The future of ecommerce is bright and it’s high time to build your own ecommerce store. But you should understand, that the challenge in the online business market nowadays is fiercer than any time, as a lot of businesses take great care over everything, from website maintenance through to customer service. Moreover, they wrangle to exceed equals by conveying the newest procedures and practices innovation can offer. Regardless of whether you’re simply beginning your online business, ensure you know how to launch an ecommerce business that will do well enough to bring income. There is so much information out there, so making it’s necessary to prioritize your resources in order to start a successful ecommerce store.
Developing an e-commerce business is hard, but you can always hire an ecommerce development company that will help you to put your strategic plan into action. Or you can use the checklist below to plan the various factors that go into an online store launch and further growth.
Plan your project
The business plan is the brainstorming process, that helps bring your ideas and thoughts together. By planning your project carefully you can have a clearer picture of the business strategy, products, metrics, expenses, moreover it can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. But where do you begin? Just follow the steps below to get started.
- Define the target market. With a clearly defined target audience, it is much easier to determine where and how to market your company. So first of all, develop buyer personas that represent your target customers. Begin with demographics: define their age, gender, location, and other characteristics. Consider whether consumers are comfortable with buying your product category online and what should motivate them to buy your products. The better you understand your target market, the better you’ll be able to target them.
- Check out and study your competitors. Starting your business without understanding your competitors is risky. So this step is essential especially if you are entering a new market. There is a lot to be learned from businesses who have years of experience in the niche and figured out what works. It will take time to study your rival companies and find out as much information as possible about their marketing strategies, technical solutions, and the way their business operates. For example, you can create an excel spreadsheet of all of your competitors and collect competitor names, price lists, key features, etc.Then ask yourself if you can compete in this niche, as being critical of your own business and taking inspiration from your competitors can help to be more competitive. Moreover, your finding will push your forward in the direction you need to go with more confidence and an understanding of what’s possible.
- Select the platform. Choosing the right ecommerce platform is the first important step when starting an ecommerce store. With the help of ecommerce platforms, it’s easier than ever to create an online store and start selling products on the Internet. Luckily, nowadays there are many platforms to select from and the most popular are Magento, Shopify, and WooCommerce.To determine the best ecommerce platform, you need to evaluate the functionalities of various platforms to find one that meets your business requirements. To simplify the whole process, here’s a list of must-have features you need to look for:
- ERP and CRM database compatibility and integration;
- Technical support;
- SEO friendliness;
- Payment options;
- Marketing tools;
- Out-of-the-box responsive themes.
- Decide on the locations you want to sell. Since you have chosen the ecommerce platform, now you should decide where you want to sell your products.
There are 3 possible ways:
- you can develop a single store running in one location and one language;
- you can develop a store with multiple languages and different domain names;
- you can develop a store with multiple languages and the same domain name.
- Choose domain name. Picking the right domain name is one of the most crucial things you should do for your website. In addition to defining your site, your domain name will communicate important information to all users, including search engine bots. So use these easy tips for choosing your URL: it should be unique, memorable, short and easy to read, and includes targeted keywords. What’s more, make sure that application protocol passing data from a web server to a browser is secure. This can be addressed by applying a secure version called HTTPS ( “s” stands for secure). HTTPS involves the use of an SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate which helps to create a secure encoded connection between the web server and the web browser.
This is the stage where you hire an ecommerce development company to put your strategic plan into action. A professionally-developed ecommerce store is capable of attracting customer attention and driving conversions. We’re going to give you some advice on how to build an ecommerce Magento store as we have extensive experience working with the platform. We’re going to give you some advice on how to build an ecommerce Magento store, as it is a smart solution that suits all types of businesses from small businesses to large enterprises.
- Magento platform version. The first step is to identify which version you are going to use for your Magento ecommerce store development. Basically, there are two types of Magento editions — Enterprise and Community. So if you plan to cooperate only in one country and don’t need multiple languages, and currencies, you should choose CE (Community Edition). The EE (Enterprise Edition) is a good choice for ecommerce business if you plan to have advanced marketing and promotion functionality, cooperates worldwide using multiple currencies and languages, and accepts various forms of payment.
- Design. Website design is a representation of your business. So a professionally designed website should be user-friendly, mobile-optimized, and engaging.
There are two design possibilities for your Magento Store:
- Ready-made templates. These themes were made by other professional designers who upload them online to be used by merchants. You can buy, modify, and use templates for your own store. The price starts at $0 and can be as high as $450.
- Custom templates. All features, including custom layouts and scrolling animations, are unique and solely designed to your business needs. It requires longer development time and costs more. Moreover, it will cost you a pretty penny depending on the complexity of customization.
- Products. The next thing you should do is determine the number of products to be featured in the store and the category they will be divided into. There are six common product types in Magento:
- Simple: A simple product is a physical item with a single SKU without any particular selectable modifications like color or size. Simple products can be shipped anywhere. Examples: toys, books.
- Configurable: These products have multiple choices associated with them like color, size, or material. This type of category is generally used for clothing.
- Grouped: This product type enables you to sell products as a kit in your Magento store. If you, for example, sell pieces of furniture, your customers will be able to specify how many armchairs, beds, and wardrobes to buy. Your customer can either add to their shopping cart one bed or a whole set (armchairs, chairs, wardrobes, etc).
- Bundled: With bundled products, you can also sell products in a package. However, contrary to grouped products, your customer cannot skip any of its items as bundled products cannot be sold separately. For example, you can allow customers to purchase all three items together for a special price (camera lens + a camera case + memory card + a camera).
- Downloadable: A downloadable product is usually a digital file, like eBooks or MP3. For this kind of product, you upload one or more files to the server and then fix the price and product description. After that, Magento generates a secure, encoded link that is personalized to each customer making a purchase.
- Virtual: Virtual products don’t have a physical presence, and are usually used for such things as services, memberships, and subscriptions.
- Payments and shipping. Payment solutions should be secure and safe as customers value their personal information and don’t want it to be exposed. PayPal, Credit card, Bank transfer, Cash on delivery (COD), Purchase order, and Authorize.net are the most popular default payment options available on Magento. Free shipping, flat rate, and dynamic rates are the main shipping methods available on Magento. Magento is already integrated with shipping providers such as FedEx, USPS, DHL, and UPS.
- Hosting services. Last but not least is the choice of the right hosting service for your ecommerce store. There are four main types of hosting options: shared, VPS, dedicated, and cloud, and which one you go with depends on how much traffic you expect to get.
Marketing your ecommerce store
Once you have built your ecommerce store, the next thing to do is focus on your marketing strategy. Here are some of the key marketing strategies.
- Content marketing. It is the process of planning, creating, sharing, and publishing content to reach your target audience. Moreover, this marketing strategy is one of the most cost-effective that can support your business in the long-term. By providing your audience with valuable content, you can increase conversions, improve brand awareness, boost revenue, and more.The key to content marketing success in today’s climate is to adopt the mindset of the consumer. In other words, stop giving people the hard sell, and instead aim to solve their problems through free and valuable content that is relevant to your business.
- Social marketing. Nowadays, social media is a vital marketing channel for businesses of all sizes. It is a great way to boost brand awareness while driving traffic back to your ecommerce website. There are a lot of social media networks out there, but the ones you’ll find the most value in are Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. These are image-driven platforms, allowing you to display your products along with how it’s commonly used. In addition to marketing your company on social media, this strategy often focuses on advertising too.
- Influencer marketing is a new marketing tool, the process of which consists of reaching out to popular accounts on social media and having them recommend your products or services to an audience that trusts their opinion. It works, as today 92% of customers trust influencers more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement. By identifying the type of influencer best suited for your business and developing an influencer marketing strategy, you’ll improve your reach among potential customers, which can lead to a significant boost in sales.
So how to start an online ecommerce store?
Careful planning is crucial to get your e-commerce business from the planning phase to the launch phase. Moreover, going through the exercise of writing a business plan will cement your own understanding of your business and your market. Hopefully, these insights have helped you to understand how to build a successful ecommerce store.