Starting and building an online store can be accomplished without ever touching the inventory that you sell. You can advertise one or many products. Then the customer logs on to your website to find more information and order. You keep the difference between your cost to buy the item and the amount that you sell it for. This type of business can be started with a small investment and is run with little overhead. If you have the right suppliers, you won't have to worry about your customers' satisfaction.
Give your online store a name and search a Internet registration site to see if the address has been taken. You can select a memorable name or one that describes the products you will sell. Register your domain name by following the directions on the site.
Select your business type and form your business structure, such as sole proprietor, corporation or limited liability company. Obtain a business license from your city office, if required in your jurisdiction.
Apply online for your federal employer identification number (EIN), which identifies your business like a Social Security number does for humans. Log on to IRS.gov to determine if you need one. You do not have to hire employees to be required to obtain an EIN.
Visit your state tax office for your reseller's permit. Since you will be paying wholesale for products and selling them for retail on your online store, a reseller's permit allows you to avoid paying state sales tax to your suppliers. You will charge your customers tax and then repay the entire amount to your state government.
Create your website and online store. Buy a program to do it yourself or hire a company who will follow your instructions and provide a way for customers to order, pay and check the status of the shipment.
Decide what you will sell on your online site, if you haven't already, such as perfume, shoes, electronics, fishing equipment or several types of items. Find drop shippers who agree to ship the purchased product for you directly to your customer. Request "blind" shipping, where the supplier's name is not on the packaging, and your company is on the return address.
Ask your suppliers for trade credit. This way, you won't have to pay for the product until the customer's payment clears, which increases your cash flow by paying for items only after you have the money for them.
Advertise your site to maximize your traffic and sales. Buy search engine space so that your website name comes out near the top on a relevant search. Also, comment on blogs and place your website address under your name. Write articles for online publications and include your information at the end. Join discussion groups and start a social networking page, where you can offer specials and coupons.
Fulfill orders promptly through your drop shippers and track them to ensure on-time delivery. Keep customers satisfied by responding to questions or complaints in a professional manner.
Carol Deeb has been an editor and writer since 1988. Her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers and online publications, as well as a book on education. Deeb is a real-estate investor and business owner with professional experience in human resources. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from San Diego State University.