Improve Your Search Engine Optimization with Our Shopify SEO Services

There’s no shortage of reasons that you might want to consider using Shopify as a platform around which you can configure your online store. There are a load of user-friendly features that can almost make it easy for you to build an online business from the ground up.

In many ways, Shopify is the ultimate eCommerce platform. While every software has its benefits and drawbacks, with Shopify there’s almost no limit to how you can customize your store. It’s a great overall solution for online merchants who are looking to build an appealing store that integrates a lot of features.

While you can go your own way with your branding in the layout and design of your site, you’ll probably also be drawn to the fact that you can integrate tons of applications into your Shopify site that offer your visitors and customers additional functionality and engagement.

Shopify is also secure and offers some of the best uptime available to eCommerce entrepreneurs. As digital security becomes one of the main concerns – both for online buyers and sellers, you’ll appreciate the fact that Shopify has some of the best available security features available. Then there’s the fact that Shopify offers its users practically unlimited uptime, so that you don’t have to experience headaches and lost sales associated with downtime and customer complaints.

In short, Shopify offers a few solutions for online businesses with varying needs. The thing is, almost regardless of your marketing strategy, your business will face a lot of competition from other sellers online who are offering similar products and compete on similar or the same keywords to get in front of customers. In many cases, though your products might be different, your target markets might be the same.

How do you get in front of your customers before the competition gets in front of them first? How can you ensure that your page ranks sufficiently to be visible to those in the market that have an interest in, even a need for, your products or services?

You get in front of them with our Shopify SEO services. Here’s how.

Invest in Keyword Research and Develop A Strategy

One of the most significant ways to make changes to your website is by addressing the layout of your website, but that will take on many facets, so bear with us. We’ll start with the importance of keyword research and strategy.

In order to rank your website, there are a number of things that search engines must be able to identify as they crawl your site’s pages. It can be tough to find a place to start since all of the different factors affecting overall SEO are interrelated, but the way your site is laid out and the keywords it contains are a great place to start.

Let’s consider a keyword strategy, as a solid keyword strategy will affect both the way your site’s structure is addressed as well as nearly everything other aspect of your SEO endeavors. It all starts with taking a look at the greater market and conducting research into what keywords customers are searching for.

We’ll look for high volume keywords that search engines will be looking for when they crawl your website. In-depth keyword research entails understanding the relationship between customers’ reasons for searching for those keywords as well as what they expect to find.

Customers have a need for searching for keywords that drives that intent. While it’s impossible to read the customer’s minds, we can see what keywords are being searched for repeatedly as well as how competitors within your market are using those keywords to their advantage and ranking well for them.

If a competitor is successful at driving traffic to their website with a specific high volume keyword, then you can start to develop confidence that that website is offering some value to those who enter that word – that word might be a good word to target for your own use to try to grab some of that business – particularly if you offer similar or superior products.

Yet that is only one keyword, and keyword research will uncover a laundry list of words and terms that might be valuable to chase down. We’ll investigate their volume and relevance and come up with a list that will be effective for your business based on several indicators.

Once we’ve compiled a list of keywords for you to target in your efforts, we can get into your site structure, content production and garnering links to your website to gain authority for you.

Optimizing Your Site Structure

Optimizing your site structure is one of the primary ways that our Shopify SEO services can help you build more targeted traffic to your website, and some of that starts with the keyword research we hashed out above.

Before we get into the specifics of some of the many ways we can help to streamline and optimize your website, there’s some really good news in all this. Optimizing your Shopify stores for search engines won’t just help to generate more traffic to your site and help you boost conversions. It’s actually married to user experience. Know that as you develop an effective design that catches the attention of search engines, you will create a better user experience and interface as a by-product, so investing in SEO is a win-win for your business.

A large part of making your site structure more effective is tied to making it easier for search engines to crawl your website in a logical progression, which, as we stated, will also make your website easier for customers to navigate, another win-win scenario. The internal linking structure of your website must make sense, and not be overwhelmingly convoluted or circular.

Laying out your site structure in a basic fashion that only requires a few clicks to get to the page on which you want the ultimate conversion to occur is a pretty basic and effective design. It shouldn’t be counterintuitive or productive to find your products, services, sign-ups or anything else you want your customers to find. Think of it this way – if it’s hard for thinking customers to get there, it will probably be that much harder for an unthinking algorithm to do the same thing.

That’s a bit of a metaphor, but if it puts things in perspective, it’s worth it. There’s more to it than that, but that’s where our expert Shopify SEO services come into play. We handle the technical work so you don’t have to.

There’s so much more to optimizing your site structure than just the internal linking, though. Consider also the fact that our experts will take a look at your page titles, meta titles and meta descriptions, for example, to ensure that they are optimized as well.

Remember we stressed the importance of keyword research and strategy above? Here’s where it starts to come into the picture. What are your page titles, URLs, meta titles and meta descriptions made of? What are your category pages titles and descriptions composed of? All of the content, on and off your site that takes a written form, is composed of words.

So when we look at your site structure, we’re not just looking at the internal linking and hierarchy of the site. We’re looking at the keywords and phrases that appear in your meta titles and descriptions and on your category and product pages. This starts to enter the realm of content production as part of an SEO campaign, though we’re not entirely there yet.

Ultimately, we will address all of the titles and descriptions associated with your site to ensure that they are rich with keywords that will drive traffic to your site and ultimately to those pages. We don’t lose any opportunities to enrich your page titles and descriptions with keywords and phrases that customers are looking for to help generate traffic to your store. We also eliminate duplicate content in those titles and on those pages that can do more than confuse search engines and visitors to your site. It can even result in a penalty, but we’ll get to the dangers of duplicate content in a bit.

We Can Create A Responsive Design

As part of developing Shopify websites that are SEO friendly, our Shopify SEO experts can help your business develop a responsive design that will be adaptable to the small screen. This can and will have far-reaching benefits for both your SEO efforts and your customer friendliness.

If you need convincing on this front, know that M-commerce is rapidly growing and that every year, more and more online transactions take place on mobile devices. Shoppers are turning to their phones and tablets to research products, read reviews, communicate with other users and then ultimately make their purchase decisions. Over the course of 2020, mobile transactions are expected to surpass the halfway mark – that is, they are expected to account for over half of all online sales.

eCommerce shop

What does that mean? A website that doesn’t scale to the device to offer a flexible user experience will be left in the dust. If your desktop website is stellar, that’s grand. If it doesn’t fit the device, showing up as text-heavy, curtailed or disproportionate on a phone’s screen, that’s bad news.

We don’t feel the need to dive further into why this will adversely affect your conversion rate, but we will do you the service of elaborating on its impacts on SEO. Google has begun mobile-first indexing, which means that it will first evaluate a website on its mobile design and then on other factors. That means a responsive design is becoming more and more important to how your Shopify store will rank in search results. A user-friendly, engaging mobile site is just one more thing our Shopify SEO services can offer you.

Use Content Production to Your Advantage

Content production is more than just a component of your marketing efforts. Content can be used directly to optimize your website for search engines and it can even be used to generate backlinks to your website to gain your business referral traffic.

Content production is also, obviously, tied directly into the keyword strategy that we develop for your business. One of the aspects this takes on is on your product and category pages. We will conduct an analysis of these pages to investigate the content they contain, as this is one of the main areas in which businesses are guilty of offering duplicate content.

Category and product pages with duplicate content aren’t just boring to customers. Search engines will immediately recognize it as duplicate and defer to the original source as the authority, which will rob you of traffic. It can be tempting to take a manufacturer description but don’t fall prey to that trap.

As part of our Shopify SEO services, we will craft original, keyword-rich content for your category and product pages to drive customers looking for those keywords to those pages. Sounds effective, right? That’s because it is. You’re basically placing the solution right before the person with the problem.

We will also create content for your site’s blog to entice readers with valuable information on your company, on the solutions your products offer, and other engaging topics, and you guessed it, it will be original, keyword-rich, and highly targeted to your audience. But posting original and informative content on your website to engage readers and drive traffic isn’t our only strategy. We will create similar content and post it elsewhere on highly authoritative sites directing traffic back to your website indicating you as a reputable source. It’s genius (see: Genius eCommerce) and effective.


Of course, this is a highly simplified overview of the efforts we take as part of an SEO strategy to generate long term organic traffic to your site and craft the ideal user experience for your customers, but they all work together to achieve results. To learn more about our processes and see how we can impact your web design for the better, reach out to us at info@geniusecommerce.com or at 267-225-1946.

Now Serving: The Best eCommerce Marketing Tips

The eCommerce marketplace is one of the most competitive landscapes in today’s environment. It’s more competitive even than a row of similar businesses selling commoditized products in a bustling square where consumers can take their pick.

The eCommerce marketplace is like that bustling square, except consumers can pick and choose between options nearly instantaneously and with the greatest of ease.

If a consumer wants a review of a specific product, it’s right at their fingertips.

If a consumer wants to compare prices for the same product from five or more different vendors, it’s also right at their fingertips, and they can have the answer in mere moments.

If a customer wants to find alternatives to that very same product – you guessed it, all of the answers they’re looking are right there at their fingertips.

These days, time and choice are in the camp of your consumers, and the online marketplace is stiff with competition. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to be successful in selling products or services online. In fact, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The factors that come together to make the online marketplace so competitive largely stem from the fact that it’s completely saturated with customers. People are increasingly turning to the internet to fulfill purchases specifically because it offers them so much convenience.

Global eCommerce sales are expected to surpass 4 trillion dollars this year. It might seem tough to get a share of that pie, but it is a very large pie, and there are definitely ways to take a share for your business.

One of the greatest ways to compete effectively is with an expert marketing strategy, and we here at Genius eCommerce specialize in solving complex eCommerce problems. A marketing strategy taking advantage of some of the best eCommerce marketing tips will have quite an impact on your business.

A successful marketing strategy will create a robust brand, speak to your target audience, cultivate loyalty and more. With some of the best eCommerce marketing tips at your disposal – tips that you’ll find outlined here – you could be well on your way to reaching the right market and differentiating your products effectively.

Create, and Strengthen, a Unique Brand for Your eCommerce Website

A unique brand that speaks to your target audience is hands down one of the strongest assets that your business can list. In short, a strong brand is critical. It represents a statement of value and provides an experience that customers can’t find elsewhere. The thing is, it takes attention and dedication to build one that is not only strong, but unique and focused.

Develop an intimate knowledge of your business. It is your business, after all. Get to know your customers. Get to know how they use your products and why. Build your brand around that relationship, and you will thank yourself in the long run.

Publish Original, Targeted Content to Your eCommerce Sites

The use of content in marketing is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. The overwhelming majority of consulted marketing professionals agree that content is one of the most effective ways to reach and engage audiences and the use of content in marketing is central to this.

Create a blog and post original, insightful content on your product and the problems it solves. For those who prefer to consume content in the form of a video, consider publishing a vlog. Consider sending emails as part of a targeted campaign. The sky’s the limit when it comes to being inventive with how you want to reach your audience.

Utilize User Generated Content, Too!

While you should offer creative, original content, sharing and promoting user-generated content is a great way to build trust with customers and get them excited about your product. Not only does it potentially save you time, but It can make you seem more authentic and more engaged with your audience, and that can go a long way. Trust is one of the strongest elements in building a successful brand. After all, if you know you need to be engaging with your audience, shouldn’t you engage them?

Personalize – Wherever You Can – to Increased Sales

Personalization is the future of marketing endeavors. Customers are increasingly expecting to be the audience for relevant advertising material and content. To offer a personalized experience, you’ll need to be in touch with your customers.

Reach out to them, ask for their feedback for improvements or reviews. Giving your customers the feeling that they are a part of the success of your business will build rapport and trust, and will positively affect your conversion rate.

The Mobile Marketing Channel Is The Future

One more thing to consider here – make sure your online store is optimized to provide a high-quality mobile experience. More and more customers are using their mobile phones and tablets to research products and make purchases. Make sure that your advertising and your marketing efforts are well adapted to the mobile landscape – if not, they will not be as effective as they might be.


We could go on, but we’d love the chance to be able to give you advice based on your unique situation (see, personalize wherever, above!). In order for us to do that we need to get to know the challenges facing your eCommerce business, and the only way we can do that is by speaking with you. If you’re interested in learning more about tackling the marketing opportunities before you and getting some more of the best eCommerce marketing tips, contact us at info@geniusecommerce.com.

Tips for Making Your eCommerce Business a Success

The eCommerce space is loaded with potential for entrepreneurs. With so much success in the eCommerce industry, it’s a no-brainer to get involved and take a chance to get a piece of the pie.

With that in mind, you want to have a bigger piece of the pie than others and there will always be competitors trying to get their share. You need to take an appropriate strategy to make sure you can be as successful as possible.

Genius eCommerce is here to help, keeping you up to date on the latest trends, news, and tips for your eCommerce endeavors. We are constantly learning about new trends and tips so we can share them with you. It’s what we do and who we are!

Today, let me tell you about a few things you can do to achieve success with your eCommerce store:

Don’t Force the Launch of Your Website – For new entrepreneurs, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is rushing to launch your website. Of course, it is really exciting to be launching a new store, and the anticipation can make you anxious to get everything out there and started. We get it. But you also need to be patient at the start and lay some groundwork before the launch. Get SEO in order, start content marketing efforts, make sure the design is ready to go. It’s okay to start off with a domain name and use a coming soon page if you need to wait for an official launch and big reveal.

Focus on the Customer – Stay focused on the customer. In an online setting, potential customers cannot touch, feel, or try products before making a buying decision, so make up for that by making other areas easier and more convenient for customers like lower pricing, free shipping, or an easier checkout process.

Test Everything – In all steps leading up to the launch, test everything. Before you roll out to customers on a full scale, you need to make sure everything works properly so the customer experience can be top-notch before the public gets a chance to take it for a spin. Thinking like the customer when testing can also help you see the website from a new perspective.

Get Social – Your best marketing tool is social media, simply because it gives you a look directly into the lives of your customers. Think about it. Social media offers the opportunity to communicate with your customers in different ways. It can be a place to answer a question or announce a new sale or special or a new product you have. It’s a place for reviews and feedback, all valuable information to you as an entrepreneur looking to make your business better. So, make it easy for your customers. Put elements of social media like reviews and testimonials or share buttons onto your website so customers don’t have to work hard to interact with you on social media.

eCommerce-analytics

Be Mobile Friendly – When faced with making a purchase, how likely are you to complete it directly from your phone or tablet while on the go? Do you like to buy immediately or do you wait until you can get to a desktop? The common answer these days is making the purchase quickly using a mobile device on the go. People love on the go and how quickly they can complete a task with just the push of a button on their phone. If you are starting an eCommerce website, it has to be mobile friendly for tablets and phones.

Get Skilled at SEO – The best way to remain competitive and stand out is through SEO. The businesses that have the most success on the internet and in the eCommerce space do so because they are able to reach a larger audience with great SEO. So, get skilled at SEO or get some help optimizing your website. Believe me, it will make a noticeable difference.

Don’t Stop Evolving – Just because your website is ready to launch doesn’t mean you can just sit back and collect revenue. If you want to really achieve success, you need to stay involved and always keep finding ways to help the business evolve. Things are changing regularly with technology and in the eCommerce space. It takes dedication and the ability to adjust to these changes to have great success.

Were these tips helpful to you? If you are looking for more tips like this or about anything else eCommerce, check out the Genius eCommerce blog. We are constantly providing new updates, trends and tips to help you in the eCommerce space. It’s what we do!

Creating a User Experience That Converts

When creating a website, it’s always important to keep the user experience in mind. A positive user experience to an eCommerce website can be the difference between a conversion and a lost customer.

Conversion rates can be based off how positive a user experience is to potential customers. But how can you be sure that you are providing a positive experience for visitors?

There are several things you can do to optimize the user experience on your eCommerce website.

Have a Unique Visual Experience – Your website should provide a unique experience and be specific to your brand. The first aspect of a unique visual experience is making sure that the brand is instantly identifiable on the website. Using custom visual content can help you stand out and be unique as well. Use original pictures of products or your staff. Constantly update the website to reflect holiday, seasons and events that are relevant to the industry.

Personalize Messages – Get personal. Visitors to the website don’t want to feel like they are just another browsing customer. So many people come to a website with something specific in mind. Making the experience individual to the customer and fitting their needs only enhances the experience. It’s also important for your website to be responsive and remember customer habits, remembering search terms of previous customers or search words that are relevant to you and your competition.

Integrate Social Media – An essential part of the user experience is social media. That said, it’s important to identify which social media platforms are right for you. If you are a clothing business, Instagram is a necessary platform. If you are an event or party-planning company, show off your ideas on Pinterest. Blogs about specific topics like news or entertainment are better for Facebook and Twitter. Whatever platforms work best for your industry, it’s about having a place to share your content.

Balance Form and Function – The design of the website is important from the visual standpoint, but another part of the user experience is how well the website functions. The best websites are the ones that combine the visual aesthetics with easy functionality. It’s all about making sure your content and branding are up to par while having an effective site that loads quickly and responds well to prompts for action.

Be Compatible on Multiple Channels – Having a great looking and well-functioning website isn’t just about the standard desktop view. It’s important to make sure the design and functionality of the website work across multiple channels, meaning that it gives the same user experience on a desktop, laptop, tablet, phone and even in options that don’t involve the website itself like in-store shoppers or callers. The idea is that in addition to making your digital presence responsive across multiple platforms, it also means taking the content and branding done online and applying it to your store in person as well.

At Genius eCommerce, we stay up to date on trends and tips in the eCommerce field so you can stay informed. Our experts are always providing tips, news, trends, and updates. Stay informed with Genius eCommerce.

Why Your Business Needs To Use Social Media

In this day and age, social media is becoming a driving force in how people communicate with one another and especially with how businesses communicate with their audience. No matter the business, if you utilize a social media platform, your audience level is going to increase. On the other hand, if your business does not take advantage of any social media platforms whatsoever, then you are sorely missing out a huge chunk of audience engagement that could greatly increase conversions.

It’s important to note, however, that not all social media platforms work for every business. Each business needs to do research and look into each platform in order to determine which ones work best for them. For example, if your business is related to fashion, there are quite a number of social media platforms that can be used. Instagram, one of the biggest social media platforms available, offers those in the fashion industry a platform in which they can harness the use of visuals to increase their audience. On top of that, Instagram offers various ways in which businesses can engage with users to create a form of communication that benefits each side.

Pinterest is another platform the fashion industry can use in order to increase their audience. Also a visually based platform, Pinterest (and Instagram for that matter) allows for users to share their favorite images, clothes, shoes, jewelry, whatever it may be, and gives them a platform in which they can create their own Pinterest fashion-related accounts that link to their favorite designers, stores, influencers, etc for future reference or style ideas and tips.

For businesses that focus on news, or content that is more text-based rather than visual-based, other social media platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn could be the ones to go after. It is known that posts with images get more conversion than those without. However, although these aforementioned platforms aren’t known for their visual effects, they both allow images to be placed with their text in order to promote the content. With a good image attached to even better content, you can draw in consumers initially with the image and then keep them entertained, informed, and engaged with the content.

Before you create an account on any social media platform, there are a few steps that should first be taken.

Do Your Research

One of the biggest mistakes people make is trying to jump onto every social platform. This isn’t necessarily a huge mistake, but it is unnecessary. Each business does not need to be on every platform. The first step to successfully using social media is to do some research as to where your target audience is and how they engage with your competitors.

Post With the Intent To Inform and Share NOT Sell

Once you’ve determined your target audience and decided on which platform(s) you’re going to utilize for your business, you’ll want to start posting content. Keep in mind, however, that each post you make should NOT be for the sole purpose of selling. Consumers don’t want products to be shoved down their throats; that’s not the reason they’re on these social platforms to begin with. What they want is to engage with their peers and follow the businesses and influencers they like and admire in order to gain some sort of informative content that helps them with whatever it is they seek. A good tip to remember is to follow the rule of 7 to 1. For every 8 posts you make, seven should be to share and inform, 1 should be sell.

Take Advantage of User-Generated Content and Peer-to-Peer Marketing

According to PulpStrategy, 92% of people base their buying decisions based on what their peers are saying. If you want to gain traction within your industry, a great step to do this is to take advantage of user-generated content. Consumers find that content produced by their peers is more trustworthy than advertisements that are being fed to them. One way to benefit from this is to do some more research into who your customers are and what they are posting. If your customers have a high following and post something that is directly related to your business or your products, it’s worth reaching out and offering them a discount or a free gift if they post your product onto their social media platforms.

Fore more information on eCommerce business solutions and ideas, check out our other articles on Genius eCommerce and feel free to post your social media success stories and tips in the comments below.

Getting Started with Your Shopify Website: Your “Going Live” Checklist

Guide to Launching a Shopify Website

After you’ve completed your design, put in your content, and installed all the apps and features that you want, what’s left to do before launching your Shopify website? This checklist takes you step-by-step through all the details you should handle and double check before officially launching your store.

Products

When you are going through your “Going Live” checklist for products on your Shopify website, your primary point of focus will be your inventory and product descriptions. First, check that your inventory levels are where you want them to be. Then, take a look at your product descriptions. Do products have the correct tax status applied to them? Do your products (if applicable) have correct weights? Do you need to add any images to specify variety within products? Do your products have optimized and non-duplicate meta information? Have you determined your gift card and discount policies? If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then your products are all set.

Customers

This section is geared towards eCommerce business owners who have migrated their data to a Shopify website from a previous eCommerce platform. This can include customer data, so if you’ve changed eCommerce platforms, make sure you’ve imported previous customer groups. If you choose to do so, you can create customer groups for further organization.

Blog

If you are planning on having blog content on your site, double check that all the content to be listed is available. Then, there are a couple decisions you have to make in regards to your blog. Do you want customers to be able to comment? Have you added any featured images for your blogs? Do your blogs have unique meta information?

Content Pages

Content pages are an important resource for customers to find information on your business background as well as your business policies. Do you have an about us page? Do you have a contact us page (with an embedded contact form)? Do you have an FAQ and Terms and Conditions Page? Do you have a Shipping and Returns page? These are the most important content pages to include, but you should also double check that any sample or test pages that were used as filler in website development are deleted.

Themes

Before launching your Shopify website, you need to prepare your theme and content associated with it. First, make a backup and then also create a duplicate “test theme.” Another important tip is to add in language translations as a feature to your theme.

Website Navigation

Navigation is a critical feature on any website, not just an eCommerce website. It’s what allows the customer to easily move through the site from one page to another, and so before you take your Shopify eCommerce store live, double check that all of your navigation pages are working. So, make sure that your primary, secondary, and drop-down navigation menus are all available and working properly.

Payments, Checkout, Shipping, and Taxes

Before you launch your live website, Shopify fills in a testing payment option. So the first step to take is to determine your primary and secondary payment options, and also determine whether you want to add any manual payment options (paying offline).

Shopify’s checkout settings gives you a variety of options to choose how much information is given to and taken from the customer during checkout. In order to complete this part of the checklist, you need to determine which fields are required for customer checkout. You also will be prompted to determine what settings will be in place for abandoned cart emails, as well as making sure that refunding and privacy statements will be available.

Your comprehensive shipping plan needs to cover the following things: your shipping zones, what carrier you want to use, what shipping rates you prefer, and how to calculate shipping rates (based on weight or price). If you know there are times you will be offering free shipping, determine that now. Also, make sure your shipping label settings are complete and correct.

There are a handful of settings to determine for taxes. Do you want them added to the product price or added separately? Do you need to charge taxes on shipping? Are there tax overrides/exemptions for certain products or customers?

General Settings

This section is just small housekeeping details. First, make sure your images are optimized for your Shopify website. This will help your website performance and keep the images from slowing down the speed. Then, make sure your website’s homepage meta information is updated and grammatically correct. After that, make sure that you have inputted your Google Analytics account information into your Shopify information so that it can start collecting data as soon as your website goes live.

If you went through this comprehensive list and was able to check all the boxes complete, then you are all set to launch your business. After you go live with your Shopify website, it’s time to start watching your wallet grow. Did you find this article helpful or interesting? Share this to your social media and spread the word about Genius eCommerce!

Comprehensive Going Live Checklist For Your BigCommerce Website

What to Check Before Launching Your BigCommerce Website

Prior to launching your BigCommerce website, complete this Going Live checklist to make sure you have everything handled!

Apply A Theme

One of the benefits of an eCommerce platform like BigCommerce is that you can get your online store working quickly and easily by choosing one of their pre-made themes. Any customizations you want to make to your themes, you can do it through the Theme Editor available on the BigCommerce website control panel. BigCommerce uses “stencil theme” which are their newer versions of themes. The Stencil themes are designed for quality and responsivity, and that need only light editing for functionality. A tip to keep in mind before launching, is that if you made any customizations you have made to the Stencil theme you chose, it’s important that you backup any theme files you have if you’re considering changing or applying a new theme.

Add Products

Before adding products, make sure to manage your categories. BigCommerce especially takes advantages of categories as a management system in order to help your customers find products easier. Through the control panel, you can edit your product categories, adjust your navigation settings as necessary, and also change which products are listed under which categories. When you are ready to add products, there are a number of ways in which you can do it through your BigCommerce website. First, you can add products one-by-one into the product sections of your stores. Or, for your convenience, you can import a list of products by using a CSV file. BigCommerce can also provide you with integrations to companies who provide suppliers for products, in case you find something that can help expand your business offerings.

Set Up Payment Options

BigCommerce provides its merchants with a variety of options for collecting payment from customers. These options include PayPal or PayPal powered by braintree (a particularly popular option) and credit cards, or even selecting that your customers can pay by check. Other online payment methods available are Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, QuickBooks payments, and more. Other offline payment methods available are receiving it by money order, paying cash upon delivery, or receiving direct bank deposits.

Set Up Shipping Options

Through your BigCommerce website, you can select from a range of shipping options, but domestic and international. You should choose the shipping that is going to work best for your budget, for your customers, and also what will work best for your product. Is it heavier or bulkier, and would cost you more? Then you should choose an option like the “ship by weight” shipping method. If it’s a smaller item that doesn’t require much work for shipping, you can use a simple “flat rate per item” shipping method. They also use USPS through Endicia, which will let you print labels from your BigCommerce control panel.

Set Up Taxes For Your eCommerce Business

BigCommerce will calculate tax for you at the checkout of your BigCommerce website if you want to use their automated tax tool, but this is only applicable for sales in the United States. If you need to make more complex tax options, or you have tax exemptions you want to take advantage of, then there are manual settings available in the control panel.

Create Content Pages

Your customers want to know more about you than just what products you offer. Through the control panel, BigCommerce makes it very easy to add content pages to your website. This includes options like Shipping and Returns policies, FAQs, About Us pages, or creating a Contact Us form.

Connect a Domain

Throughout the process of building a BigCommerce website, you will initially be hosted through a bigcommerce.com domain. However, prior to making your store go live, you will need to purchase a custom domain. This you can easily do through your BigCommerce control panel. At this point, you should also link your email account associated with your eCommerce store so that it can be seamlessly integrated with the BigCommerce control panel.

Add An SSL

The last stop on the checklist is to purchase an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate (or Secure Sockets Layer certificate) is the standard security system implemented between a web server and a browser. THis is mainly used to protect your customer’s privacy and information to prevent things like their payment information getting stolen. BigCommerce does provide an SSL certificate through their server, but if you prefer to have your customers on your own domain during checkout, you will need to purchase an additional SSL certificate.

Before launching, an excellent tip is to allow others to preview your store. In the control panel, you will find a “preview code,” which you can give to certain people to access your site. When they visit your domain prior to official launching, they will see a box that says “Coming Soon” and a space to enter the preview code. Make any necessary adjustments or changes based on the feedback you receive from their preview. Now you are ready to launch! Simply scroll to the bottom of the Getting Ready Guide on your control panel and click Launch Store. Have any questions about starting a BigCommerce website or any other eCommerce platforms? Contact info@geniusecommerce.com and have a professional digital agency answer your questions!

Estimating the Costs to Start an eCommerce Business

Wondering What it Costs to Get Your ECommerce Business Up and Running?

Ecommerce is all around us. From industry giants like Amazon to smaller boutiques, eCommerce businesses are now a part of our everyday lives. For brick and mortar businesses, having an online presence is becoming increasingly important to compete in today’s competitive markets. With new businesses popping up every day and eCommerce sales in the hundreds of billions each year, it can be tempting to join the trend, whether you’re starting from scratch or already have a physical store. This guide will help you to get an idea of what some of your options are and to estimate the costs associated with starting up your own eCommerce business.

Marketplaces Like Amazon and eBay

Existing services like Amazon and eBay are a very popular way to start an eCommerce business, no matter what type of product you sell. These services are popular because they are well established and have massive customer bases. They also take care of a lot of the legwork for you, letting you build your business upon an existing platform. Getting your marketplace found is often easier on these services than doing it alone, so this can be great for those who are just beginning to open a business. Starting an eCommerce business on one of these platforms can range from just a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on what you are selling, the size of your business, and your marketing strategy. Keep in mind that these platforms will charge a fee for listing your products, and take a percentage cut of each sale.

Here’s a great example of the various eCommerce platforms that integrate with Amazon, Ebay, or even sites like Jet.com:

Open Source and Self-Hosted Software

Open source and self-hosted online shops can allow for more customization than already established marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. One drawback to this option is that having a developer create your online marketplace can cost thousands of dollars. Your initial cost will be much higher because of the customization required, and maintenance and management costs can also add up. Or, you can pay a professional rest assured you don’t have to maintain and manage your software, find, manage, and maintain the hosting, and hire and train a staff.  Instead, simply find and maintain relationships with your developers and designers! Not to mention, the DIY option isn’t usually recommended unless you have a technical background and know how to build up your site yourself. Your online store could run you just around a few hundred dollars or so if you are tech savvy enough to run the site, but could cost you thousands if it’s not properly maintained. You also need to consider the amount of time you want to dedicate to running the technical aspects of your business, versus actually making sales and building your business. While no one is going to be taking a cut of each sale for this option, the costs of paying a web developer, and the time required if you do it yourself, are just too high to make it feasible in a lot of cases.  

Forbes.com has some thorough suggestions for who to hire, the pros and cons, and the results of each.

One big benefit [of hiring a web development company] is the higher … relative quality of work since you can presume the company has vetted all their employees and works according to industry best practices. In short, the work tends to be a lot more professional. A related benefit then is that of management – while you should expect to keep regular tabs on their work, the web dev company will usually provide their own product or project manager who will ensure that the contract stays on schedule so you don’t have to spend as much of your time doing it. This frees your time for strategy and operations. 

Fully Hosted eCommerce Solutions

Using a solution that is fully hosted can take a lot of the headache away from building your own platform. Setup and maintenance of the site is usually much easier when choosing this route, and the supplier is responsible for maintenance. A major benefit of this option is that your month costs will be fixed, and include your software, hosting, maintenance, upgrades, and support. These systems are also advantageous because you don’t need to have strong technical skills to use them. Costs can start at just a few hundred dollars a month, and increase exponentially with extensive customization or as your business grows.  

Other Various Costs of Running an ECommerce Business

Selling your products online can be cost effective because there aren’t as many things to pay for in regards to infrastructure, insurance, and labor costs. However, it isn’t free. You need to take into account warehousing costs, logistics, human resources, the cost of your products, marketing, business taxes, accounting fees, and more. These costs generally will fluctuate based on the size of your inventory. For a small store selling only 100 products or so, you can probably start your business for around $1,000 and expect to at least pay that amount each month. As your business grows, your monthly costs can easily reach thousands of dollars each month, or for larger businesses, over $20,000 just to start. A good idea is to inquire with other eCommerce businesses to see how they manage their expenses or even reach out to professional digital agencies to get a sense of the monthly costs.

Do Your Research

In the end, the cost of starting an eCommerce business really just depends on what it is you are trying to do and what you are looking to get out of your business. To really get a true idea of the costs, you’ll want to sit down and think about all the initial costs and monthly costs it will take to effectively run your business. This will depend on the type of product you sell and how much inventory you move, your vendors, warehousing costs, your own technical know-how, and much more. Before sinking any of your money into a new business, make sure to study up as much as you can. Read small business how-to books and check out eCommerce blogs to get an idea of your particular industry and what running a business really entails. It isn’t always easy, but running an eCommerce business can be very lucrative, or can just be a great way to make a little passive income on the side.

 

Tell us your questions in the comments and we’ll have a professional digital agency jump in to answer them for you!