Before you create an eCommerce store, you must define an interesting product or product line. That’s where research comes into play. Before you launch a niche product online, consider the aspect of intellectual property protection. Check if such items are sold elsewhere and find out how many merchants there are. If your market is already saturated, you’ll have to spend more time working on your idea.
Consider the platform and the hosting
You can don’t have to know a coding language to create a website as long as you choose the right eCommerce hosting plan. The best hosting provider will create your site with loyalty rewards, online checkout, discount codes, and any other tools you might need.
The size of the store will determine how much you pay for hosting. Long-term contracts tend to be more affordable.
Features of a hosting plan
Look at reviews, uptime promise, intuitiveness, price, and features when choosing a hosting plan. When reading reviews, don’t believe everything. If many reviews have a similar general tone, on the other hand, they can probably be trusted.
Ecommerce hosting plans generally have a fee per transaction and a monthly fee.
Intuitiveness is an important consideration, especially if you aren’t tech-savvy. Look for a site builder that makes it easy to set up an eCommerce store.
Ideally, opt for a service with 24/7 support. Look for a variety of contact methods, like live chat, phone, email, and more. The best services offer 0% downtime.
Dedicated hosting is the most expensive kind, but it has immense benefits to offer. Dedicated servers come with customized protection from security flaws. Their security features are tailored to your specific needs.
As you have full control over the server, you can integrate solutions in addition to those provided by the hosting service. You can choose to do one or more of the following:
- Use any anti-virus and malware program you prefer.
- Set up new and fine-tune existing firewalls.
- Deploy an intrusion detection system.
- Limit admin access.
- Protect data with encryption at rest.
- Force users to create strong passwords.
- Update credentials regularly.
- Create a custom disaster recovery plan.
Top eCommerce platforms
Building an eCommerce site years ago didn’t come cheap. Now, an eCommerce platform is enough to help you build a reliable, visually appealing site with little outside help. Here are three top recommended platforms.
WooCommerce is an open-source, fully customizable platform running on WordPress. It’s a viable option if you have a WordPress site and allows unlimited product versions and types. It offers PayPal and Stripe in terms of payment processing. You can use an extension to add Amazon Payments, Braintree, and other gateways for a small fee.
The platform generates reports on orders, inventory, customers, website views, taxes, files downloaded, and much more. Google Analytics integration is free.
A common misconception is that only enterprises use Shopify. In fact, vendors of all sizes do. Around 1.5 million sites run on it.
Shopify provides a fast and simple way to deploy an eCommerce platform with blogging options, an inbuilt CMS, and multiple themes. Its best feature is intuitiveness. Startups can set up a store very quickly.
PayPal, Stripe, and authorize.net are compatible with Shopify. Their proprietary gateway Shopify Payments is available in Europe, North America, Japan, Australia, and more.
Square users have used an app to accept credit card payments ever since Square was founded 15 years ago. Square is ideal for small service companies and independent businesses with limited catalogs, such as craftspeople and artists. It only takes a few minutes to create a basic site.
You can add permalinks, SEO titles, and descriptions, acquire backlinks on reputable sites to optimize your eCommerce store for search engines. You can use a mobile-friendly design or an optimized HTML format to this end.
Shipping vs. packaging
When eCommerce wasn’t as developed as it is today, vendors focused on beautiful packaging to attract potential customers’ attention. They have now shifted that focus to shipping. If your goods are for eCommerce only, the design focus should be on a package that’s easy to ship.
Another decision to make is whether you’ll ship products yourself or get a distributor to handle this for you. This decision would be relevant if you chose to sell to eCommerce retailers directly.
Finally, consider order fulfillment. You might get a distributor to handle it or hire a dropshipping merchant. Amazon’s FBA program serves this purpose if you sell through this marketplace.
You have enough info to get started. Good luck with your eCommerce store!