With the Internet continuing to threaten high-street businesses across the globe, it’s no surprise that the growth of online business is much higher compared to conventional business. For example, it has been predicted that there will be over 2 billion global digital buyers this year alone. In fact, the success of e-commerce business has made such an impact that even well-established businesses have started shifting their entire business models online. However, creating an effective e-commerce website from the outset is critical to being successful online. And, there is a definite process of creating one to sell products online effectively. So, here’s how to build an e-commerce website from scratch.
Choose Your Online Business Model
As a business owner, you get to choose what products you want to sell on your website. You could choose to sell all of your products on your website or sell certain ones via Amazon or eBay. Alternatively, you could choose to sell your entire catalogue on all platforms. Most importantly, you need to find out where your ideal target market is and what platforms they use the most. This is especially important because consumers normally prefer to buy from a local business, whether they are online or offline.
Decide What Products You’re Going to Sell
Whilst online, you may have seen that there are tons of e-commerce websites that sell a wide variety of items. Certain websites sell particular lines of items such as just clothing whereas others have a broad range such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops. From the outset, it’s important to choose what products you would like to sell online. But, it’s equally as important to consider what the demand is for these products.
Choose a Domain Name
Once you have designed your online business model and chosen what products you want to sell on your website, you need to choose a domain name (your website’s address). Your domain name gives you an identity and will make it easier for buyers to recognise you online. Some businesses choose to get a shared domain because of financial restrictions. Sharing a domain can sometimes make it easy to reach your prospective customers. However, sharing a domain can make search engine optimisation very difficult, and this is a crucial aspect of being found organically. A local business will always deliver faster, have simpler payment terms and an easier returns policy.
Design The Store
Your e-commerce website needs to be designed in such a way that resonates with your brand. The basic principles of retail merchandising will apply to an online store as well. For instance, you need to know which products to highlight and also be aware of how you want your customers to scroll across your site. Offering a “Did you want to add this to your order?” will yield similar results to placing small accessories near the till of a physical store. People don’t realise they want it until you offer it. Your website also needs to contain details about your business and products as well as being easy to navigate. Remember, if users find it hard to use your website, then it is highly unlikely that they will stay on your website. Furthermore, you will probably lose sales to one of your competitors. Product descriptions, images, pricing, and reviews must also be included (reviews are especially important for building trust with prospective customers).
Set Up a Payment Gateway
When selling products online, you will need a payment system in place that enables customers to process their transactions securely, which is where a payment gateway comes into the picture. A payment gateway encrypts and authorises card payments that are made on a website. If a transaction attempt is flagged as illegitimate that the payment gateway will reject it.
Install An SSL Certificate
All e-commerce websites obtain and transfer data about customers and therefore, must be protected by an SSL certificate (Secured Security Layer). This certificate will keep your website secure at all times and help build trust among your current and prospective customers. In fact, it’s not just e-commerce websites that should have SSL certificates; Google now recommends that all websites should have them.
Choose a Shipping Partner Once everything has been set up, and you’re ready to sell products via your website, you need to choose a shipping partner to work with. When choosing a partner, it’s important to do your research, look at reviews but most importantly choose one that specialises in e-commerce logistics.