Onlineshop eröffnen: Das sollten Sie beachten
Wednesday, 16 August 2023
Latori GmbH

Open an online store: This is what you should consider

No other market has grown as fast as online retail in recent years. It is therefore understandable that you, as a founder, would like to profit from the success of this high-turnover industry and open your own online store. To ensure that the hoped-for success actually materializes and the whole thing doesn't end in disappointment, however, there are a few things to keep in mind.

In this article, we will tell you exactly what needs to be taken into account. You will also learn how high the costs are and how you can open your own online store in just 11 steps.

You would like to open your own Shopify store, but would like professional support?

Then contact us and we will assist you with advice and support.

Open an online store: Costs

What costs are involved in opening an online store? This frequently asked question cannot be answered in a blanket manner, as this depends on too many variables.

First, you register a trade, which can cost from 10€ to 50€ depending on the location. The price of programming your online store can range from 1,000€ to several 10,000€. So if we assume, for example, a "standard store" that has a professional layout, meets the usual SEO criteria and takes into account all legal aspects, then you can expect to pay about 2,000€ to 4,000€ for it.

In addition to one-time costs, there are recurring and ongoing costs. For example, to meet the availability needs of your customers, you need a flexible web host. If this should be able to process up to 1,000 visits per day quickly and smoothly, about 20€ to 30€ per month will be due. Powerful images and SEO-compliant texts are also important for the success of your online business. So you should consider calling in professional support for this. For product photos, however, manufacturers and wholesalers often also provide (free) image material.

Reading tip: Own online store or marketplace? How to make the right decision.

How to open an online store? - 13 steps

a laptop symbolizes the opening of an online storeOn the way to your own online store, you should go through the following 13 steps.

Step 1: Business plan

Once your business model is in place, it's time for detailed planning. A business plan is a must - and not only if you are dependent on external investors to set up your online store. Even if you are starting out with your own capital, such a plan will help you uncover any weaknesses in your concept. For the creation of your business plan, you should follow an outline that has been successful for years and has proven itself in numerous start-ups.

The chapters on corporate philosophy, market and competition, and SWOT analysis are particularly important for online store founders. Because without a coherent and individual concept and a clear overview of the competition, even the best business ideas can fail.

Step 2: Choose domain name

The second step is to choose a domain name. Keep in mind to choose rather short names, because they are easier to remember and the risk of mistyping is lower. With Shopify's domain name generator you can check if your desired domain is still available.

Reading tip: Want some inspiration? Take a look at these 20 successful Shopify Plus stores.

Step 3: Calculate costs

E-commerce consulting, software, design, warehouse and equipment, photographer and copywriter, legal advice, etc. - opening an online store involves certain costs, as we have already explained in Chapter 1. These must be calculated in step 4. To do this, retailers should ask themselves the following questions, for example:

  • Do I currently have enough space to store my products or do I already need additional storage space?

  • Do I have enough staff to take care of shipping and packaging, or do I need a service provider?

  • Do I have a design team in-house or do I need to consult someone?

  • Do I want to take care of hosting myself and have everything centrally on my own computers or rely on a cloud solution?

  • Do I want to set up my own photo corner for product images and provide the equipment or do I hire a photographer directly?

Step 4: Consultation from an e-commerce agency

Especially if you are a newcomer to the e-commerce world, consulting is indispensable. Because experts can tell you exactly what you should prioritize and which tools will offer you real added value. Especially if you have a lot of products from different categories and want special features that are not available as standard in store systems, it makes sense to bring in an e-commerce agency that has both a design team and a development team.

By the way: We at Latori will be happy to advise you on all aspects of your e-commerce business. Simply contact us for this purpose.

Reading tip: Learn about the current 10 most important e-commerce trends.

Step 5: Choose store software

If you do not trust yourself to program a custom solution, you will have to resort to a store system for online store opening. These bring some advantages, which we will discuss in the next chapter " Opening your own online store: Construction kit vs. individual solution" in more detail. Of course, we will also not ignore the weaknesses of such solutions.

Open an online store: Select softwareStep 6: Set payment methods

When it comes to payment methods, you should be guided by your target group. For example, younger people will have little use for the payment method "prepayment" and would rather have PayPal to choose from. The currently most popular and most important payment methods are:

  • PayPal

  • Purchase on account

  • Credit card

  • Direct debit

  • Instant bank transfer

  • Prepayment

Note: By the way, the easiest way to accept payments online in your Shopify or Shopify Plus store is Shopify Payments. The payment gateway integrated directly in the checkout not only ensures smooth payments for your clientele, but you don't need to create additional merchant accounts with payment providers. This allows you to easily accept credit card payments with the world's most popular providers, without having to pay subscription transaction fees to third-party providers. It also syncs your customers' payment details with their orders, so payments can be tracked better and directly in Shopify. Payouts are always made on time within three business days, ensuring a steady cash flow.

Step 7: Merchandise Management & Mail Order

Store software alone is not enough to build a successful online business. You should also organize software that automates as many processes as possible, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and mail order. When making your choice, make sure that the software can grow with your online store, because some functions may only be needed later and should then be available for purchase.

Step 8: Build bearing

We will come back to this in more detail later, but if you should decide to operate your own warehouse, you will of course also have to organize this in advance down to the smallest detail. This also includes the hardware associated with the warehouse, such as shelving, barcode scanners, lift trucks, etc.

Reading tip: In this article, we take an all-round look at 3PL, distinguish it from 1PL, 2PL, 4PL and 5PL, and tell you how to select a suitable 3PL service provider.

Step 9: Organize photographer and copywriter

Two of the biggest difficulties in online retailing are that customers are not convinced of the goods in a face-to-face meeting and they cannot touch them with their hands. This can be remedied by good product photos and a detailed product description that leaves no more questions unanswered. So you have to be honest with yourself here: do you trust yourself to take on these tasks yourself or would it perhaps be better to outsource them? Also remember that your texts must not only convince potential buyers, but also search engines (SEO).

Step 10: Marketing

a street with a neon sign on a building as a symbol for digital advertisingEven the best online store will not be successful if you do not bring customers to the site. The following marketing measures can be used for this purpose:

  • Social Media Marketing: Use social media platforms to promote your business and build a community. Share relevant content regularly, interact with followers, and use ads to reach your target audience.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimize your website for search engines by using relevant keywords, creating quality content, and implementing technical SEO measures. This helps drive organic traffic to your website.

  • Paid advertising (PPC): Launch targeted advertising campaigns on platforms like Google Ads or social media to generate instant visibility and traffic. Be sure to choose your ads and keywords strategically to make the most of your budget.

  • Email marketing: capture email addresses from visitors and customers and use email marketing to share offers, news and relevant information. Personalized emails can build customer loyalty.

  • Influencer marketing: working with influencers or industry experts can help raise awareness of your brand and effectively engage your target audience.

  • Local presence: if you also operate locally, make sure your online store is present in local directories and on Google Maps.

  • Analyze and optimize: Track your marketing activities with analytics tools and continuously adjust your strategy based on the data you collect to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Reading tip: You can find out everything you need to know about brand building through marketing here.

Warning letters can quickly bring online store operators into financial difficulties. Therefore, it is important to avoid any reason for a warning right from the start. Common reasons are violations of labeling obligations, imprint obligations, data protection, consumer protection laws or the right of withdrawal. Of course, you can also inform yourself and read online which criteria an online store has to fulfill. But of course, professional legal advice is much safer. There are also a few things to consider when it comes to tax requirements. Since tax requirements can vary depending on the country and individual situation, it is important to thoroughly inform yourself about the applicable laws and regulations in your country before opening an online store and to seek professional assistance if necessary.

Step 12: Shipping methods

Choosing the right shipping methods depends on several factors, including the type of products, target audience, geographic reach, and the company's financial situation. A smart shipping strategy can help improve customer satisfaction, increase conversion rates, and strengthen competitiveness in online retail. The most common shipping methods are:

  • Standard shipping

  • Express shipping

  • Same-day and next-day delivery

  • Pick-up stations and parcel boxes

  • Premium shipping

  • Evening delivery

  • Delivery at a specific time

  • International shipping

  • In-store pickup (Click & Collect)

Step 13: Find suppliers (optional)

If you do not want to sell your own products through your online store, you should find suitable suppliers to provide you with goods. Here you have the following options:

  • Research online and select suitable suppliers

  • Use B2B platforms such as Alibaba or Global Sources

  • Search manufacturer databases such as Wer liefert was or Europages

  • Visit trade fairs

Open your own online store: Construction kit vs. individual solutiona woman with a laptop and a white sheet of paper creating a designWhen creating an online store, you should think about the requirements that your store must absolutely meet.

So think about the following, among other things:

  • Which payment systems do you want to offer and which filter options should your online store have?

  • Should an interface to your merchandise management system be integrated?

  • What about connections to price search engines, marketplaces, etc.?

  • Does your online store need extras like a product configurator or similar?

In this way, you will inevitably create a "catalog of requirements" that will show you the right path to online store software. In the latter case, we distinguish between individual, self-programmed solutions and so-called store systems, which often - but not exclusively - function according to the modular principle and can themselves offer many options for self-programming.

With such online store construction kits, the low investment costs and the uncomplicated nature are particularly noteworthy. After registering, you pay a monthly fee with most providers, depending on the range of functions. After you have defined the design, payment method, shipping method and legally required settings in the back-end, as well as filled your store with products, you can already sell through your online store.

So it's all about simplicity, about making it as easy as possible for entrepreneurs to create their own online store. For example, Shopify offers a drag-and-drop feature for this, which allows you to easily customize your e-commerce website. No programming knowledge is required for this. Moreover, you can carry out financial transactions in your store safely and securely, use numerous SEO features, offer various sales channels and add an unlimited number of products to your online store.

However, online store building kits also have their disadvantages compared to other store systems. For example, they usually offer a smaller range of functions and there is also significantly more leeway in terms of design with individual solutions. Conversely, however, this also means significantly more work.

Our tip: If you appreciate the ease of use of modular systems, but also want a full scope of customization, we recommend Shopify Plus. Shopify's scalable enterprise commerce platform is designed for high-growth businesses and, in addition to numerous customization options, offers many other benefits such as more control and automation options, higher speed with better omnichannel services, premium support, and much more.

Reading tip: Which type of store system is better for your e-commerce platform: on-premise or cloud-based? Find out here.

Open online store: This is what you need to consider in terms of SEO

Many online store founders underestimate the importance of search engine optimization (SEO). Product descriptions in text and image are important for your findability in search engines like Google and Bing. The easier it is to find you via search engines, the more likely potential customers will be drawn to your store. You can also increase your visibility with good search engine advertising (SEA).

Below we give you short lists for the 3 areas of SEO you need to think about:

1. Onpage SEO:

  • Meta Title

  • Meta description

  • URL

  • Keywords

  • Images

2. Offpage SEO:

  • Backlinks

  • External blogs / forums

  • Influencer collaborations

3. Technical SEO:

  • Load time

  • Website security

  • Duplicate content

In our SEO guide, we go deeper into the matter and reveal specific SEO measures for your Shopify store.

Reading tip: Can you have even more sales channels than an online store? How to build a multichannel strategy with Shopify.


five people looking into a laptopIf you want to open an online store, you have big plans. After all, it's not enough to just have a good business idea and a full warehouse with tons of goods and products. But with the right approach, the dream of your own store can be realized quite easily after all. To do so, simply follow the tips in the article and proceed according to the 11 steps presented.

Would you also like to set up a lucrative business on the Internet, but could still use support from e-commerce experts in various areas? Then contact us.

Frequently asked questions about opening an online store

How much does it cost to open an online store?

There is no general answer to how much it costs to open an online store. Roughly speaking, you can expect costs between 2,000€ and 4,000€ for a small online store with not too many features. A large store with many individually customized functions, on the other hand, can easily cost 20,000€ to 30,000€.

Can anyone open an online store?

In principle, anyone who can register a business can also open an online store, as long as the legal requirements are met. Special qualifications are not required.

What do I need to open an online store?

In order to open an online store, several steps need to be completed:

  1. Create a business plan

  2. Choose a domain name

  3. Determine payment methods

  4. Calculate the costs

  5. Obtain e-commerce advice

  6. Buy store software

  7. Select software for merchandise management & mail order

  8. Organize warehouse

  9. Hire photographer and copywriter

  10. Plan marketing campaigns

  11. Obtain legal advice

Where do I get the goods for my online store?

You have many different options for sourcing products for your online store. For example, you could have your own warehouse or you could do dropshipping. With the latter, you don't have your own warehouse, but order your products from a wholesaler who stores the goods for you. This business model brings with it a number of advantages.

Shop Usability AwardShop Usability Award
Wir schätzen alle unsere Kunden, Nutzer und Leser, egal ob weiblich, männlich, divers oder nicht-binär. Der Lesbarkeit halber verzichten wir auf Gendersternchen und nutzen weiterhin das generische Maskulinum. Wir sprechen damit ausdrücklich alle an. Bitte beachten Sie außerdem, dass wir Zitate zum besseren, sprachlichen Verständnis leicht angepasst haben.
Shop Usability Award Winner 2023