What is a Virtual Store
A virtual store is nothing more than a website that sells some kind of product or service direct online allowing the payment and monitoring of the delivery over the internet. Nowadays, creating a virtual store has become a cheap and good return option.
The Advantages of Creating a Virtual Store
Unlike creating a physical store, creating a virtual store has the following advantages:
- Attend a larger region (whole Brazil, for example)
- Requires less investment
- Can be created quickly
- It does not necessarily have to be a company (CNPJ)
- Broadcast technology is easy to use
The Challenges of Creating a Virtual Store
Despite the benefits mentioned above, creating a virtual store is not necessarily synonymous with easy money because:
- The internet is a busy environment
- Low differentiation in most products sold
- Has Marketing Costs
Top Selling Products in Virtual Stores
If you are thinking about creating a virtual store, it is important to understand more or less how the current scenario works. This is both for you to know who your competitors are and are doing a good job, how to differentiate. The main products currently sold are:
- Clothing, Shoes & Accessories
- Aesthetics, Perfumery and Beauty
- Cell Phones, Computers and Technology
- Books and Digital Courses
- Furniture, Decoration and Toys
Estimated Capital to open a Virtual Store
The magic of the internet is that you do not have fixed costs, nor do you have to make works or pay gloves to rent a property. PFor this reason, it is possible to open a first virtual store totally free of charge. However, with the growth of the business, there are paid options to develop the business, increasing its scope and security.
The Top Virtual Stores in Brazil
Currently the largest virtual stores in Brazil are part of the set of sales strategies of the largest retailers in the physical world. Some examples are:
It is always interesting to keep an eye on leaders, as they may come up with innovations that create risks and opportunities for smaller sites.
How to Build Your Virtual Store
There is no single way to build a virtual store, as there are currently hundreds of products and services online for you to create your store, both free and paid. However, in general, you will have to make some decisions that are the same for everyone.
1) Buying a Domain
The domain is your internet address. He is the famous name of his company. Typically, the domain is related to your brand or product. For example, if in our case, the address is luz.vc (because our name is LUZ) and not, we use exellent.com (which would be our product). Domains are typically paid per year of use and the major selling sites are:
- registro.br: for purchases of Brazilian domains .com.br
- go daddy: for international domain purchases
2) Define the Platform
The next step will be to define which technological platform you will use to build your virtual store. This will depend on several factors like your capital to invest, the maturity of your business and your type of product. Anyway, let's list below some good options to test.
- WordPress via Woocommerce: Both WordPress and Woocommerce are free to start using, but they have extensions and additional ones that can be paid for. However, this does not stop you from starting to sell without spending anything!
- Wix: Another option of creation of website that has been growing in Brazil. It is more limited than Woocommerce in terms of features, but it is also easier to use. In addition, it is not free, although it is quite affordable.
- Integrated Store: A Brazilian solution already used by thousands of small e-commerces. It is easy to create and also integrate with other services like metrics, email marketing and more!
- Shop.fy: One of the great global platforms, now has plans for Brazil. It is an interesting option, which is also paid, but that has pretty much all the features you may want already ready.
- Magento: A few years ago it was the sole leader in the e-commerce market, but it has been losing space for new competitors. In any case, it is still one of the safest and most complete technologies on the market.
- VTEX: It is emerging as the world's leading technology, it is recommended for those who already have a more robust store and need something extra secure and complete for your business.
3) Define the Appearance (Template)
One point that is not necessarily mandatory, but is very common is the choice of a template. Most of the stores listed above offer as a facilitator ready-made models of your virtual store's appearance. There are usually free and paid templates for each of them. This is important because it will be the face of your business. Another option also, when it is an already more structured store, is to hire a designer to make a totally customized layout for your business.
4) Set the Payment Method
The means of payment is the intermediary who will receive the money online and deposit it into your account. Most platforms already have a partner in terms of payment methods, but that does not stop you from making the best deal and also using the payment method of your choice. Some of the main options in Brazil are:
- Pay me
- Mercado Pago
Each has its pros and cons that are worth another post, but for now, I suggest you go into each one's website and check out what it has to offer.
5) Register Products and Sell
Setting up a virtual store is as simple as that! Depending on the technology chosen and the degree of customization desired, it is possible to create a store and start selling on the same day. Of course, this will vary and it is important that you understand that a virtual store also needs investment to get a good visitation. For you to delve into this theme, we created a super complete post on digital marketing!
How to Open a Company
If you want your store to receive the money and issue invoices, you must open your business legally. You can also read one step by step about opening a business. Here we will take advantage of the following main points:
- Creation of the Social Contract
- Registration at the Board of Trade
- Issuance of CNPJ and Choice of Activity
- Municipal and State Registration
- Operating Permits
Special Tips for New Businesses
Starting a new business is not only putting products on sale. As demonstrated, opening a virtual store is easy, simple and inexpensive. Precisely because of this, there are hundreds of thousands of stores and people trying to make money that way. However, only those who look at their stores as a complete business will be able to survive and profit. So, I will list below some special tips for those who really want to undertake.
1) Define a SPECIFIC Customer Segment
There is no successful business that has not well defined your area of expertise and your target customer. This is even more true and important on the internet. Unlike a street store, you will have to fight for customers to enter your store and you will have to spend money on it. Do not fall into the error of speaking "Everyone is my clients", because this is the beginning of the end.
For example, if you are going to build a t-shirt shop, make a store for someone specific, they may be elderly, soccer players, people who like to collar V. Anyway, there is no right answer, the market will respond positively or not. Immerse yourself in this theme by reading our post market segmentation.
2) Create a Differentiation (Specialty)
In a commoditized market, you're going to have trouble selling generic products, and especially those that big players already have. By defining a specific segment, you'll be able to tweak your value offer by delivering something unique and memorable. For this, I recommend that you draw your Business model and also make your value curve.
3) Calculate the Expected Return on your Business
"Whoever does not make the bill pays the bill." This is a maxim in the business world. Without estimating your desired return and what potential your online store can bring, you will be adrift. For this you will need price your products very well and make a economic feasibility study of your project.
The Top Spreadsheets for Who's Creating a Virtual Store
Here at LUZ, we not only have our own virtual store (with specific segment and differentiated products), we are Excel specialists and we have created several tools that can help you grow your own store. Here are some spreadsheets:
Management Indicators Worksheet for E-commerce: The worksheet will give you an overview of your main conversion metrics for your site, helping to improve the result and identify problems.
Metrics Worksheet for Sites: This worksheet is more focused on the analysis of different media and its registration and sales performance on the site. Perfect for anyone who wants to focus on conversion.
Adwords Performance Worksheet: Probably one of the most important channels of your virtual store will be the Google sponsored links (adwords). This worksheet will help you get more reviews of your campaigns and master the tool completely.
FaceAds Performance Worksheet: Just like Adwords, FaceAds campaigns will likely become commonplace in running your business, and our spreadsheet will help you get a more accurate and complete view of your bottom line.