So you wanna make an e-commerce store, huh? Are you sure about that? Setting off to do so, or rather to do so well, can be quite a challenge. The following steps will give you a general idea of what is needed to build your online store but in no way represent EVERYTHING you will have to do. Building such a store takes long hours and a tremendous amount of dedication not everyone has. After having been a part of several online stores I can tell you it’s no walk in the park. If just reading the following makes your head swim, this might not be the career choice for you but if you remain undaunted and think you can work though what may be some pretty thankless months, you just might be ready to take that leap. But first you’ll need to…
1. Decide on a Product to Sell
This is a no brainer, right? WRONG. Sure you may have something you want to sell. Maybe it’s something you make or something you can purchase on the cheap, or even something you have excess of. Maybe you wish to sell a skill or a publication. Good for you but have you done any market research? Do people even want what you’re selling? Can you make them want it? What is the market like? Highly competitive or will you have it cornered?
Believe it or not if given a choice your best bet is on a market with more competition. Why? Because at least then you know that people want what you are selling. Just because a product or service exists does not mean people want it. Do yourself a favor and do some market research before jumping in and you’ll save yourself a headache later!
2. Decide on a Shopping Cart
Different shopping cart programs offer different things. For instance, for one website I was involved in we went with a very specific shopping cart program because of its ability to bill state employees differently than “Joe consumer”. Think about how much you are willing to spend and what exactly you need your shopping cart to do before deciding on one. Remember there are lots of free options out there that are equal or in some cases better than ones you may pay for!
3. Design the Site
Unless you are a web developer you’re probably going to need some help with this part. You are going to have to design a website and integrate the shopping cart you chose into to it. This is no easy task and if you need outside help with this, chances are this will be the most expensive part of the process. Design of the site often includes branding design like logos. Remember that you can always change and better things along as you get going. When you first launch your site don’t expect more than a few people (most of them will be your friends and family) will view it in a day.
4. Write Product Descriptions
Depending on how much you are selling this can become a very long and tedious project. Remember who your audience is when you write you product descriptions and that you are making them want to buy it by fulfilling one or a few of their needs. Don’t write too elegant, flowery or above your target audiences education level if you want your descriptions to be comprehended and acted upon.
5. Take Pictures
Going hand in hand with product descriptions make sure you pictures are attractive, dynamic, and make people want what you are selling more than they want the money (that’s theirs, by the way) that it costs to have it.
So you have your product, you have a shiny new site, hopefully you didn’t follow my instructions to the T and also researched shipping and billing on your own, and you are ready to receive your first order. It’s time to advertise. The ins and outs of advertising could fill another article, three books, and tomes of biblical proportions so we’ll save it for another time but just know that you must work to get in the minds of your customers. Nothing can happen if no one knows you exist!
I hope so. Just remember that if total price of your good and operating costs are less than what you sell said goods for, and you are actually selling, as in products are going out the door, you will be alright.
This article is written by Cody. He has been doing web development and marketing for 10 years. He loves all areas of the internet market.