The ecommerce industry is growing rapidly. Ecommerce sales are expected to top $4 trillion by 2020. This is because more people prefer to shop online from the comfort of their homes instead of going to the store.
Now is the best time to set up an ecommerce store. But don’t go about this randomly. If you want to be among the top performing ecommerce stores it is important that you take great care to set yours up properly. You must set it up on the right platform, use the right hosting service, optimize it for conversion and take various other crucial steps.
To help you get them all right, I have created this list of steps to planning out an ecommerce site…
#1 Decide on a store building platform:
Hiring a developer and then getting them to set up your ecommerce store isn’t the only way as there are so many options now.
For people looking for the easiest way to design and run an ecommerce site there are options like Shopify, while for those who are more interested in running a blog with an ecommerce store, WordPress would be a better option. There are ecommerce WordPress plugins like WooCommerce that can simplify things.
Note: As Shopify and WordPress are premade Content Management Systems (CMSs) that were designed to simplify things, they can result in restrictions. This can make it impossible to work in some custom features by yourself.
If you want a site with some unique features, it might be better to hire a designer and get them to set it up for you. This will be far more expensive though.
#2 Choose a hosting service:
If you plan to use a blogging platform like WordPress to set up your ecommerce store or you plan to create one from scratch it is necessary to choose the right hosting service. First time ecommerce store owners can sometimes pay little importance to this step and go with any service. But this is a big mistake.
Choosing the right host can determine the amount of time your online store will take to load and this will in turn will determine how much revenue your store generates.
If your site loads quickly fewer people will abandon and it will convert more traffic to sales as shown in this infographic.
So, be very meticulous while choosing the host. Here is a list of E-commerce hosting providers recommended by HostAdvice.com. They have done all the necessary research, so you don’t have to.
#3 Design the site:
The next step is to design the site. If you have hired a designed to help you out, you should set up an interview and tell them what you want from the site and ask them to come up with a plan. If they have plenty of experience designing ecommerce stores, they will definitely come up with something you like.
If you are designing the site yourself with a platform like Shopify or WordPress you can simply buy a theme and modify it. There are hundreds of free ones out there. You can also buy premium themes at very affordable prices. But make sure you pick one that is properly optimized for conversion and represents the brand you want to project.
#4 Integrate the right marketing tools with your site:
One of the reasons why it is so easy and affordable to run an ecommerce store today is that many of the tasks can be automated. You have email marketing tools, image editors, lead generation tools and so many other kinds of tools/apps that can simplify things and save you time.
Here’s a great list of ecommerce tools from Lemonstand.com.
#5 Run a beta test:
Once you have chosen an ecommerce hosting service, designed your store and integrated the marketing tools, you should run a beta test to make sure everything is running smoothly. So, run a beta test by asking your friends to order goods on your site. Also hire some experienced beta testers to take a look.
You can find them on sites like Upwork. This will help you get rid of bugs and give your visitors a pleasant customer experience and maximise profit when you launch.
Now launch your ecommerce store
These are all the steps you must take while planning an ecommerce store. After you go through all of them you can launch your store.