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How to Build an eCommerce Website from Scratch

In the last few years, eCommerce has become the fastest growing industry in the online market that is attracting many customers around the world. Many local retailers, DIY craft makers, and even bloggers have started selling their merchandise online. According to some experts, Global Retail eCommerce Sales Will Reach $4.5 Trillion by 2021. The main reason behind its success is the evolution of the mobile internet. People can easily access any online store and purchase anything from their phones anytime. However, many business owners still don’t know how to create an online store for their online business. Building an eCommerce website from scratch is quite time-consuming, and you need to know technical know-how. So, if you’re looking for how to create an eCommerce website from scratch, don’t hunt anymore! In this article, we have mentioned the detailed process of developing an eCommerce website. But, before moving to the process, let’s have a look at some important aspects of an eCommerce business.

Why is an eCommerce Website Important for a Business?

The primary advantage of an eCommerce website is it can operate round the clock. In a traditional offline store, you have a fixed shop opening and closing time. An online store allows you to sell physical or digital products on around the clock. Your customers can purchase products from your website anytime or anywhere in the world. With an eCommerce website, you can influence the purchase decision of customers. For example, if you have a site, people can research your product online more easily and check all the reasons why it is right for them. An online store helps business to show their product to the customers at their best.

Things to Consider before Building an eCommerce Website

Before you start creating your eCommerce business website, there are some things that you need to consider:

A Business Plan

Having a business plan is the most crucial factor in building an eCommerce website. With a business plan and marketing strategy, you can decide what your targeted audience is and how you’ll attract them towards your business. Well, generating traffic on your website is SEO’s work, but you still have to consider everything so that you don’t lack anywhere after building your site.

What are You Selling?

If you’re planning to set up an online storefront, then you might already have a product in mind that you’d like to sell. And if you haven’t decided yet, then it’s necessary to have a product in mind before setting an eCommerce website. Your product can be anything, whether it’s handcrafted jewellery, furniture, handmade chocolates, or something you find at wholesale price and want to sell it at a profit. Do thorough research to make sure your product is feasible, and if there is already an established market for this product, consider whether it will be able to that market or not.

How Much Money Do You want to Invest in Your eCommerce?

Another most important factor to consider in building an eCommerce website is your budget. If you’re starting from scratch, you would want to invest your money carefully. Now, it depends on you where you want to spend more money, whether on driving traffic to your website or on hosting it. Well, with the help of an eCommerce platform, you’ll not have to spend more money on managing your eCommerce site.

How to Build an eCommerce Website Step by Step

After considering all the essential factors of an eCommerce website, you’re ready to build your online store. Have a look at the below steps to create your eCommerce website from scratch.

1. Get a Domain Name

Creating an eCommerce store, the first thing you need is a domain name. A domain name defines your brand or business, and help customers find your product online. You can choose any domain name that is available. But, make sure it is catchy, easy to remember and represent your business. Also, prefer using “.com” extension rather than choosing “.biz” or “.net.”
Here are some tips to choose the perfect business domain name:

  • Try to keep the domain name with 20 characters: the shorter, the better.
  • Don’t use too many creative spellings in your domain.
  • Avoid using generic names like “buyclothesonline.com,” you may think that it would bring massive traffic to your website, but that’s not true.
  • With a site like GoDaddy, you can easily find a domain name for under $10.

2. Select an eCommerce Platform

The best thing about technology is that you don’t have to code your website entirely. There are two types of eCommerce solutions is there open source self-hosted eCommerce platform and manage eCommerce platform.

Woocommerce and Magento are the most popular open source eCommerce solution available in the market. To use this platform you need a hosting company to host your online store. Most of the hosting company support these two platforms. They have one-click installable software which can easily install. If you are not a technical person, you need to hire a developer to create your eCommerce website. It may be a bit costly on starting.

If you don’t want to spend a vast amount on starting of the business, you can go with hosted eCommerce solutions. There are many eCommerce platforms available in the market such as Shopify, BigCommerce, or 3dcart. The advantage of using eCommerce platform you can signup with them and start selling within a few hours.  You only need to pay them monthly small fees for running your online store. They will take care of your hosting, shopping cart and make sure your website up round the clock. Pros and Cons of Hosted Ecommerce Platforms.

But, that’s the most challenging thing for most businesses because choosing the right platform is not that easy as you have to figure which platform will suit your website needs and keep up with trends as your business grows. So, before finalising a website hosting platform, you have to understand and determine what features you want for your online store. Every business owner wants a platform that is flexible and easy to use. Look closely at every eCommerce hosting platform, their features, their support hours, and most importantly, how much would it cost you. If you still not sure about which option to choose from your can consult with us.

3. Select a Theme for Your Website

After getting an eCommerce website platform, it’s time to get the right design for your eCommerce store. Either you choose self-hosted or hosted solutions; there are a lot of free themes available for an eCommerce website.  Now it’s up to you which one you wish for your store. You can quickly preview every design available on the hosting platform and check their site structure.
Your theme should represent your brand and showcase your products in the best light possible. A few tips to select the best design for your eCommerce website:

  • It should allow you to add pages, products, images, text, videos, blogs, etc.
  • User-friendly interfaces that make your customer feel comfortable.
  • Site navigation must be comfortable and more accessible to customers.
  • You can easily add product description to your particular theme.

If you don’t want to use free themes, you can purchase a more modern layout which will cost you several dollars. Also, if you don’t want to use ready-made design at all, you can design your website on your own, but make sure you know enough coding to do that. Otherwise, you’ll have to hire a developer for it.

4. Payment Options & Payment Gateway

After selecting a theme, it’s time to choose the payment options for the selling the products. There are many payment options that you can set for your products, such as cash on delivery, credit/debit card, E-wallet, etc. The mode of payment must be flexible and simple. Apart from choosing payment options, you also need to get a payment gateway solutions on your online store. The most widely used payment gateway is PayPal. However, if you want to receive credit cards, mobile payment, and recurring bills, then a gateway like Stripe or Authorize.net can be a great choice.
You need to get approval from bank or credit card authorities for payment gateways and credit/debit card processor which is not that easy. There are many things involved in getting a payment gateway, such as document verification, site verification, costs, and taxes, etc. So, do your research and make sure you’re ready to get a payment gateway.
Also, you’ll need to set up a secure checkout process, create a privacy policy, a return policy, shipping and delivery methods, and a working customer number before applying for a payment gateway.

5. Set Up Your eCommerce Store

Once, you have got everything in hand; it’s time to set up your online store. Combine all the information and put it up on your website.

  • Add all products, applicable taxes, payment options, etc. and check everything twice.
  • Add name and description to every product so that user can find it easily.
  • Set the price and quantities available for the sale.
  • Create a preview of your products by uploading photos or videos.
  • Make sure your website looks professional as well as pleasing after adding all the products.
  • Organise products in hierarchical order or category wise. To make your website more attractive, add featured products, bestselling products options.
  • Fill the “About Us” and “Contact Us” page; it is first information that you should provide on your website even before adding products.

After adding every detail, test your website to again to figure any problem with checkout process or any other mistake in the site interface.

6. Shipping and Storage Options

Before launching your website or making it live, you’ll need storing and shipping solutions for your products. If you’re delivering a digital product, then you don’t require shipping and storage options. But, if you’re selling a physical product, then where will you keep them and how will you deliver them to the customers?
There are many things to consider while choosing storage and shipping options, such as:

  • How will you utilise the shipping, whether it will be drop shipping or you will store your entire inventory in a warehouse?
  • Which courier service will you use to ship and track packages?
  • What size of packaging you’ll use to ship your products?
  • Will there be any other promotional material in the shipping packages?

Also, what will you do about the shipping costs? Many businesses often prefer to charge shipping costs from their customer, but it can have a high impact on your business sales because many customers abandoned their online purchase due to higher shipping costs. So, you’ll have to offer free shipping on a fixed purchase of products, or you can provide completely free shipping by raising the price of commodities.

7. Get an SSL Certificate for Your Website

Every online website needs to install an SSL certificate for security purposes. SSL is a short form of Secure Sockets Layer; it is small data files that authenticate the individuality of a website and encrypts information sent to the server using SSL technology.
With an SSL certificate, your website will stay safe from cybercriminals who can interrupt financial data. The SSL certificates provide a green lock next to the URL when you’re shopping online, and keep the customer’s information safe.
For example, when customers purchase with their private payment options, you have to make sure that their information and sensitive details stay safe with your website. You can choose from different types of SSL certificates like:

  • Domain validated certificates
  • Company validated documents
  • Extended validation certificates

Whatever SSL certificate you want, make sure it is from a valid and right SSL provider.

8. Make Your Website Live and Start Marketing

It’s time to take your website live and start making money. Once your site is live, you need to think about its promotion via content marketing, social media, influencer marketing, email marketing or any other platform that can bring people to your website.

If there is already an established market for your product, then it’s going to be difficult for you to compete in the market. You’ll have to create brand awareness and rank your website on a search engine to attract people towards your products. Here are few tips to market your newly created eCommerce website:

 

  • Use the best SEO strategy to optimise your online presence.
  • Use different and relevant keywords in your product descriptions and create various backlinks to increase the traffic on your website.
  • Start guest blogging so that more people get to know about your brand and product.
  • Make use of Google Ads or Facebook Ads to get the best of paid advertising platform.
  • Use social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to attract new customers.

These tips can help you achieve more in much less time.

Conclusion

Building an eCommerce website from scratch is not that easy as it seems to be. However, many online platforms have made it more accessible from before, but there are still many things that you have to look after. In this article, we have covered every aspect of building an online website from scratch.

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