Before we start, I want you to answer a question: can an e-commerce business flourish without an impeccable online presence? The answer is an obvious “no”. With more than 2.5 billion people buying stuff online, it doesn’t matter what product you are selling and how big your company is, every entrepreneur needs a website that will show the products at their best, attract new customers, and increase brand awareness.
7 Things to Do to Start an eCommerce Store
Online business is inseparable from a website. So if you are not sure where to start when it comes to launching an online retail company, in this post, I’ll walk you through the basics of the process and shed light on some points that should be taken into account.
Step 1. Find the Sphere You Wish to Work In & The Product You Want to Sell
Choosing the niche of your future project is definitely among the key decisions that you should make. I mean, you have to define what is the product you want to sell online in order to make up your mind on further things that will follow this decision. Here are some factors you should pay attention to:
Market demand. Do market research to find out whether your product is commercially successful. Such tools as Google Keyword Planner or WordStream will help you carry out complete market analysis and find out whether the demand for the product is high. Additionally, those tools are free to use.
Trends. Browse such websites as Alibaba, Etsy, Amazon, eBay, and their “What’s hot” and “Most Popular” sections to capture the interests of your potential leads.
Competition. Do Google search to discover the businesses you’ll have to compete with. Define the strategy you will apply to stand out among competitors.
Step 2. Decide On The Type Of Your Store
As far as online businesses are concerned, there are several ways to go. Eliminating the scenario of you manufacturing the items, we are left with two paths: dropshipping and retail. Let’s discuss both business models.
Being a retailer means that you resell something that is manufactured not by your company. Even though you are not producing the products yourself, you are still handling the entire process of the sale from start to finish: display the items, store them, process the order, package the product sold, then ship it, and finally receive customer feedback.
Being a dropshipper means that you never actually own the product physically. You display the product on the website and once an order is placed, you pass it to the wholesaler or manufacturer and pay the wholesale price. They pack the product and ship it to the customer and you receive money from the client. Keep in mind that since it is you who is an “intermediary” between the manufacturer and the clients, you are responsible for handling possible issues and complaints.
Step 3: Choose a Proper Domain Name
A domain name is a major element of any e-commerce site since it is the first thing visitors see when launching on a store. An URL determines the first impression and affects brand recognition.
Being a web developer who has been working on creating over 100 websites for companies of all sizes, I would like to share some tips which I personally use when assisting my clients to pick the right domain name.
Since proper keywords added to a domain name can affect SEO, try to leverage this point to gain extra score.
Keep your URL short. It should be easy to pronounce and type. Opt for another TLD if it requires explaining the spelling or hard to understand.
Avoid hyphenated domain names and words with unclear spelling (for example, the words “witch” and “which” sound very similar.
Engage the most popular extensions (.com, . net).
Stay away from the domains that already have trademarks. Consider using domain name generators such as Namemash to get a plethora of options to choose from.
Use niche keywords relevant to your business area. As such, your URL has to dredge up images of the product you are selling.
Step 4: Get a Hosting Plan That Makes Sense
The choice of a hosting provider depends on many factors: the size of the store, the bandwidths, the number of visitors, etc. Thus, if you are an owner of a small website with a poor range of products, then shared hosting would be an optimal option for you. However, a noteworthy detail is that in this case the business owner should be prepared for low bandwidths, the dependence of this hosting type on the physical server crashes, as well as possible security risks.
If you own a middle-size or large store with a wide range of products on sale and high traffic volumes, VPS and cloud hosting are both good alternatives. The biggest advantage of these hosting types is scalability meaning that users can pay for the resources that the stores use without overpaying. Therefore, hosting space automatically expands during seasonal spikes and shrinks when the demand is low.