There can be a lot of learning involved if you’re new to the world of online retail and want to get into Setting up an E-commerce Site for the first time. What it takes to get a new online business off the ground and into production isn’t always evident.
#1. Choose a brand.
You’ll need to decide on a brand name before you begin your Setting up an E-commerce Site adventure. The domain name you choose and purchase for your website will represent this brand like Shopify, Woocommerce, and Bigcommrce, etc.
Hundreds of blog posts have been written about building a brand. If you have the time (and resources), you may want to (or have already) engage the services of a branding agency to help you tell your storey.
Here are some fundamental steps to follow while developing your brand.
Find out who your target audience is and who your primary competitors are.
Make a decision on your focus and personality.
Choose a name for your company.
Make a pledge for your brand.
Create the brand’s appearance (logo, colours, font)
Make your brand visible on all of your digital properties.
#2. Make sure your domain name is protected.
So, now that you’ve decided on a name (the brand) for your new business, you’re ready to take the next step and purchase a domain name.
Domain names can be purchased via domain registrars or hosting businesses. Prepare to do a lot of research because many hosting companies also offer their own site builder packages. If all you want to do at this point is secure your brand’s domain name, that’s OK. You can always change your domain name to a different provider at a later time. The secure domain name you desire is the most important item at this point.
What is the location of the target market?
The target market for the new domain is something to think about.
Will you be focusing just on your local audience, or will you be reaching out to a national or even international audience?
Do you need to buy multiple domain names if you’re targeting multiple regions or countries, or can you get everything done with a single domain on a non-country specific top-level domain (TLD)?
What if you can’t get your first choice of domain name?
If the.co.uk (or.com) version is unavailable, you can choose from a number of different options. Let’s imagine you wish to buy the domain ‘fooddelivery.co.uk’ since you founded a food delivery business during the Coronavirus pandemic. When you look at the domain, you’ll notice that it’s already taken. So, what exactly do you do? You could try a name that is similar to the one you want. For example, you might be able to secure the domain ‘fooddelivery.online,’ which works in this case. Alternative ideas are offered by some registrars. You may also be presented with alternative domain extensions that are available.
iwantmyname.com/domains has a comprehensive list of possible alternatives, including.online,.bargains,.company,.plus,.rocks,.shop,.store, and.website. Read Shopify Hosting
GoDaddy, 123-Reg, Ionos Fasthosts, and Iwantmyname.com are some of the most well-known domain registrars.
3. Select the appropriate ecommerce platform
Choosing the correct ecommerce platform like WordPress and Jetpack etc. on which to host your website is a critical decision. If you have thousands of products to migrate, changing the platform at a later point might be a time-consuming and costly procedure.
- There are three main categories to pick from, each with its own level of complexity, price, and time to market:
- As a Service (SaaS) (SaaS)
- Software that is available off-the-shelf
- Customized solution
There are numerous ecommerce platforms to choose from, including Applications as a Service (SaaS) storefronts, off-the-shelf software, and custom solutions. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Consider how much demand you expect and how many SKUs you’ll have on the system for your product inventory when choosing an option.
If you only have a few products, it might be more cost-effective to use one of the SaaS providers. There are always advantages and disadvantages to anything.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is often the quickest and most cost-effective way to market.
An aspiring internet retailer can rapidly set up an ecommerce business for a minimal monthly fee. Easy-to-configure template builds with a configurable front-end presentation are available from providers such as Shopify.com and Bigcommerce.com.
These options are ideal for dipping your toe into the world of ecommerce and learning how it works. It’s easy to put together a website that looks professional and functions well in a short amount of time. The platforms, on the other hand, are heavily templated, so making changes to your site to add large-scale customisation isn’t an option. On these platforms, there is little to distinguish between the various e-tailers. Read Best Free E-Commerce Platform.
Shopify is one of the most important platforms to consider.
- Software that is available off-the-shelf
Off-the-shelf solutions are available and can be set up by someone with a good understanding of technology. Setup typically necessitates a higher level of technical expertise, allowing for Setting up an E-commerce Site. Magento, WooCommerce (for WordPress), and Kentico are examples of ‘off-the-shelf’ ecommerce software.
The number of extraneous features that often come bundled into any off-the-shelf solution is a huge disadvantage. Tools that are meant to suit the needs of the mass market frequently over-deliver to small enterprises that only require a limited number of the services available. Please read Bluehost Pricing and Plans: Which Is The Best Hosting Plan
It’s difficult to set your site apart from the competitors, just as it is with SaaS products. Hundreds of websites use the Magento platform, and they all work in the same way for Setting up an E-commerce Site. Plugins can be added to the sites, but they are available to everyone. It’s simple enough for a competitor to copy if they notice it’s working for you.
#4. An absolute must is a secure (SSL) certificate.
If you are not using a pre-packaged ecommerce solution, you will additionally want an SSL certificate in addition to the domain name.
To encrypt interactions between a visitor’s web browser and the web server that hosts your website, you’ll need an SSL certificate. SSL certificates are available from a variety of sources.
Alternatively, many web hosting firms will handle the SSL for you, so you might be able to purchase through them.
Costs vary by provider, and you must first register your domain name before purchasing an SSL certificate.
The following are some of the main reasons why SSL certificates are now a must-have.
The certificate establishes a secure, encrypted connection between the web server and the browser, ensuring that user information is protected.
- In the address bar, trust (and a ‘padlock’) is displayed.
- Interception of sensitive user information is avoided.
- All main domains and subdomains will be protected.
- Is the protocol of choice for all online traffic, not only transactional visits.
Some vendors may require an Extended Validation SSL certificate for an ecommerce website (EV). While Domain Validation (DV) and Organisation Validation (OL) SSL certificates are both valid, the EV version requires the certificate provider to conduct a thorough background check on the organisation requesting it. This is the premium version of an SSL certificate that ensures the operation is legitimate and respected.
The following are some of the most well-known SSL certificate providers:
5. Select the appropriate hosting package
All websites must be hosted on a server (even cloud-based hosting is still hosted on a server, it’s just not yours).
The final decision may be influenced by the budget. It’s critical to pick the right hosting package for a variety of reasons:
Website loading time
Hosting your website in the same country as the people you’re selling to can affect how quickly it loads. Consider using a content delivery network (CDN) to help localise your site to different target countries if you’re selling to a multi-national market. Also read How Canva Pro is the Best Option for Designers
Performance and uptime
The host’s capacity to keep the website up and operating is critical. You won’t be able to take any orders if your website is offline half of the time.
The demand for your website will (ideally) increase dramatically at particular times of the year, such as around Christmas. It’s critical to comprehend how the increased traffic will raise the load on your webserver and the resulting influence on site performance. If your site receives too much traffic, the server may overheat and fail, putting your site down, its time to Setting up an E-commerce Site. Cloud hosting solutions are a good option for dealing with rising demand because the server capacity can be scaled up and down as needed.
Environments with shared hosting
If you’re thinking of using shared hosting for your ecommerce site, reconsider. You won’t be able to keep control of the security of your site’s environment if you choose shared hosting since you won’t be able to manage who is hosting on the same server as you. Read about BlueHost Web Hosting
Other organisations hosting their websites on a shared server may not be as vigilant in their security processes, and a hacker may accidentally gain access to your website. A data breach can cause significant economic disruption, damage your online brand, and expose your customers’ personal information to anybody who cares to look.
For an Setting up an E-commerce Site customer, most web hosts will be able to provide Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant hosting.
If you’re planning to use a SaaS solution, you won’t have to bother about hosting because companies like Shopify will immediately set up a cloud-hosted environment for you.
Important considerations for ecommerce hosting
- Support for the software you’ve chosen
- Scalability of the database
- Management of performance
- Complicated administrative procedures
- Error log files are accessible.
It’s a good idea to look at hosting options that fit your company’s demands; some options to examine are Wirehive Rackspace and Rackspace.
6. Open a merchant account on the internet (IMA)
To accept payments online, you’ll need an internet merchant account, which is a type of internet-ready bank account (IMA).
Internet merchant accounts differ from traditional merchant accounts in that you do not have direct access to the monies collected until the bank has cleared them. The time it takes for the money to clear will vary based on the level of risk you think your firm poses.
7. Decide on a payment service (PSP)
If you go with a SaaS solution like Shopify, you’ll be able to use their payment options. If you’re using a platform like Magento to develop your website or creating a custom solution, you’ll need to think about a payment service provider (PSP).
You’ll need to choose a payment service provider (PSP), often known as a payment processor or payment gateway, once you’ve created an IMA for your company.
Some banks will recommend a PSP when opening a merchant account, but it’s always a good idea to shop around because fee rates vary widely.
Most PSPs will provide you the option of using their payment sites or hosting your own checkout pages.
Self-hosting might provide a more seamless checkout experience, but it can also increase security risks and necessitate varying degrees of PCI compliance.
Among the most well-known PSPs are:
- Sage Pay Stripe
8. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and its terms and conditions
When starting your new ecommerce firm, keep in mind the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and make sure your terms and conditions are solid.
The following are important factors to consider:
- policy on data protection
- Policy on cookies
- Conditions of Sale
- Policy on Acceptable Use
Seek legal assistance from a well-known law firm that specialises in data security and compliance. Make data protection a priority for your company, and make sure your employees are aware of their responsibilities as the company grows.
9. Digital marketing that is ongoing
You’ll need to drive traffic to your website once it’s up and running and ready to take orders. The easiest part was getting started; now it’s time to move on to the next phase of your business. The list below gives you a taste of the continuing digital marketing concerns you’ll need to consider.
The following are some basic digital marketing considerations:
Organic search is a broad topic. Have you produced ideal page titles and meta descriptions on a basic level? Is your material one-of-a-kind? Are your photos properly labelled and optimised? Do you have a sitemap in XML format? Is there any product schema mark-up on your website? These are the fundamentals of SEO that will assist your company begin driving traffic from Google and Bing.
Have you looked at the data from Google Search Console (GSC) to see what key terms your website appears for and how many clicks it receives? Are people looking for your brand?
Have you thought about how you’ll approach SEO? How will you develop material that is tailored to the user’s requirements? What criteria will you use to identify search intent? Do you or your team require SEO training or assistance in developing an SEO strategy?
Marketing via email
What safeguards have you put in place to acquire email addresses from users? What authority will you have to communicate with customers and prospects? How frequently will you communicate with them? How are you going to segment your users and send them personalised email messages? What software are you going to use?
CRM should not be overlooked as a vital aspect of the whole digital marketing mix.
How are you constructing a user profile? How many times are they going to come back? In what ways are they interacting with your brand? Who are your most important clients? What were the most recent pages they read? What are the sources of your customers? Not only in terms of internet channels, but also in terms of geography?
A Customer Relationship Management system allows a company to create a profile of its customers and segment them based on their needs.
While organic traffic through SEO takes time to build, sponsored search allows businesses to drive visitors as soon as their website goes online.
Who will be in charge of your paid search campaign? What amount of money should you set aside? How would a reasonable conversation rate be? Why is a reasonable price to convert a visitor into a customer? How will you incorporate the lessons learned from paid search into your digital strategy?
Will you concentrate all of your efforts on Google? Should you also think about Bing? What about Instagram or Facebook? Do you know who your target audience is and how to reach out to them? Will you want to retarget consumers who have seen your brand but haven’t yet interacted with it?
Paid search might provide immediate traffic. Setting up a Google AdWords account is extremely simple, and you can start driving traffic to your website in a matter of minutes.
Do you have any information on the terms on which your competitors are bidding?
SEMRush is a helpful tool for learning about what your competitors are up to.
Check out our paid search training classes for additional information.
Use of social media
Have you established brand accounts on major social media platforms?
What platforms are best for your target market? Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest all have large user bases and can help you attract traffic to your website, but you should think about what kind of material your audience will enjoy.
How frequently will you publish content? When is the best moment to send out communications to your audience?
Do you have essential social media logos on your site? Do your social media assets include links to your website in exchange?
Is it simple for website visitors to share information?
Tracking your website
Google Analytics is a free service that allows website owners to track website traffic, its origins, and how users interact with it, as well as measure advertising ROI.
To learn how to utilise Google Analytics to improve your business, you might want to set together a measuring plan or take some basic Google Analytics training.