In the first quarter of 2021, the number of online shopping activities increased by 39% and is predicted to grow. Thus, no time like the present to start your online business.
If you consider starting an online store and researching the steps or guidelines for that, you’ve come to the right article.
We will list three website builder options to create your online store easily, together with the steps to start building an online store that can drive sales.
Website builders are different from content management systems (CMSs). If you build your website using a CMS, you are free to choose your web hosting provider, and it generally costs less than using website builders. Just make sure to choose a reliable and accredited web host, like Hostinger. Otherwise, your efforts won’t matter as your site won’t load.
However, a CMS has a steeper learning curve than website builders.
Thus, if you don’t have the knowledge or time, consider using a website builder. It already comes with its own hosting service. Moreover, it is designed to make the website creation process seamless.
On top of that, many website builders include helpful tools for building eCommerce stores, such as marketing tools and payment gateway options.
Here is the list of three popular and beginner-friendly eCommerce website builders to consider:
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Zyro’s AI-powered features, such as AI Content Generator or free logo maker, make it different from other website builders and can be helpful to kickstart your business.
If you want to connect Google Analytics or other customer tracking and analytics software, Zyro provides a seamless process for that.
It will cost you a relatively low price for an eCommerce website builder. There’s also a free trial period if you wish to try.
With numerous simple and sleek template designs, Shopify is another popular eCommerce website builder.
It is also equipped with many marketing tools, including shipping and tax calculation of your products. Its customer service team is always ready to answer any questions, from technical to marketing-related ones.
For those features, the starting price is $29 a month. Shopify also provides a free trial period to help you decide.
Wix is a website builder, famous for its numerous SEO-friendly themes and other built-in tools.
It has drag-and-drop features to ease the process of your website customization, including the possibility to add a video background, scroll effects, and animation. Furthermore, Wix ADI (Artificial Intelligence Design) can build you a personalized website just after answering a few questions.
You will need to prepare $12.50/month for its most popular plan, suitable for entrepreneurs and freelancers.
After discussing the website builder platforms to make your online store, let’s dive into the steps on how to start building your online store.
A niche means a specific type of products or services that you will sell. It can be very narrow, such as black high-heels for women, or wider, like women’s shoes. In the best case scenario, such product or service does not exist on the market yet, is very difficult to get, or you can simply improve it.
When deciding your niche, imagine the person who will buy your products and pour the idea into a buyer persona.
To gain insight when deciding on your niche, conduct a market analysis. Prepare a list of questions that can help you narrow down the characteristics of your target audience. Here are some examples:
- Is there another similar product in this area?
- What is the age range of the product’s users?
- Is it possible to ship internationally?
- Is the product segmented for a certain gender?
Make it as specific as possible. Doing so will help attract interested people and save money on marketing campaigns.
A domain name acts as your online store’s address on the internet. Ideally, your brand’s name should be your domain name for better memorability.
Unfortunately, there is a chance of another company or person using your preferred domain name already. So, if your domain name is generic or popular, you might want to purchase it right away from a domain registrar.
Make your domain name catchy for your target customers and represent your brand value. If you need help to generate ideas, use tools to help you.
However, if you want to use a registered domain name, try buying it at a higher price from the person who registered it first or using a different domain name extension.
Luckily, most website builders include a domain name fee in their plans. So, you won’t have to purchase it yourself unless you need to buy it from another registrar.
Using a website builder can save much of your time in customizing your store. It generally comes with options that can meet the requirements of a good eCommerce website.
Also, pay attention to the caching settings of your eCommerce website that can enhance your website’s loading speed. Doing so will make your pictures load swiftly, making your customers satisfied as they prefer seeing products in pictures.
When it comes to product pictures, make sure they are of high quality, clear, and appealing. Use photo editing software if necessary.
Take a look at Primark’s product picture as an inspiration. You won’t need a lot of props to shoot product pictures like that.
Apart from product photos, designing a seamless check-out process is also important. If your product has options in size or colors, make it easy for them to choose. Take Uniqlo’s user interface as an inspiration.
Make sure that your product placement has the right angle and is eye-pleasing. Don’t use contrasting colors that can distract your customers.
Lastly, integrate with a reliable payment gateway and shipping companies to make sure your customers shop easily. Consider the major aspects that impact customers’ buying decisions.
Being on the first page of search engine results can help you increase brand awareness. To rank on the first page of SERPs, you need to implement SEO principles.
Many factors influence your rank on SERPs, and it requires comprehensive efforts to optimize your website, including technical and content aspects.
In terms of content, make the most from blogging to rank high in the SERPs.
Aim to write long-tail keywords on your blog posts. They refer to the words that your customer most likely will type when looking for something on the search engines. You can also conduct keyword research to find out the current trends.
Also, don’t forget to tag images that you upload for better indexing from search engines.
Promoting your online store is also a part of optimizing your website’s rank off-page. Social media marketing is among the best ways to do so, as you can generate both organic and paid content.
Choose social media platforms that match your target audience. Each platform has a different tendency of user demographic profile.
Organic content on social media will cost you nothing but your effort. Plan your posting schedule to put your ideas on track. Post regularly so that your social media account doesn’t look abandoned.
After you have some content to display on your social media account, you can run campaigns using paid social media ads. It’s a very convenient strategy that can help you reach your target audience.
Using paid social media ads, you can set a specific campaign objective and adjust your budget. It can be cost-effective to display advertisements since you don’t throw random publications but targeted.
You can also receive insight reports that can be useful for evaluating your campaign. It can improve your next campaign strategy and increase your brand awareness.
Creating an eCommerce website can be easy with the help of website builders. However, you will need to pay higher for the subscription plans. The cheaper but more difficult option would be using a CMS.
Whatever platform you choose, it’s essential to know your business goal and objectives. Also, determining your niche before starting is vital to setting the most suitable marketing and sales strategy.
To help you ease the process of making your business’s essential foundation, create a business plan.
The rest can be done by implementing the tips and tricks explained in the article. We wish you the best of luck in building your online business!