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8 Steps to Starting Your eCommerce Store

Updated onAugust 26, 2020

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Approx. read time : 10 min

Who led the digital transformation of your company?

CEO
CIO
or
COVID-19?

The very famous survey is doing rounds on the internet with option C circled in red.

The world is witnessing a surge in businesses going digital thanks to the unexpected pandemic. The COVID-19 crisis is serving as the biggest accelerator of digital transformation. Business owners are realizing that going from offline to online is an inevitable shift to thrive in the current market. And this change is likely to prevail post-COVID as well.

As the world went under lockdown and people were confined to their homes globally, the rate of online shoppers increased by 8.8%. According to Quantum Metric, online sales have increased by 52%. It is no exaggeration in saying that the current time of crisis is a blessing in disguise for online stores.

With consumers increasingly going online, eCommerce offers countless opportunities for business owners. By 2040, 95% of purchases will be done online. So, what could be a better time than NOW to shift your store online?

So if you want to transition your business to eCommerce and emerge as a leader, then you have come to the right place. This post will help you create your eCommerce store in 8 simple steps.

Let’s get started!

1. Decide on a Business Plan

Every big move starts with clear planning and the same goes when starting the eCommerce business. Before you begin, you have to collect answers to questions like ‘what should I sell’, ‘to whom should I sell’, etc.

So, the first step is to decide your niche. An eCommerce niche is a distinct segment within any given market. It represents the narrow category into which products fall. For instance, printed t-shirts, handmade jewellery, gluten-free food, etc.. By choosing a narrow category, you get the benefit of exploring areas that others may have neglected. But this doesn’t mean you choose an area with less popularity. Consider choosing a niche that you are passionate about and that can provide some value to users.

Next is to decide on a business model. The success of your business depends on the model you select. There are 2 main eCommerce business models:

B2C – Business to Consumer

As the name suggests, this model includes transactions between a company that sells products or services and the end-user. This model offers a global reach, great customer service, opportunities for business growth, maximum return on investment to mention a few.

B2B – Business to Business

B2B is selling and buying goods and services between two business entities. This model offers advantages like market stability, lower cost for businesses, improved sales, etc.

Once you choose the product category and business model, the next important step is to know your audience. Suppose you want an online store that sells handmade soaps, you have to figure out who will be your potential customers, what is their age-group, why will they buy handmade soaps, etc. Knowing your audience will help you give a personalized user-experience.

And there you are! Planning your business is completed. Let’s move further!

2. Purchase a Domain Name

The next major step is to decide a name for your eCommerce store. What’s in a name? Well, it’s the main identifying element for your business. The brand name is your story and therefore, it makes you stand out from the crowd.
However, finding the perfect name can be challenging. Here are 3 tips to keep in mind while choosing a brand name:

  • Keep it simple
  • Be unique
  • Be original

‘yoursitename.com’ is the web address by which your customers will find you. Purchasing a domain name is the stepping stone to take your business online. You cannot create a website for your store without a domain name. Your domain name should be such that it reflects what you do and is easy for your audience to remember.

Steps to buying a domain name include:

  • Choose a reliable domain registrar
  • Run a domain name search
  • Choose the best available option
  • Finalize your order
  • Verify the ownership
  • Obtain Business Permits

Every company, online or offline, requires a Business License. Operating a business without a permit is a fraudulent activity. Every country, state, and city has different license requirements. So, find out what permits you require and what you need to do to get a license. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN). EIN is primarily used for the tax reporting process. It is a unique number that identifies your business.

With that, you can put a tick on all the legal aspects for your business. Next is a fun part where you design your dream store!

3. Find the Right eCommerce Platform

An eCommerce platform is a backbone for your online business. It is a platform that allows business owners to easily manage their website, marketing, sales, and operations. There are free open-source platforms available where you can build a store with the help of the right ecommerce development company. Some of the popular eCommerce platforms are Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Big Cartel, etc. These platforms allow you to customize the design, prepare, and launch your online store, manage order and payments. All these platforms have their advantages and limitations. Following are the features you should look for in an eCommerce platform.

SEO Friendly

39% of global e-commerce traffic comes from search. Having an SEO friendly website will enable your audience to easily search your products online. Most eCommerce platforms, by default offer features that will help you optimize Google Search. But you can consider other SEO factors like user experience, page speed, meta tags, etc.

Security

With growing cases of cyber threats, customers feel skeptical while making an online payment and sharing credit card details. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to provide a digitally secure experience to customers.

When you choose a platform, make sure it supports HTTPS/SSL for secure checkout.

Mobile Friendly

Mobile shopping is the new norm. 79% of smartphone users make a purchase online using their mobile devices. That is why businesses are making efforts to make their website responsive. So, when you choose a platform for an online store, keep in mind this feature of mobile-friendliness.

Payment Options

6% of shoppers had abandoned carts due to a lack of payment options. Therefore, advanced payment options are a must-have feature on your eCommerce store. Some popular payment methods used for a fast and secure checkout are: Paypal, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, Masterpass, Credit/Debit card, etc.

Analytics

Once you launch your store, you will want to keep a check on analytics on how your store is performing. Therefore, choose a platform that allows you to track sales, order amount, and more.

Another thing to keep in mind before selecting an eCommerce platform is its price. Some platforms have monthly charges. It is advisable to consider your budget and further goals before choosing one.

4. Design Your Store

The first impression is the last. Suppose you have gone to a clothing shop. The first thing you notice is how clean the place is, how organized all clothes are. A positive experience here can affect your buying and you are likely to visit again. Similarly, if you want to make a positive impact online, build a beautifully designed website because 94% of first impressions are related to design. A visually appealing site will provide users with a positive first impression.

Think about your personal favorite website. Why do you remember its logo and other visual identities even while asleep? Because it has a strong brand identity. Brand identity is the face of a brand. The visual representation of a brand. It includes elements like logo, colors, font, style, tag line, and more.

Use Striking Visual Elements

All design elements determine how the audience will perceive your brand. Be very particular in choosing the color palette, typography, forms, product packaging, and graphics.

5. Logo Design

A picture is worth a thousand words. And similarly, a logo is the first image the audience will notice. So, make sure it communicates everything about who you are, what you do, and what are your values.

A good logo should be,

  • Simple
  • Eye-catching
  • Memorable
  • And that reflects the nature of your brand

6. Decide on Pricing of Your Products

In the first point, I discussed deciding a niche for an eCommerce store. Let’s talk about it further. Once you have chosen a category, the next step is to decide on pricing. This is a crucial step as it determines your cash flow, your profit margins, and your next move to invest further.

Now you might ask the most common question. How to choose a pricing strategy? Following are the three most commonly used pricing strategies that will help you decide the right price for your products:

Cost-based pricing – It is decided by adding the cost of your products and the margin you want to make from each product.

Competition- based pricing – It is the price you decide after analyzing other brands that sell similar products.

Value-based pricing- It is a system that charges customers according to the value the customers receive from a product.

7. What Goes on Your Website?

A business website is a collection of web pages. But these are the essential pages that your online store can’t do without:

Homepage- It is the main web page that a visitor will see. It is an index page that welcomes your visitors and provides information about who you are and what you do. Additionally, homepage has other goals like promoting latest offers, introducing new products, and email signups.

Category Page – If the homepage is the gateway of your website then category page is the pillar. This is the page where you can represent all your products. A well-created category page not just makes product exploration easy for customers but it plays a major role in improving rankings.

Product Page – The product page provides visitors all the details about the product you offer. Writing unique product descriptions and uploading quality images will encourage visitors to explore your page and decide to make a purchase.

Cart Page – Cart page or shopping cart is a page where users stack chosen products before checkout. Did you know that the average rate of cart abandonment is 81? You can reduce the abandonment rate by providing a user-friendly cart page.

Checkout Page – This is the page where billing and shipping procedure is done. Make sure your checkout procedure is effective, speedy, and frictionless.

As per the roughly estimated numbers, almost 12 million – 24 million eCommerce sites across the entire globe, and more are being created every day. With so much competition already, it can be tough to establish a strong presence.

To begin with, focus on every detail of your site from quality images to an easy checkout process. Research, use tools, adapt to new trends, keep your user in mind, and market well. Do not worry! You are just getting started.

Anyway, Yayyyy! Give a tap on your back. Now your store is ready to go live!

Is your job done here? NO. It begins. How will people know about your store if you do not market it?!

8. Marketing Your Store

There are different promotional tactics to attract audience and increase online sales. You can market your online store by creating a blog, focusing on SEO, sharing information on social media, using videos, encouraging product reviews, email promotions, and more. Before you work on these techniques, have a clear idea about your target audience. “In marketing, if you’re trying to talk to everybody, you’re not reaching anybody.” – Jennifer Yesbeck, Marketing Manager at Alexa. Focusing on a target audience will help you craft specific messages. This will also help you get high-quality leads.

Wrapping Up

Creating an eCommerce site is both interesting and daunting. But with the availability of online tools and platforms, the process of starting an eCommerce store has become seamless. This post aims to provide a roadmap to help you get started.

The future of eCommerce is promising. Once you begin, there is no looking back. Here’s a little message for all aspiring entrepreneurs: Have a vision, craft a strategy, take risks, know the industry, know your customer, keep learning. And, Get Started NOW!

Maulik Dipak Shah

Maulik Dipak Shah is the CEO of Biztech, a Magento 2 Development Company from India. Maulik likes to explore beyond his comfort zone. When it comes to writing for the blog, his contribution is priceless. No one else on the team can bring the deep industry knowledge to articles that he has. However, his door is always open and he is generous with sharing that knowledge.

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Who led the digital transformation of your company? CEO CIO or COVID-19? The very famous survey is doing rounds on the internet with option C circled in red. The world is witnessing a surge in businesses going digital thanks to the unexpected pandemic. The COVID-19......
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