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An Ultimate Guide To Starting Your First eCommerce Store!

An Ultimate Guide To Starting Your First eCommerce Store!

eCommerce_Guide_for_Startups

What should I sell online?”, is this the first question that arises in the mind when you thought of starting an eCommerce store. Do you happen to relate to such a situation? Well if you do, cast your vote in the comment box following this article. And if you don’t, then that’s wonderful, you can probably help others by sharing your experience about how you managed to plan it out well; before starting the online store.

Well, based on the experience we receive a number of inquiries from enthusiasts wanting to start an eCommerce store. If you are one of such individuals who are wanting to be an entrepreneur, this article is for you.

When you choose to start a store there may be loads of different questions that run through your mind, which is pretty normal ofcourse. You must believe in the fact that all these questions are important, unless you have those, you cannot have a direction. Let the questions keep pouring in, it’d been a sensible move to jot them all down in one place.

Keep in mind that eCommerce is all about transactions, not just related to money matters but you’d also be dealing with some seriously confidential data such as client contact details, credit card numbers etc. This is an area which requires special attention and care. Since this would be the first time for you to run an online store, it’s suggestible to sign-up with a reputed and a dependable online merchant who can secure the transactions which’d be carried out over your e-store. Services such as PayPal, Moneybookers etc. can offer you a secure channel in this matter. Plus you get loads of other advantages alike fraud detection, payment security for both buyer and seller, ability to use credit cards, send invoices etc. to name a few.

Now that you know about the crucial part of any eCommerce site, let’s go back to the question where we’d started, viz. “What should I sell?

Well the fact is, this question can be best answered by you. In fact it should be identified only by you as this is going to be the foundation of your online business. Though there are a few ways which can help you narrow down to finding the best answers to this and similar questions that arise in your mind.

The idea of starting an eCommerce destination for selling products wouldn’t have hit your mind just like that. Try remembering the reason that made you think of starting-up such a store. That becomes your first pointer to identify what you can sell. OR you may already be running a local store, basis your experience you’d know what the market demands, what kind of products sell etc. Contradictory, you might want to focus on selling a single product/service, so things become pretty simple for you.

The whole idea of brainstorming is to narrow down to that best idea which tickled you to start an online store. Once you’ve reached that point, you are 50% closer to your target. Then what remains is the site’s design, layout, USPs (unique selling points), call-to-action protocols, pricing, integration of payment gateways, etc.

Hereafter it’d be all about offering the users the best buying experience and delivering the requirements of prospects. In this article we’d help you deal with the post 50% i.e. after you’ve decided what you want to sell.

So to start with setting up your eCommerce store, here are some ultimate tips to help you lay a strong foundation:

Make The Best Use of Aesthetics

It is important for you to help build a perception for your visitors about your product(s). Instead of the visitor perceiving your products in their own ways, try building their perception the way you want them to see. This you can do by means of marketing and branding. The more you succeed in clearly displaying your USP the higher would be the chances of a sale.

Aesthetics play a crucial role in monetizing website traffic. It includes:

PicturesPictures tell a thousand Words”, you’d have heard of this quote before. This often goes true AND fruitful with an eCommerce store. The higher the quality of images you add to your product page(s), the better is the user experience. This especially holds true for eCommerce stores that sell hardware, accessories, clothing, digital products, electronic items, furniture and other consumer goods. You may display images taken from different angles of a product, this usually improves transparency which further helps build trust in the eyes of a prospect. So don’t hesitate to add as many images of a product, put yourself in the shoes of a buyer and then consider the factors that can convince you.

Here’s an example for your reference :

ecommerce-webstore-design
Image Courtesy : graphicsfuel.com

You can probably seek help for it from popular photography sites and grab some ideas with ways to best display the product pics.

Brief Product Information

eStore_Product_Description
Image Courtesy : eBay.co.uk

The image would do their part well, but words play a different role over a human mind. If you could have the right description added besides the image(s), it would trigger the decision of buying the product in a positive way. Also, adding the right details should also help an educated consumer with the decision to buy your product. Think for the answers to questions such as “What question would a reader have?”, “What can engage a customer?”, “Does the purpose of visitor visiting a page being served?”. Retrospection can be a useful way to end-up delivering the right kind of information to prospects.

Site Structure

eCommerce_Site_Structure

The structure of your website is one of the crucial aspects of the site from a user as well as from an SEO standpoint. Ideally a category should point to a broader product list instead of a single product. The category structure also helps your visitor find an appropriate product over the store.

Choosing an eCommerce Platform Being a startup you may evaluate your budget and choose to opt either for a fully equipped online store solution or a highly versatile solution such as Magento. Zen Cart can also be an option in case you wish to opt for an open source solution, but you’d need a developer who has a good hand over Zen Cart development.

eCommerce Platforms-Proprietory and Open Source

I’d rather recommend choosing WordPress for eCommerce for a start-up. It’s a content management system which offers ease combined with a lot of flexibility. Support is one of the concerns in most cases, but if it’s WordPress (which is open source too [Free]) you can find loads of troubleshooting material over the web. Another added advantage that you’d have with choosing WordPress is a massive pool of plugins which are developed ease your job further.

Making a Debut into the Industry

Making a Debut

Now that the backend framework is prepared where you’ve also decided what you’d be sold and that you’d have designed a beautiful website, it remains to choosing an appropriate web hosting platform. Large eCommerce stores that have loads of products and its images over the website, would usually choose to rent a dedicated server from a reliable hosting provider. But since you are a startup who’d be exploring the industry for the first time, a virtual hosting platform (supposedly Linux because it’s cheap and comparatively safer than Windows) should be appropriate to get started.

Once the host is chosen and your server is set-up, you can point the name servers for the domain name, change the mx records and make your eCommerce store accessible to the world. It’s be good to understand the DNS propagation cycle as well as it takes sometime for your website to be accessible over the web as soon as you’ve hosted it over a server.

If you have any queries with regards to setting up an online store, we are all ears. All that you need to do is post your queries in the comment box below and we’ll respond with every possible solution best suitable for your requirements.

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