As the ecommerce industry booms, more and more aspiring entrepreneurs are jumping into the burgeoning market to capitalize on its popularity. By 2021, researchers predict that there will be over 2.14 billion Internet buyers.
If you’re eager to tap into the world of online selling, here’s how you can set up your own ecommerce website in a day.
Before you begin
Before you do anything, it’s essential to draw up a strategy and do some research. Planning is critical, as it will save you time and effort later in the process.
Think about what kinds of products you want to sell, which platform you’re going to use, and how you’re going to spread the news that you’re open for business. Research the market, get to know potential customers, and try and figure out how to solve the biggest problems that you’re going to face as an ecommerce entrepreneur.
Also take some time to consider how you’re going to provide customer service, what kinds of payment options to offer and how to grow the site once you’re up and running.
Setting up your site
1. Choosing a hosting platform and a domain name
The first step after the planning stage is to choose a platform to sell your products and register a domain name. If you’re looking to create a simple landing page for your products, consider a versatile form builder to create a smooth sales and checkout process. Form builders like Paperform also integrate with Square, Stripe, Braintree & PayPal, allowing you to set up payment collection in a matter of minutes.
You don’t have to choose a custom domain name, but it can help to enhance brand awareness and put your new business on the map.
Weigh up the pros and cons of different selling platforms, and choose an option that matches your objectives. If you’re new to ecommerce, it’s wise to stick to sites that are easy to use and customise, and to choose a platform that has an excellent reputation.
2. Figuring out the numbers
Once you’ve chosen your platform and sorted our your domain name, focus on the figures and margins. Take the time to draw up a pricing strategy and figure out how buyers are going to pay you. There are multiple factors to consider when establishing price points, including:
- Materials and supplies costs
- Web hosting fees
- Delivery and shipping
- Taxes and extra charges
- Transaction fees (for example, when a buyer pays through PayPal or uses a credit card)
Once you’ve established your costs, you need to determine how you want to price your products. Here are a few popular pricing strategies to consider:
- Market-based pricing: Setting prices just below your competitors to gain market share.
- Cost-based pricing: Setting prices based on unit prices with a profit margin added on top.
- Consumer-based pricing: Setting prices based on the needs and capabilities of your target audience.
3. Securing your site
Security is crucial in this day and age. To improve security and provide customers with peace of mind, it’s beneficial to get an SSL certificate.
4. Design your site and start adding your products
At this stage, you can exercise your creative muscles and use web design tools and custom features to give your store personality and make it more appealing and relevant to your target customer. Aesthetics play a key role in attracting buyers, so opt for a design that will entice shoppers and reflect your brand.
Make sure you showcase every single product in the best way possible. Take professional-grade photographs (or hire a product photographer from Fiverr) and display at least 2 images so people can get an idea of what the product looks like from different angles. Provide detailed information about each item, including:
- The product name
- A brief description
- Number of units available
- Images and videos
- Delivery options
- User reviews (these can be added once customers have bought the item)
At this point, your site should feature the following information:
- Brand name
- Strapline (if applicable)
- Payment and Trustmark logos
- Your name and photograph to provide a human touch
- An ‘about us’ page
As you develop your store, you may find that you want to add extra content. Video clips for items like clothing are a great addition, as they offer a different dimension, and they’re more captivating and engaging than text and images.
5. Create a seamless, swift checkout experience
There is nothing more frustrating for shoppers than encountering problems or delays after deciding what to buy. Ideally, the process of choosing a product, adding it to your basket, and paying should take seconds. On average, 70% of online carts are abandoned. Here are the steps you can take to reduce cart abandonment:
- Creating a fast, hassle-free process
- Providing payment options that don’t require you to have a card to hand
- Including delivery costs on product pages
- Ensuring your site is mobile-friendly
- Sending reminder emails if a customer abandons their cart
6. Marketing your new site
You’ve built your site, it looks a million dollars, the products are listed, and you’ve added payment and checkout features. Now, it’s time to market your site and let everybody know that you’re up and running. Choose marketing methods and platforms that are popular with your target audience and optimize your site content to improve your search ranking. Here are some easy ways to promote your site:
- Social media: If you have a visual product, creating an Instagram page to reach your audience through hashtags is highly effective. You can also choose to market to relevant Facebook Groups or run paid ads on Facebook or Twitter. The advantage of paid ads is that you can select the demographics of who exactly will see your ads, meaning that you’ll be able to directly target your ideal customer.
- Share it with your network: Don’t ignore your immediate circle. Make sure you tell your friends, family and social connections about your new business and ask them to spread the word.
- Offer promotions and contests. Boost your social presence by promoting a content or offer on social media and through paid ads. Ask entrants to follow your social accounts and engage with your content in order to win.
- Build a community. Find community channels on Reddit and Quora that might be interested in your products. These communities could potentially be filled with your ideal audience, so use these platforms to tell them about your new website.
Wrapping it up
You don’t have to be a web maestro to build an ecommerce site. With the right tools and a well-researched strategy at hand, you can get your site up and running in a matter of hours. The more challenging aspect of being an online seller is constantly keeping on top of trends and adjusting your pricing strategy from that point onwards. But with the first crucial step of creating your website out of the way, you can now focus solely on improving your offering and marketing your product.
Guest article written by: Vrinda Singh is a marketing specialist with expertise in content, CRO and SEO and over 7 years of experience in creating powerful data-driven campaigns. While this may have resulted in permanently compromised eyesight from staring at computer screens all day, there’s nothing she enjoys more than the experimental nature of her work. She has been fortunate enough to build campaigns, content and strategy for fantastic companies like LinkedIn, Finder, Schneider Electric & Leona Edmiston in the past. Currently, working in the Growth team at Paperform.
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