Today it is easier than ever to build an eCommerce site and sell products online. So easy that, if you choose the right website building tools, you can have your eCommerce store live in only a day!
However, building a website is just one step of the process. You also need to determine what you want to sell and where to find the products. Finally, you need to work out effective strategies that will help you attract buyers and generate revenue.
This post aims to help you out with all this. Let’s begin.
Part 1: Determine What Products to Sell
When you’re building an eCommerce site, you need to consider one very important thing: you’re selling tangible products. This implies lots of preparatory work before your site goes live.
Going through the process of building an e-store only to discover that nobody is interested in buying your products is truly heartbreaking.
To prevent this, you’ll need to dedicate some time to figuring out the market and determining which products you should sell.
When researching the market, your aim is to find out what is lacking. In other words, detect an urgent need and fill it with your merchandise.
Another option is to align your store with the products that are in high demand at the moment, i.e. enter a trending niche. For this purpose, you can use Google Trends, where you can look into search history, as well as predictions for certain keywords. You can also spend some time analyzing influencers on Instagram. Chances are the products they’re promoting are popular and sell well, which suggests a potential niche.
To confirm your research results, go to Amazon and enter their bestseller list to see what people are actually buying. You can also use keyword research tools like Ubersuggest to obtain search volume results on different product keywords. If a certain keyword has a high search volume, it means that people are interested in that product.
Once you conclude your research, you’ll most likely have several niches you could go into. To further narrow down the list, think about your personal preferences. Ask yourself:
- Which of the potential niches do you actually have an interest in?
- Do you have knowledge in any of the niches?
- Can you imagine yourself working in that niche?
Part 2: Build an eCommerce Site
Now that you have determined your niche and the products you want to sell, it’s time to actually build your eCommerce site.
1. Buy a Domain Name
When choosing a domain name, make sure it identifies your brand. This step should be fairly easy because websites like GoDaddy offer you a wide choice of domain names under $10.
2. Find a Web Developer
Finding a good web developer is essential if you want your site to be high-quality and launch on time.
Ask whether the developer has experience with building websites on the e-commerce platform you choose. For instance, if you’re using BigCommerce, you’ll be looking for someone whose specialty is BigCommerce development and design.
It’s also helpful if the developer has a graphic design background and experience with cropping product images for eCommerce.
3. Select a Hosting Platform
Selecting one of the popular eCommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce, has a number of benefits. Here are the most important ones:
- saves time and money
- they’re secure and fast
- developers have experience with these platforms
- it’s easy to integrate payment processing, plugins, etc.
4. Select a Theme
When selecting a theme, it’s crucial that it matches your brand and vision.
Think of the theme you choose as a layout to the website. Look for one that presents the information in a way you believe works best for your customers.
You can commission a customized web design or, if you want to save money and time, you can download a pre-designed theme from sites like ThemeForest or TemplateMonster.
5. Get a Payment Gateway
A payment gateway is an eCommerce service that processes credit cards for online and physical stores. Besides processing credit cards, gateways also support mobile payment and recurring billing.
Some of the most popular eCommerce gateways include PayPal, Skrill, Stripe, Authorize.net, 2Checkout, etc.
Here is what you need to do before you apply to get approved for a payment gateway:
- make sure your site’s checkout process is secure
- determine your delivery and shipping methods
- provide customer support via email and phone
Getting approved might take a while because processors aren’t too keen on doing business with new, inexperienced companies. In addition, you’ll be required to submit tons of paperwork, so it might be wise to start the process as soon as possible.
6. Packaging, Storage, and Shipping
Before going live, you still need to determine how you’re going to pack, store, and ship your products. Here’s what you need to consider:
- Will you be storing your products in a warehouse? Maybe you should consider dropshipping, i.e. sell your products without ever directly handling them or fulfilling the shipment to the client.
- Will you use UPS, USPS, FedEx, DHL Express, or a combination of these to ship your packages?
- What will you pack the products in? What size will the packaging be? Will the packages include promo materials? Are there any shipping restrictions you should know about?
These are just a few of the questions you need to clarify before you start shipping your products.
Part 3: eCommerce Marketing Strategies to Generate Sales
Now that you have an eCommerce store, it’s time to let the world know about it. Here are the most commonly used eCommerce marketing strategies you need to try:
1. Social Media Marketing
Social networks are the best way to showcase your products and attract traffic. When it comes to eCommerce, you should probably focus on Pinterest and Instagram as image-sharing platforms.
Use Pinterest to increase your products’ visibility by creating and sharing content related to your niche. Not only will this platform send you thousands of qualified sales leads, but it will also help you build a strong brand image.
Instagram is great for showcasing the products and demonstrating how customers commonly use them. You can integrate IG photos on your eCommerce site or run contests & giveaways. Don’t forget to use the hottest feature – Instagram stories (find out the perfect Instagram story dimensions so that you can create professional and compelling content to share).
2. Content Marketing
Having an e-store gives you the opportunity to create all sorts of content. Besides great product images and descriptions, you can also write articles that educate and inform potential buyers. With a proper SEO and distribution strategy, your content will pick up a bunch of social media shares and backlinks.
3. Influencer Marketing
Influencers have been used by some of the most successful e-stores. Just think about what Kylie Jenner did for ‘Pretty Little Thing’ when she wore their orange dress! Try and reach out to influencers on IG. Of course, you probably won’t be able to book Kylie Jenner, but having a local influencer to promote your eCommerce store is a great start.