When we need to buy something, we take out our phones and go to our favorite eCommerce website. The web has become one of the critical places where all our daily activities happen, whether socializing, working or purchasing, so those that can combine all three are usually on a path to success.
eCommerce websites are rising, and people are shifting from physical retail locations to digital ones. Apart from the big eCommerce websites like Amazon (which have a business model that is tough to match), a whole range of small eCommerce websites gives consumers great products and services, along with fast delivery times.
These niche sites sell everything from housewares to industrial machinery. But if you had to look at it from the business owner point of view, how do you use the right website builder to start an eCommece business and make it run successfully?
In this article, I will look at the main aspects of creating an eCommerce website. I will go into the steps to set up and make your eCommerce website a success, along with the essential factors you need to consider in each step.
Let's dive right into it.
What Is An eCommerce Website, And How Does It Work?
An eCommerce website is an online shop that allows customers to browse, compare and purchase products. Items in these shops have their own product pages, which contain information about the product such as its name, description, price, size etc. Usually, when you are looking at a particular product, you have the opportunity to add it to your cart, where the items are summarized so you can verify everything before checking out.
Then once you check out with your items in your cart, there is usually a box for "Promotion Code" or some other method to get a discount - which is a great marketing piece that many businesses use.
Now that we've covered the basic premise behind an eCommerce website, let's start from the beginning when it comes to setting up your own.
The Importance Of A Great Domain Name
A domain name is the address of the website. It plays a vital role in building your brand, and it should be short, easy to remember and pronounceable.
There are several factors you need to take into consideration when picking a domain name:
Also, if you plan to use Shopify's domain name as your store address, consider using the Shopify Name Checker app, as this can tell you if any other businesses are using the name you want for their store.
Lastly, make sure your domain name is not too long since this has been proven to be a turn-off for visitors.
Email Accounts And Hosting For Your Website
You need an email address that will act as the primary contact point for your business. This means that anyone interested in talking to you about your site/business will send an email here. Always use your full company name as the email address, so it's easier for people contacting you to ensure they are getting in touch with the correct entity. You can also include keywords in there if possible, so your contact address could be contact@YourDomainName.com.
You can go with either shared hosting or dedicated hosting as far as hosting your site.
The difference lies in what happens when your website is very successful and getting a lot of traffic. If you use shared hosting, how fast your website loads might vary when there is a ton of traffic on other websites on the same server. This may be fine for smaller businesses, but I would recommend going with dedicated web hosting to make sure everything is perfect in terms of speed.
If you are going with a solution like Shopify, then this won't be something you'll need to concern yourself with.
Branding 101: Logos, Colors And Presentation
An eCommerce business can succeed without a logo or color scheme, but you should always aim to have both as things scale. The logo is the primary representation of your business, and it will create an image in people's minds, so it should reflect who you are as a business. Don't forget that colors play a crucial role when representing your brand. If possible, try to use colors that no other competitors use for their logos/websites. These ideas can help you stand out better than having something that looks similar.
When shopping online, people that identify with the brand image you are creating will keep visiting your website since they know what to expect.
Your Site's Layout
If you want to successfully sell online, ensure that you have a website layout that will help site visitors get around on your site. This means that it should be responsive, offer a well-rounded product or service range and have a good looking layout. Don't underestimate the importance of having an organized site since it will make your visitors' lives easier when shopping for products.
For example, if you are going to sell clothes, try to include sections like; "new arrivals", "sales", "men's collection", etc., so people who land on your page can find what they are looking for with some degree of ease.
An online store builder can help you create a good looking website with all the sections you want, so it's worth researching the best ones - if you're going for a custom-built website.
As previously mentioned, if you use an eCommerce platform like Shopify, this isn't something to consider as the website builder will be part of the plan you're on.
Creating Content That Sells
A successful online business is not only about having a great looking website. It's also about providing your visitors with plenty of information that they can use to make a purchase. Think of what people will be typing in the search bar and try to cover as many of those topics and keywords as possible to potentially get more sales.
Having quality content on your page is vital for online businesses, so always keep that in mind and don't underestimate its importance. You should also include an "About Us" page where you briefly tell people who you are and why you got into this business. If possible, have some images/photos along with this section since people like to see faces they can identify with before buying one of your products or services.
You could also decide to have a blog hosted as part of your content management system (CMS). Shopify also offers a blogging engine that is part of any plan you choose.
Having a blog on your website helps by letting people see who you are, giving them information about how you manage things, along with providing timely updates about your site and the products it offers.
Turning Your Website Into A Store
Online businesses have a lot of advantages, but the truth is that they need to be managed correctly for them to flourish. To make things easier for you, it's a good idea to turn your website into an e-commerce store by adding a marketplace, selling products or services and accepting payments via credit cards.
Web stores, shopping carts, payment gateways, etc. are all factors you need to consider when creating a standalone online business. The more options you can add, the better. This will not only provide you with a wider variety of ways of earning money, but it can also help your visitors buy anything right from your website and get more done in less time.
Payment processing is an essential factor when you create an online store, and the best options for this are PayPal and Stripe. They both offer plenty of benefits since they give you a secure way to process payments (and people like to buy from websites that provide them with peace of mind).
As mentioned earlier, Shopify takes care of having the right payment gateway integration as well, so it's highly recommended that you go with a proven solution if you're setting up an eCommerce site for the first time - or simply want the convenience that this brings with it.
The Importance Of Social Media When Marketing Your Website
When you build an eCommerce website, it's essential to have a social media presence - this can help you reach out to new customers and keep the people who are already buying from your store coming back for more.
Try adding a Twitter account, Facebook page or even start a YouTube channel where you upload videos of yourself describing what your business does, along with providing helpful information on how the products you sell work. Also, think about creating different landing pages so you can test out other titles/headlines/sales copy on each one of them to see which ones work the best with your target audience and social media.
Various online store builders can also integrate with social media accounts, so this way, you can easily share your product/services with all of your followers at once.
Before you start selling online, it's helpful to find your target audience on social media and try to create a connection with them by engaging in conversations, answering questions and showing previews of your store while getting feedback. If you want people to see that you're legit, then the best thing you can do is show that there's a real human being who runs this business.
Be sure to keep things interesting by adding different content/posts on social media accounts since this will help increase your brand awareness. This is also a good way of finding out what people think about your products/services, so if something isn't selling or nobody is talking about it, you'll know pretty fast and have enough time to figure out how to resolve this issue before it becomes more prominent.
Remember that your marketing strategy needs to be engaging, so don't stay quiet on social media. Talk with your followers, find out what they are looking for and why they are sharing/liking specific posts. This way you can use the information to improve product range, customer service etc. Also, try to engage more people by asking questions to get your target audience involved in conversations.
Considering SEO And How It Can Help Your Ecommerce Website
Search engines and eCommerce stores have a lot in common since they are popular ways to get visitors matched with the right products/services. This means that when you create an eCommerce website, it's essential to make sure it gets plenty of organic traffic by using the best SEO techniques.
Search engine optimization is all about getting your business to rank higher on search engines so more potential customers can see what you have to offer. The more people see your store, the more sales you'll make, but if nobody knows who you are, then nobody will be buying anything from you.
It's a simple concept but takes time to implement.
Search engine optimization helps eCommerce businesses get found when people search for specific products/services. This way, your company gets more organic traffic, resulting in more sales and higher revenue. To achieve this, you'll need to ensure that your website is created with SEO techniques and has a good structure (including linking pages together, getting links from other trustworthy websites, etc.)
Be sure to optimize your content by including keywords in the title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, etc. This means that when someone uses a specific keyword phrase, they are most likely to find you. It's also important to keep in mind that every page of your website should have unique content since Google can penalize you if some of your content is identical or rank one page of your website over another, which is not ideal.
Monetizing Your Site
eCommerce solutions for each business may vary, so you'll want to choose the one that fits your needs. For example, some merchants will need a custom-built solution, while others might benefit more from using third-party platforms.
To create an eCommerce website, you can either go with a full-service platform that handles everything or just the shopping cart and payment processing side of things. If you don't want to code anything, it's best to find a template for your store or use pre-built modules to save yourself time/money on development.
Make sure your shopping cart is scalable since it won't get overloaded if you get lots of traffic/sales. Don't be afraid to experiment since there are plenty of options out there when it comes to this aspect of your eCommerce website.You can check out this Shopify vs Wix article to compare these two platforms and see if they are the right fit for your eCommerce site.
Considering Security Risks
You must be aware of any security risks since most customers will prefer to shop online with a reputable company that is safe and secure. If you do get hacked, then it's likely that you'll lose trust with your current base of supporters, plus future customers might think twice about making purchases from your store. Ensure your website uses SSL, which creates an encrypted link between the visitor and the server they are browsing on - especially on pages requiring sensitive information exchange. This is one of the most basic security features you should have.
Your Long-Term Fanbase
Offering proper customer support is something that not many do when it comes to the eCommerce industry.
This is excellent news for you since it's not the most crowded area, which means that putting in some extra effort will go a long way to winning customers over. Use this to your advantage by creating an eCommerce website that provides the best online shopping experience.
Signs of excellent customer service that builds a long-term fanbase include:
These are just some things you can do to promote customer loyalty. Be sure to interact with your fanbase constantly, and they'll be more likely to come back in the future, which will result in a higher volume of sales.
The Benefits Of An eCommerce Store
Some of the key benefits of creating an eCommerce site include:
The Importance Of Having A USP
While eCommerce platforms have made it easier than ever to create an online shop, many competitors sell almost the same products. This is why you need to make sure that your USP (unique selling proposition) is on point if you want to stand out from the rest and build a strong fan base over time.
Finding winning ideas for your USP can be challenging initially, but it gets easier with time. Some ideas to get you started include:
You should constantly work towards finding new incentives so that your audience feels like they need to come back to see what's new. This will help them develop the habit of purchasing from you, which is crucial if you want customers to stick around in the long term.
It's a good idea to have unique packages/services designed just for your customers. This way, they'll feel more special and appreciated than if they were treated as just a number.
Creating an eCommerce website is not as complicated as it used to be, so there's no real excuse for not trying. There are many opportunities that you can quickly take advantage of to get started right away.
With that said, following the proper steps and ensuring that your business is somewhat unique in what it does will help you avoid many potential pitfalls.
Once you've created your eCommerce site, habitually communicate with as many people as possible so that they feel appreciated and stay loyal to your brand in the long term. By doing all this, there's no doubt that you'll be able to increase overall revenue, which should help secure a higher overall profit for your eCommerce business.Finally, check out this video on how to make money on Shopify if you’re more of a visual learner and prefer to learn this way.