With the holiday season quickly approaching and social distancing restrictions still in place, an online channel will help boost sales. Fortunately for you, creating an online store is easier than ever and as accessible as $35 a month. E-commerce building platforms are so easy to use that you don’t need any web design or technical experience to use them! We’ll show you the basic steps to get you from in-store to online success.
- Select an All-In-One Building Platform
Squarespace, Weebly, GoDaddy, Wix, and Shopify are among the all-in-one ecommerce platforms. These platforms include website design, domain registration, and hosting, as well as e-commerce functionalities like product listing and payment processing. Platforms like Magento and WordPress require more technical knowledge and time but allow more customization and integration with other business applications. Select the best platform using this comparison chart by Ecommerce CEO.
- Register Your Domain
Typically, your domain name would be your store name, but if it’s not available, find an alternative that’s easy to remember. Try using relevant words, your location, or the owner’s name, but keep it between two and three words long. If your ecommerce platform doesn’t include a free domain registration, use Google Domains or Namecheap for around $15 a year. Also consider that a private registered domain is a bit more expensive than a public one, but your contact information will be safe from anyone.
- Select a Template
Most site building platforms include free templates or themes, and some even allow you to upload your own. A built-in template will simplify your process making your site look professional and consistent across all your pages. Select an attractive design that resonates with your customers’ expectations. Website Builder Expert shows you how to choose the perfect template for your business.
- Customize Your Template
The general process to customize your template is mostly the same among platforms: adding your logo, matching colors to your branding, updating the header and footer, uploading images, setting up fonts, integrating copy, and adding web pages. You should create at least four pages: a homepage with site navigation, a product listing, an FAQ, and a contact page. Your goal is to create a website that helps your customers find what they need quickly and easy.
- Add Products
Load high-quality images or videos of your products. You can find a freelance professional photographer on Fiverr or UpWork. Continue with a compelling product description, pricing, and return/exchange policies. If your product catalog is extensive, list top-performing items first. Integrate customers’ reviews or testimonials from your social media platforms so people can verify the quality of your products as well as your customer service.
- Set Up Payment Methods
Choosing what payment methods you’ll offer is a difficult decision. The most affordable choice is not always your best bet. Watch for processing fees, how fast you will receive your funds, and the level of fraud protection you’ll get. See Capterra’s side-by-side comparison chart of the main payment processing companies to help you decide.
- Review and Review Again
Before letting everyone know you’re open for online business, take time to double check your copy for typos, and to ensure all your links are live and your website works fine in desktop and mobile.
You’re now ready to welcome everyone. Send an email inviting your current customers to visit your online store. Maybe prepare an introductory promotion for the first ten shoppers, and don’t forget to include a welcome message on your homepage. Create a launch campaign for your social media channels including a link to your page when you launch. Google My Business is a free tool where you can create a profile with your URL and product photos to appear in Google’s search results.
Planning, building, and keeping an e-commerce site will pay off and produce long-term benefits for your business. Using a building platform can certainly ease the process and help with other features to drive traffic and generate sales. Next month, we’ll bring you more ideas on how to keep it profitable.
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