Looking to build your e-commerce website from scratch or get your physical store online? Look no further.
You’ll learn many aspects of building an online store, starting from basic knowledge about e-store to easy tutorial in creating one with an online website builder.
I’ll start with the definition and show you how the actual e-store works with an example. Next, we’ll have a look at the preparation steps, which include researching the market and reviewing elements of such a site. Finally, there will be a short tutorial for building an online store using Shopify.
Ready to build a successful e-commerce website? Let’s start…
What is an e-Commerce Website?
An e-commerce website is a website equipped with facilities for selling goods and/or services.
The facilities may start from simply credit card transaction processing to fully automated sales processing. There are services that only process credit card transaction and you fulfill the product but you can also find ones that do them all for you.
The beauty of building an electronic store is you are not limited to your own products. With unique offerings you can sell your own services, digital goods, or physical products and drop-shipped products as well.
How an e-Commerce Website Works
Your website is both a storefront and a place where visitors learn about your products and your company. It has to look professional, be easy to navigate and win their trust. But those are just the basics.
A pro e-commerce web designer only helps in visual appearance and a few functionality. You still have to attract the right visitors to the site to bring in any business.
Your visitors may come in to your site with different intentions and in various stages of buying cycles. You’ll want to give them content like how-to tips and product reviews so they enjoy staying at your site for relatively long time.
To get to know how an online store works let’s have a look at the e-commerce giant Amazon.
Amazon has long built a reputation where prospective buyers don’t need to leave their site to make a buying decision. No matter whether they just seek answers to their questions or read product reviews they can get all of them over there.
They provide fully functional e-store that accept common online payments and flawless ordering processes that create positive buying experiences for those dealing with them. This is one of many reasons they stay and buy stuff at Amazon.
The positive buying experience plus other benefits like wide selections, product availability and competitive price are their recipe for gaining customer loyalty, which leads to repeat buying.
Things To Do Before You Build Your Online Store
If you’re starting an online business make sure you research your market and your target audience first. You will want to know how competitors serve your target audience and how to differentiate your offers.
Based on the information about competitors, target audience needs and unique offerings try to develop a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). The USP should answer “why should a customer buy from me and not my competitors?”
Now you’re ready to start developing your e-commerce website based on the key elements of an e-commerce website.
Key Elements of an e-Commerce Website That Works
1. Product Lines
Do you own products or services to sell? If so, you can start with limited number of items to learn the ropes.
But if you don’t have your own product or service, you can start with drop-shipping products. Both with your own products and drop-shipping products try setting up an e-store with a limited number of items first.
2. Website Design and Development
If you’re just starting out you don’t have to hire a pro. There are online e-commerce software that offer easy-to-set-up solutions. You can create a professional website with testimonials from customers.
To improve consumer confidence just show on your site any association that you are part of or get the BBB to certify you.
3. Website Content and Copywriting
If website content provides information your visitors seek, copywriting convinces them to buy your products. While good content lets your target audience know you can answer their question, great sales letter converts them into buyers.
Your headline, first paragraph and overall look create overall visit experience. If you plan to sell products using online sales letters make sure all other content support them.
4. Communications and Special Offers
Good relationships start with good communications. Make sure your site provides various channels for visitors to contact your company.
One common approach is enticing visitors with free, quality downloads or quality newsletter in an exchange for their emails. Granting those prospects with occasional special discounts and other promotions are also a good practice.
5. Website Testing and Improvement
Converting visitors into buyers is the next challenge. For this purpose, set your website conversion rate goals and benchmark them with your industry standard.
Free online tools like Google Analytics can guide you how to convert visitors into paying customers. Use this tool and other conversion tools to learn about the behavior of your visitors and to find opportunities to improve your conversion rate.
Recommended e-Commerce Website Builder
There are two kinds of business website builders: online and offline.
If you’re busy and want to get your online store up fast then an online website maker is the way to go. An online website creator is very easy to use and you can work everywhere you have a computer and an internet connection.
An online ecommerce website builder that wins my recommendation is Shopify.
Shopify lets you create and run your own e-store quickly and easily. There is no confusing coding work involved and you don’t have to pay someone else to build it. It lets you set up and run your store on your own.
Just see yourself how Shopify can help you sell your products by starting your Free Trial Now.
These are step-by-step guide for setting up an online store using the Shopify free 14-days trial:
1. Create an account
Fill in your store name, email and password and the second form for setting up your account. Once you complete the form you’ll be directed to an administrative area (dashboard).
2. Customize the look
Here you can go with the given template or pick one at the theme store.
Just play around with the overall look by uploading logo/icon or changing colors. At the bottom of this page you can also customize your homepage, other pages and footer.
3. Adding products
Write a name and description of each product. You may add type, vendor, color, size and others to categorize your product. Also, upload image of the product and fill in other details to suit your specific products.
Don’t forget to carefully write your page title, meta description and url because this info will show up on search engines.
4. Add a custom domain
At this step there are two options for you to go with: buy a new domain name or add a domain you already own.
If you already own one you can add it to the “add existing domain”. Alternatively, just register a new one through Shopify.
5. Pick a plan
There are starter, basic, professional and unlimited plans. It starts from $14/mo for 25 products, 1 GB storage and no phone support to $179/mo for full e-commerce facilities.
If you want to try it out for yourself just pick a starter or basic plan. There is no risk because you cancel before your free trial ends and Shopify won’t charge you.