How to Start an eCommerce Store

Jun 9, 2020
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Written by Daniel Alkurdi

Having an online store for your business can be essential to maximising your market reach potential. A large number of companies are reaching a broader range of customers by having an eCommerce store. As such, by having an eCommerce store, your business can benefit from:

  • Delivering your business to a broader market
  • Remaining open 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Low start-up costs
  • Exposure for your business
  • Ease of access to customer trends and data
  • Providing a less invasive shopping experience to your customers

1. Create an online business strategy

Before you dive into the online world of eCommerce, it is essential to set up a business and marketing strategy. You should:

  1. Decide what you want to achieve by going online
  2. Outline how you are going to achieve these goals
  3. Define your responsibilities
  4. Create a roadmap for your business’s future

2. How are you going to sell your service or product?

eCommerce Platforms

For most businesses, the easiest way to sell products online is to open an eCommerce platform. To explain, an eCommerce platform is essentially an online software which allows businesses to manage their online sales operations. 

Moreover, there are a large number of eCommerce platforms to choose from, and each of them tends to have different pricing and methods of use. However, which platform you want will depend on what suits you and your business. Some popular platforms include Shopify, BigCommerce and WooCommerce.

Custom Websites or Platforms

Nevertheless, If an eCommerce platform doesn’t meet your business needs, you can create or have a website built which can be a custom fit to your needs. Though, you should keep in mind that a custom website/platform can be significantly more expensive and time-consuming to create. 

Example eCommerce website

Choosing a domain name for your eCommerce store

Your website will need a domain name which is a unique name that identifies your website. In Australia, registered businesses can have a domain name that ends with .com.au. Furthermore, most eCommerce platforms will have a service within them that allows you to register and pay for the domain name that you need. In some cases, the domain name you want may not be available. In this case, you will either need to choose a different domain or contact the owner of the domain name you wish to purchase it from them. Additionally, most domain providers have a service which will be able to contact the domain owner for you and organise a price.

3. Design and Style of your eCommerce Store

Once you’ve chosen how you’re going to sell your service or product, the next step is to decide how your new online business portal is going to look. There are two options here:

  1. Implement and use a pre-made template;
  2. Or, have a custom design created

Generally, the first option is usually suitable for most businesses. However, you can purchase a Premium template for your eCommerce store which tends to be more customisable and come with included live support. Most eCommerce platforms are something called content management systems (CMS). Usually, they have settings which allow you to import a design template easily. 

design and style sketching

4. Content for your eCommerce Store

Adding content to your website can be and usually is the most tedious part of the online business process and involves adding all the necessary bit and pieces of your eCommerce store. Some content you can include is:

  • Products and their prices, images and descriptions
  • Content pages
  • About Us
  • FAQ sections
  • Contact information
  • Guides;
  • and anything else that is related to your business

Additionally, It is crucial that you answer a few questions before going online:

  1. Do consumers need specialised hardware or software to access your website?
  2. Are contract terms for purchases easy to understand and easily accessible?
  3. Have you taken the necessary steps to protect consumer privacy?
  4. Have you provided customers with secure and easy payment gateways?
  5. Are consumers informed about any specific laws or jurisdiction applicable to transactions with your business?

5. Search Engine Optimisation

Lastly, a vital part of reaching your customers and desired market is to make it easy for search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo to find your eCommerce store. Improving your search engine ranking is similar to traditional marketing, and you need to understand some basic concepts:

Understand your online customers 

This includes considering their problems and how you’re providing them with a solution. Online customers are usually ready to buy and will often search for a product directly on a search engine.

Use keywords on your website

Keywords are words or phrases that a customer will use when searching online. For example, they usually include terms such as “laptops” or “best Sydney laptop shop”. Using these keywords on your website will help with optimising your customers’ search engine results.

Refresh your website content often

Keeping the content on your website up to date and new will help in optimising search engine results.

Links from other websites

Simply put, the more links you gain from other reputable websites, the better your site will rank.

Use meta tag descriptions

eCommerce platforms will allow you to add meta tags to your pages and products. Meta tags help provide information to search engines, and this will help search engines to rank the relevance of your products and pages for specific search queries.

Conclusion

If you’ve made it this far well done, you’re almost ready to take your eCommerce store online. However, there are some important legal aspects to keep in mind. If you want on-demand and unlimited legal advice, Lawpath can provide you with such a service. 

Notably, starting an online business can be daunting and ensuring your eCommerce store is legally compliant can be overwhelming, so be sure to contact us for any additional information or advice that your business needs.

To summarise, some things to keep in mind when opening an online store include:

  • Complying with unfair trading laws
  • Understanding customs and quarantine requirements before you import or export
  • Knowing your contract rights and responsibilities
  • Understanding product labelling requirements
  • Understanding how to manage suppliers
  • Managing your inventory and stock
  • How to provide quality customer service 

Once you’ve got a good grasp of these, you’ll be well-equipped to successfully launch your business in the online sphere.

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