It’s not a secret that creating an online store is a comprehensive and responsible process. A conscious merchant should control and analyze all the means to keep business moving forward. If you’re on the path of eCommerce and looking for some thoughts about how to create an online store, continue reading this article.
According to the statistics, the majority of marketplaces fails in the first year after running. Experts consider that beginners make common mistakes because of the lack of knowledge. For some reason, merchants strive to launch an online business as soon as possible but fail in coming up with the main concept and marketing strategy.
Define your niche
Have you been dreaming about creating an online store for years? If you already have the concept on what exactly you’re going to sell, it’s great! If you haven’t established the niche yet, track down the market. Also, you can refer to marketers who will make predictions on what product will be sold well.
Having chosen the sale item, monitor your competitors. This way, you can highlight some ideas and get inspired, but this doesn’t mean that you can steal other’s approaches. Clear out whether your goods are in demand or not. To say the truth, there’s no point in selling something that no one would buy.
Another essential step is looking for suppliers, who will sell goods to you. Specialists state that the presence of several suppliers in your niche is a significant advantage. Thus, you relieve from potential dependence. For instance, if there is some change in pricing policy or problems with goods in stock, you will always be able to choose another supplier. Therefore, your eCommerce business won’t fail.
The most common plans of interaction with suppliers:
- purchase of goods and its storage in your warehouse;
- storage in the warehouse of the supplier and buying by availability;
Identify a target audience
Unfortunately, many online store owners don’t provide the audience analysis. Having identified a target audience, you will be able to:
- determine the values common to the target audience. On its basis, you will be able to build marketing processes;
- form an appeal to consumers, which will appear in many promotional materials;
- choose the most effective channels for promotion;
- avoid template or abstract information, targeted on everyone.
Hosting and domain registration
A domain name is the website address, by which it can be found on the search engine or by typing in the browser line. Some tips for domain creating:
- use words that are close to the field of your activity;
- make it easy on ears;
- better make it short;
Hosting is a place on a remote server provided to host your site. Consider these points before choosing an option:
- the amount of disk space;
- the characteristics of the servers provided;
- server bandwidth;
- daily backups;
- a set of technical functions and tools;
- level of technical support;
- protection against DDoS attacks;
- high uptime;
Find qualified specialists
When it comes to creating an online store, there are two ways. On the one hand, you can create your own online store and handle all the tasks yourself. Even not very tech-savvy merchants will be able to build a website, write texts, and add products, using tutorials on the Internet.
But on the other hand, if you want to have a powerful and quality-built marketplace, it’s better to turn to professionals in this field. Of course, this option won’t save your money like the first one, but it’s worth it. To start working on the project, find specialists. You will need some well-qualified guys will help to create your own online store and consult you on any question:
- SEO specialist
- content manager
- QA engineer
The key moment
A website is a crucial point in online business. Therefore, when it comes to launching an online store, everything should be perfect. At least, you might try. So, to help you manage the information related to the future website, we created the list of the points every merchant should consider:
- Choose an appropriate CMS. Before selecting the platform for creating an online store, ask yourself:
- What is the size of my store?
- Will I extend the store production in the future?
- How many features do I want to implement on my eCommerce platform?
- Will I develop my store on a regular basis?
- How many people might come to my website?
So, the type of the website requires a particular CMS. Having evaluated your current business size and plans for the future, select the platform. For example, if you want to create your own online store of a small scale, pick Woocommerce (WordPress), Shopify, Prestashop, AbleCommerce, etc. But if you’re dreaming about a large store with an extensive catalog, consider Magento, Hybris, ATG and so on.
- Select design ideas. At this stage, it is essential to understand how you want to see your site. Of course, it should look attractive, but at the same time be comfortable and consistent with the business theme. Pay particular attention to the image of the logo, company style guide, and the dominant colors. Collect all ideas, describe all the information and examples in terms of reference. A professional designer will help you to choose the best option and implement all the desires on the site.
- Make it mobile ready. As more and more people shop through their smartphones, it is necessary to make the site responsive. We have already written about that, so read this article to get more information.
- Determine the payment and shipping options. There’s a bit of advice: add more payment & shipping methods to give your customers choice and cover more clients.
- Quality of content is vital. Information, pictures, and videos should be unparalleled. Invest your time and money to improve the quality of content and please customers.
- Information & thematic pages are required. Of course, site’s visitors are interested in who you are, which shipping & payment methods are provided, and how to make an order. So, fill the gaps and add information answering the typical clients’ questions.
- Great functionality & extra features. If you want to add something captivating to your store but have no ideas, try exploring different online stores. Pay attention to the details. Something will surely inspire you. For example, specialists recommend leading a blog. Firstly, it’s great for SEO. Secondly, well-written and useful posts will attract customers. So, think about hiring a seasoned copywriter to provide better texts. And, of course, make your marketplace easy to use and navigate.
Your dream team
At the very beginning, you will be responsible for all processes. It includes processing of applications, consulting customers, delivery organization, payment acceptance, filling of the site with goods, etc. Of course, by doing this, you will understand how everything works. But if you continue focusing on routine tasks, you won’t develop the business strategy. The reason for this is apparent – the lack of time.
Therefore, with time, pass all the processes to your assistants. In general, the staff of a full-fledged online store includes administrator, content editor, accountant, sales manager, loader and courier (if necessary).
SEO-promotion and content marketing are long-term strategies, the effect of which becomes noticeable only a few months after the start. However, if you need quick sales after launching online store, think about context advertising. This type of ad allows attracting first visitors in a day or two after launching a campaign.
Keep an eye on your results
Launching an online store is not the finish of your work. Now you have to provide a comprehensive analysis of your business. Therefore, it is necessary to connect analytics systems, conduct regular monitoring taking into account the established metrics and test various changes on the site. Track it to increase the conversion and income from the online store on a commercial basis.
Develop & improve
Some sellers delude themselves that the brand will grow and expand right after launching an online store, even without any additional efforts. Experienced entrepreneurs state that eCommerce requires constant improvements and tons of effort. So, basing on website analysis, correct mistakes, implement new features and try things out. Good luck!