The Internet has come a long way in the last couple of decades. You no longer have to shell out large amounts of cash to create a custom online store. There are now plenty of eCommerce vendors that can help you put together your online store, and for a fraction of the cost that it would be for you to hire a professional to create it for you. These online vendors can take the headache and the hassle of hard coding, hosting, and carrying out maintenance on a server of your own out of the online store equation, says Julian Barkat, director of e-commerce and online marketing at Eggs to Apples. You still get to design the overall look and feel of your online store but leave the technical stuff up to their staff of experts.
Think Before You Build
Creating an online store that is successful isn’t as simple as throwing up a few pictures and product descriptions, building a shopping cart, and a way for customers to contact you and then calling it good. There are a number of issues that you will have to deal with and figure out before you can even think about making your site live. Here are some of the common elements that you will need to figure out before you start an online store.
- What eCommerce platform you want to use
- Getting your domain name established
- What payment system you will incorporate into your site
- What packaging items you will need
- How you will handle shipping
- Establishing your company and setting up bank accounts
- How will you keep track of orders and shipments
- How will you market the business
Once you have figured out the basics for your online store and completed the essential tasks to make your online business legitimate, you can start working on building and designing your website. A visually appealing and simple website draws traffic and keeps the user engaged.
Deciding on the Platform
When it comes to your online store, figuring what platform you want to use is one of the most important parts you will have to consider. While you want your site to look professional, you also are probably looking to find a platform that fits within your budget. To get your site up and running in a short amount of time, you can hire a professional to design and build your site for you, you can use an online marketplace, or you can choose to use an eCommerce vendor to create a standalone site.
Building a site from scratch can get very expensive, and the project may take longer to complete than you would like. Using an online marketplace to sell your products is helpful, however you are unable to build your own brand when using this method. To create a unique store front that fits within your budget, the best option is to use an eCommerce vendor. With eCommerce vendors, you are able to choose from a variety of pre-designed templates that you can easily customize to fit your specific needs. Within a couple of hours, you can have your site up and running and ready to take orders explains Elan Dekel, contributing writer for Forbes online.
Adding Your Products
Once you’ve decided on the e-commerce platform that you will be using for your online store, the next step is adding all of the pieces to complete the look. You will need to add a product catalog to your site so visitors can browse through your store and select items that they want to purchase. You will also need to include a shopping cart that is capable of accepting payments. Some e-commerce sites bundle these two services together and offer them as a package deal, while other sell these services separately, and the prices for these services varies widely depending on the vendor you choose, notes Sheryl Canter, writer for PC Magazine. Do your research and make a decision based on what you feel you will need not just at that moment but for the long term.
Starting an online store has become a simple task. With so many choices when it comes to designing and building an e-commerce storefront, all you need is an great idea and a solid plan in order to start selling online. With e-sales expected to reach an estimated $240 billion this year, according to Forrester Research, now is a great time to enter into the world of e-commerce. With a low startup cost, you will have access to the global market that can mean big business for your online store. With careful planning you can build an online store that will translate in to a successful online business that will allow you to work from home while generating large profits month after month.