Building an online e-commerce store doesn’t have to be as challenging as it sounds. Once you’ve taken the steps to find a product to sell to your customers, it’s time to put together the pieces of your store to ensure consumers can find it, navigate it, and buy from it with ease.
To be clear, you don’t have to do this on your own. You can hire an e-commerce agency to do all of the leg work for you – which can significantly improve your efforts and get your store up faster.
What Do You Need to Create an Online Store?
The first step is to understand the various types of software you can use to help you create an e-commerce store. Don’t get overwhelmed by this process. These tools are designed to be very easy to use and, once in place, they are highly reliable and easy to learn. Not everything needs to be fully customized, you can also utilize the following tools for some extra help:
- Website Templates & Shopify plugins
- Email Marketing Software & Review Software
- Tax and Shipping Software
There are multiple providers, with a little research it’s easy to narrow down your options. The key here is to start with these – you can always add other tools as you need them (or let an e-commerce agency help you to do all of this work for you).
Where to Go from Here
Once you have invested in the right software, there are several key steps to take to get your e-commerce store ready to go. Work on these one at a time.
1. Create a Store Plan
While your plan is mostly created during the following steps, also keep in mind what your goal is for your e-commerce store. You have your product. Do you have a list of benefits it offers? Have you worked out a plan for who to target as your customers? Do you have some idea of a layout for your store? Get all of your ideas written down.
2. Create a Name and Logo
The next step is to give your e-commerce store – and often your company – a brand name. You will want to choose something that is going to work for you long term. Spend some time here. Remember that while your products may change over time, your brand is what people will remember – if you choose wisely.
Once you have your brand name created, define what your brand is and what it stands for from a marketing standpoint. Then, design your company’s logo as well. Make it unique but interesting enough to be memorable.
3. Get Your Store Up
Create the basis for your store. This often begins with using your shopping cart software. Shopify is one of the best e-commerce platforms for this – it just is effortless and effective.
Once you have your first setup complete, you need to then design your store. You can use a template available that fits a product like your own (or you can create something from scratch if you are tech-savvy enough to do so). It’s best to start with a template because it is a faster way of getting your e-commerce store set up.
4. Set Up the Necessary Pages
Next start working on setting up your pages. You will need product pages (one for each of your products) but you also need additional pages to fill out your site. This includes an about page that explains your values and roots. It also includes a shopping page to explain costs and processes.
Then, work through these steps:
- Add your product to the pages and software. This includes adding in all product images and names. Provide comprehensive descriptions targeted at your customers. Create inventory and pricing information.
- Create product collections. Collections, as they are known in Shopify, allow you to put products in categories based on what they are, making them easier for customers to find.
- Now, add in content to your about page, contact page, etc. This page needs to provide key information to help build your company’s brand with your customers.
- Create navigation menus that let your customers move from one area to the next on the site. The easier it is for them to do this, the more likely it is for them to keep shopping and in the end buying.
5. Get Your Shipping Setup
You will need to create a shipping process that informs customers– when they order – what the shipping costs will be, how the product will ship to them, and even the length of time it will take. This is where shipping software comes into play. You also want to give your customers options whenever possible.
6. Payment and Tax Information
You’ll need to set up a way for you to accept payment for purchases. Most of the time, you need to do this with Paypal, credit cards, and other methods you plan to use. In addition, you need to set up necessary taxes.
7. Set Up Your Social Media
Social media is an important component of selling on the site. This includes setting up pages on each of the social media sites you plan to use. You’ll also want to establish your email marketing and customer service at this point.
A Final Step: Knowing Where to Go from Here
Finally, once you have a system in place like this, your next step is to set up some analytics. You cannot know how well your e-commerce store is going to work unless you track what happens when people visit your site. Google Analytics is perhaps the best tool for your online store.
It is a lot of work – but it will pay off for years to come when you get it right. To make that possible, consider turning to Nuanced Media as your e-commerce agency and let us do the work for you.