How to start an e-commerce business step by step

ECommerce has become a vital part of modern-day living. Being able to walk through countless products without leaving the comforts of your home or office, or while waiting in line or on a bus, makes eCommerce a truly convenient way to shop in a modern way.

Some retailers see eCommerce as a threat to brick-and-mortar stores. Smarter retailers learned to tap eCommerce and not fear it to boost sales.

New players in the retail industry also found it easier to find a spot in the highly competitive arena thanks to eCommerce. It just goes to show that eCommerce truly is an integral part of any retail business today.

We have come up with a detailed guide that can help you start your own eCommerce business – and not just an eCommerce website, but a functional one at that.

What is eCommerce?

ECommerce is the sale of goods and services over the Internet, and it includes everything from the antivirus software you buy to shopping on Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. What sets eCommerce apart from other types of shopping is that the money involved is transferred over the Internet, as is any related data, like shipping information. Think of it as the point-of-sale needing to occur online. Traditionally, eCommerce orders are shipped or delivered electronically to the customer’s location. However, eCommerce has diversified in the aftermath of COVID-19 to include newer options like buying online but picking up at a store or local locker service.

In this guide, we’ll focus on eCommerce sales of physical products that you ship directly to the customer. For what seems like an online activity, there are many real-world events involved in creating, running, and succeeding with an eCommerce business.

Designing Your Ecommerce Website

In its simplest form, an eCommerce website is just like any other site – given a name, set up on a platform, filled with relevant content, and then made available to end-users. What makes it unique is its purpose, and you will need to design it that way.

Here are 10 eCommerce design principles that will help your website become a full-fledged eCommerce store.

1. Come up with your unique design

Giving your site its unique personality will help set it apart from the competition. Of course, this should be done in a good and smart way. Think of your eCommerce site as a physical store. Give it a unique style that can entice your customers to come back again and again. Make visiting your eCommerce business an experience in itself.

2. Identify your target market and design for them

Businesses of any nature need to identify their target market. That way, you can make your efforts tailored for them. Targeting multiple markets is also not advisable for businesses that just started.

So choose a target market first, ensure that your products are appealing to them, and design your site in ways that can attract them to it.

3. Ensure that your eCommerce site is user-friendly

Navigation is essential for eCommerce websites. Your site would likely contain tens to hundreds and even thousands of products that your possible buyers just don’t have the time to scroll all over through. Organize your products into categories, and provide a search function so the customers would be able to go straight to products that they want.

4. Ensure site security at all times

ECommerce businesses are most commonly targeted by cyber-felons not only because of the money coming in but also with the customer information that these online felons wreak so much havoc with. It is your responsibility to include in your design the assurance that your customers are safe as they transact with you. And don’t just say it – do it!

5. Keep your eCommerce site light

Some people overdo their eCommerce websites. They fill it with heavy objects, large-sized photos, and flash files, which at one side makes their sites quite appealing, but on another side makes it slower, unresponsive, prone to crashes, and not friendly with mobile devices.

Aesthetics should never compromise the performance of your eCommerce site because it will just turn your customers away. So don’t get carried away with decorations, okay?

6. Consider minimalism

One way to help keep your eCommerce site light is by practicing minimalism. Always aim to be simple as to not overwhelm your customers. Remove redundant and unnecessary elements. Furthermore, don’t use too much variation of colors and fonts.

7. The Search option is really important

We mentioned the search function as part of improving user-friendliness but we would like to mention it again because its importance is worth reiterating. The search function can dramatically set apart your site from those that do not have it.

8. Be serious with the product descriptions

The product description is one of the most undervalued elements of eCommerce sites. Unlike physical stores, eCommerce sites cannot provide the customers an on-hand experience of the products before buying. This is one of the downsides of eCommerce. Counter this by providing product descriptions that can give the customers the look and virtual feel of the products for sale. Your customers would truly appreciate sites that do this.

9. Put your brand to work

The purpose of your brand is to give identity to your business. Keep your brand visible on all pages, and keep your brand symbols consistent. This will help your customers recognize your brand from a pool of other brands. Build up your brand and make it work for you.

10. Use the power of Call to Action

You started your business to reap profits. Your site will have a lot of visitors, and a lot of these would look into your product offerings, but not all would eventually make a purchase.

One way to help you increase your conversion rate is by using a call to action. Call to action is a term that means to invite people to do an immediate response. In your case, these responses ultimately lead to a purchase.

Of course, saying “Buy Now” won’t exactly work as is so you can make use of other means like “Claim this Exclusive Discount”.

Always remember these steps when designing your eCommerce store and you are sure to be able to come up with a brilliantly designed site.

Choosing Domain Names

Choosing a name is always a difficult task to accomplish may it be naming an offspring, a pet, a car, a character in a game, an organization, and in the case of eCommerce sites, your domain name. You just can’t recklessly come up with a name especially when you know that this would be permanent. By the time that you are setting up your eCommerce site, we assume that you already know the kinds of products that you will sell, as well as an idea of what your business will be called. We’ll focus on choosing your domain name.

By the time that you are setting up your eCommerce site, we assume that you already know the kinds of products that you will sell, as well as an idea of what your business will be called. We’ll focus on choosing your domain name. Your platform would most likely offer you a domain name that includes the platform name, or yourstorename.yourchosenplatform.com. You also have the option to buy a domain name that does not include your platform and goes directly

Your platform would most likely offer you a domain name that includes the platform name, or yourstorename.yourchosenplatform.com. You also have the option to buy a domain name that does not include your platform and goes directly as yourstorename.com.

When coming up with a domain name, you should consider the following reasons why it is important to think about it thoroughly:

1. Your domain name is your permanent online address

Your domain name is your permanent address in the vast worldwide web. This is what your customers would have to search to get to you and your products. You can do a lot with your site in as much as you can do a lot with your house, but the address remains the same. So think of an online address that you are willing to carry in the long run.

2. Your domain name can help in increasing your brand awareness

Your store name is the biggest chunk of your domain name. Again, you can choose to buy a domain name as to not include your platform and this can further increase your brand awareness. We suggest that you spend the extra investment because if you do include your platform, you would share the limelight with it, and you are helping advertise it for free.

3. Your domain name can help earn your customers’ trust

Having your domain name helps assure customers that you are a legitimate business. Spending a little bit more can help fortify your credibility so why not, right?

We hope that we were able to convince you to take that extra step to get your domain name – the one that does not include your platform – because it truly is worth it.

Now, here are some things to remember when coming up with a domain name for your eCommerce business:

1. Make it short and catchy

Make sure that your domain name is short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and catchy enough to be remembered.

2. Play with words to come up with a unique domain name

One way to come up with a domain name that is uniquely yours, and at the same time, catchy and memorable. Think of how YouTube and Facebook are such unique names. Hopefully, you too will be able to come up with a domain name that will one day be as popular as these two are.

3. Choose a top-level domain that works best for you

Usually, sites go with “.com” top-level domain but you may consider country-specific domains if you intend to keep your business in a specific country.

4. Choose a domain name that you can grow with

Your products may be limited at the moment but this is because you are just starting. You should choose a domain name that
will still be able to represent products that you might want to add to your offerings in the future. Better yet, don’t use domain names that are too restrictive so if you do add products, your domain name won’t make your customers think that you do not offer such products.

5. Keep it legal

Ensure that your domain name is not too close to a competitor and that you do not violate anyone’s trademark.

6. Seek the help of name generators

There is a bunch of tools out there that can help you come up with possible names for your business, which in turn will help you come up with a domain name. Use name generators to help you brainstorm but it would still be best if you can devise a domain name that is uniquely yours.

Your products may be limited at the moment but this is because you are just starting. You should choose a domain name that will still be able to represent products that you might want to add to your offerings in the future.

Better yet, don’t use domain names that are too restrictive so if you do add products, your domain name won’t make your customers think that you do not offer such products.

Choosing and Comparing Different eCommerce Platforms

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

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