Have you recently made the decision that you want to go ahead and launch your very own e-commerce website? Clearly there is a lot to consider before you even make that decision, but once you decide it’s the route for you, you just want to move forward as quickly and smoothly as possible. Depending on how many products you plan on listing on your site and what features you want on the site, the construction of it could take well over a year. This is even truer if this is the first e-commerce site you have ever built and don’t have a specific well-thought out blueprint of steps and handy tips to guide you along.
The Fact that many industry experts are predicting that the e-commerce market will reach a whopping $4 trillion in sales within the next few years, is definitely cause to sit up and take notice. It’s for these reasons that the e-commerce industry is one of the fastest growing out there. So how can you as a business owner who is anxious to get their e-commerce site up and running, create a site from scratch and have it up and live in under 12 months? Here are some tips and advice you can use that will help to guide you through the process and lead you to success in a timelier manner.
Start with a Solid Goal
It’s hard to reach your goal if you haven’t set one for yourself. Before you begin construction on your site and really dig in, you want to begin with setting a solid goal, complete with a deadline. If your goal is to have your site up and running and ready for business at the one year mark, then that is the goal. By setting this goal you will be giving yourself a timeline that you can start to lay all the necessary steps out.
Put It Down in Writing
Your plan isn’t something that should exist just in your head that can cause you to forget parts of the plan, forget steps, and not get a cohesive look at how you plan to go about things. It’s best to get your plan down in writing. This allows you to add details, due dates, and comments, all of which will help you to stay organized and on track.
Keep in mind that just because you have a plan written down, doesn’t mean it can’t change. It’s important to be fluid with the plan and be flexible when the situation calls for it. Things will pop up that you hadn’t expected which will require you to veer off the original course a bit. Not to worry as this is normal, and you need to be able to just go with the flow and re-calculate your plan.
Pick a Domain Name and Buy It
Now that you’ve got your goal, and your plan, the first step will be to purchase your domain name. This sounds a whole lot more confusing than it actually is, and it’s usually quite inexpensive. You can use sites such as GoDaddy to help with this step.
A few tips when picking a domain name: you want to be sure the domain name is easy to type, is short, contains a few keywords, is memorable, somehow zeroes in on your area, and doesn’t have confusing symbols and numbers in it. You want to make it as easy as possible for customers to get to your site.
Consider Using Professionals
If you’ve never built a website yourself and you want to be sure you hit that 12 month deadline, it may be helpful to consider hiring a professional web developer. A web developer will understand what’s needed to build a site that not only looks great, but also works as it is intended to. You won’t have to worry about pages being slow to load up or not load at all, a confusing layout that is far from use-friendly, or an unprofessional looking design.
Remember, your website says a lot about your business. The more professional the site looks, the better it runs, and the more trust it will build with your customers.
Take Time to Pick the Right Hosting Platform
One of the most important steps in building your e-commerce website is to pick the best WordPress web hosting platform. You want to pick one that specializes in e-commerce and has a proven track record. Look for platforms that make payment processing simple for you and the customer, offers integrated plugins, and that developers seem to know and trust.
You will be paying a monthly fee for your hosting platform, so this also means you’ll need to examine the various packages they offer and pick one that makes sense for your current needs. You can always change your plan at a later date if needed.
It’s also a good idea to ask about their support that they offer. If you should experience any problems, what kind of support is available, is it available 24/7, and is there a fee?
It’s Time for the Product Details
Now comes the point where you need to give thought to what you plan on selling, what the pricing will be, and your shipping prices and options. Rather than just pick random numbers that may not make sense in the marketplace, it’s a good idea to do some research. Take a look at what the competition is offering and their pricing structure. Obviously you don’t want to price yourself out of the market.
Customers are often wary of how much they spend in shipping too, as sometimes shipping can be so much that it outweighs the cost of the product itself. This is why you want to find the best rates possible, and then offer options such as expedited or overnight shipping for those who are in a rush and don’t mind paying more.
Get Yourself a Merchant Account
In order to get your money when customers use credit cards, you’ll need to have a merchant account. These are relatively easy and quick to set up, just be sure you’re looking at small business merchant accounts. It needs to be easy for your customers to pay with a variety of options available to them, and it needs to be easy and fast for you to get that money.
Consider E-Commerce Conversion Optimization Help
Another tip that can help you to get those ever-important sales is to hire e-commerce conversion optimization professionals that will work with you to provide maximum revenue on your website. One of the main problems with e-commerce websites is the amount of people abandoning the website or their online cart – e-commerce conversion optimisation is designed to help reduce this from happening.
If you don’t want to hire a team and want a simpler fix, there’s a plethora of plugins and software out there which can help improve your ecommerce conversion rates. One example is this conversion tool by OptinMonster which uses exit-intent technology and onsite retargeting to reduce cart abandonment and increase sales.
Ensure the Your SSL Certificate is Ready
The final step is to install an SSL certificate. What this means is that your site is secure, which means customers can feel safe shopping there knowing that their private information won’t fall into the wrong hands.
It’s Time to Go Live
Now that you’ve completed all the necessary steps and taken the time to really do things right, you’re ready for your e-commerce site to go live and start to realize its revenue potential. Remember your site should be dynamic and you should be tracking everything going on with it. This allows you to make adjustments where necessary that will lead to boosted sales.