Today, everyone owns a smartphone. We all walk around with tiny computers in our pockets, always connected to the internet. That is why having an e-commerce store is essential if you want your business to grow and succeed. But before you start designing your perfect online store, there are a few things you need to know.
Creating your E-Commerce Store
The first step toward creating an e-commerce shop is defining your idea. You need to decide what products you’re going to sell and what your business will be about. That is likely among the most challenging aspects of the process, and you will need a clearly defined idea before you can proceed to the technical part.
All of that also includes the store theme and design you will use. Once you have a general idea, you will need to evaluate it. Think about its potential — what impact it will have on the market. The clearer and the more defined your idea is, the easier it will be for you to develop a business plan and start working on it.
Developing a Business Plan
The next thing on your agenda will be to develop a business plan. An elementary business plan contains goals, ways to achieve them, and a time frame to accomplish these goals. Essentially, it is a roadmap that will help you fulfill your dreams. The best course of action would be to add as many details as possible. With a well-thought-out business plan, you will have an easier time following each step and completing milestones.
That means you will need to conduct thorough research of the market, product, potential customers, competition, and partnerships. You will need to understand every step of the way to launch your e-commerce store successfully. So take your time and discuss logistics, analyze the market, and always be well-informed. Finally, get all the paperwork you need to ensure your business is legitimate and avoid unpleasant experiences.
Even if you have the most useful product in the world, it won’t do you much good without adequate marketing tools. The only way you’ll get people to take an interest in your product is to inform them it exists in the first place. That means you should develop a marketing strategy before you even begin building your store.
Among the best ways to start is on social media. It is estimated that Facebook has over one billion active users daily, and the number keeps growing. But that is not the only social media platform you should cover. You need to ensure that you are present everywhere at all times. Interestingly, fewer teens are using Facebook now compared to previous years, which is why you should seek alternatives. Also, only ten percent of users are located in the U.S. and Canada, and international shipping should be at the top of your priority list.
Once you have understood the nature of your business, ideas, and business plans, you can start planning your store. Firstly, you need to think about style. We all know how vital names are, so you will need to find an adequate domain for your store. It should be something catchy that captures the spirit of your store perfectly.
The next thing is creating a logo. That is probably the first thing your customers will see when they visit your website, so it needs to be incredible! It is always wise to find a seasoned graphic designer to ensure that you get high-quality graphics for your e-commerce store. Besides the logo, that includes all the banners on social media, websites, and other platforms you will be using as well.
Choose a Platform and SEO
Today, there are many platforms you can use to create an online store. The best part about it is that they are easy to use, and you don’t need to be a wunderkind to use them. There are a few things you need to consider when picking a platform for your store, though. Firstly, ask yourself how much you’re willing to pay. While some platforms are free of charge, others come at a cost. Each store has its plan, and the price can vary between $10 and well over $500.
Platforms like Wix are easy to use and will allow you to operate the entire website yourself. You probably won’t need any help, and you can customize the design to create something representative for your store.
Of course, if you are unsure how these platforms work, you can always hire a web developer to ensure that you come across no setbacks. If you decide to build a website from scratch, you might need a webmaster for maintenance — at least if you are inexperienced in web design.
Another essential element of building a website is SEO. Search engine optimization will help you rank higher on search engine result pages, and it should be an invaluable part of your marketing campaign.
Let’s say you’re selling candles; your goal would be on the first page of Google for search terms related to these items. That way, you’d have an easier time building your customer base.
Design a Mobile-Friendly Website
Many companies fail to understand how critical it is to have a responsive website. Over fifty percent of global e-commerce users come from smartphones, not including tablets. If your potential customer visits your website, and it is not mobile-friendly, they will just go to your competitor.
You should also ensure that everything is clear and straightforward. People are living fast-paced lives today. We are used to having everything at whim and within reach. That’s why your website should have a helpful product description, visible prices, shopping cart, and shipping costs.
Just ask yourself what you’d want from a store and try providing that for your customers. Also, focus on optimizing the checkout process to avoid cart abandonment. If the task is too complicated and requires too much information, the customer will likely leave and look for a simpler store.
Keep everything clear and concise. Each of your products needs to have a detailed description and high-quality product images. That way, your customers will know what to expect and what they are buying.
Another thing you need to decide on is what kind of payment gateway you’re going to use. Whether you want to use PayPal or credit cards, you will need to get approved before you start doing business, so planning is key.
Shipping and Storage Options
Based on the types of products you’re going to sell, you might need storage. If your business launches well, customers will arrive from all over the world, and you need to keep the store running. The only way to achieve that is to have products ready for shipping. Based on what you’re selling and the number of customers, your apartment might not be enough.
You also need to inform yourself about the prices and types of shipping so that your customers can easily access how much they need to pay. Naturally, you can choose USP, USPS, FedEx, or anything else if you are shipping within the U.S. However, you will need to consider international customers as well.
Launching Your E-Commerce Store
Once you finish with the design, logos, paperwork, storage, shipping, payment options, and everything else, you will be ready to launch your store. But you still have a long way to go before you can lean back in your chair and enjoy a profit.
You will need a marketing program both before the launch and after your store is set up. The first part of marketing will inform people about your upcoming e-commerce and help spread the word. But once your store is ready, you can begin attracting customers using promotions, discounts, and anything else that might help you expand your customer base.
You will also need to stay in touch with SEO trends and keep your website up to date. Your store will grow and evolve with your business, and, eventually, it will become something you’re proud of.
If you are looking to start your online store, there are a few things you need to do. Firstly, you will need to clearly define an idea and create a business plan. Then, you’ll have to begin filling in the paperwork as soon as possible since some processes might take a while. Once you have the idea before you, you can choose the best platform for your e-commerce.
You can either pick one of the popular e-commerce platforms or hire a webmaster to make a site from scratch. Either way, you need to ensure that you have rich product pages and all the info a customer might need readily available.
Finally, once your store is ready, SEO will help you stay relevant in the digital realm. And remember that everyone adores discounts — they are still the best way to expand your customer base.