So you want to start an ecommerce store but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, in this quick start guide I am going to give you the five steps you need to take in order to get your store up and running!
Step 1: Get a Domain Name
Without a domain name, you don’t have an address on the internet where people can visit you. It is also an important part of your businesses identity. To get a domain name, you need to use a domain registrar such as names.co.uk, now it is getting more and more difficult to get the perfect domain name just do to the number of websites that are already out there along with people who buy up domain names to sell on for a profit. PRO TIP: If the domain name you want is available, get it now as someone might take it while you are thinking about it.
Step 2: Decide which Ecommerce platform to use
This is the software on which your ecommerce store is going to be built. There are so many different options to choose such as EKM, ShopWired, BigCommerce and Shopify to name a few but the good thing is they all offer free 14 day trials so you can experiment with the platform to see if it is right for you and your business. PRO TIP: Go with the platform you feel the most comfortable using, yes it might not be the cheapest or have all the features but if you find it easy to use then it makes life a little bit easier.
Step 3: Choose a Payment Gateway
You want to get paid right? Well in order to do so, you need have a payment gateway on your website. As with everything in ecommerce, you are not short on choices with offerings from PayPal, Stripe, Klarna, WorldPay and SagePay amongst many others. Some of these such as PayPal and Stripe offer an all in one solution which combines a payment gateway and merchant account, where as WorldPay and SagePay are just payment gateways and you need a separate merchant account. PRO TIP: When starting out, it is better to go with an all in one solution as the majority do not have monthly fees and you only get charged per transaction, yes the transaction fees are higher but you are not locked into long contracts where you are charged a monthly fee alongside your transaction fees with the likes of WorldPay and SagePay, these become more viable options when your sales levels have increased.
Step 4: Plan a Marketing Strategy
Long gone are the days of build it and they will come, you need to have a marketing strategy in order to get your ecommerce store out there and selling. There are lots of ways to market your site and you need to decide which ones to choose from and they can be social media (Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest), Google paid ads and SEO (search engine optimisation) and it is not a one size fits all as every business has different requirements and target audiences. PRO TIP: Consider how your target audience navigates online, for example targeting Twitter and Google paid ads when the majority of your target audience is using Facebook and Instagram is a waste of time, energy and money on your part. You also want to constantly revisit your strategy to make sure you are generating the most amount of traffic.
Step 5: Get STARTED!
This might sound a bit silly but it is estimated that less than 10% of people who plan on starting an online business actually get past the planning stage and then you are left with constant what if?? Now I am not saying quit your job and throw everything into it but you can get it up and running in your spare time, I have known many people start successful ecommerce businesses and have a full time job. I know it is not an ecommerce business but this website is something I do in my spare time outside of my main business.
I told you this was a quick start guide and there is more work required to get your ecommerce store up, running and successful but if you follow these steps, you can have one started in no time!
This article contains affiliate links