What You Need to Know to Start Your First eCommerce Website
Launching an eCommerce website can be easier than most people think, as long as you approach it with the right steps in mind. With these three steps you need to launch an eCommerce website, you will be well on your way to eCommerce success!
Find the Right Product with the Right Manufacturer
Determining your product is one of the hardest parts of the process of launching an eCommerce website. Here are the most important things to consider when determining your product.
First, you should keep in mind both the anticipated cost of your product, the market price to set it at, and the margin of profit you will be making. Another thing that can help you pick a product is to find out if it’s easily available to people locally; if it’s not, people will be much more likely to turn to purchasing it online. You also need to consider the shipping of the product. Is the size or weight of the product going to make it exceptionally difficult to ship? If you want to meet customer’s expectations of free or low-cost shipping, a heavier or bigger product is going to mean special shipping, which will increase the cost to the customer. The best products to choose for an eCommerce website are ones that can be easy or relatively easy to ship.
Now it’s time to pick your manufacturer. You also may choose to use a supplier, which means that you are ordering already made products (usually in bulk). A couple resources to use is Google Shopping (which searches for online products), WorldWide Brands (a paid directory for suppliers), or Wholesale Central (a free directory for suppliers).
Choosing the Right eCommerce Platform
Are you wondering why products and manufacturers come before setting up the website? Most people are drawn towards having their storefront set up before filling it with products, but particularly when it comes to an eCommerce website, it can take awhile to figure out and get manufacturers on board. Interestingly enough, it can also be faster to get manufacturers to work with your business when you have an eCommerce website coming soon rather than an empty website. A great way to start getting the word out about your eCommerce business without investing in a full website is to create a simple page that says “Coming Soon” and maybe has some details about your company.
Your eCommerce platform is going to handle all the various functions of your business, including your products and checkout. The fastest way to narrow down your search for the right eCommerce platform is to figure out what you need first. Determine what size your business will be, what features and functions are absolutely essential, what security/privacy options are available through the platform, how it fits into your budget, and anything else you feel is necessary. A quick search through the industry leaders will allow you to read specific features of each and see how it compares to your checklist.
Two great options for new eCommerce business owners are Shopify and OpenCart. Shopify is a hosted platform, which is great for business owners who need something that is easy to set up. Shopify takes care of pretty much everything, all you need to do is choose a template and the apps that you want it, and start filling it in with your own information. A downside of this is that it doesn’t easily allow for customization. OpenCart is the opposite of Shopify; it is an open source platform which allows for greater freedom of customization. However, it does mean you have to set up your own hosting and security measures.
Logos and Web Design
Although it’s not in everyone’s budget, utilizing an eCommerce design agency is an excellent way to ensure that everything from your logo to your web design is on brand and customized exactly to your preference. One web development company that does this is 1 Digital Agency, who is a team of people experienced in developing eCommerce platforms, including OpenCart and Shopify. They can design and develop a personal brand for you that covers your logo and newsletter design, to implementing a coherent and on-brand look for your website.
If this isn’t quite in your budget, there are ways to work around it rather than attempting a DIY project. You can purchase additional templates outside of the ones specifically available on your eCommerce platform from resources like ThemeForest, where you can even find ones designed specifically for the eCommerce platform that you use. For logos, you can look at freelancing websites to find a freelance graphic designer to pay for a one-time project to create your logo.
Take what you’ve learned in this article and get ready to launch your own eCommerce website. With these three basic steps, you are equipped with the advice and information you need to make your way in the eCommerce industry. Looking for a professional advice for launching an eCommerce website? Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will connect you with a professional!