The growth of online business globally is significantly higher and faster compared to traditional retail businesses. The success of e-commerce stores is so impactful that even established businesses have started complimentary online selling.
According to a Statista report, global retail e-commerce sales will grow to $6.54 trillion in 2023, with online shopping topping the list of most popular online activities globally. Ecommerce is both the fastest growing and most valuable industries today.
When you shop online, it is easy to think that the entire process is not that complicated. Still, the reality is that most e-commerce websites go to great lengths to ensure their customers’ experiences are seamless, convenient, and even customized.
If you want to create your online store, you need to understand in detail what it takes to launch it successfully from scratch. This post discusses everything you need to know to create a professional e-commerce website.
Creating an Ecommerce Website
Creating an e-commerce site is a little different than building a standard site or starting a blog. Beyond securing your domain name and web hosting, you will need to consider software and tools for processing payments along with manufacturing, shipping, storage, and issues of data compliance.
It is worth mentioning that extensive market research and finding a niche are essential steps before you create your website. It is heartbreaking to find out that no one is buying your products after the painstaking process of building your online platform. As a general rule, look for trending products that align with your passion.
1. Purchase a Domain Name
Find a domain name that correctly identifies your brand. Here, do not overthink the process. There are several available sites for purchasing a domain name for as little as $10 or less.
2. Find a Web Developer
Unless you have the technical know-how, time, energy, and patience to create your site, hire a web developer. A developer allows you to launch a professional website is a relatively short period. Do your due diligence and look for one with the experience to build e-commerce platforms.
3. Select a Website Hosting Platform
Select a popular e-commerce platform that many developers are familiar with to save money and time. Popular platforms make it easy to integrate payment processing, plugins, etc. You can do an online search or have your developer recommend the best one for your business needs.
4. Get Your Paperwork in Order
Register your online business, secure a vendor’s license, and look into legal business issues. It is advisable to consult a local attorney to help with the legal aspects of your business. He or she can assist you with the required filings in your state, such as with the department of revenue or taxation. Do not overlook this critical step.
5, Launch Your Website
As soon as you have completed most of the steps above, take your site live. You can do this even before listing any of your products. Ask your developer to create a homepage, a contact page, and an “About Us page.”
6. Get a Payment Gateway
You need a payment gateway and a credit card processor to accept payments on your e-commerce website. You can link your site to PayPal or Stripe, but you need a gateway to accept credit cards, mobile payment, and recurring billing. Getting approved is not an easy process, but it can go a lot smoother if you are SOC 2 or PCI compliant. You also need the following:
• A secure checkout process: One of the most important things in creating an ecommerce website is making sure there’s a secured checkout process. You must always maintain an optimized checkout page for easier and fast transactions, and also to avoid checkout abandonments.
• A return policy
• A shipping and delivery method
• Working customer service hotline and email address
• Clean credit history
• A U.S. bank account for deposits
• A U.S. state ID or driver’s license
• A federal tax ID
• Voided check or bank letter
• Cover letter (optional but advisable)
8. Figure Out Packaging, Shipping, and Storage
Before launching your e-commerce website, you must figure out order packaging and how to ship and store your inventory. Here, you may need to decide whether you will utilize drop shipping or warehouse storage; use UPS, USPS, FedEx, or a combination to ship and track packages; and the package sizes you will need.
You should also figure out whether to include promotional materials in your packages and whether your products have any shipping restrictions.
9. Marketing Your Ecommerce Website
Invest in marketing your e-commerce store. You can use content marketing to get organic traffic back to your site, social media to increase brand awareness, influencer marketing to promote your products and brand to their followers, or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising.
Hopefully, you now have a better grasp of what it takes to create your e-commerce website and build it into a successful venture. It is a lot of work to get it off the ground, but with the continued growth of the industry, you will set yourself up for success in the end. Online stores have proved resilient in the face of competition from traditional businesses or even economic crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.