E-commerce is no more a new idea. It is quite an established sector, and hence there is a level of expectation each e-commerce site must meet. Online shopping has existed for over 40 years, and that is sufficient time for development, addition, and stratification of novel features in the websites that help the customers to search for products and buy them. The requirements of each website vary with the products offered, and these specific features vary along with it.
It’s hard to create an online store that meets optimum requirement-especially if this is your first time. Let’s have a look at a few basics one needs to know.
Tips to create online store
It is the virtual version of your Wal-Mart shopping cart. This is quite the standard feature for an online shop where customers can store all they want to buy. If they want to reconsider a product they can simply visit the shopping cart and increase the count or remove a product altogether.
A product catalog
Any e-commerce website cannot function without a product catalog. Technically a product catalog can be viewed as an itinerary of all the items available on the website. It is especially useful for a large inventory of varieties of products on offer. Creating a page for each product is not just a hassle for the developer it is also quite a headache to browse all pages while looking for a particular product for the consumer.
It is often a better idea to create such a dynamic catalog that retrieves data from the consolidated database and updates accordingly. Categorization is the key to happy customers and a successful e-business.
Check out options
If you are selling only a few, limited items then a checkout page may not be necessary. There are a number of such popular e-commerce websites which skip the checkout page entirely and directly take the customer to the delivery and payment options. This is quite a relief for most customers as it is one less page to read and a lot fewer details to fill in. Checkout may not be a necessary option if you are planning to keep a small inventory. Read more, about tips to sell online.
When you create an online store, it is essential for you to create more than one way of accepting payment. You do not want to lose customers due to lack of options for payment. Services like PayPal and Google Checkout are handy for small businesses. For a huge e-commerce website with a jam-packed transaction system, a merchant account is a viable option. It alleviates the transaction fees that you pay to a noticeable degree.
Back Office tasks
The typical back office task is the dispatching of orders. Many factors such as updated stock levels are required, along with prompt emails which inform you of any product that has been ordered by a customer. Sending dispatch notifications on time to all responsible departments is another task so that orders are dispatched without losing out on much time.
The inventory, ordering system and the main e-commerce systems can be all integrated, but this is a tad bit complex venture and may cost you a little, but will prove to be highly useful in the long run.
Certain extra features can help to make your e-commerce site better.
- Enhanced cataloging-just regular cataloging is alright, but if you can manage to provide every bit of information there is on your products, customers will be surer of the products which can result in more sales
- An advanced inventory-having this feature can ensure that when customers are browsing products, they can be provided with all related products that they are likely to buy along with what they are browsing.
- Detailed sales reports-properly formulated sales reports can help you design future strategies and procurement policies, as you will always have all the transaction information and purchases invoices to see what kind of sales your website is making.
How to Set Up an Online Store
E-Commerce is neither a new term nor a new concept. It is such a rage that we do not even remember buying air tickets offline anymore. With reliable, international sites like Amazon, e-commerce has become a part of every person’s life.
Almost all international brands now have their online stores which feature exclusive discounts and offers for premium customers. As a result, many local business endeavors are now warming up to the idea of e-commerce. It is ideal and extremely convenient for the customers as well as the sellers. There are mega-brands like Reebok, Nike, Puma, etc. which now have their e-commerce websites. This is an excellent idea for building a steady customer base.
The basic e-store concept is that even if the customer cannot reach out to the land-based store the store reaches out to them. Here the location of the store or mart does not matter as long as the product is delivered for a nominal charge to the doorstep. It also perfectly complements today’s fast lifestyle. But the million dollar question is, do you know how to set up an online store? Check some of the practical guidelines below.
Come up with a domain name
The domain name is what users will type into their browsers to access your site. This could be www.myecombusiness.com. Domain names are leased on an annual basis for as low as $20. Don’t just pick any name. Choose something short, sweet and memorable, related to your business idea. Also, extensive research will help you get a unique name that doesn’t look like your competitor’s.
You need to come up with your unique e-commerce site from scratch. Here the smart alternative is to hand the responsibility over to an external company. The setup will be the responsibility of the external organization. Just make sure your website adopts a more attractive and unique look.
Scout around for reliable and reputable web hosting plans. This usually includes taking a look at several websites, comparing their prices, number of services and customer reviews. Avoid dealing with a company with many negative reviews.
Generally, a hosting service you need depends on your expected traffic, the number of customers, amount of space and bandwidth you need and the number of products to be sold. Getting off the ground usually takes some time. It’s therefore essential that you work with a hosting provider who is willing to work and grow with you.
If you don’t want to deal with website creation, then you can set up your store on platforms like eBay, Amazon, and any other site that pleases you.
Set up merchant account and shopping cart software
Learning how to set up an online store usually involves setting up an e-store ordering cart for your customers. The shopping cart needs to support several payment methods starting with PayPal, and other major credit cards.
In the beginning, you can rely on PayPal, but as your business expands, it’s usually advisable to set up a merchant account in order to handle credit card payments directly. However, this means you need an SSL for secure credit card payments.
Start taking orders!
You’ve got your goods and services ready; the website is up and running, and your credit card payment is PA-DSS and PCI compliant, it’s time for the real work. Speaking of working, you need to market your business on social media and other platforms so netizens can be aware of your business.
Last but not the least, ensure you know SEO techniques or hire an expert to optimize your site for you. Since you now know how to set up an online store, go on and run a productive online enterprise.