Decided to launch an eCommerce store? Exciting times are ahead. But before you can start making sales, scaling your business and dominating your niche, you have to actually build the store first.
Your aim is to make the shopper’s experience as amazing as possible – so amazing that leads turn into sales and, eventually, into long term customers.
Let’s take a look at exactly what you need to do to build your first ever eCommerce store.
Choose a Brand and Domain Name
For many, this can be the super hard bit. You need a name that stands out from the crowd, that’s simple, and which is easy to remember.
It’s a good idea to come up with a name that has some relation to the products you’re selling, as this will save you time and money when it comes to eCommerce branding and marketing. For example, a name like “My Shoe Shop” is easy to market because we already know what it’s all about.
Spend some time coming up with different words and phrases, and check out these tips for picking an eCommerce domain name.
Choose a Hosting Provider
Hosting is really important as an eCommerce store owner. You need your store to be easy to navigate, easy to use, and you need it to be optimized for site speed.
Luckily for you, as an eCommerce store owner ,you can choose whether to build a website from scratch, or use an already existing marketplace.
Assuming that you don’t want to use an already existing marketplace (think Amazon and Etsy), but instead want to retain as much freedom as possible, you’ll need to choose a hosting provider.
If you’ve never built a website before and have zero coding skills, it’s a smart idea to go with a fully-hosted provider for now. Set-up will be easy.
At the same time, if you want the freedom to customize your website as much as you want, you’ll want to go with a CMS such as WordPress.
WordPress actually makes it really easy to build eCommerce stores, and comes with a ton of great eCommerce plugins.
There’s also a really useful page builder tool called Elementor that some hosting providers already have pre-installed with WordPress.
The beauty of this is that you can use Elementor to build your pages for you – as opposed to you building everything from scratch.
Choose a Theme
There are many themes available that will ensure your eCommerce store stands out from the crowd. You can use an existing theme (both WordPress and Shopify have lots), or you can work with a developer who will develop a unique one for you.
A theme needs to be visually appealing, and it needs to tie in with your branding. It also needs to be easy for your customers to live with, and it needs to be something that suits your niche.
It’s really important that you don’t stray too far from conventions. For example, if this is a store that sells girls toys, it has to look like a store that sells girls toys.
Don’t forget to make sure it’s responsive and quick to load, too.
If you’re not sure what theme to go with, take a look at existing themes in your niche for inspiration.
Add the Right Pages
If your eCommerce store doesn’t have the right pages, you could lose out to rivals. Now that you’re ready to be an online merchant, you’ve got to think about the user experience. What will keep shoppers engaged and turn them into customers? Here are the pages you need to add:
- Home page – This is your businesses storefront and should link out to various other pages
- Category overview – If you only have one type of product, you can stick with a category page instead
- Product page – Don’t forget to include an “add to cart” button with each product
- Search and search results – This is crucial, as users want to find items fast
- Login/create account – Make it easy for returning customers to place an order and build up loyalty points
- Blog – You should create a blog to educate your customers about your brand and products
- Cart – Use this to offer promo codes as and when necessary
- Returns – This is an essential page that gives the shopper more confidence in your store.
Add the Right Payment Gateways
Payment gateways allow you to make authorized transactions. As such, they’re super important.
If you don’t offer the right payment solutions, you will lose customers who will only have confidence in you if they can see their preferred payment method on your website.
Here are some of the most popular payment gateways in the eCommerce market that you should consider adding to your site:
You might also decide to accept cryptocurrencies. If so, you’ll need to carry out some research to find out what payment gateways support them.
Get Your SSL Certificate
Once your website is up and running, you need to install an SSL certificate.
This is not only keeps your customers’ private information safe, but it also lets them know that you’re keeping it safe. It’s essential for building trust and confidence.
Take Care of SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it essentially refers to the practice of optimizing every aspect of your website for Google. This means taking care of your keywords, making sure your site speed is up to scratch, and improving the overall usability of your store.
Keywords are what will pair you up with the right users who are looking for your products and they should be added to your product pages, your copy, your headlines and your metadata.
Site speed and usability are important for bounce rate. If your site takes too long to load, users will bail out. This will cause your bounce rate to soar. Google will notice this and, assuming your website isn’t delivering user experience, will mark you down.
SEO is an ongoing process, and it’s probably going to take some time before you fully get to grips with it. But if you’re planning to drive lots of organic traffic to your site, you’ll only be more visible in the search results if you nail your SEO efforts.
Here’s a simple but complete guide to eCommerce SEO that’s well worth reading.
Use the tips in this article to build your first eCommerce store. Once you’re up and running, you can start to focus on the fun bit – selling and turning a profit!
Keep monitoring your analytics and fine-tuning your SEO efforts, and it won’t be long before this eCommerce thing becomes second nature.