Time has become the most precious product. A solid proof of this is how most consumers prefer Ecommerce shopping to save time and effort. It doesn’t matter if you are just getting started with a new ecommerce business or you have long been an offline retailer that has recently decided to go online. Below are the 10 ultimate steps to start your own online store.
1. Develop a Strategy
A sound strategy is the first step to build an Ecommerce store with the potential to succeed. It is best if you can anticipate and plan for the possible challenges and needs you will face as your business grows. Your strategy will depend on what you choose to sell.
Your strategy depends on the niche your are targeting, and the business model adopted to drive your revenues. Moreover, it is important to map out any suppliers, team members, freelancers or tools you are going to need to include into your operational strategy.
2. Choose a Brand and Domain name
When it comes to branding, there are endless possibilities to create a strong and successful business name, logo and color schemes. Some sites will generate business names for you, including Shopify´s business name generator tool. Another option is finding a professional freelancer who is able to help you out in any aspect of brand creation and activation. A great place for finding such services is Fiverr, but there are many other well-known similar platform.
Regarding the domain name, it is important to make it unique, readable, and short. It should include your business name, market keywords, or be related to the products or services you offer.
3. Pick the Right Platform or Hire a Web Developer
This is probably one of the most important and technical steps in building your Ecommerce store. Make sure you hire the right developer by getting references and checking online websites, to get some good knowledge of prices and included services.
If you cannot find a developer to help you build your store, there are also online platforms you can use, such as Woocommerce or Shopify. Remember, however, that these platforms require you to invest some time in getting to know all the ins and outs to be able to fully take advantage of all its functions and possibilities.
4. Design an Online Store
When building your website using the aforementioned platforms, there are ready-made themes you can use for free, or buy. Creating a theme from scratch might be time-consuming and frustrating, so if you find one that you like, it is best to go for a ready-made one.
A professional web developer will take care of any aspect regarding site design, optimized for user experience, usability and responsiveness. Do not underestimate the importance of a well-designed website, as it will be the most important tool to build customer trust.
5. Integrate a Payment Gateway and Shipping Courier
There are considerations when choosing your payment gateway, such as your trade license, country of operation, and integration of local and global payment methods. Using pre-built solutions it is very easy to integrate popular payment methods into your ecommerce store. Within minutes you could have your PayPal or Credit card solution integrated into your shop.
Regarding the shipping courier, determine if you will ship locally, globally or both, the trade licenses, shipping fees, and cash on delivery option. It is important to set-up your shipping costs on your website in a flexible manner, so that customers might save on buying more than one product in a single purchase to save on shipping costs.
6. Add Your Products
Product pages will have different features depending on the type of your Ecommerce store. However, the essential parts you´ll also need are the product title, add to cart button, images, availability, and price.
Do not forget to enrich the product pages with details and reviews. Details are important to communicate the product´s characteristics and usability. Reviews are important to increase the customer´s trust in your product.
7. Checkout Page
Your checkout page must have user-friendly, clear, and simple steps to improve checkout conversion rate and prevent cart abandonment. The most popular checkout page style if a focused one, where customers do not have any distractions of menus, headers or related products.
Remember that a customer has already passed through various steps and barriers to come to this final page, so make sure the checkout page is build for one single purpose – finalize the purchase. When the customer is on this page, he or she already know what to buy.
8. Create Company Pages
Once you have finished making your product pages, you will need to develop your company pages such as your home page, about us page, and contact page. In today´s competitive market, it is important to create an emotional connection with your audience. Make sure you are not simply selling products, by either being unique or low-priced, but also selling a concept.
The company pages allow you to tell your story. What is the vision of the business? What positive impact does your brand want to make? What problems are you solving? An important thing to remember is that, by creating an emotional connection with customers, you are able to incorporate a premium into your pricing structure.
9. Get the SSL Certificate
What is an SSL Certificate? The SSL Certificate will make your online store extra secure, to give your customers the assurance that their private information will be handled safely and properly. More specifically, it encrypts the data being sent from the user´s browser to your online shop. If you have one, you will see a (green) lock on the left side of the url in your browser. You want to allow customers to pay with credit card? Then you will definitely need to have an SSL certificate implemented on your website.
SSL Certificates can be bought at almost any hosting company. Also, many shared hosting packages include a wildcard certificate, valid for all your domains, and automatically set up.
10. Market Your Online Store
The last, but definitely not the least step, to start your own online store is to market it. This is the time to come up with unique content, use the different social media platforms and harness the power of email marketing. Sponsored ads on search engines can also be an effective tool to drive your target audience to your ecommerce shop. Your digital strategy will make or break your business success.
At DBM Digital, we build professional Online Shops from beginning to end, and for any budget. For more information, check out our Ecommerce page.