Ecommerce has grown so much over the years. It’s everywhere and lets you access goods and services that are not easily available.
In fact, the total ecommerce sales in the US increased by 18.5 percent in 2021. So, if you’re planning to start an online store, now is the best time!
We know you might think it’s complex and requires a lot of work. While there’s some truth to that, there are ways to make it simpler, especially with the right tools.
The idea of launching an online store is exciting, but don’t mistake it for simply creating a website and displaying your products/services. Remember, there’s a sea of ecommerce websites to compete against. So, consider these factors before taking a step further.
To start a business, you need to have a business idea of course! Write a comprehensive business plan to understand your goals and objectives. It’ll help direct your next steps and make sound decisions toward turning your business idea into reality.
Identify the kind of shoppers you want your online store to reach. Doing so lets you focus your sales and marketing efforts on the people who are most likely to buy from you.
Research your target audience’s:
This would help you develop a value proposition and differentiate it from similar products on the market.
To make a website, you’ll need more than just a business idea and target audience. It’s not going to appear from thin air.
To build a house, you'll need to consider the materials for it. It’s the same logic as building a website.
So it goes without saying that you need to choose a website building platform that meets your business goals.
There are lots of platforms to choose from. One of them is WordPress which is the most popular content management system (CMS) out there. It’s easy to use and offers a wide variety of plugins for website customization. It’s also easy to set up on your web host account. You'll even find providers that offer dedicated WordPress hosting.
But if WordPress is too technical for you, you can opt for a drag-and-drop website builder. This type of website building platform allows you to create an online store using ready-made templates with little to zero coding needed.
Understanding the pages needed for an online store lets you build a well-structured website. It also helps keep your page “sticky”, meaning your site pushes users to engage and interact with your content.
So, what are the important parts of an online store and what do you put in them?
Your home page must contain an overview of the products and services you offer, your target audience, and your value proposition. You can even increase credibility by adding a section for testimonials and ratings.
For better user experience, categorize similar products and indicate what sets them apart from each other. You can also detail the description of each product and add options for sizing, color, and the like.
This is where you talk about your business history: What you do, the organizations you belong to, and your business address. You can also share your business values and add a human touch by giving audiences a background of your team.
You’ll need more than just your contact number and email address on this page. Make sure to include your company name, your name, mailing address, operating hours, your store’s location (if there is one), and a contact form.
Other than the list of items that are added to the cart, you must also include a short summary of the purchase – this includes shipping costs, taxes, and discounts that apply. You may also upsell related products by adding a dedicated section below.
If you run promos, add a field for users to fill up before checking out.
Enable customers to provide their complete payment and shipping/billing details – including their delivery address, shipping cost, payment details, taxes, and applied discounts.
Done building your online store? Next, you need to ensure that you are found by your target audience online. We’ve listed a few techniques and tools to help you out below.
Web analytics tools help you track your marketing performance and give you a sneak peak of customer behavior. By leveraging this data, you can start adjusting your campaign strategies and even website elements to increase conversions
The most widely known web analytics tool is Google Analytics. It’s part of Google’s Marketing platform and is free to anyone with a Google account.
Email Marketing is the use of email to promote your products/services and build customer relationships. You can use third-party tools to automate your email marketing activities. But first, make sure you have a business email that reflects your domain name (bonus if it matches your domain!) better credibility.
In its broadest sense, SEO is the practice of applying continuous actions on a website to be seen in search engine queries. The higher your ranking, the more likely you are to get more traffic and leads on your site.
Learning the different SEO techniques will help but can be quite the learning curve. There are available tools to help beginners improve their website traffic. Alternatively, you can also find SEO professionals to get it done for you.
No one likes their private data to be accessible to anyone. No one likes to visit a website that is vulnerable to online data theft.
Boost customers’ confidence in your website by showcasing the padlock button on your web address. You can start by installing an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate.
SSL lets you establish a secure connection between your website server and the user’s browser by encrypting the data transmitted.
By now, you realize that starting an online store requires a few steps and requirements. To recap:
First, you’ll need to write a business plan to layout your strategy. Make sure to do your research about the industry and the demands of your prospective customers.
Second, your website needs to contain pages that meet your business goals. We listed the ideas above, so we’d love for you to have a quick review of them.
Third, you’ll need to build your website on a fast, user-friendly platform that scales along your business.
Finally, remember to promote your website. You can have a well-designed online store and great products, but they’ll go to waste without online visibility. So don’t skip this part!
Web.com has start-to-finish online solutions to help you get started. Click here to find the best product or service for you or contact us and we’ll be happy to assist.