Online business is booming, and online shopping statistics say that Ecommerce is the way to go for any growing business. You have a product you want to sell or a great business idea. Building an Ecommerce website will strengthen the reputation of your business, help you expand your brand nationally and internationally, and expand your professional network.
In this article, we’ll show you how to build an Ecommerce website in 7 steps, quickly and easily, without any special technical skills or experience.
Building an Ecommerce Website in 7 Steps:
Start with a Strategy
Choose a Domain and Platform for Your Ecommerce Website
Design Your Store and Add Products
Decide on Pricing and Set Up Payments
Create a Great Checkout Experience
Market Your Growing Business
Improve Your Online Sales with Data
If you are just beginning your research, all of the information about Ecommerce can feel both complicated and overwhelming. Building an Ecommerce website used to require extensive technical understanding and a dream, but with the massive options for Ecommerce platforms, all you need to do is a little research to move your growing business online.
Do you want an online store but don’t want to spend thousands of dollars building an Ecommerce website? If the answer is yes, then let’s walk you through the process of building your own store using Selz as an example. Selz is a powerful tool for creating online stores and selling from existing websites.
Follow these steps for building an Ecommerce website:
1. Start with a Strategy
To ensure success while building an Ecommerce website, start with a sound strategy. Even the simplest Ecommerce platforms have details that need to be just right for you and your business. For instance, everyone says that they have excellent customer service, but you’re headed into a world where your life could depend on your Ecommerce site. Don’t you want 24/7 customer support and a friendly staff available to troubleshoot anything that might arise?
It’s important to anticipate your greatest needs and challenges as your business grows. If you plan to sell physical products, decide how you want shipping to work in advance. If you’re selling digital products, think about the bandwidth and delivery options you’ll need. Selling services online? List out exactly what you’ll be selling, how you want to deliver it, and any payment or time limitations.
Building an Ecommerce Site? Plan for Growth
Think about the options you want AND the options you’ll need for the growth of your business, and how those options will affect your bottom line. Selz offers multiple plans so that you only pay for the options you need when you need them. For example, as exciting as it is to build a whole new Ecommerce site, if you’re already making sales through your blog you can use Selz to embed a button (for one product), a widget (for multiple products), or a whole store on your blog. Instead of diverting your customers to a whole new site, you have a cost-effective option to sell where you are and streamline the buying and payment process.
At the end of the day, be sure to do your homework so that you’re making the best long-term decisions for your business. Speaking of long-term, another very important strategy while building your Ecommerce website is search engine optimization (SEO). Develop a marketing strategy before building an Ecommerce website, and start early with SEO, because it can take a year for even the best SEO strategy to show results.
2. Choose a Domain and Platform for Your Ecommerce Website
Is a custom domain essential for your Ecommerce website? The short answer is no. When you register for a free 14-day trial with Selz, you instantly get your own sub-domain, like “mysite.selz.com.” This may suffice for your Ecommerce website needs. However, if you plan to sell a wide variety of products and develop or extend your brand, a custom domain is the way to go.
A custom domain gives your Ecommerce store:
- A recognizable brand that belongs to you, e.g. mystore.com
- A professional email address linked to your domain where people can contact you
- Search engine optimization (SEO) benefits
You can create a custom domain for your Selz store in just a few clicks. If you already have a domain name, you can quickly configure it to your Selz store. If you don’t have a domain name yet, you can purchase and set one up right on your Selz dashboard.
Your next step is selecting the right Ecommerce platform for your growing business. You ideally want to build an Ecommerce website on a platform that’s flexible and easy to use. Most small business owners don’t want to bother with hand coding their website. Business owners and solo entrepreneurs need a platform that they can easily integrate with their existing site. Alternatively, if you don’t have a site yet, you will benefit from a platform that allows you to build a site from scratch, in a few simple steps.
That’s why Selz is a popular choice for many online entrepreneurs. It’s designed to help you create a professional and stylish Ecommerce website, at a competition-beating price point. Plus, your store can be easily customized, we’ve included more details on that below.
If you’ve already got a website, you can easily build an Ecommerce website by adding buy buttons or widgets. You can also embed a simple store directly on your site. If using WordPress for your site, Selz has a free WordPress Ecommerce plugin available for you to use.
3. Decide on Pricing and Set Up Payments
There are three key aspects of payments as you build an Ecommerce website: How you will price your products, how customers are going to pay you, and how you are going to get those payments into your own bank account.
You may be starting from scratch or extending your local business online. Either way, the online world has different expectations for how you will put a price on your product.
There are many factors to consider when pricing your products for sale online including:
- The cost of materials per item
- Ecommerce web hosting
- Fees and percentage per sale deductions from various organizations, including PayPal, credit cards, etc.
- Flexible pricing, like pay-what-you-wish
Then decide how your Ecommerce site will accept payments. In many cases, this means finding a third-party payment processor to act as the go-between. One extremely popular payment option is PayPal. We’ve made it super simple for your store to accept PayPal payments from your customers, using our simple PayPal feature. Yay! We also offer Selz Pay. With these payment options, you can take payments from anywhere and give your customers extra peace of mind.
- Secure payment handling
- Integrated SSL
- Acceptance of payments from anywhere
- Payments via PayPal or into your own bank account
- WordPress Ecommerce integration
4. Design Your Store and Add Products
Next step in building an Ecommerce site, it’s time to design your store. Think about what, in addition to your products, you plan to include. At the very least, you will want to include an about page and a contact page as you build an Ecommerce website to help potential buyers connect with you. You can also add video and text onto your pages.
When building an Ecommerce site, be sure to include your:
- Photograph: People like dealing with real people
- Store name: Selz uses your account name by default, but you can always change this
- Logo: For branding and recognition
- Trustmarks and payment logos: These help people feel comfortable shopping with you. Selz has these logos built in.
Select a theme that represents your brand and allows you to showcase your products in the best light possible. Create categories that are logical to your buyers. Learn as much about your ideal customer as you can and design your site with their preferences and ideal user experience in mind. Remember that the way you see your customers might not be the way that they see themselves, so find a way to ask their opinions as you build your site.
Your Ecommerce website is about to be a transactional hub where you will sell to customers and build direct relationships with them. Selz allows you to add pages, products, blog posts, images, text, videos, and more to your online store. This allows you to pique customers’ curiosity and help them feel more comfortable about purchasing products.
Once you’ve given your whole store a professional, polished look with one of Selz’s themes, start building your Ecommerce website within that structure. The drag and drop store builder makes this process intuitive, easy, and effective.
Check out this video to see how our drag and drop store builder works.
Now it’s time to add some products to your new Ecommerce website. Here’s how this works with Selz:
- Choose your product type (physical, digital or service). If you’re offering a video course, it’s worth noting that Selz has no bandwidth or storage limits and you can upload files up to an enormous 15GB.
- Give your product a name and description
- Set the price and the quantities available for sale
- Create a preview of your item by uploading a photo, an audio file or even a video preview
- Choose from a range of delivery and pricing options, as well as specifying any variants
It can be tempting to speed through this process, but keep in mind that great product descriptions and clear images convert. Be thoughtful and concise with your copywriting and make sure your images look great.
5. Create a Great Checkout Experience
Shopping cart abandonment is the plague of online sales. In 2017, the Baymard Institute took the average of 37 cart abandonment studies and found that the average online shopping cart abandonment rate is over 69%!
Avoid cart abandonment as you build an Ecommerce website by:
- Enabling customers to purchase multiple items at once
- Offering free shipping if you can, or
- Being very clear about shipping costs upfront (before customers get to the checkout)
- Making sure that you optimize your checkout for mobile devices. Selz works on desktops, smartphones, and tablets.
- Sending cart abandonment emails anytime someone leaves without completing their purchase
Don’t forget, the number of steps it takes to complete a purchase significantly affects your sales conversion rates. Test your checkout process until it is perfect and ask your friends and family to test it too.
6. Market Your Growing Business
Once you build an Ecommerce website, you need to promote your product to increase traffic and drive sales. Many vendors choose to sell from marketplace sites like Etsy or Amazon but find themselves struggling because of high fees and other limitations. After building an Ecommerce website you’ll need a solid marketing plan to bring the right customers to your site and to keep their affection for return business. Selz helps you with marketing by:
- Offering built-in SEO-optimization for every product. Use the latest guidance on SEO to help people find your Ecommerce website, products, and services online
- Offering free integration with MailChimp, AWeber, Campaign Monitor and more for email marketing
- Adding customers to your existing email marketing lists so you can inform them about new offerings
- Linking your Ecommerce site with Facebook
- Enabling social sharing for your products – it’s a one-click process
- Giving you the option to create coupons or discounts to drive sales from return customers
- Include a blog or an Ebook on your site to share engaging, relevant content, build trust, and attract new customers
7. Look after SEO and analytics
Track the performance of your Ecommerce website with an analytics solution. In addition to the business reporting within Selz dashboard, Selz integrates with Google Analytics so that you can gain deeper insight into how your marketing efforts are performing. This will help you monitor your site and product pages so you can improve them for more sales, reach, and effectiveness.
Building an Ecommerce Website Summary
That’s it. You’re done! You now have your own online store.
Building an Ecommerce website isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is an opportunity to keep your business competitive, and to raise awareness and access for your incredible products. Follow these seven steps and you will soon build an Ecommerce website that works – in no time at all.
Here’s a recap of what Selz offers as you build an Ecommerce website:
- Easy store builder so your website is ready in a few minutes
- Beautiful themes to set up your online store and the option to embed your store
- Use of a custom domain name
- Multiple payment options, including PayPal and Selz Pay
- Secure shopping and checkout with SSL
- Easy customization via content blocks and more
- Email marketing integration with MailChimp, AWeber, Campaign Monitor and more
- Business automation through hundreds of apps provided by our integration with Zapier
- Unlimited bandwidth for audio and video
Try out Selz with a free 14-day trial and start building an Ecommerce website today!
This post was originally published in January 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.