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Small Business Tips \ JUL 21st 2016

eCommerce Checklist – How to Start an Online Store

With millions of eCommerce stores out there and over $300 billion generated a year in the industry, there’s no better time to set up an eCommerce website. If you’ve had an idea brewing but weren’t quite ready to delve into the business world, get ready to take the plunge!

We’ve created the ultimate guide to setting up your first online store. From the best way to learn from your competition to the strategies you need to know to get your online store out there, we’ve broken down all the steps you need to take on your journey.

How to Start an Online Store

Do Your Homework

As a budding entrepreneur, it’s important for you to do your research before laying the groundwork. Investigate what’s been going on in your industry and stay up to date on the latest trends so you can better position yourself in your market. Got some major competition? Take notes! The best way to get ahead of your competitors is to stay completely attuned to what it is they’re doing. Check out what works for them and what doesn’t and craft your plan accordingly. Aside from researching your industry, it’s also important to research your audience. Identify your target, get an understanding of what it is they’re looking for and find a way to make your online store their last stop.

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Plan Ahead

Once your research is done, you’ll be able to start thinking about the actual layout and design of your website. Next you’ll want to imagine the structure and flow of your website; like your gorgeous storefront that’s going to reel your visitors in, your product galleries and the beautiful images of your products. If possible, organize all of the written content you’ll need and have all of your product images and videos ready in advance. Gathering all the materials ahead of time will allow you to seamlessly put the pieces together to create your eCommerce site.

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Build Your Stunning Website

Let’s get down to business! The real reason people are scoping out your website is to check out your killer products and your number one goal is to get them to buy. In order to have a successful eCommerce website, there are a few things you need to keep in mind and some elements you must have:

  • Choose a template

Your first step when creating your website? Choosing the perfect eCommerce template, of course! Keep in mind that whatever template you choose can be customized to reflect the products you’re selling. Check out a selection of our most popular templates:

Choose an eCommerce Template

  • Build your storefront

The first thing your visitors will see is your homepage, which serves as your storefront, so you’ll need to do everything to reel them in from there. Feature your most popular products and get your visitors excited to explore your full collection.

When constructing your storefront, remember the user experience. With over 60% of online shoppers abandoning their shopping cart it’s important you’re aware of the journey a visitor goes through in order to make a purchase. You want your website to be as simple as possible so that your visitors successfully make it to checkout and purchase, so simplify their experience! Add strong call to actions like a bold “Buy Now” buttons on every page. Be sure there is a set path for your potential buyer to move on so that they never get stuck along the way.

Remember the User Experience

  • Customize every detail

Wix makes it easy to customize every element of your website (even your shopping cart icon!). Think about your brand’s identity and choose your colors, fonts and storefront images accordingly. Stick with a color palette that compliments the products you’re selling and makes sense for your business. Design a logo that is memorable for your customers right inside the Wix Editor or have a designer create one that is unique for your business. Always stay up-to-date on the latest design trends so you’re ahead of the curve.

  • Add detailed product pages

Customize your product pages accordingly to keep up with the stunning theme of your eCommerce site. Every product page should have two important elements; a detailed yet concise description that will give your SEO a boost and of course, a professional image to seal the deal. Remember that your images will influence any purchase made, so make sure you allow them to experience the product as best as they can. Once you have a collection you want to show off, display it in one of our stunning product galleries to greet your website visitors.

  • Nail your content

That killer text you prepared for your website? Now’s the time for it to shine. Be sure you add clear and easy-to-read text on your homepage to entice your website viewers to keep exploring. You’ll also want to add some compelling text to your About Us page and maybe something unique like fun facts about your employees.

  • Make sure you’re mobile-friendly!

Not only are more people reading on the go, they’re also shopping on the go, so it’s imperative that your website is optimized for mobile. Fortunately, the Wix Editor automatically creates a mobile-friendly version of your site!

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Manage Your Store Like a Pro

Once you’ve got everything up and running for your visitors, you’ll need to go behind the scenes to manage your store in an efficient way. With the Wix Store Manager, you can monitor your inventory in real time, choose your special offers and update your inventory 24/7. Want more? The Wix Store Manager allows you to:

  • Set the shipping and tax details: Choose from a variety of shipping options like ‘free shipping’ or ‘shipping by product price’. And when it comes to setting up your tax rules you can choose from options like ‘no tax’ or ‘same tax on all regions’.
  • Set the language of your store: Change the language that your customers see when they’re visiting your store and of course, define your currency.
  • Track all orders coming in: It’s easy to view your orders and update the payment and shipping status of an order.
  • Set up your payment option: You can offer multiple options like credit card and PayPal. And because this is your business, we take 0% commission on all sales.
  • Bonus tip! Create automated emails: By enabling Smart Actions, you’ll be able to send automated confirmation emails to your customers thanking them for their purchase and much more.

Create automated emails

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Earn Their Trust

If you want your customers coming back to your website, then you need to earn their trust. There are a few easy ways to go about proving you’re a reliable business:

  • Be accessible

Having all of your contact information on one page is the simplest way to show your website visitors that you’re accessible and therefore, trustworthy. Include all forms of contact; from email and phone number to your location on Google Maps. You can even add a Contact Form to encourage your visitors to reach out.

  • Show who you are

An About Us page is the best way to make your customer’s experience with your eCommerce website a bit more personal. Find a fun way to show off who the people behind the screen are.

  • Be proud of your praise

The best way to show prospective customers you’ve got a track record of reliability? Give your current customers a voice! Use an app like Customer Reviews to give them a place to give kudos.

  • Answer before they ask

Using the Wix FAQ app, outline your most popular questions, showing your visitors that you’re one step ahead of them.

  • Display your rules

Designate a page for your return policies and shipping rules and show that you’ve got nothing to hide. The more open and honest you are, the more likely your customers are to make a purchase and come back for more.

  • Give support

There’s no doubt your customers will have a question or two. Show them you’re available by adding an app like Tidio Live Chat and increase contact with your customers. You can even kick it old school and simply add your social buttons to give them an extra outlet to contact you for help.

  • Open up all communication lines

We know business never sleeps so be sure to use Wix Engage to view your site activity and connect with your visitors.

Promote Your Online Store

Even when you’ve got a beautiful online store up and running, you’ve still got work to do! There are a few strategies you need to keep in mind for bringing in new business and for keeping your existing customers satisfied.

  • Make your eCommerce site easy to find

In order for people to find your website, you need to make sure your SEO is on point. The first step is to choose a domain name that’s easy to remember. Be sure you’ve got a clean URL with clear page names, or in other words, a URL free of special characters and page IDs. Once that’s done, make sure you check out all of the SEO tips we have in the Wix Blog to get your online store found.

Oh, and don’t forget to keep track of how many website visitors you’re getting (and more!) with Google Analytics and optimize accordingly.

  • Get social

An easy way to spread the word about your booming biz and keep existing customers in the know is through social media. Set up business accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and any other platform you find suitable to reach your audience. Share behind the scenes photos or upcoming collections across your social channels. Want users to share the products they love with their friends? Add social sharing options to each product page so they can spread the word. And the cherry on the cake? You can add your social feeds to your website!

Social Media Online Store

  • Create a calendar that works for you

As a business owner, we recommend you create some kind of calendar for yourself to help plan for upcoming holidays and promotional sales you may want to offer. Don’t want to wait for Christmas to launch a big sale? You don’t have to! You can easily highlight a new arrival or a best seller by adding a ribbon. You can also apply a sale to certain products by creating coupons and setting up discounts to lure your customers in.

  • Keep your customers in the loop

Encourage your visitors to subscribe to your newsletter with the help of an app like Get Subscribers, straight from the Wix App Market. Send creative emails in a matter of minutes with Wix ShoutOut to promote a new collection or a seasonal sale and expand your reach by sharing your newsletter on social media. Don’t forget to give your shoppers a voice and encourage them to leave reviews about your products and services. Another great way to keep your customer base in the know? Set up a blog for your online store and talk about industry topics or the latest collection you’ve been working on.

Ready to take the eCommerce world by storm? Create your eCommerce website today!

by The Wix Team
Wix

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