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How To Build Your First Online Store: 10 eCommerce Tips To Get Started 

Back in the day, putting your small business online was seen as an afterthought. You and your customers know that you’re offering high-quality products and services. Your brick-and-mortar business was located in an area with good foot traffic. There’s never a day without you having a customer. Business was doing well, and that’s good enough. 

Not until pandemic shook the world to its core, putting small and big businesses down. With heightened restrictions and people reluctant to go out of their homes, businesses had no other choice but to shift their operations online. Aside from marketing their products and services on social media, some businesses also thought of creating an eCommerce website. 

What is an eCommerce Website?

Simply put, an eCommerce website is a website that allows you to buy and sell tangible goods, digital products, or services online. 

Due to the impact of the pandemic, eCommerce websites have evolved from being a trivial part of the business plan to one of the essential aspects that’ll keep a business alive. Sure, having an e-commerce site won’t guarantee that your profits will rack up big time. But it would give your business a fighting chance to stay in the game. 

So whether you’re an established business that’s planning to shift your operations online full-time or just wanting to have both a physical and an online store, here are tips to get you started. 

1. Start a business that fills a need

One of the most common mistakes is to find a product first, and a market second. If you want to boost your chances of success, it’s recommended to start with a market and know what your target is looking for. 

Know who you’re selling to. Analyse your target market’s persona (demographic data and psychographic data). You can use search engines to your advantage. Do keyword research to find keywords several people are searching for. Visit online forums too. 

2. Seek help from a digital marketing agency

A digital marketing agency can do wonders for your business, from promoting your biz on social media to boosting your ranking in the search engine results pages. Digital marketing agencies can create campaigns designed to reach your target audience, drive more traffic to your website, and boost your ROI. These include content creation and marketing, on-page and off-page SEO, social media marketing, mobile marketing, email marketing, and digital advertising. 

A digital marketing agency has the tools, as well as a team of experts who’ll get the job done while you focus on growing your business.  

3. Narrow down to a focus area or niche 

What is your focus area or niche? Unless you have the budget to be the next eBay, you might want to avoid overloading your eCommerce site with hundreds of products, dozens of categories, but no real focus. 

Experts suggest niching down for your online store to be more profitable. Conduct a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) to evaluate different niche and product ideas. Another tip is to choose a niche with an established target market and healthy competition. 

4. Secure a good domain

A domain name, a.k.a your website address, is the entry point to your website. Picking a good domain name makes a good impression for your clients, as well as for SEO. 

What makes a good domain? 

  • Short, precise, and easy to spell. 
  • Doesn’t contain numbers and hyphens. 
  • Has the proper domain extension (like .com or .org)
  • Catchy yet easy to understand and remember

5. Your eCommerce site must have your brand’s identity

Does your business have a logo? How about brand colors? Have you established your brand image? Make sure you incorporate these distinguishable aspects into your eCommerce website. 

6. It must have the following essential pages

Sure, you have a catchy domain, an attractive website with a user-friendly interface, and even a couple of blog posts. However, all will go down the drain if you can’t provide the answers your consumers usually seek.

First things first: essential pages. 

A good eCommerce website has the following key web pages:

  • Homepage – treat this as your retail storefront. Next to catchy imagery, your shoppers should discover new offers and promotions the moment they land on your homepage.
  • Frequently Asked Questions – these include payment, shipping, and refund-related FAQ. 
  • A written return and exchange policy – helps establish clear, consistent guidelines for how customers can refund or replace their purchases. 
  • Contact us – this should include your contact numbers, email address, a map of your physical store or headquarter, and links to your social media pages. You can also include a form so people can easily get in touch with you. 

7. Use high-resolution photos and videos 

The last thing you want to happen is to kill someone’s interest just by looking at poorly-shot images or pixelated menus. Enhance your visuals by hiring a photographer who can take better pictures of your products. You can also use short promotional videos with smart product placements. 

8. Create share-worthy content

Speaking of content, consider having a blog section. Blogging helps increase site search, visibility, and traffic, establish brand credibility, and build trust and relationships.

Create engaging, informative, and relevant pieces of content your customers can read and share. If you sell succulents and cacti for a living, you can write short blogs about proper care, maintenance, and propagation. You can also have eye-candy infographics about the different variants. If you have a restaurant, you can upload short clips with mouthwatering shots of your dishes. 

9. Add Testimonials

If your business has been around for quite some time, you may have established a network of satisfied customers. That said, you can add testimonials from people who have availed of and used your product or service. 

10. Sign up for eCommerce companies

Aside from having your own eCommerce website, you can create an online store in established shopping sites that are open to merchants. Here, you’ll choose your store name and this will become the URL or domain name your customers will use. You’ll also have a dashboard for tracking orders and you have access to a strong network of logistics providers. 

Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a web content writer during the day and a foodie, musician, coffee connoisseur, and plant mom when her day shift is over. She enjoys sharing her insights about blogging, web design, SEO, and other forms of digital marketing. To know more about digital marketing, check out the blogs of SPRINT DIGITAL Agency Dublin.

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