eCommerce Website Design
Seller’s Bay, LLC specializes in 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 ordinary price, with extraordinary results. If you have already signed up as our eCommerce client, please review the setup process here: eCommerce set up.
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 types of 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 during the build of every online store we create to ensure your conversion rates are optimized from the start.
We are also Google Ads certified partners and offer a full range of related services to ensure you have everything you need to get your business online in style.
Shopify is a hosted online store system, which is very easy to set up and gets your online business off and running in no time. We are Shopify partners and know-how to build themes, plugins, and more for Shopify. We also know which plugins are the best to use and which are best 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 be a great choice also. We can design and develop whatever you need for this store system.
Magento is a fantastic cart system and has several flavors to fit almost any type of 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, due to it being a plugin for WordPress, which is 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, and depending on the type of online store you require, this could be the perfect cart for you. If you are looking for a reliable, easy-to-use, and inexpensive cart, this might be the right choice.
Last but not least, Volusion has been around a long time and there are many sites still using it as their online store. Whether you need a new look or would like to move your Volusion store to a new system, we can help you.
Your Title Goes Here
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 even corporations with a massive marketing budget, all 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 starting an online business. If you take the right steps, you’ll be able to 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 & 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 are operating, what categories they are offering, and if you can figure from where you will get your stock. Are you producing something yourself, or are you buying from the distributor?
You also need to understand which type of business mode you are willing to implement. Will you offer single products, combos, or a subscription package?
Next, is to think about how fast can you deliver the product/service to your customer? This is one crucial step that most startups fail to consider before starting an online business.
Consider the legal boundaries that 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 difficult to compete without doing hard work. And the more you experiment and try ideas, the more you’ll be able to scale your business faster. But the first step is to identify the niche of your product.
Step 2: Choose a Business Name & Legal Structure
Once you have a written plan in place, it will be easy to choose a suitable name for your store. To stand out in the market, you must select a unique name for your store. A name that can indicate the nature of your business.
At this moment, you must check if the domain is available for your selected store. If the domain name is not available, 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 now have to choose the legal structure of the store. If you are the sole operator, you can choose 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 corporation structure.
Before selecting the business model, it is advised that you read about the benefits of each model.
Lastly, if you select sole proprietorship or just partnership, the business must be registered under your real name. This means that 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), a smart step for operating an e-commerce business. Although it is unnecessary, an EIN will help you separate your personal and business expenses.
You can easily apply for EIN from the IRS website for free.
This EIN will help you when you scale your business on a global scale. So, you should apply for it and get it before you expand your business.
Step 4: Choose Your e-commerce 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/product.
In a retail store, a physical storefront is the base of business. In an online store, the e-commerce store will be the first thing that customers will see. It’s essential to choose a storefront that is engaging, easy to navigate, and provides users with top-notch customer support.
There are tons of Content Management System (CMS) out there in the market. Although depending upon your business model, you must choose a relevant CMS for your business.
Whether it is an all in one software like Shopify or a custom build system like Magento, your e-commerce CMS will lay the founding bricks of your business. It will help if you pick your CMS wisely because every CMS has its pros and cons. One wrong choice can create trouble for your business.
Although all of the CMS platforms are easy to implement but to customize the store, purchase a domain, host, manage the inventory, you need to trained professionals.
Let’s consider each CMS’s pros and cons so that you can easily decide which store you can pick for your e-commerce business.
Based on your business need, you can choose between all the three CMS mentioned above. Every business has it’s requirements, and these three are best suited CMS to look after the needs of any size of business.
If you are starting and don’t know much about starting an online store in 2021, 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 updating and automatic backup. 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 to 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 the technicalities. One small disadvantage of a Shopify store is that you cannot customize your store on a basic version; you need to buy a premium version that offers more features and customization.
Here is a video that will teach you how to set up your online store in Shopify:
WooCommerce is an already popular plugin by WordPress that gives medium-size businesses to scale their business fast. A WordPress powered CMS that offers a plugin for every feature.
Your website must be hosted on a WordPress website to start an online store in WordPress.
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 a good-size customer database, creating an online store on WooCommerce is a wise choice.
The store is especially for those who don’t want a necessary store like Shopify but also unwilling to go technical as Magento, then 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.
Here’s a video on how to set up your store on WooCommerce:
If you have a skilled developer on-board, then developing a Magento store is probably 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, plus you can customize the theme as per your need.
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 make user-friendly features.
Magento is a sophisticated e-commerce platform designed for a sheer quantity of features that requires extensive development expertise.
All and 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, then customization won’t be complicated for you.
As you might have noticed that 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, features that your online store will have, and it is ultimately the backbone of your business.
Choose whatever platform is right for you. Customize the CMS as per your requirement, depending upon your budget. Good advice is to invest in an expert designer or a developer to assist you with this step. You can go for a freelance developer, and once the store is online, you can 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 in your website.
If you are selling products, you might know that this is a complex process. As a startup, this is crucial and difficult to maintain, as you’ll know precisely about the stock. It will help you create a good customer experience; you’ll maintain SEO and a system in place that will help you track the product.
Step 6: Market your online store
You’ve picked the niche, completed the legalities of an e-commerce business, picked a CMS, and finally, you’ve all the products listed on the website. To keep your store up and running, you need to market your store so that your target audience might know 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 market 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 as per your CMS. Each CMS offers custom SEO tools and free marketing tools to increase online traffic and help brands market their store.
As you scale your business, it’s essential to keep track of your orders. Because when you apply a marketing strategy, either it will work or not. In either case, you need to understand which strategy is working in your favor.
Your business will grow, and you need to change your strategy to keep up with the market. For the past couple of months, due to pandemic, marketing strategies have changed. 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 might be able to create an online store with the above steps. But what you do after that will make or break your business.
When it comes to running an online store, every business’s core is not just to deliver the customer the product; it’s about the experience as well. 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, your content, and even your marketing strategy, but one thing that they cannot control is the way you deal with the customer.
In online shopping, user-friendliness is rare, and 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.
How To Market Your eCommerce Website?
Creating an eCommerce website can be a dream come true for a lot of people. Being able to create your own, new online business is exciting and the possibilities are limitless. But there are challenges here too. For example, when you focus on eCommerce web development and create the best website you can, you also want to reach as many people as possible. Doing that can be rather challenging nowadays, which is why we are here to help. In this article, you will learn more about marketing your eCommerce website and the best tips to get started as quickly as possible.
Harness the power of social media
When you create your own custom online store, you are excited to get the ball rolling and obtain some sales. The truth is that you really need to focus on delivering the right value for money, but even then, you need a lot of exposure. And that’s where the need for using 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 it with friends. That alone can help generate a lot of sales.
On top of that, social media websites also have their own 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. This will help get the ball rolling, and the results themselves can be spectacular.
It’s a good idea to use hashtags, as these are great for a lot of people and you receive a lot of exposure thanks to them. You can also go live on social media too, and there are tons of different tools and features to access the results you want. Every social platform has its own purpose, so try to take that into consideration and the outcome itself can be very impressive.
If you see that people come to your website and they don’t buy anything, then you can focus on retargeting. This method relies on placing a cookie on the visitor’s website. When they are going to other websites, the cookies will showcase your company’s ads to them. This is a great approach because it keeps your products/services fresh in your potential customer’s mind. What makes this even better is the fact that you can also have a call to action and promotion.
Something like this entices a potential customer because they usually get a deal and he will be more interested to visit the website. There are a variety of retargeting platforms you can use, and even Google AdWords has its own remarketing campaigns. It’s very professional and convenient, not to mention you can regain the attention of those sales you lost. You never really know exactly 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
The reason why reviews matter is mostly due to social proofing. You want to show others the type of work you provide and having reviews from customers really helps a lot. Most of the time product reviews will sway customers if they are in large numbers and they are mostly positive. When that happens, people trust your brand more and they are willing to give you a shot. Obviously, you want your reviews to be genuine. Avoid buying reviews or writing them yourself, because this type of practice will eventually get caught and it will hurt your brand.
You can encourage customers to share reviews by sending a polite email a little while after they purchased a product. There are also many plugins that will make this process automatic.
Work with affiliate marketers
When you have a great custom online store and you already populated it with products, you are most likely waiting for sales. The thing to keep in mind here is the fact that it can be very difficult to promote all the products on your own. It will cost a lot of money, and you may not be able to target 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, they will have their own unique affiliate code they can add at the end of the product link too. They need to add that link within their content and if their audience buys your items through their links, you offer them a commission.
It’s important to create a proper commission system to ensure your affiliates know exactly what they can get in return. Some affiliate programs even negotiate commissions. Whether you want to do that, it’s up to you. But in the end, the most important aspect is to try and get the ball rolling with your sales. Affiliates are obviously inclined to bring in sales because their focus is on making money. In doing so, you get a piece of the sales too. It’s a very good system and you should definitely try it.
It’s very important to perform keyword research and ensure that you use the right keywords to connect with your customer base. The idea here is that you must 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 actually end up costing you money, instead of making you money.
Ads are selected based on the bid amounts and the quality score of that ad. You can link the Google Ads and Analytics solutions so you can check the 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. This is why a PPC campaign is a must-have for any eCommerce business owner.
Rely on strategic partnerships
It’s important to sell as much as you can, especially in the beginning. However, it’s hard to make a name for yourself, which is why forming strategic partnerships can be a very good idea. This means you can work closely with bloggers, influencers, and people that already have an audience. Reaching their audience can be a great option, and it will help you push your business onward, while also 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 in order to show your products to their audience.
Use email marketing
Email marketing is great if you want to promote your custom online store. The main idea here is that you want to acquire email addresses in order to create your own database. That means adding a form on 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 start sending emails from time to time. The idea here is that you want to deliver a great set of emails to your clients. The main focus needs to be on quality and on sharing information that your customers actually want. Things like new products, company news, limited time offers and anything like that can really help make a huge difference!
It’s also a good idea to have a blog newsletter separate from the email rewards you send from time to time. As we mentioned earlier, you can also group email addresses too. This will make it easier for you to target certain user groups, which in the end will convey a very good value.
Create informational content about your eCommerce website and products
It’s always very important to make sure 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, the benefits that this brings to the table, and what features can help others. Once you do that, it will be well worth the effort, and the experience will be amazing for everyone.
This approach is great 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 just 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, and all you have to do is to commit to the process as much as you can.
Create a variety of product videos
Video is one of the most important mediums you can use to generate sales. Thankfully, there are all kinds of videos you can create, such as explainer video, ad videos, how-to videos, and many others. It’s important to understand what your audience needs and serve them the content they are interested in. Ideally, you want to assist people in a multitude of ways with a video.
First, you want to show them your product, what it can do, and the features that it has. 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 a lot of people watch videos on platforms like YouTube, this is yet another avenue that you can use to generate even more leads and customers. If you use this to your advantage, the results themselves can be nothing short of amazing.
Try to go multichannel
Even if you just finished the Ecommerce web development process and you are proud of the results, you do want to reach as many people as possible, and going multichannel can help.
This means you sell your products beyond your store, on platforms like eBay, Amazon, and many others. 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.
It’s highly recommended that you 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, competitor research, and then optimizing your site based on this information and more.
Share product promotions or giveaways as often as you can
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 in a lot of traffic to your website. Not everyone might participate, but they will check your website and some people might even buy products from you. These are great things to keep in mind 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 in order to promote your business. These tips and tricks will make it easier to grow and expand your eCommerce business. In the end, what really matters is to focus on your success, and proper marketing is the right 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!