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The internet has revolutionized our lives, from our interactions, speech, and work to how we shop. Online shopping is not just for the younger generation; there is also a generation of adults that have fully embraced the internet.
As people spend more money online, eCommerce continues to thrive, with statistics showing that 43% of shoppers use social networks and the internet to research products to make buying decisions.
The same data source estimates that eCommerce revenue will grow to $476 in the U.S by 2024, showing that building an eCommerce site is a lucrative business idea.
If you are interested in making money online and building a successful business, here is a step-by-step guide on building a successful eCommerce site.
If you are looking for ways to finance your business, I encourage you to read this article: 8 Practical Ways to Finance Your Start-Up (A must-know guide!)
Why eCommerce Is Valuable For Businesses?
Brick-and-mortar stores have realized that they cannot afford to ignore the internet if they want to reach a wider audience and customers. Ecommerce sites are influential and help retailers to explore new markets for better sales.
Before building a physical store, you can have a worldwide market with an eCommerce site. You can control your customer experience with an eCommerce site by providing stellar customer service.
Ecommerce is also valuable because it strengthens your brand. If you only sell on established platforms like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay, customers may not know they are buying from you. But with your own platform, your customers will provide feedback about your services, website, and shopping experience for your brand.
Interestingly, you can build the eCommerce site yourself or hire a developer if you lack technical skills. This guide takes you through the primary steps to building a profitable eCommerce site.
How To Build An eCommerce Website
Although building an eCommerce site is much simpler than it was years ago, you still need to understand the steps involved to prepare adequately. The internet is a buzz with helpful information that can help you create a fantastic site that evolves with time.
Consider the steps involved.
1- Know The Product You Want To Sell
The chances are that if selling things online is your lifelong dream, you already know what types of products you want to sell. It could be your own creation or products your source from a supplier or a manufacturer you intend to resell at a profit.
Choosing a product is the first step to creating a successful and profitable eCommerce site.
After visualizing the product, you should research that idea to establish its viability. Know if your target market already shops for this product and the level of competition in the market.
If the product already exists, how saturated or competitive is the market?
One of the best ways to find profitable product ideas is by analyzing what your competition is selling. You can check out best-selling items or trending products to know what people are already buying or searching for.
2- Establish a Profitable Pricing Model
The reason for starting any business is to make a profit unless you are running a non-profit organization. And your pricing strategy is directly connected to your business’s profitability and sustainability.
Many eCommerce owners find it challenging to set product prices before launching their stores.
The challenge is real because if your prices are too low, your sales may go up, but you will lose money or barely attain break even. All your hard work and sleepless night that went into making your business a reality may go up in thin smoke.
On the other hand, if you set high prices, you may remain stuck with your stock, which could affect your profitability.
How do you set your product prices? Consider all the costs, including purchase, web hosting, shipment, taxes, payment processing services fees, and marketing costs. Since you want to make a profit, add it to the costs to know your selling price.
Tip: You can research what your competitors are charging to know the price range for a similar product. You can also improve the quality of the product to justify higher pricing.
3- Find An Ideal eCommerce Website Builder
Website building is an essential step in building a successful eCommerce site. You will need to hire a web developer if you don’t have the technical expertise to develop your own website.
Before settling for a website developer, vet them to ensure they are qualified. Let them show their work, proving they know what they are doing.
Your site’s appearance and user-friendliness matter to your potential customers, so get it right.
You may not need to worry about web development if you sell on established eCommerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, or eBay. However, if you are building a site fully managed by you, you want to pay attention to the details.
Besides building your website, these brands will provide you with SEO strategies to make your store discoverable. You can be confident they will provide you with awesome graphic designs that differentiate your store from the others.
Therefore, do research to choose the best developer for your website.
4- Find a Suitable Business Name, Domain, And Brand Name
This step requires creativity and innovation since it sets the scene for building your brand. Research and brainstorm with family and friends to ensure the name resonates with your target audience.
Visualize your customers and showcase the products they bought from your store to others. Where will they say they purchased the product from?
The brand and domain name could come from the product your sell or something relevant to you.
Note: Do not use a copyrighted or trademarked name; it could land you in trouble. Research and be authentic. If you feel it, the chances are your customers will too.
5- Select eCommerce And Webhosting Platform
If you hire an individual web developer, you may need to look for Webhosting services elsewhere. However, if you choose brands like WooCommerce, Site hosting, Shopify, BigCommerce, or Bluehost brands to build your eCommerce site, they will host your website.
Most developers make it easy to process payments and integrate plugins. Most brands charge considerably low prices for web hosting, so don’t be scared.
You might also enjoy reading: Siteground Vs. Bluehost: Which One Is Better?
6- Set Up a Payment Method
The reason you are selling your goods online is to receive payments. Your eCommerce store should seamlessly collect payments from clients. The site should accept credit and debit cards or other payment methods like PayPal fund transfers and bank transfers through a merchant account.
Some eCommerce entrepreneurs have payment functionality built into their platforms to make transactions straightforward and quick.
It is essential to research the best option for your store that will enhance your customers’ shopping experience. If a seamless payment process, you will likely get loyal customers and more revenue.
7- Protect The Website Using SSL And Install Backup Services
Your eCommerce website’s security is valuable to you and your customers. No one feels safe browsing a site with a warning on the domain name indicating that your website is unsecured.
A website with an SSL certificate shows a green lock next to the URLs, assuring shoppers that your site is safe. They will know that their private and sensitive financial information will not land in the wrong hands.
SSL certificate ensures that a customer’s sensitive information is encrypted when purchasing. Hackers will not steal their credit card information, so ensure your site has this protective mechanism.
You should also ensure you periodically back up your site when building; otherwise, your hard work can disappear in case of an issue with the service provider.
8- Preview, Test, And Take The Website Live
After you have built your eCommerce website, it is vital to test it before publishing. Testing an eCommerce site needs web testing techniques to help you know which areas need adjusting.
You can hire web testing companies, or your host will do this for you. Testers will provide feedback about your search results, homepage, order form, login and account pages, product details, and order confirmation.
These pages are standard for many eCommerce sites since they focus on the customers’ journey from browsing your site to making a purchase.
The first round of testing should focus on the buying process to evaluate the customer’s experience.
When potential buyers access your eCommerce store, they first access the homepage, search for the product they want, fill out the order form with payment and shipping details, and then submit it.
You will test the shopping cart to ensure it saves customers’ selections and prices. It should also be easy to add or remove items from the cart.
Other aspects of your site worth testing include the payment process and post-purchase workflow.
After the testing and various corrections are done, you can publish your site, and it will go live.
You may need to optimize your site and promote it through social media and paid ads to improve traffic. Additionally, you can help your store rank higher on search engines through optimized content.
Building an eCommerce site is a unique of tapping into new markets. If you only run a brick-and-mortar store, I suggest you create an online store to compete favorably in the marketplace.
Consumers are using the internet to search for products to help them with purchasing decisions, and you can significantly increase your sales by embracing technology. I hope this article has helped you with the steps to take your store online. Good luck!
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