An eCommerce venture could be your ticket to financial independence so long as you are willing to put in the work into developing a website from scratch.
How to build an eCommerce website step by step is not a difficult question to figure out for those who have the right tools and are ready to plan. It also helps to know about some of the essentials, so you do not miss an important step.
This article covers the most important elements of starting and developing an eCommerce site, so be sure to continue reading it.
Pick the Right Platform
Let’s start with the platform. As a beginner, you are better off picking one of the available solutions that provide a simple installation. You can have your website up and running in a few minutes.
On the other hand, as there are multiple eCommerce platforms, you need to thoroughly check what each of these platforms has to offer and how much they cost.
Even if you have enough money to invest, you still do not want to over invest and regret your decision later.
In addition to a reasonable pricing model, you want an eCommerce platform that has easy integration, a plethora of themes, reliable customer support, solid security, and maybe a few built-in marketing tools to attract customers.
Since your eCommerce business will be built on a platform, you want to make sure to pick the right one.
Identify Your Market
An eCommerce business needs a product idea and the demand for that product. Ideally, pick a product you are passionate or knowledgeable about so it is easier to develop the business. On the other hand, if your experience does not translate to a desirable market, you will need to think about other potential ideas.
To research the market, you will need proper tools. SurveyMonkey is great for creating market research surveys and collecting data, while NielsenIQ identifies valuable distribution channels and suggests products that would be valuable to your targeted demographic.
Keep in mind that the more time you spend researching the market, the higher your odds of building a successful eCommerce venture.
Lastly, if you are relying on tools to determine what is currently trending while you are picking a niche, remember that trends may change, particularly if you are interested in seasonal products. For instance, skiing gear or beach towels might be in demand during winter and summer, respectively, but you should not expect to sell such products year-round.
Come Up With a Domain Name
Domain names require thought and consideration. You want a domain name that identifies what visitors can find on the website. An ideal domain name should also be easy to find and promote.
If creativity is not your strongest suit, seek some help. There are services that can generate a domain name for you, such as Nameboy. Or, at the very least, they can give some inspiration and push you in the right direction.
When coming up with a domain name, follow these pointers:
- Avoid numbers, hyphens, and double letters
- Stick with the .com domain
- Keep the name short and easy to spell
- Insert relevant keywords if possible
Finally, do your thorough research, so you do not end up with a domain name similar to another brand. This is important to avoid potential copyright problems.
Install Relevant Plugins
The plethora of available eCommerce plugins to simplify various processes is one of the reasons why more and more people are starting an eCommerce business.
In other words, many tasks that would have required manual work before are now carried out through eCommerce solutions.
Of course, while there are well-renowned plugins that do their job better than others, you can also explore alternative options. Just because a plugin is not as popular, it does not mean that it is inferior.
Another thing to note is that you should not install too many plugins on your website because too much clutter will have a negative effect on the overall website loading speed. If a visitor has to wait for a page to load for too long, they are unlikely to wait.
Also, while installing plugins, you should choose the right website theme that provides an intuitive customer experience. Moreover, the theme should also be mobile-friendly since about 50 percent of total website traffic comes from smartphones and tablets.
Create Informative Product Pages
An informative product page can make or break your success as an eCommerce store owner. You want to provide as much relevant information so that customers have an easier time comparing different products and deciding which one to buy.
High-quality product pictures are also a must. If you are not manufacturing the goods yourself and use the dropshipping business model, ask the supplier to send high-quality photos. Or, as an alternative, send the goods to your house and take photos yourself.
It is also worth adding a comment section below the products so that customers can leave feedback. Genuine reviews are a great incentive for potentially interested shoppers to actually purchase a product. In fact, roughly 90 percent of customers read online reviews before they make a purchase. And if they see good things about a product, they are obviously more inclined to spend money on it.
You can even consider adding GraphComment to your eCommerce store to build a community-like discussion section that would encourage more participation from both new and old customers.
Research Different Payment Methods
If you plan to run a proper eCommerce store, you will need to pay taxes and avoid problems with the law.
It is important to establish which payment methods you will implement. These days, online shoppers are looking for flexible payment gateways. Credit cards and services like PayPal and Payoneer are expected, but what about other, less accepted payment options?
For example, cryptocurrency payment gateways are not that widely accepted, but they provide a flexible solution for those who are invested in crypto and would like to use that as a way to pay for goods or services online.
If there are no issues with the law and you can accept cryptos, make the most out of this opportunity and provide shoppers with another option. Being one of the few stores to accept cryptocurrency will give you an edge over online stores that do not offer it. Moreover, more payment methods mean fewer abandoned shopping carts.
Consider Developing an App
Developing an eCommerce store should also incentivize you to think about the future and how you are planning to scale the business. Other than adding new products and putting resources into marketing on traditional channels, you could think about developing an application for Android and iOS.
As already mentioned, a lot of online traffic comes from mobile devices. Having a native app would improve the overall shopper experience even more. It is more convenient to shop on an app rather than an online browser while on a smartphone or tablet.