Over the last few years, online trading has become a trend for both small businesses and big clients.
In the modern world, you lose a considerable part of the market if you do not have an online store or at least a one-page site with short information about your company.
That’s why many sellers ask how to start an online store. They wonder whether they should hire a professional team or can try doing it on their own.
This article will tell you in detail how you can start an online store. Besides, a team of developers will share information on the main stages of e-commerce site launching.
Enjoy your reading!
The data given below are eloquent enough. According to the Bloomberg analytical agency, the online trading segment increased by 14.5% in 2015 compared to the previous year.
At the same time, the general volume of retail sales increased by 1.6%. Thousands of companies are ready to sell their goods and services through the internet.
But some of them think they need to hire a team of skilled developers. The article will tell you about the options of online store opening without outside help.
Use the Best Platform or CMS for Your Online Store.
Actually, there are numerous tools to create an online store. You can use open-source solutions as well as ready self-supporting options.
The key difference between them is that you should have at least basic programming skills in the first case.
But you will get access to limitless possibilities of customizing the site. The second variant is more popular among non-programmers.
Such store constructors have basic features to provide site profits from the first day of its creation. They include the user’s cart, payment options, goods catalog, etc.
If you are keen on opening an online store, there is a great solution for you. You can use the most popular e-commerce plugins for WordPress sites called WooCommerce.
It is used by 25% of all online stores. Another popular method for an online store building is Shopify. This platform has an easy administration panel and a few integrated payment methods.
Web Hosting for an E-Commerce Site.
As you intend to open an online store, it is important to think, where you will be storing it. A correct choice of hosting has a direct effect on the site loading speed, and hence, on sales.
To be precise, just one-second delay may cause a 7% conversion reduction to the online store. If it takes your site more than 3 seconds to download, then the level of rejections will grow by 40%.
Today the most popular web hostings are:
- And Amazon.
In the search for an ideal web hosting, pay attention to the level of customer support and site working speed.
Buy a Domain Name for an E-Commerce Site.
When customers ask about the cost of creating an online store, in most cases, they mean the development cost. But you also need to consider the cost of the domain and hosting.
If your business is organized correctly, and you have your logo and carefully designed brand style, then it should not be difficult to choose a domain name.
Try using the domain which would identify your business and would be easy to remember. After the brainstorm, you should have a few options for your site name.
It is better to have a few variants as the first and the best name can be already taken.
E-commerce Site Design
According to ReclinerFAQ, the design of the online store or affiliate website has a crucial role since it will determine how the customer will interact with the site.
UI and UX should be convenient and help customers make purchases with ease. You can hire a team of professional web designers or buy a ready-made theme on ThemeForest.
Here you will find thousands of themes for online stores. It is a great opportunity for small businesses to save money and time. Try to choose a theme that is ideal for your niche.
CTA, or call-to-action buttons, is one of the methods to motivate customers to take a certain action on the page. These buttons are often called:
- Click here
- Buy now
It is a very powerful marketing instrument which is popular among many online stores and is appropriate for every type of business.
In particular, the sites with call-to-action feature increase conversion by 1.5% if the button is located on the sidebar. If the button is located on the home page, then you can expect a conversion increase by 25%.
You can use a call-to-action function in the contact form of your site. Ask your customers to leave their email to receive newsletters with useful information, product updates, and special promotions.
SEO for Traffic Attraction
SEO, website optimization for search engines, is important for every online store. It enables customers to find your e-commerce site on Google thanks to keywords.
If you pay enough attention and time to SEO, then your site will appear on the first page after a key request. Moreover, it will help you get more requests from your site.
According to a recent study, sites from the first position of search engines receive 36.4% more visitors. While sites on the second position have fewer visitors (12.5%).
Besides keywords, you can also post useful content and attract more traffic.
Find a Convenient Payment Gateway
The customers of your online store should make purchases easily and quickly. They should not experience any difficulties when paying for the goods.
If there are issues at the payment stage or order placement, they are likely to leave the cart with the goods, and you will lose customers. It will negatively affect your profit.
There are many payment gateways from which you can choose a suitable one. Moreover, some solutions have integrated payment processors which can be used even without technical knowledge.
Today, the most popular payment processors are:
- Google Wallet.
Learn more about each option to find the best variant for your online store.
Refund and return policy
It is a big mistake to launch an online store without providing a mechanism for money and goods return.
At first, learn the legal regulations on money and goods return to the customer.
Then, apply them to your online store. You can even devote a separate page where the customers can read about refund and return policy on your site.
Promote your e-commerce site
After you have checked all the site features and even the checkout process, it’s time to tell the world about it. The most popular marketing channels of online stores are:
- Email marketing,
- Content marketing.
You need to test all the channels to find the most suitable one for your niche. It is important to use a few channels at the same time, to build a successful marketing strategy.
We will tell you what results you may achieve by using one or the other channel.
Email marketing will help inform current customers about promotional offers and new product arrivals.
PPC or Pay Per Click is used to attract new customers to an online store. Usually, you create special landings for promotional offers.
Content marketing will enable you to build strong relations with your customers. You can do the following to achieve it:
- Create infographics
- Organize live streams
- Post video on YouTube
- Add articles to the blog
If you still have some doubts, we may ensure you that content marketing really works. Its advantage is that it brings 3 times more leads than traditional marketing, and at the same time, its value is 62% lower.
Keep up to date with the latest trends
Most users make online shopping through their mobile phone. Therefore, it is worth paying special attention to the design of an online store.
If you work with an e-commerce agency, do not forget that you need a compatible design for an online store. Your online store should be convenient for use from mobile devices, and the user should find it simple and clear.
Even if your online store does not have a super-practical design and custom functionality, but at the same time it is user-friendly and easy to use, it will bring you profit.
On the other hand, an online store with excessive design and other slapsticks can divert the customer’s attention from making a purchase.
The main goal of the online store is to make the customer’s way from the product catalog to the order placement simple and intuitive.
Study your customers
Take into account the preferences of your target audience when designing an online store.
Different age groups have different preferences. For example, people born in the early 2000s like to see many photos, videos, and reviews on the product page.
They also like bright colors and attractive designs. But if your target audience is mainly population over 50, then choose more traditional elements for design.
As we have already mentioned, pay attention to the responsive design. It will help your customers to reach the site from mobile devices.
An online store is a way to increase sales, attract more prospective customers and move to a new market for both B2B and B2C segments.
Do you still have questions regarding an online store opening? Let’s summarize.
You can create an online store by yourselves using Shopify or WooCommerce. But if you wish some innovative features or customized designs to impress your customers, it is better to go to an e-commerce agency.