Starting Online Store? Essential Steps to Plan in Advance
Looking to understand the nuances of how to start an online store? If you lack expertise in web development, building a web store may seem challenging.
Having delivered a big number of functional ecommerce solutions to our customers, NEKLO Team has now applied its practical knowledge to compose this quick guide on how to start an online store to help you launch yours faster.
Let’s get started!
Shopping is moving online globally more and more each day. The latest data revealed by Statista prove the tendency. Earlier this year, the portal reported that the number of online shoppers worldwide in 2020 makes 2.05 billion. Besides, it is forecasted to reach 2.14 billion in 2021.
If you are looking forward to building an online store to develop and advance your existing retail business or to start a new promising activity in ecommerce, our article will be of help. It will provide you with the necessary information on how to launch a profitable web store.
Ready to get started?
What Will It Take You to Build an eCommerce Website?
Creating an ecommerce website today does not seem difficult thanks to the hundreds of template-based website builders available on the market. Online merchants tend to choose them instead of building a custom platform from the ground up as they are:
- Cheap to set up;
However, the experience of running a self-made web store is often disappointing. To attract customers, generate sales, and bring profit, a web store needs:
- Professional look and feel;
- High rank in Google search results;
- Intuitive navigation.
Below we consider the essential steps those starting an online store need to pay attention to. By working on each of the below points, you will multiply chances of a seamless launch for your ecommerce project.
1. Step one: Choose a domain name
Giving a name to your web store is one of the things you should be very careful about. Why? Because this is what your customers start learning about your brand from.
To pick up the right name for your business, consider the following:
- Choose a name that is easy to pronounce
Ideally, choose a name that is also spelt the way it is pronounced. This will help you customers to quickly find your online store and will prevent them from going to the wrong URL.
- Put notional words or meaningful elements
You can use your business niche as a basis for the name so that the users could easily get the essence of your ecommerce activity. In case you want to give a more personal meaning to it, we suggest thinking over a backstory to place on one of your website pages for better media pitching and overall brand recognition.
- Make the domain name original
By giving your new web store a domain name similar to those of the famous trademarks may bring you attention. However, this may also finish as a lawsuit against you and your ecommerce business. We’d recommend you to stay as original as you can when adopting a domain name.
- Give preference to the name available at the [.COM] domain
Online shoppers, especially those who tend to shop through their mobile devices, type URLs in the address bar using the [.com] tail. Keyboards on most handheld devices provide specifically the [.com] button to ease the typing. Having a web store with the [.com] domain will help your customers find your brands storefront quickly and easily.
Additionally, consider the following don’ts as well when choosing a domain name for your website:
- Don’t pick a name that is too long
We suggest using not more than 3 words in your business name. As we have already mentioned, the easier your name is to type, the clearer it is to your audience. The clearer it is, the easier it is to remember.
- Don’t pick a name that is linked to a specific product
Even if this is your brand’s star product or product line, we’d recommend you to avoid using it as your web store name. Businesses grow, new products arrive. You don’t want your web store to be bound with just one of your existing items.
2. Step two: Select an ecommerce platform
Selecting the right ecommerce platform comes as a challenge at times, even for experienced online merchants. Newbies need to consider this point with greater care. The choice of an ecommerce platform for your web store influences further business activities and company’s budget.
With over 10 years of experience in software development for ecommerce, NEKLO experts know the challenges and rewards of all the popular platforms. Having narrowed down the choice for you, we have selected 4 powerful solutions for online retail worth your attention.
We’ve collected the main pros and cons of each ecommerce platform from this list in a small table below for your convenience.
Which of these platforms will suit your ecommerce activity most depends on your business requirements. As a Magento development company, at NEKLO we can help you build a strong online store based on Magento, one of the strongest ecommerce platforms. Additionally, we provide a range of other Magento-related services including, Magento customization, consulting, support, and maintenance.
Check out our portfolio to find some of our full-fledged Magento solutions and see how Magento helps businesses stand out from the competitors.
3. Step three: Find a web hosting provider
It’s challenging at times to choose a web hosting provider for a new ecommerce project. Not to make a mistake and to entrust your website’s activity and data to a web hosting service that is reliable and right specifically for your business, remember to consider the 4 S’s:
- Speed. Good web hosting services help to increase page load speed. A reliable hosting provider helps you to achieve sustainable website performance and improved user experience, as your customers will not have to wait for the content to load anymore.
- Security. Reliable hosting provider will provide you with advanced measures to secure your and your customers’ data, such as:
- Regular backups;
- Adding SSL certificates to your web store;
- Hacker attacks prevention mechanisms.
In case your existing web store needs additional security measures against cyber threats, read our article dedicated to online store protection.
- Support. To avoid downtimes and maintain your brand’s reputation favourable, a reliable web hosting company provides you with 24/7/365 technical support.
- Scalability. A web hosting provider that is good for you will help to scale your website in case your target audience grows. This feature is especially important at times when your web store faces bursts of high traffic during Christmas or in the period of sales.
In our article about how to find a reliable web hosting provider, we consider the main issues arising when choosing a provider. We suggest a mini-guide to help you find your reliable host as well.
4. Step four: Integrate a payment processor
Running an ecommerce business requires integration with various payment options. It means you will have to integrate payment processing gateways into your web store’s main functionality to be able to seamlessly accept payments online.
Payment gateways collect and encrypt your customers’ personal (sensitive) information, like credit card numbers, cardholder data, and expiration date.
Depending on the ecommerce platform you’ve selected for your web store, you will see what payment gateways suit it or can be allowed to integrate.
Magento platform is compatible with some of the most popular payment gateways such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Amazon Pay. Additionally, it has various integrated secure payment gateways available from scratch.
Here they are:
In case you need to integrate other payment options, you may go for an extension, a specially built plugin that serves to connect you with any payment service that you wish.
5. Step five: Cooperate with delivery services
Shipping is one of the options that may either attract customers to your web store or make them abandon the cart without making a deal.
Consider the following tips to find the best solution for shipping-related issues:
- Mind your competitors. Review shipping options your competitors use. You’ll get a much more clear understanding of what to opt for in your business segment.
- Make your shipping policies clear. Stating shipping costs and fees clearly will help to prevent “surprises” for the customers at the checkout and will help to reduce the cart abandonment.
- Offer more than 1 shipping option. Consider various shipping options with different delivery terms, Shipping speed to customers matters as much as costs.
- Offer free shipping. Provide your customers with a free shipping option either by increasing your average order value or at a minimum order amount.
- Try the BOPIS opportunity. If you are running a small business, try a BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) opportunity. You will not have to worry about delivery organization and the customers will not have to pay extra. This comes as a benefit for both.
Crafting, setting up and launching an online store requires time and effort. Even with a function-rich ecommerce platform at your disposal, creating a web store that will not become “just one more website” but a high-converting and a future-proof solution is a challenge.
We hope our small guide has helped you to realize what needs to be considered first thing. By making reasoned decisions, you remove the obstacles on your way to building an online store.
One more option you can consider is entrusting the creation of your web store to an experienced ecommerce development company. That’s us, NEKLO. For more than a decade, we’ve been developing custom Magento solutions and have gained the expertise to handle a task of any complexity and size. Just fill in the form on the contact page on our website or reach out to our sales rep Alex (https://www.linkedin.com/in/alex-mokievets) directly to discuss how we can help to build your online store from the ground up.