Are You Ready To Start An Online eCommerce Store?

When you are getting ready to launch a new business, there are a number of concerns that needs to be considered.  One of the major points that needs to be considered is where and how you will sell your services and products.  Getting an ecommerce online store built is something that a number of vendors decide to do during the early planning stages of a business.  Unfortunately, when they jump in too quickly, there are a number of common mistake they may run into.

It is very easy getting started with building an ecommerce website by using a dedicated builder like BigCommerce or Shopify, but how can you tell if you are ready to start getting your website designed?

1. Do you know exactly what you will be selling in your online store?

Chloe Thomas, a marketing expert, says that currently most successful businesses online are those that are on the two ends of the spectrum when it comes to product range – they are either the very niche stores or department stores.  Take a close look at your proposal.  Will it clearly meet a target audience?  Is there a unique selling point to it that no one is satisfying currently?

Prior to getting started, there are some very important things that you need to answer yes to first, since it can be very expensive to run an ecommerce website.  You want to provide your business with the best chance of succeeding.  If the business plan you are currently using involves selling a wide selection of services or more than one kind of product, you may want to think about scaling it back as you are getting on your feet, and then expand your business after you have experienced some success and built an audience for your business.

2. Will you be selling in a physical location as well, or just online?

If you are going to launch a purely online business, you have free rein to design your website however you want to.  You can freely choose from various design features, colors and themes that are offered to you by your ecommerce web builder.  If you sell offline already from a physical store, you might want to build on your current branding, and incorporate your existing logos or copy your color schemes into the presence you are building online.  Are you going to be offering location based services to customers in your local area or using your website to help drive foot traffic to your physical store?  If your website is your only place of business, then you may want to focus on SEO more and driving traffic to your online store, since your success depends on page views and increasing your visibility within the search engines.  All of these are points that you need to take into consideration.

3. How do you want your customers to interact with you?

Some online stores are basically platforms for showcasing design and talent, like a designer or photographer’s portfolio website.  It is a place for prospective customers to look through what you are offering, before they contact your directly and place an order for one of your services or products, and frequently with custom specifications attached.  Although those sites may have some functionality for direct purchases, they are nothing like an online store that is fully functional.  There will need to be a lot more focus placed on options for customer service.  You may want to think about adding features like a live chat being embedded into your actual store.  On the opposite side of the spectrum are ecommerce sites that don’t need to have any direct customer service.  With price and product images, shipping options and payment gateways incorporated into the site, customers can place orders into the shopping cart and get a confirmation email, without needing to ever speak directly with anyone.  Those kinds of websites need to have more features and consideration, but won’t work for every business model, particularly if you are offering a product or service that is customizable.

4. Do you know who you are selling to?

Online stores are an excellent way of expanding your business beyond your local area.  That can be a great reason to set up an ecommerce store, particularly for those owners who have started a home business.  People from all over the world can find your business online all of a sudden.  However, there are some added considerations that come with selling internationally, and your website will need to have more functionality added to it.  If you are interested in selling internationally, be sure that the payment options that you provide support a wide range of various credit card payment options, including PayPal.  If you use the right web builder, multiple languages or currency options may be supported.  You can easily integrate shipping and handling choices using the right add in or widget as long as you ensure from the very start that these additional feature are supported by the website builder.

After all these important factors have been considered, you will be in a much better place to begin selecting the right ecommerce website builder to use for building your online store.  So good luck, and have fun!