly.