Start Building Your Online Store Today
Are you ready to start your own online store?
We know that building an online store can be a terrifying thought especially when you are not experienced in eCommerce environment
Well, you’re not alone. We have helped hundreds of individuals with their start and can tell you from experience, that all had the same question: Where do I start from?
We have created a list of few simple steps you can take to get going, and start your store very quickly!
1. Research Your Product Idea
Many entrepreneurs make the fatal flaw of marketing a product that consumers just don’t want to buy. Avoid this startup mistake by researching your idea to make sure it’s welcomed by consumer market. There are many ways to validate that your product idea is one, that the market would be interested in. Run a simple Google search for your product and learn about your competition, selling price, sales trends, margins and gather as much data on your product, as you possibly can. Then move on to study your customers. Start by talking to friends, family and your network. Present them with your idea and asked them for their honest opinion. Make sure that they are telling you the truth and not holding back, simply to avoid hurting your feelings. To make sure that you get unbiased opinion, take your product idea to a focus group. There are many online groups, with anonymous users. Have these users look at your site, test your product and evaluate it.
2. Register A Domain Name
Once you have decided that your product is well demanded by consumers in the market, now it’s time to register your brand and company name, as a domain name. Think about the name you choose. Choose a name with your product line in mind. This name will have to act as an umbrella name, for the product you have in hand now, and the products that you are planning to sell in the future. The name should be unique and catchy. Think like a customer and choose as a leader. Once you decided on your domain name, you can register it with registrars and sites like GoDaddy.com Registration can be for as short as 1 year and as long as 10 years. The fee for registering a domain varies from site to site, but it averages out to be about $10.00 a year.
3. Find a Web Hosting Service
Web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed in the Internet. Websites are hosted, or stored, on special computers called servers. Essentially, web host rents internet space to website owners, and this space houses the pages and images on your site. When Internet users want to view your website, all they need to do is type your website address into their browser. Their computer will then connect to your server and your webpages will be delivered to them through the browser. Most hosting companies require that you own your domain name in order to host with them. If you do not have a domain name, the hosting companies will help you purchase one.
4. Design Your Website
You have two options when it comes to designing your website. You can hire a designer to create a custom site, or you can design and build the site yourself, which is the least expensive of the options. If you decide to build your own site, many web hosts offer free website building tools, and low-cost consulting services. You can also build your site using WordPress, a free website and blog platform that offers many themes and plugins to choose from. First find a web host that supports WordPress, such as Bluehost or DreamHost, and then download the WordPress software. Note that you’ll need additional and substantial customization to enable an e-commerce platform.
5. Get Set Up to Accept Online Payments
Obviously, customers need a way to pay you for their purchases. You can accept online payments this by using a merchant account plus a payment gateway, an all-in-one provider, or other options, including e-checks and ACH transfers. Here’s how they differ: •Merchant account plus a payment gateway. A merchant account is a special account set up through your bank that allows you to accept credit cards, and an online payment gateway connects that bank account to your web store. Popular payment gateways are SecureNet and Authorize.Net. You will have to apply for both of them, and pay fees and possible setup charges. •All-in-one online payment solutions. These services allow for quick setup and you don’t have to apply to get started, although you do have to link your bank account to them.There are no setup fees, but transaction fees do apply. Some providers include PayPal, Dwolla, and Stripe. •E-checks and ACH bank transfers. Some people don’t use credit or debit cards, and you’ll need to provide a way for them to pay, as well. You can use a service like QuickBooks Payments to increase your customer payment options.
6. Design Your Delivery System
A plan to deliver your products to the customers that buy them is an important aspect of a well-designed online store. Your delivery system will depend on what you sell. For instance, if you sell downloadable information, such as e-books or white papers, you can use a digital publishing platform such as DPD. If you purchase wholesale from a manufacturer who houses the inventory, you can employ a drop-shipping company such as ShipStation. And if you plan to house and ship the products yourself, you should create a shipping rate strategy and schedule, or use an fulfillment service like Shipwire. You will send them your products, and they fill the orders as they come in.
7. Marketing Your Website
Your next step is to ensure that consumers know about your site. Here are some of the ways you can market it. Fill your site with quality content to increase your search engine ranking. This will allow more people to find your site. Create an interesting and informative blog that keeps site visitors coming back for new posts. Keep the email addresses of the people who buy from you, and use email marketing to announce sales and new product offerings. Video marketing is becoming more important to websites as consumers are using them more often to inform buying decisions. Make one that talks about the benefits of your products, or instructs viewers how to use them. Don’t forget about social media. You should set up accounts with Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest at a minimum, and learn how best to engage with your customers via social media.
8. Monitor and Enjoy Your Growth
To measure your success, you should track and measure your site’s growth and determine which online marketing methods are getting results. Do this by closely following your site’s search engine ranking for the keywords that you target, and by using tools such as Google Analytics. The free tool offers you insight into your most popular pages and keywords, and helps you track the source of your web traffic.