After the tragic outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdowns and travel restrictions were implemented worldwide to contain the disease. Many individuals around the globe have grown less mobile as a result, making it more challenging for them to go out and buy the things they need in person. Therefore, online purchasing has become popular worldwide during the current epidemic time, and this trend is predicted to continue even after the pandemic ends.
Many online marketplaces have emerged directly from serving this expanding market. This has resulted in the expansion of the e-commerce sector, significantly outpacing that of the more conventional ‘brick and mortar’ industry in recent years. Even the longest-standing brick-and-mortar enterprises find that expanding their online operations is essential to their continued success. But many smaller ones face tough competition from e-commerce enterprises, and the unsustainable ones have sadly closed down.
Many people now make their living entirely through online commerce, often advertising their wares on popular social media sites like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Tik Tok. But the most enterprising ones want to go beyond merely using the social networking platform to branch out into e-commerce. However, before launching an online storefront, you must first construct one.
The good news is that creating an online store follows a well-defined procedure. Even though this is often the job of a website developer, you can still benefit from learning the ropes if you’re constructing a website for your online business.
To create an online store from the start, follow these eight simple steps:
First, zero in on a specific market to sell in.
After researching online, you’ve probably seen plenty of online shops offering all sorts of goods and services. However, many more websites like it specialize in selling only one thing, including clothes, pet supplies, fashion accessories, shoes, or vacation packages. In addition, there are numerous online marketplaces where you may purchase a wide variety of goods, including but not limited to cellphones, cameras, appliances, household items, items related to sports and health, lighting fixtures, electronic devices, books, and so on. The latter is analogous to a hypermarket, where you can find almost anything.
Choosing a particular market or service on your website is a necessary first step. Before making a final choice, research the interest in the area for items or services that fit your target niche or are in high demand. Remember that customers would instead buy from a local business, regardless of where they get the product or service. Typically, a local vendor would offer more convenient payment options, quicker delivery times, and quicker exchanges for damaged or incorrect goods.
Second, settle on a business strategy.
If you’re thinking of starting an online store, you first need to figure out what kind of store setup will work best for your goals and resources. You can sell your wares exclusively through your online shop, or you can also list them for sale on third-party sites like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, etc. If you choose the second option, setting up your website is unnecessary. Creating an account and selling on its marketplace is as simple as listing your stuff there. It’s also an option to run simultaneous sales on both channels.
Third, select a company domain name.
You should get a domain name from a web hosting firm like GoDaddy, Namecheap, Hostgator, etc., if you have decided to open an online store as your business model and if you have already determined your market niche and the kind of products or services you intend to offer. Use only “https” links to secure your data while it travels online. Ideally, your domain name should describe your chosen market segment or service offering. For instance, if you specialize in selling pet accessories, you should register a domain name like “petaccessories.com” or “petaccessories.net,” whichever is available. The domain name is essentially your company’s brand name. Thus, it needs to be memorable for your customers. A domain name acts as a company’s brand, helping customers remember who you are and where they heard about you.
With the help of the web host’s support staff, hosting a domain is simple.
Select an online storefront system.
Square Online, Weebly, Big Cartel, Constant Contact, BigCommerce, Wix, Shopify, Squarespace, WooCommerce, and many more are just a few of the many e-commerce systems available today. Some have no-cost plans, while others offer free trials with time limits. Pick the one that fulfills your needs at the lowest cost. To capitalize on the meteoric rise in smartphone adoption, you should use a platform that has been refined for use on mobile devices. The online e-commerce platform will guide you through creating your site.
5. Launch your online shop
Your online shop, or e-commerce website, should have a design that reflects your company’s values. You need to configure it correctly to guarantee that visitors will like using it in every way (quick loading times, easy navigation, intuitive layout, etc.). Include high-resolution photos, detailed descriptions, reasonable prices, and review/rating options for your products and services on your website. To avoid misleading potential customers into making a purchase they may regret, including all of this information on your product page is essential. Because it serves as a virtual storefront for your company, your website and its pages need to be visually appealing to attract and retain online clients.
In addition, you should have sections for About, Contact, Returns, Privacy, Terms of Service, Shipping Details, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on your website. These are crucial if you want your customers to feel comfortable parting with their cash in return for your goods.
Install an online payment system.
Customers of your online shop expect multiple payment methods. Most e-commerce store creator platforms can set up a payment gateway quickly and easily. Payment choices for the customer should include PayPal, credit cards, debit cards, e-wallets, Internet banking, and so on.
Seven, get an SSL certificate to protect your website.
You should always use a Secured Security Layer (SSL) to encrypt sensitive information sent over an unsecured network connection, such as financial information. The SSL certificate will help your clients trust your website by making it more difficult for hackers to access sensitive information.
Pick a transport associate, number 8.
You’ll need the services of shipping businesses after you launch your e-commerce website and begin accepting orders from clients. So that you can offer the most terrific deal to your consumers and optimize your profits, you need to pick reputable ones with a history of delivering packages on time and at the lowest possible shipping cost.
There you have it: the eight simple steps to creating an e-commerce website from scratch and beginning online sales today.
View a sample online store created with the Shopify e-commerce platform.