How to start your e-commerce adventure?

Do you run a stationary shop and want to expand your sales channel with the Internet? Or maybe you are a novice entrepreneur and you are thinking about launching your e-shop? If you have answered yes to one of these questions, it is necessary to read the whole article. It tells you how to start an online business and what to look for.

 

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E-commerce base – domain and platform

You already know that you want to set up an online shop with a specific assortment. So it's time to choose a domain which is the internet address of your business. Although it seems to be a simple task, in practice, it often turns out that our idea may already be taken up. So it is worth to prepare a few options and verify them all in turn. When creating proposals, make sure that the desired domain is easy to remember and write in the browser.

In the next step, we have to determine what type of CMS we want to use. We can choose between platforms of this type:

  • open-source – Magento, PrestaShop or WooCommerce are available in the form of ready-made software which can be used immediately after downloading and installing on the server;
  • subscription (SaaS) – Shopify, Shoplo or Shoper are software that is provided by cloud providers. To start using them, all you need to do is create an account and choose a subscription plan; 
  • dedicated CMS – this solution offers the most possibilities in terms of customising shop functions to our needs, but it is relatively expensive and requires more work.

Before we make a final decision, we should consider what we expect from the CMS of our online shop, how many products we will offer, what integration we need and what additional functions will be required. Answering these questions will undoubtedly make it easier to choose the optimal solution. 

Creating an e-shop

A critical stage in starting an online business is the preparation of the online shop itself. Start your work from getting to know your customers – their expectations and preferences. Then it will be easier for you not only to create a site map and individual name product categories properly but also to choose the graphic design or design the entire visual identity. These issues are fundamental because you will not change them for a long time. Therefore, it is worth spending more work on this stage and preparing a solid base for the further efficient functioning of the whole e-business.

Equally important at the initial stage of the online business development are issues related to the choice of shipping and payment methods, accounting systems or establishing contracts with goods suppliers. It is also worth verifying the actions of the competition and determining what makes our online shop stand out from the others. We also cannot forget about legal aspects, i.e. preparation of shop regulations and privacy policy.

Invite customers to your e-shop – promotion

Competition in e-commerce is continuously increasing. Just setting up a shop and launching products is not enough to start earning money. It is crucial to reach out to customers with an offer. This will be helped by actions both within and outside the online shop. First of all, pay attention to:

  • reliable product descriptions created in accordance with SEO principles – do not copy them from others,
  • good quality product photos or instructional videos,
  • descriptions of the most important product categories and tags,
  • taking care of the UX shop and easy navigation throughout the service,
  • systematic communication with customers through a company blog, social media channels or newsletter,
  • transparent actions in all communication channels,
  • efficient handling of customer enquiries and possible complaints,
  • rapid delivery and availability of different payment systems.

Ready to start with the new e-commerce?

Finally, there is another crucial point. Online shop tests. For this purpose, you should ask your friends or family for help. Going through the next subpages of the website, they will catch errors faster than you. Technical verification of the online shop is also essential. The list of tasks to be performed should certainly include tests of the website's loading speed and correct integration with:

  • suppliers' systems – you should verify whether the waybills are generated correctly after placing an order;
  • online payments – many of the payment systems available on the market provide a test mode, all the more so it is worth verifying whether we have indeed configured everything well in our e-shop;
  • warehouse and accounting system – each order placed in the online shop should be recorded in stock, the sales system should automatically book the payment, and the order should be forwarded for processing.

If the tests are positive, you can start working. Remember, however, to continually monitor the condition of the website itself, as well as users' behaviour. Working on e-commerce requires regularity and constant analysis of key KPIs. With the help of tools such as Ecometrixo you will save time because all the most critical data will be available in one place and, what is important, the system will convert them into the most crucial KPIs for your business.