Starting your own business has never been easier thanks to the Internet. The global ecommerce market is a rapidly growing field that is already worth more than $1.5 trillion dollars, according to emarketer. So what do you have to do to get your own ecommerce website up and running? If you follow these six steps, you’ll be selling products and making money in no time. As long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort that is.
1) What do you want to sell?
The very first thing you need to think about is what you want to sell. You can’t have a store without products, even an online store. Whether those products are physical goods or some form of service is up to you, but keep in mind that selling a service will require more work on your part and it’s liable to offer a smaller customer base. Wikihow suggests picking a niche market to better your chances in finding constant customers. It’s important you pick something you have a personal interest in as you will be spending a lot of time working on your website and dealing with your products.
2) Pick your store type
According to b2bmarketing, there are seven types of ecommerce store; online only, mail order, big bricks and clicks, boutique bricks and clicks, mainstream piggybank, niche piggybank, and full multichannel. Some of these have physical locations as well as websites while others send out catalogues and others still are conglomerates of like-minded niche sellers.
While you don’t necessarily have to pick one of the listed types, doing some research into how they work can help you decide what you want your store to be like. Do you want to send out a catalog? Are you planning on opening a physical location in the future? Do you not want to supply any actual products yourself?
3) Find a provider
Finding a provider entails searching for not just an ecommerce and shopping cart software provider, but a web host as well. You can’t have an ecommerce website without it being hosted somewhere. Many ecommerce software providers like Shopify and us, offer hosting as part of their packages. But you can go to other third parties as well if you wish. Regardless of how you want your site hosted, take the time to shop around, there are a lot of ecommerce providers and web hosts.
4) Build your Site
Building your ecommerce site can be a chore or it can be fun, it’s up to you. Like finding a software provider and host, many web hosts and ecommerce sites offer web building tools you can use to create the website of your dreams. However, many of those tools heavily rely on pre-built templates and themes and their capabilities are limited to an extent. If you know nothing of web design or coding and you don’t want to hire a web designer, these web building tools are excellent for getting a workable site up and running. But if you truly want the best website possible, you have two choices.
You can hire a web designer to build your site or you can learn how to code in HTML and CSS on your own. Life Hacker has a series of lessons teaching you how to code and build a site, but there are hundreds if not thousands of books and videos and tools to pick from. Learning yourself will take some time while hiring a designer can be expensive though, so think hard about how you want to build your website.
5) Get the Word out
Once you have a website up and hosted with ecommerce and shopping cart software installed and you have your products ready, it’s time to start marketing and advertising. Entrepreneur suggests making sure your ecommerce software provider automatically implements search engine optimization (SEO) so Google and other search engines can find your site easier and place it higher in the results.
An absolute necessity for marketing your ecommerce site is to create social media accounts representing your site. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, and any other social media sites are free to sign up and they can be updated on a daily basis with promotions, sales, and other deals to draw interest. Don’t neglect marketing offline as well. Talk to friends, send out newsletters and do anything you can think of to get people to visit your site.
6) Maintaining your Website
Maintaining your website doesn’t just mean making sure it stays up (that’s actually your web hosts job, unless you’re hosting on your own hardware) it also means dealing with customer service issues and keeping the site itself updated when products go out of stock or you bring new ones in. This “step” can actually be considered running your website as it simply means keeping up with your ecommerce business as issues crop up and your website progresses.