Thinking about selling online but aren’t sure where to begin? Don’t fret. In this post, we cover everything you need to know about starting an online store.
Now, you may contemplate simply selling on Amazon or eBay to save yourself the hassle of creating an eCommerce website and the anxiety that comes along with running a business.
However, starting your own online store gives you complete control over imparting a sensational customer experience and building a strong brand; something you can’t do as a merchant on other eCommerce marketplaces.
You may be wondering why we’re talking about starting an online store this late into the game.
The answer is simple; meticulous planning is key to starting a lucrative online store. Planning isn’t the hardest part. Getting started is.
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What Do I Need To Start An Online Store Website?
The first step towards building an iconic and successful online store website is to pick a brandable domain name for it.
There are many eCommerce websites and online stores sporting truly exceptional online identities and to stand out from the herd you need a creative online store name that shatters clichés and breaks stereotypes.
Not many online store owners realize that a domain name makes for a branding asset since it’s the first touchpoint for people with your brand.
Looking at your URL and brand name, people get an understanding of what you do.
Therefore, you need to pick a short, crisp, and memorable online identity for your online store.
Because a long and awkward web address will surely deter people from trusting your brand and typing in the web address of your online store.
Which Domain Name Should I Pick for My Online Store?
The word ‘store’ is globally understood and associated with the act of selling or a place of purchase.
This makes .store a contextually rich domain name that clearly communicates what your business does.
This is why a name that sports a .store domain makes for the perfect choice for any online store.
Being a relatively new domain name dedicated solely to eCommerce websites and online store names on .store are easy to find and easy to understand.
This means you can get creative with your online store name ideas and pick a short, slick, and snappy name around which you can build a brand.
Another subtle benefit of using a relevant, definitive, and meaningful domain extension such as .store is that it makes for a brilliant avenue to showcase innovation and creativity in your branding.
For instance, www.husk.store is a great example of a memorable online store name.
What inspired you to start KickstartCommerce.com and DNAdverts.com? Tell us the story. Having a decade and a half of web development, software, and business marketing experiences, KickstartCommerce.com was initially started in 2013 as a search marketing company. It was during the course of writing content to educate customers about SEO strategy, tactics, and techniques that I was naturally drawn to domain names.
How Do I Create An Online Store Website?
We’ve listed 10 tips to help you create an online store that will flourish and stand out from the rest:
1. Figure out what to sell
Speaking broadly, you have two options; commoditized goods or unique products. Commoditized goods include products that can easily be found on Amazon or any other eCommerce website.
These especially include generic branded products such as shoes, baby clothes, home products, to name a few.
Unique products sell best.
Custom phone covers and iPad covers, bespoke t-shirts, specially crafted gift hampers, etc. make for easy sales as they aren’t available everywhere.
Pick a product niche that you are passionate about and good at creating and sell it online.
Google trends can help you look for what’s trending in the market.
2. Make sure you can sell it
If you’re selling something unique, you need to be sure of your product’s viability.
Take into consideration the size and weight of the product as this will play a crucial role in determining your shipping costs.
Higher shipping costs will eat into your profit margins.
In case you’re selling something perishable or fragile, you need to figure out your storage and shipping processes.
Do thorough market research to see what the competition is doing and consider all other challenges that may hamper your market share and long-term scalability.
3. Make your website design intuitive
Once you’ve figured out what to sell and studied about how you can sell it, you need to design the website that will host your online store.
To create a profitable online store (and subsequently, a brand), you need a smart website design that is easy to navigate about.
According to a Kissmetrics study, 93% of buyers consider visual appearance to be the most important factor when making a purchase.
Given your budget, you can either hire a web designer to build a website for your online store or learn to code yourself and build an eCommerce website for your online business.
Alternatively, you can use simple ‘drag and drop’ website builders such as WordPress or Shopify that come packed with thousands of amazing eCommerce templates and options to insert plug-ins to build your dream online store.
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Design elements should include high-quality images, a soothing color palette that is in sync with your logo and brand guidelines, legible typography coupled with a smart font selection, ample white space, and clear call-to-action buttons.
The overall design should keep the user journey in mind and must follow a logical flow of information.
The website design should be simple, so your browsers can easily find the products and services that they are looking for.
Also, design the checkout page to be seamless and frictionless.
And finally, ensure that your website is mobile responsive.
Not having a mobile responsive website could be a deal-breaker for many.
4. Make customer support a breeze
A unique product and an engaging website design might help you drive sales but if you truly want your online store to become a success, you need to offer exceptional customer support.
Moreover, your customers need to be assured that you have their back after they make a purchase.
High-quality customer experience goes a long way in building a brand and converting buyers into brand loyalists.
Offer customer support at all stages of the shopping experience to encourage new buyers to make purchases and to ensure your existing customers continue purchasing from you.
Include an easily accessible live chat window or a simple form so your customers can contact you without any hassle.
You can pick a smart AI-powered chatbot integration for your customers to interact with you seamlessly.
5. Make transactions great again
The very premise of an online store lies in the fact that people must transact on it. It is advisable to include a wide variety of payment options, so your customers find it easy to transact on your website.
This also enhances the overall shopping experience.
Apart from including PayPal as a payment option, you must include options to pay by credit cards, debit cards, and cash on delivery.
To drive sales and conversions and to reduce cart abandonment, you can also tie-up with mobile payment apps and e-wallet providers to ensure that your customers complete the transaction.
Don’t forget to get an SSL certificate for your website.
An SSL certificate (Secure Sockets Layer) protects sensitive customer data, such as credit card number (which you will need to transact online) and ensures safe online transactions.
6. Make social media your friend
Having a brand page for your online store across multiple social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter will definitely help to attract potential customers and build an online presence.
Social media engagements can range from simple Facebook posts to sponsored ads on Instagram.
Eshan Pancholi For brands and eCommerce businesses, Instagram marketing is a dream come true. With free and unlimited access to millions of potential customers that are engaging online on a daily basis, marketing and driving sales couldn’t get easier. Did you know that Instagram has over 800 million monthly active users?
With Instagram now offering a shopping tag feature that allows brands to sell online directly from the app, your online store can drive conversions with strategic posts and story updates.
You can also use Facebook for business to give your online store an edge over your competitors and make the most of what the social media giant offers.
7. Make SEO your best friend
In order to build an online store that can drive sales and make conversions, you need people to be able to find your website on search engines.
But how do you generate organic traffic? Search engine optimization is key.
Most eCommerce business owners don’t pay much attention to SEO on the pretext of it being a technical activity or an investment-centric activity.
However, SEO is the most powerful ammunition in your armada of marketing tools.
Your website will rank higher on search engines if you incorporate SEO-friendly keywords in the content of your website (include keywords in the product titles and product descriptions).
Having a blog page and a content marketing strategy can help to up your SEO game.
Regularly publish fresh content that is rich in keywords and watch your website rank higher on search engines.
You can use tools such as Google Adwords, SEMrush, and AHREFs to search for a list of top-ranking and most relevant keywords.
8. Make your product sell itself
Reviews and ratings of your products build trust and credibility.
After all, your unique product is one-of-kind and a buyer would want to know if the product meets the description mentioned.
Online shoppers determine the quality of the products based on other buyers’ feedback.
Ask your customers to leave a review after making a purchase.
You can do this by incentivizing buyers with a small discount for their next purchase.
Include a simple rating matrix that indicates the average rating and number of reviews at the top of each product.
These numbers help customers to make a purchase decision.
9. Make customers believe in your brand
Social proof is a marketing technique that has the power to drive sales, improve brand reputation, and boost your brand’s authority in your niche.
Social proof includes displaying your social media likes and followers in a strategic way so your customers can gauge the credibility of your online store.
For instance, if you walk into a mall and there are hundreds of people gathered outside or going into a particular store, you will be inclined to know why people are lined up outside that store.
You subconsciously believe that this store is the right place to shop as there are so many people already there as compared to another store that does not have anybody in it.
The same logic applies to an online store.
By displaying the number of Facebook likes or Twitter, you can build social proof of the fact that your store is trustworthy.
It’s the best way to create an online store that instills confidence in the minds of your stakeholders.
10. Make the most of analytics
As an online store owner, you can vastly improve your growth strategies by using analytics to track and monitor the store’s progress.
Google Analytics is probably the best tool to get access to important metrics about your store.
You can track and measure the percentage of product sales, the number of site page visits, and the number of abandoned shopping carts, and other specific and relevant metrics.
Follow these instructions to set up Analytics for your online store.
60+ Examples of Successful Online Stores
What is The Best Website Builder For An Online Store?
To create an online store often comes across as a daunting task.
But it isn’t so.
Ross Davies, Director at Strafe Creative, an agency that offers a full range of creative services to businesses, recently shared his thoughts on what DIY tools online store owners can use to create a quality eCommerce website.
According to him, “to maximize conversions, we always recommend designing and developing a website that’s personal and tailored for your company. It should be a design with a purpose, whether that’s to improve your company’s credibility or to bring through better quality leads.”
However, if a tailor-made website isn’t an option for you, here are his top three DIY website building tools:
- Squarespace – It’s quick to use and has the potential to create very visual websites.
- Shopify – It’s ideal for an online store or eCommerce websites; the themes available are attractive and its eCommerce features, such as Apple pay, don’t need to be coded in.
- Leadpages – This works particularly well for creating single-page, sales-driven sites. It can capture users’ information and offers electronic product giveaways.
In fact, even Alannah Moore, a DIY website specialist, thinks Shopify is a brilliant option to build online stores. “Shopify is created with small businesses in mind which means it’s easy to use even if you have no prior eCommerce experience,” she said.
Do I Need A Website For Shopify?
Shopify is a user-friendly online store builder that allows you to set up your online storefront and sell products seamlessly.
From organizing your products to making the customization on your storefront to integrating credit card payment avenues to order tracking, Shopify is a complete online store builder that is reasonably priced.
Apart from this, if you already have a successful online store, Shopify features and plug-ins can be integrated with ease.
In fact, you can now build a Shopify store in one hour!
For your online store ideas to manifest into a promising and sustainable reality, you need to build a smart and slick online store website with a simple and memorable name.
Follow the tips mentioned above and you should be set to build an online store that’s set to win.
“We hope these tips help your online store to drive conversions and blossom into a promising brand.”
Starting an online store? Get a .store domain name here.
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