The process of coming up with a business idea and launching your business can be difficult and time-consuming. Luckily, you don't have to be a coding genius to know how to build a website to sell goods and services online.
eCommerce platforms are extremely user-friendly and economical, allowing you to design a custom website within a few clicks. Additionally, most eCommerce platforms offer plug-and-play features like secure payments, shipping, and marketing, so no coding knowledge is required to create a professional-looking website.
Are you interested in learning more? This guide will walk you through the process of building an eCommerce Application so you can start selling online.
If you're new to building eCommerce Applications, your domain—also known as your web address—is your address. Your eCommerce Application's URL is what consumers type into their browser bar to reach your site.
Choosing the right domain name is important for your branding and your overall success. If possible, choose a business and domain name that's closely related to your products or services. You can use descriptive keywords or key phrases in your business and domain name so that your customers know what you sell, and it helps you rank well in search engines, which is vital for your business's SEO campaign.
If you sell custom pet collars, you can try CocosCustomCollars.com. It is pretty easy to come up with a keyword-focused name for your eCommerce Application if you have a niche business.
Once you have a few ideas for a name, you can register your domain with a registrar service like GoDaddy, Bluehost, or Google Domains. All you have to do is enter your business name on the website. You will be informed if the domain is available.
If your name is already taken, these sites will display options such as .net or .co. If possible, you should stick with a .com since it is the most common and trusted extension. Alternatively, if you insist on a particular name but .com is already taken, .net and .co are also widely known options.
Domain names typically cost between $12 and $25 per year, depending on the service and any add-ons. In addition, whichever eCommerce platform you select for your eCommerce site will likely also include a free domain name with your purchase, which leads us to our next point.
Your eCommerce platform is where your site lives online, and there are several platforms to choose from. There are free platforms with limited features and nearly free platforms built on WordPress. You can integrate eCommerce features into popular website builders or choose an eCommerce platform that allows unlimited growth.
Here are some top eCommerce platforms to consider when building your online store:
Dedicated eCommerce platforms are the quickest and easiest way to launch a fully functional eCommerce Application. These solutions are very robust and expandable and provide powerful built-in functionality such as secure payments, shipping labels, email marketing, and multichannel sales support. These solutions are not free but come with a variety of tools that start at $30 per month.
Here are Three Top Dedicated eCommerce Platforms to Consider:
All of these dedicated eCommerce platforms offer a free trial period, allowing you to try them out completely risk-free before choosing which one you will use for your eCommerce Application.
All popular website builders including Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace offer eCommerce functionality. A website built on one of these platforms can easily be upgraded to an eCommerce plan if you already have online sales features.
Platforms like Wix and Wix-like make website building easy and accessible to DIYers and side-giggers. For an eCommerce Application that intends to grow, a dedicated eCommerce platform offers more integrated marketing and sales functions for a similar price.
WordPress powers over half of the world's eCommerce Applications. Two reasons explain this. The first is that WordPress is virtually limitless, and the second is that it can be a low-cost eCommerce platform. You can even add online store functionality to a WordPress website for free using these plugins:
Free eCommerce platforms enable businesses with just a few products to sell online without incurring any upfront costs. These platforms either limit the number of products that can be listed for free, or they have fewer features than the eCommerce solutions mentioned above.
Here Are Three Free eCommerce Platforms to Consider for Your eCommerce Application:
Choosing your eCommerce platform is a very important step in the process of building your online store. Take your time to weigh your growth goals and test-drive the options before settling on a solution.
Your next step is to build your eCommerce Application after you choose an eCommerce platform. You'll need the following elements and information:
Almost all eCommerce platforms let you create a logotype, or you can go to Canva to create a logo from a free logo template. There are also royalty-free photos available through Canva to help you brand your website. However, your custom images will help you tell your brand's story better. It is surprisingly good to get shots like this using a cell phone-so give it a try.
On most eCommerce sites, product information occupies a prominent position, so this should be an integral part of your eCommerce Application design. You can use this checklist of information as well as these tips to market your products effectively.
Not sure what to sell on your new eCommerce site? See how to source products to sell online or how to start a dropshipping business with no up-front costs.
This is your opportunity to connect with potential buyers, so make the "About Us" section of your eCommerce Application shine. Tell us about your journey. Is it the culmination of a lifelong dream? Or is it merely a side project? You can tell us your reason for learning how to build an eCommerce Application here. You should add more photos and videos to keep buyers interested and keep them coming back for more.
Customers who receive good service will return to your eCommerce Application, so clearly define customer expectations on the customer service page. The elements here include:
A blog is a great way to create ongoing content and boost your eCommerce Application's search engine ranking. The right blog can be an effective part of your overall marketing campaign. Your efforts can be continually repurposed through social channels and email marketing.
Your eCommerce Application menus enable shoppers to easily navigate your store, blog, and website content. eCommerce Applications usually allow you to create the main menu bar, as well as the footer and sidebar menus.
It's common practice to highlight your online store categories in the main menu, then place the About Us and Customer Service links in the sitewide footer or top bar. You can include blog posts in the main menu, in the sidebar menu, or the footer menu. You can experiment to see which combination of product collection and content results in the best results.
When creating your eCommerce Application you will have to take care of these tasks depending on your eCommerce platform. All-in-one solutions like BigCommerce and Shopify integrate payment processing, tax calculations, shipping label printing, and marketing tools. Most other solutions require them to integrate a few additional services.
All the eCommerce platforms mentioned above offer easy integration with payment companies like Square, PayPal, and Stripe. Shopify even offers its payment system, Shopify Payments. To enable payment processing using these solutions, you merely click a few buttons, set up an account, and you're connected.
You can also connect your payment gateway and merchant account to most eCommerce platforms. As a result, built-in and plug-and-play payment services are the easiest, and often most cost-effective, options for startups.
Set up your payment processor and configure sales tax rates to collect from shoppers. The eCommerce platforms all support sales tax collection and let you apply taxes to selected items and orders. Your sales tax rate is determined by your state and, generally, your overall sales volume.
Integrating your eCommerce platform with shipping software will streamline the process of order fulfilment. With integrated shipping, you can choose carriers and shipping methods, print labels, and notify customers when their orders have shipped.
Like Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce all offer built-in shipping, the integration and setup is already done for you. In most other eCommerce platforms, you must tie your labels and customer notifications to third-party solutions such as ShipStation or ShippingEasy. These integrations are usually feasible but may cost more per month.
Once your shipping solution is set up, you can create shipping rates to charge your customers. On most eCommerce Applications, you can add real-time shipping rates, which is the actual cost of shipping each order. Or you can set flat rates based on order totals, or offer free shipping for all or selected orders.
Some eCommerce Application platforms provide robust marketing tools in addition to payments and shipping. The all-in-one solutions BigCommerce and Shopify offer complete marketing tools. You can use the email list to connect with customers, provide products and send promotions across your social media accounts in just a few clicks.
Other eCommerce platforms require more effort to set up marketing features. WooCommerce, for example, can be connected to multiple email marketing services using free plugins. However, you will need to pay to connect your products directly to your social media accounts to enable social commerce.
The amount of time spent in this step will depend on your eCommerce platform. You can easily build an eCommerce Application complete with all of the marketing bells and whistles using dedicated eCommerce platforms. If you use another platform, you'll spend more time, effort and perhaps more money.
The last step of building an eCommerce Application Development is to process a few test orders. Each eCommerce platform has a different testing process; however, all allow you to run a few pre-launch test orders. They connect to your payment processor without charging your credit card. If you have successfully sent a few test orders to your eCommerce Application -or have worked out any bugs that you noticed while browsing around -then you're ready to open for business.
Launching your eCommerce Application doesn't guarantee instant sales. Your new online store will take time to rank in search engines. You can speed this process up by adding your new eCommerce store to Google's Search Console and by uploading an XML sitemap, which eCommerce platforms generally provide.
Additionally, once your online store is live, you can advertise using social media and Google Adwords.
A website for an eCommerce business can now be easily constructed. The process of setting up an online store used to require some technical skills and several integrations. With today's modern platforms, the process is simple and seamless.
You can be up and running in a day or less if you only need a few product pages. If you have been dreaming of testing the waters of eCommerce, check out these platforms, choose the best one for your eCommerce requirements, and dive in.