If you’re planning to build an ecommerce website, you should be able to do it quickly and with minimum effort. In this article, we’ll share a step-by-step guide on creating an online store.
Pick the Optimal Ecommerce Platform
There are three types of ecommerce platforms:
- Open-source. Their source code is available to everyone. You’ll be able to install such a platform free of charge and flexibly customize it. On the flip side, you might need to outsource professionals to take care of your website’s security. This might cost you more than using a premium platform.
- SaaS. Such systems were designed specifically for ecommerce. They feature integrated solutions for processing payments and handling logistical processes. You pay for the subscription and get access to a secure, easy-to-use and scalable platform. The main drawback of SaaS is limited branding opportunities.
- Headless. Your online store will consist of two parts: the website and the shopping cart. You’ll have great control over both. It’s your chance to get to market fast and with minimum expenses. Be ready to outsource security and PCI compliance.
If you have a server, you can host your online store on it. Such an approach works well for people who have technical experience or large companies with in-house IT departments. Otherwise, consider cloud hosting. It’s secure and easily scalable. You’ll be paying only for the resources that you use.
Purchase a Domain Name
If you already have a domain name, you can transfer it to your online store builder. Otherwise, you’ll need to buy one. An ideal domain name meets these requirements:
- Consists of 6 to 14 characters
- Doesn’t contain numbers or hyphens
- Is easy to type, pronounce and remember
If your domain name is too creative, it would be challenging for people to remember it. If it’s too generic, they might confuse it with some other brand.
Outsource a Developer
Ecommerce website builders allow you to create a good online store from scratch even if you lack coding and design skills. However, if you outsource a professional developer, they will cope with this task faster. You’ll be able to start selling sooner. Before signing a contract, ask the developer about how much they will need to deliver your website. Glance through their portfolios and client reviews. Discuss your project with them to ensure you share an identical vision.
Select Your Ecommerce Theme
The theme of your online store should fit your brand style and products. If you sell toys for kids, opt for a bright color palette and add beautiful photos on your main page. Find a place on that page to tell your clients about your company’s mission and history.
Customize Your Ecommerce Template
Ecommerce platforms let you choose a theme and customize it. Consider modifying fonts and colors, embedding social media and integrating video files. This is your chance to differentiate yourself from hundreds of other stores built on the same template.
Add Products to Your Catalog
Here are the primary recommendations for adding product photos to your catalog:
- All images should be of high quality and of the same size
- They should represent the object from different angles
- At least one picture needs to show the consumer how to use the product
Here are tips on enhancing your product descriptions:
- Keep sentences short
- Avoid cliches
- Describe the measurements, textures and colors of the product
- Explain its value
- Define its target audience
When composing the descriptions, think not only about people who’ll be reading them but about bots who’ll be indexing your page for SEO. Include keywords in your texts.
Make sure your catalog is well-structured and easy to navigate. Equip each product category with filters that enable people to sort items with the required price and characteristics.
Set up Payment Options
All the payment options that you offer need to be convenient for you and allow you to make a sustainable profit. It’s essential that they are well-known and trustworthy, from your customers’ point of view.
There are three types of payment gateways:
- Redirects. PayPal is the most famous example of this type. Your clients will be redirected to a third-party website to finalize the purchase. You won’t deal with people’s payment details and funds.
- Checkout on-site, payment off-site. Stripe sticks to this model. You’ll be in charge of collecting payment details and the third party will process transactions.
- On-site payments. You have 100% responsibility and control over financial operations.
An ideal gateway should have good user reviews and be easy to integrate. It needs to be secure and PCI-compliant. Make sure to check whether its fees are affordable for you.
Outline Your Shipping Policy
Let your clients know about your fees and the carriers that you use. You may either pack the goods yourself or opt for dropshipping.
You can choose between a variable or a fixed fee. Orders that meet certain conditions (such as exceed a specific price threshold) might be delivered for free. If you ship your products abroad, describe the detailed conditions of international deliveries on your website.
All the aspects of your business that are related to shipping can be easily automated thanks to dedicated software.
To build an ecommerce website, start with picking an optimal platform. Purchase a domain name and outsource a developer. Select your ecommerce theme, customize your ecommerce template and add products to your catalog. Finally, set up payment options and outline your shipping policy.