Got a good idea that you can make a decent amount of money from? Starting a business in these tough times may seem risky but with the right concept and plan, there’s a good chance to make it big.
Alongside your business, having an e-commerce store would be a fantastic way for you to make more. Establishing an online store will not only make your products more accessible but will also establish your brand quite nicely. This additional online presence will also add legitimacy and credibility to your brand.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to set up your e-commerce store, however, is the ‘new normal. More and more people are turning to the internet to get what they need as it’s safer, as well as more convenient and practical. With the pandemic posing a threat to everyone every time they step out of the house, the best way to get whatever it is that they need is to get them delivered.
According to a survey, 2 billion people in the world now shop online. Another survey notes that 8 out of 10 Americans buy the stuff they need on the web. These numbers are up by about 7% from 2019, mostly due to the health crisis that the world has been facing in the past couple of months. And even with the stores starting to reopen, the numbers of online shoppers are not going down.
As most people do not expect the pandemic to go away until early 2021, these numbers are expected to remain steady or even grow higher in the coming years. This is why it’s crucial to have an e-commerce platform for brands today more than ever as it is one of the best ways to stay connected and meet the needs of the market.
How to Set Up an Effective E-Commerce Store
Convinced that you should give online selling a shot? Here are the most important steps to follow to set up an e-commerce site that works:
1. Plan the branding of your store thoroughly
Branding is essential when building an e-commerce store because it’s going to be the way you’ll present your business to the world. Your branding will be your personality and identity and how you execute it will have a major impact on how you appeal to your target market. This is why crafting good branding is essential.
If you already have an established business, you will not have a very hard time in this area. You just need to translate what you already have into your e-commerce platform. If you’re just starting out, however, this is the time to start squeezing out your creative juices.
There are two major areas where you need to brand your e-commerce platform effectively: in its domain name and design.
Domain Name Branding
Coming up with a good domain name can both be an easy and tricky job at the same time. It all depends on the circumstances available to you and your budget, to be very honest.
Why? Because you may have a great domain name idea in mind that is perfect for your business but there’s also a chance that it’s already taken. There are also ideas that may seem great for you but don’t really work great in practice.
To help you with your domain name branding, here are some very important points to keep in mind:
Choose a domain name that is easy to remember and will perfectly market your business.
The quickest and best way to brand your business’ domain name is by using your business name in it. It will nicely capture who you are as a brand and will help greatly with brand recall.
However, there are certain circumstances that you might need to strategize the choosing of your domain name. This is particularly true if your brand’s name is shared with other things like places or objects. You may need to use other words to better establish that it’s a retail website.
The “.com” TLD or top-level domain helps greatly in this area but sometimes it’s not enough. In such cases, you will need to do some search engine optimization to choose the right keywords to add to your brand name. This can be the tricky part because it’s best not to make the domain name long so it’s easy to remember and find.
According to experts, it’s best to stick with just two words, three if necessary, when choosing a domain name. This ensures that the name is easy to remember and so you will not need spacing symbols like hyphens. They do not work well for recall so they might just cause you to lose potential clients instead.
If you’re going to add another word to your brand name, put in something that describes your products or services succinctly. The words ‘store’ and ‘online’ are used by brick and mortar retailers that are transitioning to the web. Some brands add their main offerings to their brand names like ‘bags’ or ‘jewelry’.
If all of these are sounding too tricky for you, fret not. You can always get help from domain name registrars like Shopify or GoDaddy. They can recommend reliable options that are available.
Choose the right TLD (top-level domain).
As mentioned above, the TLD or top-level domain will easily establish your website for what it is. For an e-commerce site, the ‘.com’ extension is commonly used since the ‘com’ stands for commercial. By using this TLD, you’re announcing that your website is for a commercial entity.
However, sometimes, the ‘.com’ option for the domain name you have in mind is not available. There are other options available and can further personalize your website like the ‘.me’, ‘.co’, and country-specific TLDs for those who are not in the US. They can be good options, too, but keep in mind a few things:
The .com TLD is most widely known today so most users might expect you to use it. Sometimes, folks just remember the brand name then types it is followed by ‘.com’ in their browsers. If they don’t find yours that way, they might not take an extra step to find you.
Other TLDs can be pricier than a ‘.com’ option. If you’re just thinking of using a different TLD to be unique, it might affect your budget.
Be careful about the spending.
Domain names can cost a pretty penny. Some TLDs are more expensive than others, so you should consider the prices. Domain name flippers can also charge quite a bit, especially for domains that contain very commonly used words. Keep these in mind, especially since you’ll need to renew your domain name license every couple of years.
The design of your e-commerce website is another crucial thing to plan. It’s important to make it look appealing to your target market so they will be more compelled to choose your products or services than other brands.
The user interface of the website should also be planned properly. Never complicate the shopping process as it will discourage customers from purchasing from your website.
2. Choose a Content Management System that works for you
You’ll also need the right tool and system to run your website so choose a content management system or CMS with great care. The right software or program will allow you to build and configure your website with ease. Be very discerning in this area to avoid any hassles in the future.
A good thing about CMS is that they are widely available nowadays. You can always enlist the help of a website developer to create your own website and CMS but you can also take the DIY route with websites like Shopify, WordPress, Wix, Joomla, and Drupal among many others.
When choosing among CMS providers, however, keep these things in mind:
Website personalization. Some websites are easier to customize than others. If you’re very particular about the look of your e-commerce website, you should look closely at the features and functionalities they offer when it comes to customizations.
Prices. Different services come with varying price tags, too. If you’re on a tight budget, do not fret, as you will still have some great options. It will be best to shop around and manage your expectations, however. It might also be best to look for something that’s easily upgradeable so you can just opt to add services to your CMS package as your business grows.
User interface. No one wants an overly complicated CMS so take a close look into this detail as well. If the CMS seems too difficult for you to use, do not go for it as you’ll only waste your time and patience on something that can be easier for you to work with.
3. Learn about SSL
SSL or Secured Socket Layer is an essential component for every e-commerce website. This can protect the sensitive data of your business and your customers, so it’s a vital element in building an online store. It’s also a requirement by the payment card industry or PCI for e-commerce websites before businesses are allowed to access credit card information.
There are quite a lot of SSL certificates that you can get for your website. If you work with a developer, they can handle this for you. If you wish to DIY, make sure to get in touch with an SSL provider to get your site covered.
4. Set up convenient payment options
Last but certainly not least is the payment options you’ll use to receive money from your customers. Thanks to modern technology, you now have lots of options to choose from so you don’t have to look far and wide for choices.
Offering a wide range of payment options is advisable as it can provide more ways for your customers to pay with ease. However, do not go overboard as having too many choices can also be quite overwhelming for many shoppers. It might also cost you a pretty penny to sign up for so many different services only to end up not using them. It’s best to stick with the most popular ones as they’re more likely used by your customers as well.
If you opt for the CMS of providers like Shopify and WordPress, you can also make use of their payment plugins. These can really come in handy as lots of people are already familiar with them.
Providing secure payment options is also a must. PayPal, for example, is still more widely preferred by many shoppers worldwide over handing their credit card information directly to the business they’re purchasing from. This is why it’s best to add such options as well.
With all of these said, the process of setting up an e-commerce website doesn’t have to be extremely tedious and complicated. In fact, the steps are rather straightforward. You just need to arm yourself with the right information and you’ll be good to go. Keep our tips in mind and you’ll surely be able to effectively and properly start selling online in no time.