Custom eCommerce Website Design
Seller’s Bay, LLC, specializes in custom eCommerce website design, development, and marketing services using various eCommerce cart systems. We build online stores for any budget, from small mom-and-pop shops to massive eCommerce enterprises. Let us know what you need, and we will give you an average price with extraordinary results.
Choose Seller’s Bay to Build Your eCommerce Website.
For over 22 years, Seller’s Bay has been in the eCommerce website design business and has designed, developed, and advertised most online stores. We highly recommend and use WooCommerce or Shopify for most of our online stores; however, we also use Magento, OpenCart, and others. Seller’s Bay has expertise in search engine optimization and online marketing, which we use to build every online store we create to ensure your conversion rates are optimized from the start.
Shopify is a fantastic, hosted online store system that is very easy to set up and gets your online business running in no time. We are Shopify partners with the know-how to build themes, plugins, and more for Shopify. We also know which plugins are best to use and which to avoid. Get a Shopify Store Now.
Big Commerce eCommerce
One of the competing choices for Shopify as a hosted store system, Big Commerce is a leading player in the online store industry. Again, it depends on what type of store you need, but this could also be a great choice. We can design and develop whatever you need for your BigCommerce store.
Magento is a fantastic cart system with several flavors to fit almost any online eCommerce website. We can design the themes, build custom plugins, and do any advanced programming on the Magento store system.
WooCommerce is fast becoming the top choice for online stores because it is a plugin used on millions of websites worldwide. We are experts with WooCommerce and everything WordPress, so we can build exactly what you want and how you want it.
OpenCart is a great shopping cart system; depending on the type of online store you require, this could be the perfect one for you. OpenCart might be the right choice for a reliable, easy-to-use, inexpensive cart.
Last but not least, Volusion has been around for a long time, and many sites still use it as their online store. Whether you need a new look or want to move your Volusion store to a new system, we can help you.
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How to Start an Online Store
Not long ago, we were planning goals for 2020. Then the pandemic hit, and everything got upside down. Startups with big dreams, entrepreneurs with grand ideas, and corporations with massive marketing budgets were affected.
No one knew what was happening, but even in these challenging times, some learned how to start an online store, launched the store, and got back on track. That’s how winners respond to uncertain situations; they adapt to the new environment and execute an action plan.
Starting an online store in 2021 can be as easy as creating an online business. If you take the proper steps, you can drive sales, increase revenue, and establish a solid bond with your customers.
The necessary steps when you start an online store are as follows:
- Identify your niche.
- Choose a business name and legal structure.
- Apply for an EIN.
- Choose your e-commerce platform.
- Manage your inventory.
- Market your online store.
Step 1: Identify your niche.
The first step in starting your online store is to do in-depth research regarding the niche you are willing to target. For instance, if you create a gift portal, you must investigate the market’s top competitors. How they operate, what categories they offer, and if you can figure out where you will get your stock. Are you producing something yourself or buying it from the distributor?
You also need to understand which type of business model you are willing to implement. Will you offer single products, combos, or a subscription package?
Next, think about how quickly you can deliver the product/service to your customer. This is a crucial step that most startups need to consider before starting an online business.
Consider the legal boundaries you have in your country and make policies according to the regulations.
When you start thinking about these boundaries, you’ll consider writing a business plan as well. You’ll get a sense of things when you start making goals.
For a new website, it will be easy to compete by doing hard work. And the more you experiment and try new ideas, the faster you’ll be able to scale your business. But the first step is to identify the niche of your product.
Step 2: Choose a Business Name and Legal Structure
Once you have a written plan, choosing a suitable name for your store will be easy. You must select a unique name for your store to stand out in the market. A word that can indicate the nature of your business.
You must now check if the domain is available for your selected store. If the domain name is unavailable, you need to choose a different business name or alter the name’s spelling to get your desired name.
Once the name is selected, you must choose the store’s legal structure. If you are the sole operator, you can choose a sole proprietorship; if a partner is involved, you can choose a general partnership or LLC, or if it’s a huge business, you will select a corporation structure.
Before selecting a business model, it is advised that you read about the benefits of each model.
Lastly, the business must be registered under your real name if you select sole proprietorship or partnership. This means you must file a “doing business as” application with your government.
Step 3: Apply for an EIN.
The next step is to apply for an Employee Identification Number (EIN), an intelligent step for operating an e-commerce business. Although unnecessary, an EIN will help you separate your personal and business expenses.
You can easily apply for an EIN on the IRS website for free.
This EIN will help when you scale your business on a global scale. So, apply for it and get it before you expand your business.
Step 4: Choose Your eCommerce Platform
Now comes the most crucial step in starting your online store. An online e-commerce store where customers can see and buy your service or product.
In a retail store, a physical storefront is the base of business. The e-commerce store will be the first thing customers see in an online store. Choosing a storefront that is engaging, easy to navigate, and provides users with top-notch customer support is essential.
There are tons of content management systems (CMS) on the market. Although it depends on your business model, you must choose a relevant CMS.
Whether it is all-in-one software like Shopify or a custom-built system like Magento, your e-commerce CMS will lay the foundation of your business. It will help to pick your CMS wisely because every CMS has pros and cons. One wrong choice can create trouble for your business.
Although all of the CMS platforms are easy to implement to customize the store, purchase a domain, host it, and manage the inventory, you need trained professionals.
Let’s consider each CMS’s pros and cons to quickly decide which store you can pick for your e-commerce business.
You can choose between all three CMS mentioned above based on your business needs. Every business has its requirements, and these three are the best-suited CMS to look after the needs of any size business.
If you are starting and need to learn more about starting an online store, you can begin by choosing Shopify as your CMS. You don’t have to find a hosting service or install any software; everything is included in the package.
Shopify handles updates and automatic backups. Just sign up for your account. Pick a theme and upload products. It’s simple and easy. For every page, SEO suggestions will help you do the SEO on the go.
It is a larger-than-life CMS where startups and small-scale businesses can create an online store and start selling without worrying about technicalities.
WooCommerce is an already popular plugin for WordPress that allows medium-sized businesses to scale quickly. Your website must use WordPress as its CMS to start an online store using WooCommerce.
Everything is controlled from a seamless WordPress dashboard. From customizing products to handling orders, everything is just a click away.
If your business is scaling or already has an extensive customer database, creating an online store on WooCommerce is a wise choice.
The store is especially for those who want something other than a necessary store like Shopify but are also willing to go as technical as Magento, in which case WooCommerce is a perfect choice. But the only drawback is that, at times, it gets challenging to secure the store from hackers. Therefore, it is better to use the latest WordPress security plugins to protect your store from malicious attacks.
If you have a skilled developer on board, developing a Magento store is the best way forward.
Once you install the software, you need to pick a theme and customize it. You can even opt for paid extensions.
This is where Magento and WordPress separate themselves. Magento is a comprehensive e-commerce platform that offers all the options; you can customize the theme per your needs.
With Magento, you can up-sell, cross-sell products and bundle them up. There are dedicated landing pages for each category. With a built-in one-page checkout, you can add user-friendly features.
Magento is a sophisticated e-commerce platform designed for a sheer quantity of features that require extensive development expertise.
All in all, Magento is an e-commerce platform that supports unlimited product uploads without making things complex. The only drawback of Magento is its complexity. But if you hire a professional developer, customization will be simple.
As you might have noticed, this is a crucial step for starting your business. One wrong choice can make or break your business.
In this step, you need to think about the cost, usability, and features that your online store will have; it is ultimately the backbone of your business.
Choose whatever platform is right for you. Customize the CMS as per your requirements, depending on your budget. Good advice is to invest in an expert designer or developer to assist you with this step. You can go for a freelance developer, and once the store is online, you will need to pay for store maintenance.
Step 5: Manage Your Inventory
After you’ve chosen your CMS and launched your store, you are nearly at the end of the process. Now, you need to source the products. Luckily, in step one, you have already resolved this problem. You might have your products, buy them from a distributor, or sell services, like a consultant or other services mentioned on your website.
If you sell products, this is a complex process. Inventory management is crucial to maintaining a startup, as you’ll know precisely what the stock is worth.
Step 6: Market your online store
You’ve picked the niche, completed the legalities of an e-commerce business, selected a CMS, and finally, you’ve got all the products listed on the website. To keep your store up and running, you need to market it so that your target audience knows what you are selling.
There are several ways in which you can market your online store. From Google Ads to Facebook and Instagram ads, you can advertise your store with these high-end marketing platforms that target specific users.
On a basic level, you must begin by optimizing your website for SEO per your CMS. Each CMS offers custom SEO tools and free marketing tools to increase online traffic and help brands market their stores.
As you scale your business, keeping track of your orders is essential. Because when you apply a marketing strategy, either it will work or not. In either case, you need to understand which method works in your favor.
Your business will grow, and you need to change your strategy to keep up with the market. Due to the pandemic, marketing strategies have changed for the past couple of months. Things that were once a luxury are now a necessity.
Wrapping it up
Starting a business is easy, but keeping it running is the real deal. You can create an online store with the above steps. But what you do after that will make or break your business.
When running an online store, every business’s core is not just delivering the product to the customer; it’s also about the experience. A customer might even pay a premium for memorable customer service. But if the customer experience is upsetting, that demands urgent resolution.
Your competitors might be able to copy your products, content, and even your marketing strategy, but one thing they cannot control is how you deal with customers.
In online shopping, user-friendliness is rare; if you can deliver that, customers will love to order from you again. In a new business, trust is everything. And with an organized website, you’ll be able to leave a lasting impression on the customer.
Marketing Your Online Business
Creating an eCommerce Website
For many individuals, creating an eCommerce website represents a dream come true. The excitement of launching your own online business and exploring the limitless possibilities it offers is a tempting prospect. The digital landscape has opened doors for entrepreneurs, allowing them to connect with customers globally, showcase their products and services, and build a successful business from the ground up. However, as with any entrepreneurial endeavor, establishing an eCommerce website takes time and effort. In this article, we will explore some of the critical aspects of building an eCommerce business and the hurdles entrepreneurs must overcome to succeed.
Market research and niche selection
The first challenge in creating an eCommerce website is identifying the right niche. Entrepreneurs must conduct thorough market research to understand consumer needs, preferences, and existing competition. This step is crucial to ensuring demand for the products or services the business will offer and that the chosen niche is balanced.
Website Design and User Experience
A well-designed website focusing on user experience (UX) is essential for any eCommerce business. The site must be visually appealing, easy to navigate, and optimized for desktop and mobile devices. Creating an engaging and user-friendly website can be challenging. In these cases, hiring professional designers or using website builders with eCommerce-specific templates can be a wise investment.
Product Sourcing and Inventory Management
One of the biggest challenges for eCommerce entrepreneurs is product sourcing and inventory management. Finding suppliers, negotiating prices, and maintaining adequate stock levels can be time-consuming and complex. Entrepreneurs need to establish reliable relationships with suppliers and implement an efficient inventory management system to ensure that products are always available for customers.
Payment and Shipping Solutions
Providing secure payment options and reliable shipping solutions is critical to the success of an eCommerce website. Entrepreneurs must choose a payment gateway supporting multiple currencies and payment methods while ensuring customer data is secure. Additionally, selecting the correct shipping provider and calculating accurate shipping rates can be challenging. Offering a seamless checkout process and reliable shipping options can help build customer trust and encourage repeat business.
Digital marketing and SEO
Driving traffic to an eCommerce website is an ongoing challenge. Entrepreneurs need to have a solid digital marketing strategy to attract potential customers and generate sales. Digital marketing includes utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, content marketing, social media marketing, and paid advertising. Staying up-to-date with the latest trends in digital marketing and continually optimizing marketing efforts is essential for eCommerce success.
Customer Service and Building Trust
Providing exceptional customer service and building customer trust is crucial for any eCommerce business. Entrepreneurs must prepare to handle customer inquiries, returns, and complaints promptly and professionally. Additionally, displaying customer reviews and testimonials, offering secure payment options, and implementing transparent policies can help establish credibility and trustworthiness.
Harness the power of social media.
When you create your custom online store, you are excited to get the ball rolling and obtain some sales. You need to focus on delivering the correct value for money, but even then, you need a lot of exposure. And that’s where the need to use social media comes into play. The sheer nature of social media is focused on sharing with others, so if someone likes your offer and products, they will share them with friends. That alone can help generate a lot of sales.
On top of that, social media websites also have an ad program that you can use to pay for even more exposure. You can start promoting your business with a social media account well before the eCommerce web development is finished. Social media marketing will help get the ball rolling, and the results can be spectacular. You can go live on social media too, and there are tons of different tools and features to access the desired results. Every social platform has its purpose, so consider that, and the outcome can be very impressive.
If you see that people come to your website and don’t buy anything, you can focus on retargeting. This method relies on placing a cookie on the visitor’s website. The cookies will showcase your company’s ads on other websites. Retargeting is an excellent approach because it keeps your products/services fresh in your potential customer’s minds. What makes this even better is that you can also have a call to action and promotion.
Something like this entices potential customers because they usually get a deal and will be more interested in visiting the website. You can use various retargeting platforms; even Google Ads has its remarketing campaigns. It’s very convenient, and you can regain the attention of those sales you lost. You never know why people chose to step away from your website, yet with retargeting, you have another chance to get them back.
Encourage your customers to write reviews.
Reviews matter primarily due to social proofing; you want to show others the type of work you provide, and having customer reviews helps a lot. Product reviews are likely to sway customers if they are in large numbers and primarily favorable. When that happens, people trust your brand more and are willing to give you a shot. You want your reviews to be genuine. Avoid buying reviews or writing them yourself because this practice will eventually get caught, hurting your brand.
You can encourage customers to share reviews by sending a polite email a little while after they purchase a product. Many plugins will make this process automatic.
Work with affiliate marketers.
You are most likely waiting for sales when you have a great custom online store and have already populated it with products. The thing to remember here is that it can take a lot of work to promote all the products on your own. It will cost a lot of money, and you may need help targeting the right clients. With that in mind, affiliate marketers will be able to help you.
The idea here is that you can establish an affiliate system. Affiliate marketers can join the system and have their unique affiliate code to add at the end of the product link. They need to add that link within their content, and if their audience buys your items through their links, you offer them a commission.
Creating a proper commission system ensures your affiliates know what they can get in return. Some affiliate programs even negotiate commissions. Whether you want to do that is up to you. But in the end, the most critical aspect is to try and get the ball rolling with your sales. Affiliates are inclined to bring in deals because they focus on making money. In doing so, you get a piece of the sales too. It’s a perfect system, and you should try it.
It’s essential to perform keyword research and use the right keywords to connect with your customer base. The idea here is to create a list of important keywords you use everywhere on your website. Once you know the keywords you want to use, open up Google Ads and start bidding on the keywords with a professionally developed campaign created by a Google Ads partner. Doing this yourself could cost you money instead of making you money.
Ads are selected based on the bid amounts and the ad’s quality score. You can link the Google Ads and Analytics solutions to check customer activity. You can set a budget limit per day, too, so you don’t have to worry about overspending on ads, which is always very helpful. It’s a good idea to use PPC advertising as a great way to draw in customers once you finish eCommerce web development. SEO takes time, so that will not be ideal if you want to bring in more customers right now. A PPC campaign is a must-have for any eCommerce business owner.
Rely on strategic partnerships.
Selling as much as possible is essential, especially in the beginning. However, it takes a lot of work to make a name for yourself, so forming strategic partnerships can be an excellent idea. Partnerships mean you can work closely with bloggers, influencers, and people with an audience. Reaching their audience can be a great option, and it will help you push your business onward while generating a lot of sales naturally.
Try to study blogs and social media influencers that can be a good fit for your promotion. Engage with them often on social media as a good starting point. Then you can work closely with them to show your products to their audience.
You can use email marketing.
Email marketing is excellent if you want to promote your custom online store. The main idea here is that you want to acquire email addresses to create your database. That means adding a form to your website and offering something in return for their information. Usually, it’s an ebook, but it can also be a discount code or anything that sounds meaningful to your potential customers.
After you acquire the email addresses and organize your list, you can send emails occasionally. The idea here is that you want to deliver great emails to your clients. The main focus must be quality and sharing the information your customers want. New products, company news, limited-time offers, and anything like that can make a huge difference!
You can create content about your products.
It’s always essential to ensure that you always focus on creating content related to your products. If you have a blog on your custom online store, you can write blog posts about the product. Focus on how others can use it, its benefits, and what features can help others. Once you do that, it will be well worth the effort, and the experience will be unique for everyone.
This approach is excellent if you want to establish authority within the industry. Inform customers, help them with their decisions, offer timeless content (how-to articles help a lot here), and try to assist potential clients as much as possible. Once you do that, your content will receive more and more views. You can become an industry authority if you do things right; all you have to do is commit to the process as much as possible.
Create a variety of product videos.
Video is one of the essential mediums you can use to generate sales. Thankfully, there are all kinds of videos you can create, such as explainer videos, ad videos, how-to videos, and many others. It’s essential to understand your audience’s needs and serve them the content they are interested in. Ideally, you want to assist people in many ways with a video.
First, you want to show them your product, what it can do, and its features. You also want to show the return on investment they can get from the product. In addition, you can also have a demo video showing off all the uses of your product. Since many people watch videos on platforms like YouTube, this is yet another avenue you can use to generate even more leads and customers. If you use this to your advantage, the results can be excellent.
Try to go multichannel.
Even if you just finished the e-commerce web development process and are proud of the results, you want to reach as many people as possible, and going multichannel can help. Multichannel means you sell your products beyond your store on platforms like eBay, Amazon, etc. It’s a great idea to take your time and establish a multichannel presence, then sell everywhere you can.
Optimize your website for SEO.
SEO does matter if you want to rank high in search engine results and generate a lot of sales. With search engine optimization, you can fully optimize your website, content, and even images and videos to deliver a great user experience and appeal to search engine bots. Implementing a good SEO strategy has the potential to make your business grow and expand beyond your wildest dreams. It will take a bit of trial and error to make it work, but the payoff can be very impressive in the end.
Hire a professional to do your SEO setup and maintenance. Website setup includes things like creating a site map, adding Google Analytics code to your pages for tracking the visitors of your website, adding Google Webmaster Tools to your site so you can view even more details, doing keyword research and competitor research, and then optimizing your area based on this information and more.
Share product promotions or giveaways often.
People love the idea of buying stuff at a discount. After all, everyone likes to save money, so the idea of having sales from time to time does help a lot. Even giveaways can help you since they bring a lot of traffic to your website. Only some people might participate, but they will check your website, and some might even buy products from you. These are great things to remember if you want to generate more traffic and sales for your custom online store.
Once you finish the eCommerce web development process, you need to do everything you can to promote your business. These tips and tricks will make growing and expanding your eCommerce business easier. In the end, what matters is to focus on your success, and proper marketing is the correct method you can use to achieve those goals. Start using these ideas today, and you will have no problem taking your custom online store to the next level!