How to Launch your First Ecommerce Website
What if I told you could make $100’s or even $1000’s of dollars every month. It’s easy to do and there are many people taking advantage of how easy it has become to setup an e-commerce store. You don’t even need to know anything about coding or HTML.
Firstly, you need to choose the product / service you want to sell, find a supplier (if needed) and negotiated a price that ensures good profit margins. Now all you need is the platform to sell your goods.
While starting your own online store may sound like a big undertaking it’s actually fairly simple, all you need is a bit of determination and the will to learn something new. If you’re looking for some extra motivation just think what you could do with those extra $1000’s each month.
When setting up your E-commerce store its simplest to opt for one of the many E-commerce platforms available.
One of the most popular and easiest is Shopify, but there are plenty of other alternatives such as Magento, BigCommerce and Wix to name but a few. Just make sure the one you chose has all the desired features you’ll need for a good e-commerce website.
Starting at $29 a month Shopify has everything you need when starting out with your first e-commerce store. They have made everything as simple as possible and take care of all the hosting, security, payment processing and there are many apps available to add features and enhance your store as it grows.
As all the website hosting, SSL encryption (for credit card services etc) is taken care of with Shopify, it’s just one less hassle when starting out, however, more adept techies may wish to choose one of the other platforms if they want greater control over domain hosting.
Before you start setting up your store you should come up with a company name / brand and a logo. For now, we will assume you have already done that, but if not you should check out the SEO and Keyword articles on our blog page.
After signing up for Shopify you can select your website template (theme) from the hundreds available, you can opt for a free page or select one of the other templates for a fee. If you can’t see one you like you can check out some other sites like envatomarket, there are thousands of themes available out there and if you have an artistic flair you can even design your own without needing to know any coding as the simple drag and drop interface makes it all very simple.
You can also customize many of the templates by changing colors and tweaking the layouts to suit your needs.
Many of the other e-commerce platforms have the same sort of options available so go and find the one that best suites you and your needs.
Once the design has been taken care of you need to add all your products to your store.
Before commencing this step you should do some targeted SEO work. You should also organize all your products into clearly labeled categories and sub-categories to ensure they can be found easily.
Your setup may have a “Best products” or “Featured products” page so you should set these up as well.
You should also keep in mind our SEO tips and tricks when adding all the products to your store.
This is the time-consuming part but it’s critical to add a good descriptive product name, write-up and some enticing photos for each of your products.
You should also add in all your stock levels as you add the inventory to your store. If you don’t want to invest in stock then check-out drop shipping options for the products you wish to sell.
At this stage it’s important to visit the front end of the store, this is what the customers will see and you should check it’s easy to navigate and find all the products. Get your friends and family to try as well so as you can figure out any problems with layout or the checkout process.
You now need to setup all the different shipping options you will offer for your products. While free shipping is very attractive it can also take a big portion of your revenue so you should consider all your shipping options carefully and also offer a wide selection of choices for customers, some of whom may be willing to pay more for express posting while others will be happy to wait a while for the lower shipping fees.
Payment Gateway + Merchant Account
If you’re setting up an e-commerce store then people need to be able to pay you easily for the goods they want to buy.
Now if you chose a system like Shopify you will already have the SSL encryption certification that’s required, if not you may have to go and get an encryption service for your site. Don’t worry you can do that easily enough through many sites, one such example is GeoTrust.
Things to consider when setting up your payment gateway are the compatibility with your store, pricing, payment functions, refunds etc as well as a quality of encryption and fraud protection. Ensure it is PCI compliant and has an easy way for you to run reports on all your sales.
You also need to setup your merchant account; this will authorize the cards being used and then deposit the funds in your account from all the authorized transactions. It should offer a swift speed on transactions and offer customer support.
So now that you have your e-commerce store setup you just need to get the customers clicking on it, that’s where our next section on marketing your e-commerce store comes in.
If you want to learn more then why not visit the wholesale and drop shipping articles on our blog page