So you have this great idea for a product that you want to sell online. Or you may already be selling on a marketplace like Ebay or Amazon and want to take your store to the next level and build an e-commerce site of your own. What’s next? How do you get started? Here are some steps to get you going in the right direction:
- Build your idea away from the computer:Brainstorm and write down your ideas, it is important to think outside the box so your website is unique! Think about the product that you are selling and how you will get started. Think about your clients, who are they? What kind of products are you selling?
- Build a brand: Try to have a brand name and purchase the domain ahead of time to have your company name secured. Play around with different websites that let you create variety of domains and let you know which ones are available. Make sure you take enough time to decide which domain to purchase and know that it’s the right one. Here is a great website to try out: http://www.bustaname.com/word_maker
- Buy your domain and Pick a good host: Once you purchase your domain, you need a place for your site to “live”. We like GoDaddy.
- Choose a Platform: Think about what platform you will use to develop your site. Even though there are many to choose from, Magento is a great one to consider. Magento is best known for offering store owners with ultimate flexibility to manage their store’s visual appeal, content and functionality – and you don’t pay listing commission because the site is yours. Here’s a full list of Magento’s capabilities. If you choose magento, please make sure you work with a Magento Partner and only choose Magento certified extensions to add to your site. Crimson Agility is a Magento partner and we not only help you build a great site but provide ongoing suppor through our managed services programs.
- What is your story? It is important to have an idea of how you want your page to look and feel like. One of the many things to have in mind also, is that most e-commerce sites have the shopping cart, login and search box close together. Make your homepage a fun and interesting one. Clients are always attracted to deals, free shipping, and the latest trends. What is in style? Instead of a big catalog, Show your most interesting products on the home page. Make it organized!
- Get connected: Social media is everywhere now, why not use it on your website to keep your fans connected to your latest deals, products, or services? Get creative and include your social media on your site. Encourage customers to review your products to build trust. For example, a user generated picture can link to an Instagram post about a cool feature or service you offer. See our blog on social media best practices.
- Stay connected: Targeted e-mails at the right time will drive people back to your site to keep them engaged and complete a purchase, for example, abandoned cart emails or targeted emails based on the customer’s perceived preferences. Subscription links are a good way to capture information and keep track of their preferences. See our blog on e-mail marketing best practices.
- Mobile first: your site should be responsive and adapt to users viewing your site on mobile devices. Make sure that your site renders on the different platforms or you will lose customers who prefer to shop on mobile devices. See our blog on m-commerce best practices.
- Search and Find: Most people shop by doing a search first. Make sure that your product catalog is built with the right categories so customers can narrow down options for searching. A store finder tab is not necessary but it is helpful if you have any physical stores. Make sure to include phone numbers and online chats for support.
- Choose your payment methods: Try out some different ones, and make sure to read terms and conditions very carefully. It is important to find out if there will be any early termination or cancellation fees if you are not happy with the payment gateway you choose.
- Site speed is important: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and site performance are important to get your site noticed, get people to keep clicking and drive sales. Making sure your content is relevant so you engage customers in a short period.
- Build trust: Plan every idea carefully and have in mind that security is a must! For your site to be successful, it is important to have security and display badges on the site to secure customer’s information and for customers to feel safe making a purchase on your site. Posting reviews from other customers and their shopping experience on your site also builds trust. Make sure you partner with a company like Yotpo for product reviews.
In the Phoenix area and want to learn more? Join us for our Phoenix Area Meetup on July 26th.
Now, go have fun starting your e-commerce site and don’t forget to check back on our blog every Thursday to see what’s new and to continue learning about e-commerce, Crimson Agility, and Magento!
Thanks for stopping by!
Crimson Agility Team